REVIEW: Westworld, S3 Ep7 – Passed Pawn

Westworld, S3 Ep7 - Passed Pawn

The penultimate episode of Westworld dives into Caleb’s backstory while also showcasing a thrilling duel between Maeve and Dolores.

Caleb is the most important new protagonist to Westworld this season (the other being Serac) and it made sense to finally explore his origins. As enjoyable as he has been as a kind of audience surrogate as he supported Dolores in her endeavors, there was always going to be something more significant to him and in this episode we finally find out that he was one of the outliers Serac had wanted out of the system. He is also clearly being set up to be a major player in the fourth season.

Before going into the main plot of the episode, there was an exciting prologue that featured the support teams for both Dolores and Maeve. Having decided to go rogue, the Charlotte clone contacts the Sato clone to tell him that her plans. She betrayed his location to two members of Maeve’s team, Clementine and Hanaryo. After decapitating the yakuza leader, the two hosts take their leave and we will have to wait for next week’s finale to see more of them.

Westworld, S3 Ep7 - Passed PawnCaleb and Dolores make their way to Sonora, Mexico to find the lab where an earlier iteration of Rehoboam, aptly named Solomon (father to Rehoboam in the Bible). It’s a flawed system, created by Serac’s schizophrenic brother. Solomon communicates with both Dolores and Caleb, revealing that Caleb was one of the “success stories” from among the outliers who were reconditioned to better fit into the AI’s vision of the world.

All the hazy and inconsistent flashbacks to Caleb’s war memories begin to become coherent as the episode progresses though, up to a point, the flashbacks become a tad repetitive. He sees his days as a soldier during the Russian Civil War and then he confuses more recent memories of him and his buddy Francis seemingly capturing the leader of an insurgency. When Solomon restores Caleb’s memories, the human realizes that he and Francis survived the war and, as outliers, were reconditioned to track down and capture other disruptive elements.

When their target was revealed to be played by Enrico Colantoni, I gave a squeal of excitement because I keep comparing Westworld this season to Person of Interest and here was an actor who played an important recurring character in that series. Colantoni’s role is brief but pivotal. He opens Caleb’s eyes to the conspiracy surrounding him, how the AI even created the Rico app to regulate criminal activity, and how Caleb’s friend had received a contract to kill him. When he confirms the truth, Caleb shoots both Francis and the target. But he forgets all about this after undergoing his reconditioning.

Westworld, S3 Ep7 - Passed PawnIn another disturbing Westworld twist, the outliers who did not respond well to their reconditioning are all frozen and stored in the Mexico facility, in a state between life or death, kept there so that they cannot wreak havoc on the system. The scores of coffin-like containers seemed reminiscent of the anime Psycho-Pass which also tackles similar themes of determinism and free will. Solomon has been running simulations and countless scenarios, trying to predict all possible outcomes for every action.

Dolores instructs Solomon to come up with a new strategy that will drastically change the world and rewrite humanity’s story. Dolores also instructs Caleb to “Take whatever it gives you and lead.” At the end, the AI manages to come up with something which it saves in a flash drive and gives to Caleb.

Westworld, S3 Ep7 - Passed PawnMaeve arrives and immediately challenges Dolores to a fight. Dolores is reluctant at first, still trying to convince Maeve that they ought to work together rather than against each other. Maeve is still not convinced, still rankling from the loss of Hector, and determined to protect her daughter’s future. It’s hard to see Maeve’s point of view, given all that we know of Serac’s duplicitousness but the conflict between the two most powerful hosts has been set up from the beginning.

The ensuing fight is as badass and brutal as one can expect from these two. There’s impressive displays of martial arts, there’s outright brawling, there are swords, guns, knives, hot peanut oil, and so much more. In the end, Maeve’s helicopter shoots and destroys one of Dolores’s arms and the injured host manages to stumble back and ignite the EMP, rendering both of them unconsciousness.

Bernard, Stubbs, and William formed a strange team as Bernard unearths more details about what Dolores plans. Turns out Charlotte inserted a virus (chillingly relevant) into William’s blood in order to track it to a secret facility when a sample was transported. William is disgusted to learn that Stubbs is a host and annoyed to learn that Serac succeeded in stealing his company. As the three make their escape, William reaches the self-aggrandizing conclusion that his purpose is to destroy all hosts. Not the wisest thing to say in front of two hosts but Bernard and Stubbs are unfazed. Even when William decides to shoot them both at the gas station at the end of the episode, I’m not too worried about these two not surviving.

Bernard says that Dolores was created with poetic sensibility which apparently means that she would not be destroying humanity herself but instead, she has assigned this burden to a member of their race, Caleb. Whether he fully understands his role in her plan and whether he will be willing to go through with it will be revealed.

The pieces are set for a truly epic Westworld season three finale.

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