Welcome To The Real World
First, let’s start with the obvious, shall we? The new setting of Westworld looks absolutely breathtaking. From the Drone-style helicopters to the self-driving Jaguars, mobility is definitely not an issue outside of the park we’re all familiar with. Did I mention costume design? Shay Cunliffe & Jo Kissack truly give the newest seasons of Westworld the most modern outfits I’ve ever seen. Their ability to adhere to futuristic styles without being gimmicky or over-the-top is commendable. The entire season opener felt fresh and new and not like the Westworld we’re accustomed to, but in so many ways, it was the epitome of what Westworld is: Life Without Rules.
But in 2058, there are ‘some’ rules. Like the “Cash App” but for criminals called Ri¢o. An App meant for fast cash and underworld problems that the clients of Westworld probably never needed. That rule, it seems, is for anyone looking to perform small or big crimes anonymously to keep a code of ethics. A point system is given for each user that allows you to rate your new ‘co-workers’ as if it were a Lyft for cash. The other rule is anyone involved with the US Military has to adhere to physiatric treatment in order to obtain benefits. From the dialogue, it’s clear that the Military observed every enlisted person serving and used those relationships to diagnose any trauma. Think of it as the ‘Forge’ but with public knowledge.
This brings me to Aaron Paul. One of the newest members of the cast and who gives a stellar performance as Caleb Nichols. Caleb is a veteran with PTSD, struggling to follow the path of a civilian. Seeing his point-of-view waking up parallels seeing Dolores and Meave essentially in the same manner in previous seasons. The major difference is that he recognizes his mundane life isn’t what he wants, which is why he allows Ri¢o to guide him down a different path. A path that ultimately leads him to Dolores.
The two other brilliant newcomers are John Gallagher Jr. and Tommy Flanagan; Liam Dempsey & Martin Connells respectively. What I found amazing about Liam was his ability to turn from his awkwardness around Dolores to his confidence to others, on a dime. When he speaks with Dolores, you get the feeling that he’s unsure of himself; almost pretentious. But when he speaks to Martel (Pom Klementieff), he commands the scene. Now, with Martin Connells being his right-hand man, things are about to get interesting. Especially since Dolores created a clone-version of him and killed the real version. She’s just taking in all the natural splendor.
What’s not to praise about Evan Rachel Wood. She absolutely dominated any scene she was in. From the opening to the ending scene, you witnessed Rage and Vulnerability, or so we think. Armed with her knowledge, it appears as if Dolores knows a lot about human beings. She knew Reed Philips would attempt to kill her after she forced him to give her money and files he illegally kept from Incite. She also knew that Martin Connells would be the one to find out she wasn’t who she said she was. Forcing him to rendezvous with some of his men to ‘dump’ her on the streets. Only what they weren’t expecting was Dolores’ plan all along. To make Liam THINK Martin took her out, only for the ‘new’ Martin to return, now in the control of Dolores.
Now, I find it interesting that she told Reed she was the last of her kind when we KNOW someone is in Hale’s body. Maybe that’s part of her plan: to make everyone believe she’s alone when she’s infiltrated every major position with her people. Her mission, it seems, is to access or gain control over Rehoboam through Liam. Essentially acting like a Genesis Chamber from Man Of Steel and breeding roles for the everyday life of humans. What she hopes to gain from this system is not clear, but she was smart enough to get one of her people in close with Rehoboam.
I’m In A Dream
So, as I watched the Season 3 opener, it felt NOTHING like Westworld and I mean that in a good way. It was invigorating and stylish, but not similar to anything we’ve seen in previous seasons. The dialogue was spot on and enough to have hidden meanings and deeper layers without exposition. The physiognomy was Westworld, but underneath that, was something else entirely. Witnessing Nkl-n-D1med (Aaron Paul) achieve small crimes with Ashes2Ashes (Lena Waithe) & G1GGL3S24 (Marshawn Lynch), their Ri¢o Usernames, was very interesting. We see that Caleb has a line he won’t cross, even if he’s struggling to pay bills.
That proverbial line is crossed, however, when we see what Bernard is doing. Living life on a meat farm would be an easy getaway. Only, Dolores has orchestrated the media into believing Bernard was the one responsible for the massacre in Westworld’s Park (even though that might not explain Shogun/The Raj Parks). We learn that Bernard has figured out a way to perform checks & balances on himself through a terminal. He’s also able to switch personalities in life-threating situations, beating two would-be heroes looking to cash in on the bounty for his head. But how will that affect him long-term? He’s obviously worried about Dolores and doesn’t trust himself, so what does that mean for him in later episodes?
If you noticed, we never learn why Dolores is after those Incite files. And if Incite is responsible for Rehoboam, maybe it gives her an advantage? But what will she do with that access? With her being acquainted with Caleb from here on out, will she gain empathy? Surely, seeing a different side of humanity would change things. After all, the type of people she’s studied from the park isn’t exactly the type of people that are similar to Caleb. How will she react to that side of life? I believe she’ll be heavily influenced by him and reevaluate her mission. Or he’ll be willing to join her in taking down the system that controls Rehoboam. Whatever happens, I believe those two will play a major role in the outcome of the real world.
The other side of this coin lies with Meave. We still don’t know her role in the new park she’s been assigned to. But what we do know is she eventually gets summoned by Serac to hunt down Dolores. In what will most likely be the greatest gladiator match in the history of Westworld, there will be a deeper reason. If Arnold built Dolores, and Ford built Maeve, why would those two be pitted against each other? Maeve was the only host Dolores allowed to make a decision about following her or not.
Dolores v Maeve: Volume 1
We know we’re getting a fight scene involving Sweetwater and the Mariposa. And it looks like that fight might take some cues from Quentin Tarantino and Zack Snyder. By that I mean they’ll fight with Katanas, Kill Bill Style, but have to join up to defeat a bigger threat, Batman v Superman Style. But who will they battle against? The MIB perhaps? We know from the trailer that he tells someone he’s “gonna save the Fu*king World“. But if he’s in isolation, what program would enact that type of response to the main antagonist of the past 2 seasons? Probably Emily. Or Rehoboam.
We know Rehoboam has been in the real world for a while. And from what we know about it, it’s able to tell what’s going to happen before anything does happen a la Minority Report. That is, from the outside. From what it looks like, the system wouldn’t be able to warn anyone manipulating the system from the inside. And if this system is a similar construct like the Forge, what role does William play in the real world. Surely the system would know about him or Delos, right? Maybe William joins Maeve and Dolores in defeating Incite. Everything seems to point to a team-up; a Suicide Squad style team-up if you ask me.
Overall, ‘Parce Domine‘ was a spectacular opening for Season 3 of Westworld. It established the new setting while also brilliantly giving us the foundation for what’s to come. If you were like me, the density of this episode was so much that I completely forgot we still have several main characters to visit. Namely The Man In Black and Meave. Speaking of Meave, in an after-credits scene, she wakes up confused and in a brand new world: Nazi-Occupied Something. There are so many questions this new place brings up, I’m not sure where to begin. I’m sure we’ll find out just why Delos would create a Nazi-inspired theme park, but right now, it’s a mystery.
We still have no idea who inhibits Hale’s body, where William is being treated (since it’s only 3 months after season 2 ended), or why Vincent Cassels character, Serac, is the architect behind Rehoboam. Why is Bernard willing to be taken back to Westworld if he’s their most wanted man? Just what, exactly, is Dolores planning with all her newfound abilities? Where can I buy a shirt that accurately displays my emotions like G1GGl3S24’s shirt does? Those questions, and many more, are sure to be answered in the next 7 episodes. Until then, Welcome To 2058.