Last week had the “Westworld” fan community wondering if Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) had found a way to split her consciousness. Luckily, we did not have to wait too long for an answer. “The Mother of Exiles,” directed by Paul Cameron, brings us the identities of several unknown hosts in the real world. It also brings the return of The Man in Black (Ed Harris). “The Mother of Exiles” provides a complete picture of the “Westworld” character roster, while providing an excellent turn for the season.
William, a.k.a. The Man in Black (Ed Harris), sits alone in a house. He’s haunted by the spirit of his daughter Emily (Katja Herbers), who he murdered in Season 2. As Emily pushes William towards suicide, Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) arrives. She needs help fighting off Serac (Vincent Cassel) and dealing with a mole in the company. With William’s help, she can save Dellos.
In California, Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) hatch a plan to crash a gala. Their objective is to take out Liam Dempsey (John Gallagher Jr.), who they believe has been replaced by Dolores. Unbeknownst to Stubbs, Bernard, and the real Liam, Dolores actually replaced the bodyguard Martin (Tommy Flanagan).
Before Liam can head out for a charity ball/prostitution ring, Martin steals his fortune. To complete the money transfer, Dolores and Caleb (Aaron Paul) dress up and infiltrate the bank. While they initially receive resistance from the account manager, Caleb steps up to meet the challenge.
Serac awakens Maeve (Thandie Newton) in Singapore, where the two eat dinner. Serac informs Maeve that he sees Rehoboam as humanity’s protection from itself. Thanks to Rehoboam, he can model and predict human behaviors to near perfection. However, Serac discovered that Dellos mapped the human mind and placed the technology in Westworld. Dolores holds the key to that project, and with Maeve’s help, Serac can secure the data.
Serac takes Maeve to Arnold’s house, where Serac’s team tortures a forger for helping Dolores. Using Augmented Reality to torture the man mentally, they find out Dolores went to mortician to secure a new identity. Maeve infiltrates the mortician’s office but finds Dolores went to the Yakuza to secure identities for her other hosts.
In America, Liam tries to buy a night with a woman only to find out he has no money. He storms off to Martin, only to be intercepted by Stubbs and Bernard. At the same time, Dolores and Caleb arrive to grab Liam. While Stubbs and Dolores fight, Caleb chases Liam, and Bernard, Dolores, and Stubbs do battle. Martin intercepts everyone at the car and capturing Bernard while Caleb captures the running Liam.
Maeve attacks the Yakuza headquarters, quickly fighting her way through the footmen. Along the way, she even breaks a few barrels holding the white liquid used to build hosts. Maeve reaches the boss, who appears as Musashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) from Shogun World. Musashi pulls a gun on Maeve, blaming her for leaving the other hosts behind.
William prepares to leave his house but is interrupted by a vision of Emily again. Frustrated, he screams at her and exits. Charlotte stands outside William’s door and lets him know that she’s been spying on him. However, she would never need to spy on William because she knows everything about him. William realizes something is off. We get three reveals at once: Musashi, Martin, and Charlotte are all versions of Dolores.
Each Dolores accomplishes their goal for the night. Musashi defeats Maeve, Martin captures Arnold, and Charlotte gets William placed in an asylum. Caleb catches Liam and reveals the original Dolores to him. With William in a cage, he’s visited by Dolores once more in her Westworld attire. She pushes him to confront the truth, and he asks if he’s real. Dolores tells him the game is over.
Thoughts on the Episode
The bevy of Dolores’ aside, “Westworld,” delivered the best episode of the season so far. The reveal that Dolores would trust herself above everyone else logically tracks, and revealing the twist so early feels shocking. “Westworld” is not known for playing it straight, but now the game has shockingly been simplified. Bernard and 4 Dolores hosts left the parks, and will soon be hunted down by Maeve and Serac. It’s a somewhat conventional sci-fi story, but for “Westworld,” this should improve the narrative.
While we know the ways that many of these characters will react under pressure, Paul and Cassel make for excellent wildcards. There are certainly mysteries to unwrap about each, and based on the trailer for next week; we may get a Paul heavy episode. The depth of talent on “Westworld” has never been stronger, even if multiple performers are playing the same character.
The Dolores reveal alters the perception of “Westworld” moving forward as a series. In some ways, the turn breaks the rules of the game up to this point, but Nolan and Joy seem unconcerned. It’s clear that Dolores’ mission to upend humanity has taken on crusade-like qualities. It’s hard not to draw comparisons to Daenerys in “Game of Thrones,” especially when the title of the episode. To “Westworld’s” advantage, the darkness within Dolores has been evident for multiple seasons. As she turns darker and more focused on creating a hivemind society, the groundwork has already been laid.