Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) revealed a new wrinkle for “Westworld” last week. With not one, but four versions of herself unleashed on the world, Bernard and Maeve found themselves in dire straights. Serac (Vincent Cassel) needs to move against Dolores quickly, but we still do not know much about him. “Genre,” directed by Anna Foerster, gives us more development for several new characters.
Serac (Vincent Cassel) tells us about growing up in the aftermath of Paris’ destruction. The only person he had was his brother, Jean Mi (Paul Cooper) and together they wanted to change the world. To do that, they needed to build a God, and thus they created Rehoboam to prevent “flies” from disrupting the world.
We discover the Rehoboam graphics that have popped up over the season are the face of Serac’s watch. While in a meeting with Brazil’s president, Serac threatens to instigate a coup. If the president does not do as told, a disruption will result in his removal from power. Serac’s use of Rehoboam gives him insights to control geopolitical events.
Serac talks about his relationship with Dempsey Sr. (Jefferson Mays), who has grown frustrated with the Serac brothers. Demsey Sr.’s data allowed them to go through other biblical prototypes before finally building Rehoboam. A child Liam (played as an adult by John Gallagher Jr.) stares at one of the prototypes before the Demseys leave. Serac is alerted that the adult Dempsey went missing, and orders his assets to track down Dolores.
Dolores and Caleb (Aaron Paul) escape through tunnels with Liam in tow. Wearing the augmented reality glasses, Liam learns about Caleb’s background but grows concerned about Dolores. He tries to bargain with Caleb to escape but when Caleb refuses, Liam injects Caleb with Genre, a drug of the future. For Caleb, the world around him begins to feel like a 1940s noir with a silent film score.
Dolores, Caleb, and Liam get into a vehicle and attempt to escape Serac’s men. Worried Serac will kill them, Liam gives Dolores his private key access and the group works to escape. Caleb’s “genre” changes, turning the chase sequence into a “The Ride of the Valkyries” scored action scene. Caleb blows up one vehicle and Dolores destroys the second. Caleb switches Genre again, this time to romance with Dolores.
Ash (Lena Waithe) and Giggles (Marshawn Lynch) arrive to help out, and the group keeps moving. Dolores transfers Liam’s data to Martin-Dolores (Tommy Flanagan), who walks up to Rehoboam with Arnold/Bernard (Jeffrey Wright). Dolores Prime’s team walks into the subways, where Caleb’s trip takes another turn thanks to “Nightclubbing” by Iggy Pop.
Using the stock market, Serac and his brother convince Dempsey that Rehoboam works. The Serac’s used Rehoboam to make money but also shape the Earth. Meanwhile, Dempsey Sr. profited off their models. In every model, the world would end up destroying itself because outliers always emerged. In time, Serac’s brother becomes one of the outliers, putting Rehoboam and the planet at risk. We are told this drove Serac’s brother mad.
Now that Dolores holds a key to Rehoboam, she chooses to unlock humanity’s projections. Liam argues against releasing all the data, using Ash and Giggles as examples. Caleb tells off Liam, arguing that leaving people with false hope is far crueler. Dolores unleashes the data on the world. The world comes to a stop around Team Dolores as they exit the station. The effect of the data leak as the world unravels around them (scored by an instrumental “Ground Control to Major Tom”). Two mercenaries try to kill Caleb but Dolores absorbs the shots and kills the mercs.
Dempsey Sr. visits the Serac’s headquarters. Dozens of people live in glass cases which bear a striking resemblance to the host rooms of Delos. Dempsey confronts Serac and discovers that the facility holds all the outliers who would disrupt the world, including Serac’s brother. Serac believes this is a better system than killing them off which is how Rehoboam would handle the situation.
Martin-Dolores and Bernard watch everyone’s Rehoboam loops break. They leave the facility but are met by Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), who takes out Martin-Dolores. Bernard wants Martin-Dolores to explain Dolores Prime’s plan, but Serac’s associates arrive. Martin-Dolores tells Bernard he has to go because he’s the only one who cannot be replaced. Serac’s lead associate (Pom Klementieff) pushes Martin-Dolores upstairs, where Serac is waiting. Martin-Dolores sets off a bombing, killing everyone in the room except for Serac, who appeared via hologram.
Accompanied by “The Shining” score, Team Dolores breaks into an argument while under the pier. Liam tells everyone they are the worst people alive and bring down society. A frustrated Ash shoots Liam, making her own choice. Ash and Giggles leave while Caleb tries to save Liam. As he bleeds out in the waves, Liam tells Caleb who killed Francis (Kid Cudi). It was Caleb.
Serac takes Dempsey out to the desert, where his plane recently crashed. Serac kills Dempsey and leaves him in the wreckage. It’s revealed that Dolores has been watching Serac’s memories and the two have a discussion about control. Dolores tells Serac that it’s time for everyone to wake up and Serac returns from his hologram to his plane. Caleb and Dolores get on their plane with a rifle in tow.
Thoughts on the Episode
“Genre” easily stacks up as one of the best episodes of “Westworld” to date. The “Genre” subplot added a nice stylistic twist, allowing the series to have more fun than we’re used to with “Westworld.” Creating a unique drug substance, “Genre” allowed a character to loosen up and give the audience insight into his past. Caleb proves more interesting than many of the other characters at this point, and Paul can more than handle Caleb’s impending emotional breakdown.
The Serac side of the story feels more like an exposition dump than genuine storytelling. However informative Serac’s narration becomes, the mysteries it hides will undoubtedly matter in the long game. After all, the design of the “outliers” housing was remarkably similar to the host rooms from the parks. There’s a very real chance that Serac’s brother, Jean Mi, could factor into Delos. Jean Mi Serac is a perfect anagram for Amnesiac. Considering Caleb is missing parts of his backstory, the connection between the two seems like something to watch out for.
Finally, we said goodbye to a few potential characters of note. John Gallagher Jr. never really got settled on “Westworld,” often playing a bratty rich kid. He did his job well, but I doubt anyone will mourn for Liam Dempsey. Joining him in the great beyond will be the underutilized Pom Klementieff and Tommy Flanagan. With any luck, Flanagan will get a genuine Best Guest Actor push for the premiere. He never got that level of screentime again, but he deserved more. Fingers crossed that Flanagan will return.