Westworld Season 3 has come to an end and this, the most divisive season so far, has us deep in the Slack to talk about it. We talk high points, low points, look back at favorite episodes from previous seasons, and cast our hopes for future ones. Love it or hate it, Westworld has us talking.

Off Jump, Love It or Hate It?

Westworld, season 3, episode 7
William: Yeah, I didn’t like the season much at all. The most succinct review I can give is that the sum did not equal the parts. Some very interesting parts I felt weren’t utilized. And for me, it was kind of sad to see a moral quandary of humanity and dense storytelling devolve into one-person-army fighting scenes literally 3-4 times per episode.

Brittany:
I don’t know. I loved how unprepared all the human security seemed to be to take on the Doloreses. It felt like it really leaned into the whole “the hosts are free now & humanity is stuck in a loop” thing. I could’ve done without all the Caleb stuff.

Frantz:
Watching the Behind the Scenes cuts at the end of each episode really made it work for me. I also wanted it to work, so I’m a lot biased. Ditto on the Caleb stuff, Brittany.

William:
I don’t think I had a problem with that premise, I just got really bored with the execution. Like, every problem was solved by Dolores killing 12 people and if this was John Wick then…ok.

Brittany:
Watching a piece of technology use pieces of technology to outwit a big ass piece of technology while humanity fell to pieces was fun for me. Westworld has always been about that bodycount; they’ve been shooting up folks for 3 seasons.
I guess it felt like the logical progression of the Dolores character from season 1. She literally rammed a train into the park’s command center last season.

Ja-Quan:
Will, you make some damn good points. I enjoyed it more than you, but I appreciate the other perspectives and making me rethink some scenes.

Aisha:
I think this season is like Avengers: Age of Ultron. You are entertained and the parts work. Some of it doesn’t make sense, but it’s probably the most important set up of all time. We are going to see the following seasons and go back to this one and say “Whoa!”

Ethics on Display in Westworld

Maeve, Westworld, season 3, episode 8
William:
The thing that really tilted me was that I feel like the wrong people were in the wrong roles. We’ve gotten two seasons of Maeve figuring how to systematically upend the systems that once controlled her. By all accounts, she’s the most intelligent being / person in existence (save the prediction machine). But she was a step behind everything Dolores did. They had her fighting WAY too much in lieu of finding clever ways to navigate through situations. And at the end…she was the audience’s narrator. Like, her character was absolutely wasted. TBH, if Maeve wasn’t a fan favorite, they absolutely could’ve had 90% of the same movement in this system without her. When you think about it, she made very little difference that another host with less uniqueness could’ve done.

Frantz:
I watch this for the philosophy and ethics to be honest.

William:
Me too Frantz, so I was disappointed that the balance felt shifted away from that this season. Hector got brought back for 12 seconds and then perma-deathed, lol.

Brittany:
I disagree with that, Will. Maeve was being forced to go along with Serac’s “plan” and hunt down Dolores because he decided he was her puppet master and she hadn’t figured out how to break away from his control. She couldn’t get free from that until after she connected with Dolores in the finale.

William:
Considering that Caleb is the linchpin of the whole plot, I can’t be like, “the Caleb stuff was bad, but the season was fine.” Like, he literally became humanity’s liberator, lol.

Brittany:
I don’t know, I can disconnect from Caleb’s bland white man following Dolores around shit and still enjoy the rest of the show.

Ja-Quan:
Caleb was an ‘iight storyline but I wasn’t impressed or surprised by the memories reveal.

Frantz:
The Maeve/Dolores dynamic was wonderful for showcasing the more human evolution of the hosts. Caleb was the robotic “destiny on the rails” foil to that.

But Where’s Westworld Going, Tho?

Frantz:
I’m a sucker for a cool setup, but what (showrunners) Joy & Nolan are looking to do turns the show back into season 1, but with a 2 season arc. I don’t think we’ll get any payoff for this until next season in 2025, lol.

Brittany:
I’m still totally invested, especially because it’s looking like a Black actor showdown between Maeve (Thandie Newton), Host Charlotte (Tessa Thompson), & Bernard (Jeffrey Wright).

William:
Will that Black actor showdown still have white saviors like Caleb (Aaron Paul) at the end?

Life & Art

Westworld, season 3
Brittany:
I wonder how much Bernard/Stubbs stuff had to be cut or changed because Luke Hemsworth dislocated his shoulder hanging a TV.

Frantz:
A TV?!?!?

Brittany:
He was trying to mount it on the wall by himself and fucked his shit up. That’s why he gets shot in the shoulder when security shows up in the park in like episode 2. He couldn’t use his arm.

Frantz:
If I get booked for a huge role, Imma bubble wrap my whole life.

Westworld Is A Show for Actors

Westworld, season 3, ep 8
Brittany:
One reason I’m so in to it is because part of me is looking at it from a technical/acting/craft standpoint. I always love the little details, like the distinctions between the computer system world Maeve was in and the real world.

William:
I dig that too and it remains a visually stunning and imaginative work. But in my opinion, that’s carrying it a lot more than the writing is now. More than it used to.

Brittany:
Also good to note, they had more women directors this season than men and they gave us some outstanding stuff to watch. Like even if the story wasn’t at 100%, I don’t think any episode was poorly directed.

Ja-Quan:
I enjoyed the “Genre” episode thoroughly, but mostly because they didn’t beat us over the head with the different versions of the trip he was going through.
I honestly expected to drop the show (I didn’t love last season) but after 2 episodes, I was wit the shits. Then after they blew up the Jeep in the streets with that remote controlled missile, I was all the way in.

William:
I would contend that “Genre” was too clever by half. Like “Let’s have Marshawn Lynch act like a football player in this one scene…cuz…he’s a football player…” Really? And Caleb’s stylistic choices? I’m like, ok, y’all bored too I guess.

Ja-Quan:
Marshawn is not a good actor but I like how they used him.

Dolores the Indestructible

Westworld, season 3, episode 5
William:
So, imagine my face. After I complained that I was tired of Dolores. Now I’m watching the episodes. And I’m like, oh shit, which hosts are in which hosts body’s? THIS shit is interesting…
…and they were all Dolores.

Brittany:
Ahahahahahaha! That was the most Dolores of all Dolores moves. Like what in the White Feminist???
But, that makes it better that the Dolores she shoved into the body of Hale got main Dolores caught!

William:
LOL.
I need to know the fidelity of the hosts man. What actually triggers death? So Maeve gets stabbed through the heart. Death. Dolores gets shot a billion times. Barely limps. Halores (Hale + Dolores) gets blown up in a car and fried alive. Ehh, regenerate in a couple of days!
I need it to be some zombie or vampire shit. Like, is it sunlight? Cutting off the head? What kills a nigga on this show? Don’t get me started on Ashley, lol.

Brittany:
That mf is definitely dead by now after Bernard left him in the tub for 100 years.

William:
I mean…maybe. How long was he in that back room with most of his head blown off?

Aisha:
So true! I never know what makes death and then in reality it’s never death because they can just be rebooted in another body like Altered Carbon.

Brittany:
Well, the Dolores in the finale was a different model than the other ones. She had the Terminator skeleton and no blood.
I was surprised about Kentucky Fried Charlotte crawling out of the wreckage of the Jeep.

Aisha:
Yea, that was a bit much.

William:
Like even if Hale had forgotten something or had to get out of the car for a moment and then it blew up, that would’ve held my suspension of disbelief better than her crawling from the wreckage with no wig.

Complications Everywhere

Westworld, season 3, episode 7
Aisha:
The problem with the season was that the metaphors were simple and the story is actually complex, but looking to the future. So the combination of set up of a more complicated story blended with the simple metaphors was a rollercoaster we may not have asked for.
The acting and the characters are what keeps me going. Their choices and ability as well as the direction are superb and how fun! The actors get to flourish in these roles.

Also Dolores, Dolores, Dolores, Dolores, and Dolores (Dylan reference) was one of those simple metaphors. It separated her psyche so we could see a new evolution of the classic nature vs. nurture conversation. And we can get Halores so the next season could jump off!

Ja-Quan:
Halores in that sleeveless peach cape coat tho…

Brittany:
Charlotte going to the Dubai office to build an army of hosts felt true to life in a freaky way. That and Delos & Incite being the equivalents of in-person Facebook & Google.

Frantz:
The data-mining aspect was everything for me this season. After the reveal of Cambridge Analytica and how it has shaped the world as we know it, the Solomon/Rehoboam storyline really allowed me to glaze over the finer points of the execution. I barely cared about Caleb from jump, but even less after they started with the Brothers French.

Brittany:
AND WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO PARIS??????

Frantz:
I legit dropped my jaw on that one.
Wack Take: I could watch a whole mockumentary following the Brothers French and their work.

Brittany:
I know Paris got nuked, but who did that shit & why????

Frantz:
My Wack Take mockumentary covers that, lol.

Looking Back

Westworld, season 3, episode 2
Brittany:
It did make me nostalgic for all the reveals of the past. Like the moment in season 1 when Dolores smacked the shit out of that fly and when we found out Bernard was a host!
That man said “What door? I don’t see a door…” and we collectively lost our SHIT!

Frantz:
“Means nothing to me” took on a whole new context.

William:
It is kind of the True Detective corollary to me. The building of the myth is a lot more interesting to me than the actualization of it. Or at least the execution on TV shows.

Frantz:
I can see that Will, also damn, you pulled out the True Detective trap card.

Brittany:
Well let’s at least reminisce over the good times, Will. Like Maeve holding back that army of random hosts so her daughter could escape into the valley beyond.

William:
Yeah, I always go back to that. I still think the first season is incredibly good, but the first eight episodes are so much better than the last two because as soon as you catch up to the present, the best part of the show is gone. The myth is a man now, the untouchable myth can now be taken down with regular ass bullets.
That’s kind of where I’m at with Westworld. The what-if of the hosts getting loose was more intriguing to me than the actualization of it.

Frantz:
This season’s sniper bot vs helicopter drone was dope.

William: Evans 4:20 PM
I mean, Maeve leading the slaughter in Samurai World with the Wu-Tang playing on the strings is an all-time moment for me.
The Man In Black reveal, followed by the Dolores flip in the church when she whooped his ass? Untouchable. And the Violent Delights origin. All fire. So yeah, I miss the more aspirational moments.

Brittany:
Dolores dragging the Man In Black out the church after breaking his arm? Fire. Fire. Fire.

William:
Yeah, season 1 is pretty untouchable. I feel like the “freeze all motor functions” flips remain some of the best TV mechanics in history.

Looking Forward to Season 4

William:
As far as projecting towards the future (and looking back a bit), I think what continues to bother me is that in season 2, Maeve was the calculating one and Dolores was the heavy. A continuation of those roles or a reversal would’ve been interesting. Then Dolores ended up being both and to me, Maeve didn’t do a whole lot except get her ass beat physically and tell the audience what happened at the very end (though I know we disagree on that). If the future of Westworld doesn’t include Dolores and she died her final death, I think that at least gives room for narratives that aren’t as tied to her as their “face of the franchise.”

Ja-Quan:Frantz:
This all reminds me of spiral storytelling. Which builds hella momentum and swells the stakes of the narrative inherently. But it forces symmetry on the characters and multiplies the weight of each character’s “choices”. The only successful executions of this have been in MCU franchises (after 10 freaking years!) and 3 season BBC shows (Luther for example). What it forces us to do is allow 2 seasons over 3.5 years for one arc to land.

Brittany:
The showrunners said they don’t have a specific number of seasons in mind but they do have a complete story they want to tell so, we’ll see.
Maybe they’ll get some POC behind the cameras & in the writers room for next season.

All Photographs by Courtesy of HBO.

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  • Preston

    Great roundtable! I agree. I am looking forward to season 4 being a black actor showdown between the Maeve, Charlores, and Benard. Season 3 definitely was making parallels with the humans and hosts when exploring freewill. Season 2 for me was a demonstration of White Feminism that needed to be checked…and Season 3 is a setup for Season 4 which will actually about be about revolution, freedom, and Blackness. This season had the 3 main Black characters on a leash (Charlores and Benard controlled by Delores, Maeve by Serac). A small foreshadowing, in episode 2, the hacked robot that Maeve used for escape was named Harriet (Tubman). I would not be surprised if elements of history inspired from Haiti, Liberia, and even Malcom X and MLK will make its way in for the Hosts.

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