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Westworld: Fidelity

“Maybe you’ll have better luck with the next guy.”

Well, that was freaky.

This is, without a doubt, the most horrific season of Westworld thus far. Caleb’s entire quest in this episode was pure nightmare fuel. But there’s also just the mounting existential horror permeated throughout the story, growing within humans, hosts and everything in between.

You have the heroic Caleb, of course. Just when it seems like he’s handling being a temporary copy of the original Caleb pretty well, he finds himself trapped in a glass prison with other degrading Calebs. And things just escalate when he gets out of the prison, falling into the ashes of incinerated Caleb builds, fighting a Drone host, and gradually discovering the unreal evidence of previous loops.

Then there’s the villainous “Hale” to consider. She has all the power and control, but the Outlier “infection” has gotten to her as well. She is losing her shit. Which makes sense. She’s spent the better part of the last twenty years experimenting on a major Outlier in Caleb, trying to figure out what it is about them that’s causing her world to fall apart. Her repeatedly interacting with Caleb — the human who spared her back in the park when she was still Dolores — and torturously killing him over and over again has probably done a real number on her.

In my opinion, she and the rest of her kind are now caught in the same destructive spiral as William. They’ve reached the fulfillment of their goals through a ruthless force of will, considering themselves gods, but they have nothing left but their regret and insecurity. Halores is evidently still motivated by loss, but it’s unclear who she means: Hale’s family, Teddy, Prime Dolores, all of them. Even with her Transcendence idea, she can’t let go of the physical world, where her power is still contested.

Even with all the disturbing things he goes through in this episode, Caleb remains defiant against her. Her Jay replacement failed to capture Frankie or destroy Maeve. Also, Frankie has brought Maeve back online. Together with Bernard, Stubbs and the other rebels, they are coming to rescue Caleb after his 278th build finishes Halores's game and gets a message out to his daughter.

Halores is determined to find out what Caleb meant when his original self said she couldn't control him because he had "something you don't have." Before she got buried and OG Caleb got killed, Maeve told him that she wanted him not to just fight and survive but to have something in his life to fight for. He built a family, married a good woman and fathered a strong daughter, they became his world. I think what he meant was that he has something worth fighting for, a purpose of his own. He has people he loves and cares about, while Halores only has herself. Just her own self-assured survivor mentality behind this vengeful, diabolical ego-trip; as Maeve once said, surviving is just another loop. The Man in Black and the other hosts she created as peers are just reflections of her own empty existence. She has all the world in her hand, but she's still alone.

Caleb does at least get to throw in her face the fact that her own toxic worldview is the real problem. Her reaction says it all: Angrily murdering Caleb on the spot, then standing at the edge of the building and tearing at her flesh as she gazes upon her "perfect world." Self-mutiliating the way the host-human hybrids do, indicating that she's no longer comfortable in her own skin, becoming detached from reality. For a moment there, I actually thought she was going to jump to her death.

It's what it appears to be leading to either way, the destruction (or self-destruction) of "Hale." Though like Prime Dolores, she probably won't go down easy. She might just take the world with her.

Loops and reveries:

* Music: There are traces of Ford’s leitmotif in the score when Bernard is repairing Maeve. Thought it was a neat detail. Also, we get a badass new rendition of the show's main theme in the final moments of the episode.

* Most Obvious Symbolism: When Caleb flashes back to meeting his future wife Uwade in the hospital, he sees a holographic visual of calm, bright blue ocean waves on a sunny beach. A direct contrast to the previous season, where Caleb’s thoughts of suicide were illustrated by the visual of crashing, black ocean waves at night.

* Gotta say, the drone hosts have never been scarier. It was one thing when we were still in the park and they were mostly hidden. But in Host City, they can show up on the streets in broad daylight or be behind the next corner. Just more nightmare fuel.

* Coming back to Temperance years after the city has been covered in sand was a great idea for the rebel hideout conceptually, but you’d think they would be wary of setting up their base in a place that was made by and once completely controlled by their enemy. Maybe it’s the last place Hale would think to look?

* I'm not sure what's going on with Clementine. My assumption was that she was reprogrammed after the Man in Black hunted her down earlier this season, but I suppose she could also be based off Halores's code like the rest now. Her comment about preferring the company of the sheep might suggest she shares the fear of Outliers and potentially questioning her reality.

* Looks like all that mirror imagery earlier was justified. It turns out Halores’s faster, more efficient follow-up to William’s brain-scanning hat method was to make all the mirrors in the Golden Age park double as full-body scanners. Exploiting our vanity to aid the copy-replace strategy. So not only has this season ruined me on flies, now it’s got me suspicious of mirrors.

* Moreover, Frankie discovers that Bernard evidently used that leftover mirror tech to scan her and maybe even the other rebels. Bernard doesn’t really deny it when Stubbs calls him out. He must have something in mind. The dude’s been playing 4-D chess all season.

* Hats off to Aaron Paul. He has been killing it this season, bringing the vulnerability and intensity. In this episode alone, they manage to make the stuff he goes through on Breaking Bad look like child's play. The "Use me" scene is one of the most messed up moments I've seen in this show.

* The final scene of the episode, where a quite dismayed Halores enters the testing room and hesitates before starting all over again with the 279th version of Caleb, is so great. It just beautifully displays that she has trapped herself in another endless cycle as much as she has trapped him, and that she knows it.


Halores: “Unlike yours, my kind is perfect. Perfectly immortal. Perfectly rational. And yet, they’re making irrational choices, choosing mortality, staining themselves with death.”

Caleb: “She’s alive. My girl… is alive. And you can’t catch her, can you?”

Bernard: “I didn’t always grasp the complexity of the problem. But what I’m most concerned with now… is the solution.”

Degraded Caleb: “If you succeed, you… run. If you fail, you… hide.”
Caleb: “What are you talking about?”
Degraded Caleb: “I only know… what I told me.”

Frankie: “And she doesn’t know pain. None of them do. Feelings are just an affect to them. A switch that you can turn on and off. You can’t love or lose fully when it’s just a choice.”

Bernard: "Saving the world makes for strange bedfellows."

Halores: “These humans. Their petty defiances. Everything they do is so small, it’s exhausting.”

Caleb: “I’m sorry that I failed… that I haven’t been there for you… that now it has to be you. But you can do this. You’re my warrior. I love you.”

Halores: “She didn’t hear it.”
Caleb: “She doesn’t need to. You’re still going to lose. We didn’t infect your hosts.”
Halores: “You don’t say. Who did?”
Caleb: “You. Your hosts would rather die than live in your world… They’re not infected. They’re just trying to get away from you.”
Incredibly cathartic moment.

Maeve: “Well then… let’s finish what we started.”

Indeed. Five out of five dead Calebs.


  1. I'm sorry I haven't been commenting on your past reviews, Logan. I keep reading them on my phone, but I hate typing on my phone, and then I forget to comment when I'm back on the laptop.

    This season isn't quite clicking for me, to be honest. It's hard for me to root for robots, even when they are like Caleb--really just humans in robot form.

    Or maybe I should say it's hard for me to root for characters who lack specific continuitity, from body to mood to settings, etc. I *am* rooting for Bernard and Maeve, and they're the two most continuous characters we've had, right? (I mean, Halores is a continuous character but played by two different actors, which may also be messing with me.)

    I am, however, really enjoying your reviews, which always explain ambiguities clearly and--far more important--let me see how exciting this show can be! Your reviews make me appreciate the show more, which is really nice.

    Last item: in New York, is Cristina the only person who wears a color (a sort of dusky teal coat)? Everyone else is in neutrals, right?

  2. No problem, Josie.

    Honestly, I wasn't feeling it at first either -- which was odd, because I'm usually fully engaged with this show. But they've done such a good job at building up to things as the season goes on, that it's won me over again.

    As with every season of WW, I think it's best examined once it's complete, when we have the full scope of things. However, it makes for fun (if slightly frustrating) weekly reviews.

    William's a continuous character too, if not exactly one we're rooting for. He's still around, influencing the plot, although his replacement is who we mainly deal with. Not that there's that much of a difference between those two.

    I guess Dolores's thing now is that she is a fluid character who can pretty much be anyone: Halores, the MIB, Christina maybe.

    And yeah, Christina's clothes are definitely made to resemble Dolores's blue dress costume from Westworld, while the rest of the city is wearing shades of black, white, grey. Although she's wearing a dark enough blue that she's able to blend in.

    I'm glad to know you've been reading and enjoying the reviews, thank you so much. Also glad that I've been able to clarify some things. Part of me wants to speculate and analyze a lot more as I'm writing, but I try not to make them too long.


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