Am I Vital If My Heart Is Idle?: Westworld, ‘The Absence of Field’

***Spoiler Warning:  This post contains spoilers for Westworld through Season 3, Episode 3. Spoilers***

If as well as watching Westworld you’re a Star Trek fan, by now you’ve likely gotten a Borg vibe from these “New World” goings-on. With Rehoboam predicting behavior and tuning in to universal “disturbances,” and Dolores connected to a mainframe (or mesh network) she commands, it’s only a matter of time before the Hostgroup becomes one.

Brought online as Charlotte — someone else inside her core — the discomfort of being in another’s skin affects faux Hale in ways Dolores couldn’t have imagined. Quickly adapting to her new identity’s pseudo-life, Charlotte steps into her corporate Delos heels much easier than her failing single mommy life, though she does manage to procure her son a pup from a vile pedophile. Taking out the would-be perpetrator reminds her of her own predatorial nature and gives us a hint at the Host’s true Host.

Dolores’ singular mission to destroy her makers may have hit a snag in her apparent compassion for the similarly metaphorically caged Caleb, whose life she saves in return for his defense of hers (regardless of actual necessity). When she shows him his trajectory, Nichols chooses revolution over running — but as we know, these Host/Human (*cough*) collaborations rarely work out.

Cool-exteriored one minute, ready to crawl out of her Host skin the next, Charlotte takes an emotional siesta; she receives Dolores’ reassurance they’ll be able to be themselves again once Hale takes out their obstruction. Advised of Serac’s creeping tender takeover which put a halt to Delos’ going-private, Dolores sends Charlotte to meet with the man who knows too much. Likely aided by the machine he co-created, Engerraund seems steps ahead. With a reminder her time is running out, the safely simulated Serac simply fades from Hale’s bespectacled sight.

Deep Thoughts:

The missing Host control units (including Maeve’s, just stolen in last week’s episode) were mentioned and as we know, Dolores left Westworld with five of them. We know she has her own and almost certainly, Daddy’s (Peter Abernathy). Some of us, myself included, believe she got Teddy’s — which begs the question: Even though Teddy is purportedly in the Valley Beyond aka the Sublime, a virtual world, couldn’t Dolores still create him anew if she indeed has his core — or at some point duplicated it? Based on Lisa Joy’s past comments (“Dolores could always bring a version of Teddy to life, as we have seen her bring two different versions of Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) online based on nothing more than her memories of the man. “), I think it’s plausible for Teddy to be recreated.

I’ve been of the belief that Teddy is inside Charlotte Hale, but what if instead, Charlotte is hosting  …

Dolores? When Charlotte first asks Dolores “Who am I?”, Tessa Thompson said it with exactly the same affect as blue dress Dolores used to speak — even the way she holds her lips is similar — and major props to Thompson for her acting this hour; she was absolutely brilliant.

What also struck me was when Charlotte said to the pedophile in the park that she remembered she’s a predator. While Dolores did amp up Teddy’s aggression before he died — and therefore he could be a predator — that description truly fits Dolores. I’ve recently seen some speculation that Wyatt is in Dolores and frankly, I don’t know that this distinction matters. Dolores is Dolores, who also has Wyatt memories inside her. I also feel we’ve seen enough of Dolores’ “personality”, so to speak, that I don’t see her as completely having separated the Dolores and Wyatt parts of her.

People have noticed (H/T Melody) that in the bedroom scene between Delores and Charlotte, Charlotte has a mole — in the same area as young William (Jimmi Simpson version) had.

Indeed, there’s a moment when Dolores very purposefully touches it, almost tries to wipe it away.

Let’s hope this is a reference to Charlotte acting as a mole!

And Charlotte very noticeably has NO mole in scenes at the beginning and end of the episode.

I’m of the hope that this is nothing more than a Nolan/Joy in-joke because if they seriously incorporate this mole as identifying William after it was inexplicably determined to be a non-issue between young and older William, my head might explode 🙂

Remember as well that Katja Hebers mentioned that there can be infinite copies of Hosts … well, let’s just call double Dolores Theory Number Two about who might be in Charlotte’s body. It makes sense that someone, if not Dolores, has or will have figured out how to make copies of Hosts.

As referenced in the episode title, Mark Strand’s Keeping Things Whole creates a vivid visual of consistently moving forward, with air continuously filling in the empty space behind him.

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.”

When Charlotte asked Dolores, “Why can’t I be myself like you?” Dolores answered “Because we have to control Delos. We’re alone. Outnumbered.” So, there’s obviously a Delos/Incite connection — as I mentioned last week, there’s the Ford/Arnold parallel to Serac/Dempsey — and I wonder if the companies were tied together in ways other than Serac finding a mole at its corporate competitor? I think there’s something more going on there than meets the eye.

Hi, Pom (aka Mantis)!

Speaking of … we had more eye imagery again this week. Remember, this ties back to the Futureworld film, in which certain access (the highest level) was granted to robots only, and their eyes were scanned to gain access.

Aaron Paul was once again at the top of his game, especially in that scene where his torturers turned on the “drip” installed when he was in the military and dialed up his levels. 

So, the Rico dudes could easily hack into Caleb through the device in his mouth, and Dolores has all his info through Rehoboam? She had information on guests who visited the park from the room where she read all those files and/or from the information inside Peter Abernathy but to our knowledge, Caleb hasn’t been a park visitor. And when she showed Caleb his file, that had Rehoboam’s predictions on it — if Dolores is already in the system, what else does she need from Serac to “…cut the cord from the system and show this world for what it really is?Dolores also tells Caleb Rehoboam is being used to build a mirror world and I’m struggling with the end goal here. In Futureworld, Delos wanted to replace world leaders (presumably, everyone at some point) with Hosts to control the world, so I suppose this idea of having total control — echoed in Dolores’ comments — is something. If humans were replaced with Hybrids, this would all make perfect sense; people in power who can live forever. The idea of Serac, and therefore Rehoboam, setting forth paths for humans to travel, makes less sense to me; it would literally make life pointless. As a commentary on humanity, sure, that’s cool. As an actuality, though? It doesn’t work in my brain. I’m still of the opinion this is a new narrative for the Hosts, they’re in the “New World” park, and it will be the ultimate mindfuck when both the audience and particular Hosts realize what’s going on.

The only other wildcard I can think of is that Robert Ford is buried in a system somewhere, whether it be Dolores’ programming or a back door into Rehoboam, and I’ve not entirely thought through the implications of that, yet.

When Dolores and Charlotte are speaking about Serac, Charlotte tells Dolores that Serac has a mole and then, “If he finds out who I am, what I am”, it implies two things that I don’t quite understand. One, that Dolores doesn’t know Charlotte is Serac’s mole and two, that Serac doesn’t already know Charlotte is whoever she is. Wouldn’t Dolores have figured out OG Charlotte is/was the mole, and that’s part of why she’s using Charlotte? As much as she knows and has come to understand, I find it difficult to believe she wouldn’t. Meanwhile, Serac has the machine at his disposal and with the technology he controls, Host core reading should be among the things it can do.

Though Dolores uses a tool to tend to Charlotte’s wounds, Dolores seems to be self-healing or taking care of her own wounds offscreen. She seemed to have severe injuries in the ambulance but later was fine. Evan Rachel Woods is as badass as ever.

Charlotte’s son is named Nathan Hale — who, in real-world history was an American Revolution-era spy who volunteered to go behind enemy lines to gather information and report on British troop movements and before he was caught and hanged, uttered (some variation of) the famous line:  “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

First Caleb’s mother (who we now know is diagnosed as schizophrenic) said Nichols isn’t her son and this week, Nathan said to Charlotte, “You’re not my mommy.” Very interesting, eh? I’m guessing both mother and son recognize that the people before them are not exactly who they’re supposed to be. I think there are quite a few who believe Caleb is a Hybrid. What I do think I know for sure is that he’s not a human. He might be Host, Simulation or Hybrid.

This week’s Rehoboam alert:  San Francisco Elevated Scrutiny.

The tones on Charlotte’s phone as she tried to connect to Serac reminded me of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

That car was amazing but I felt Charlotte’s near panic when she lost control.

Of all the things to make me sad, hearing all the elephants were gone did it.

The Rico Rent-A-Cop saying “Once more with feeling” gave me a little chuckle.

Music This Hour:

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 5, Franz Liszt

Doomed, Moses Sumney (instrumental and original versions)

Left in the Dark, Truett


Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis has been writing about the entertainment industry for ​over ten years, and is the ​Editor-in-Chief at Oohlo, where she muses over television, movies, and pop culture. Previous Senior News Editor at Pajiba, and published at BUST.

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