I Can Feel Myself Slipping Away from You: Westworld, ‘Decoherence’

***Spoiler Warning:  This post contains spoilers for Westworld through Season 3, Episode 6. Spoilers***

Loosely defined as the loss of information from a system into an environment (I’m no physicist, nor a quantum computer expert — even after watching Devs), the effects of multiples out in “The Real World” are easy to see. Even as the Hosts continued to experience all manner of lives and deaths in different places/scenarios within the Delos parks, through uploads, downloads and receiving “controlled” information, updates and overwrites, decoherence was already occurring. Now there are the added perks of spinoffs, clones, doubles, triples and beyond and as keenly observed by some, these identities are coming into their own. There are no longer simply Hosts inhabited by Dolores; rather, each set of information that started as Dolores is losing a little bit of what was her (including her control) and as affected by its environment, becoming something …someone new.

This week’s tagline is “Do a lot of people tell you that you need therapy?” and after watching this hour, we could probably use a little ourselves, if not the specific type that William receives. With Maeve temporarily stuck in simulation, Serac makes an offer she can’t refuse; his last-minute threat seems unwise for a powerful human if indeed he’s either of those things. Reuniting with her allies (Lee, Hector) isn’t the help she’s looking for — nor can they stop the havoc Dolores wreaks through Charlotte — but Maeve manages her own machinations, returns herself back to the future in a brand new body. We’re left waiting and pondering who her partner(s) will turn out to be.

After William’s involuntary incarceration, he’s assigned the same sort of device Caleb received for his PTSD; with the type of mad hallucinations incurred, it’s no wonder Nichols shut off his own drip. Having no awareness of self-regulation, the once and former Man in Black is treated to a trip down memory lane with his own ghosts of Christmas (and Westworld) past, though they’re all together at once and led by the most delightfully deranged Delos who ever lived.

Fulfilling her mission to get Dolores (proper) the Host-making data, Charlotte takes out her fellow-board members, makes a failed attempt on simulated Serac, and escapes to her family with a little help from a less-aesthetically pleasing (to some) friend. Her inner alliances clearly divided, NuHale tries to keep her son and husband safe; in the end, she’s on her own to Terminator her way from the burning wreckage.

Pseudo-Maeve and Dolores each come to understand the other’s power, acknowledging they share no trust between themselves; at this point, Dolores’ only “Real World” ally may be a (purported) human. With so many simultaneous simulations and illusions, it’s hard to know what real is anymore — just ask William, who’s woken from his thera-mare by actual Hosts, Bernard and Stubbs. Where long ago in Season 1 it was easy to spot the good guys from the bad, to point at what was right or wrong, the lines are now blurred beyond measure and all signs point to familiarly violent ends.

Deep Thoughts:

There were so many things going on this hour, it’s difficult to know where to start. My choice is performance and I must once again hand down all the glory to these incredible actresses, beginning with Queen Tessa Thompson. I mean, she just has to be royalty in the acting world, because her range is simply mind-boggling. In a cast that already boasts the absolute powerhouses that are Thandie Newton and Evan Rachel Wood, Tessa’s Charlotte Hale was a relative latecomer, at least as far as main storylines go. Sure, she’s been with us a long while, but the material had to catch up and now that it has, we’re left breathless. Absolutely breathless. The breadth of emotions on display this hour alone was phenomenal.

As always, Thandie Newton gave us her all — never expect anything less than sheer perfection. Bravado, perfect comic timing that the writers love to play up  —

Don’t you know a lady likes a little warm-up before you brandish your weapon at her?”

— and she too was given a huge span of emotions to run through this episode. From light-hearted with Lee

to Hector’s devastating loss, Thandie knocks every scene out of the park.

I’d be remiss not to mention Evan Rachel Wood in simulation mode, softer than modern-world Dolores and yet not her former rancher’s daughter self, either. That Evan can give her multiple personalities the slightest emotional shift, almost imperceptible if not for what seems one minute an honest wistfulness and the next, a detached not-quite-acknowledgment of loss, is acting at its finest. Massive cheers to these leading ladies, all.

Ed Harris, of course, is no slouch and he made the most of (what’s left of) William’s emotions, starting with that fantastic opening speech in group therapy. Kudos to the writers as well, because by gum, William hit the nail on the head.

I think humanity is a thin layer of bacteria on a ball of mud hurtling through the void. I think if there was a god he would have given up on us long ago. He gave us a paradise and we used everything up. We dug up every ounce of energy and burned it. We consume and excrete, use, and destroy. Then we sit here on a neat little pile of ashes, having squeezed anything of value out of this planet and we ask ourselves ‘Why are we here?’ You wanna know what I think your purpose is? You’re here with the rest of us to speed the entropic death of this planet. To service the chaos. We’re maggots eating a corpse.”

Harris is always a whiz at conveying William’s bewilderment (that happens a lot, yes?) and he plays the Man in White’s alternating broken confusion and narcissistic confidence with equal gusto. When he bit off the medical person’s finger (“The implant’s not working”) I was reminded of Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of Hannibal Lecter.

I also enjoyed the Season 1 callback when William is asked “What do you think William, is this the inevitable end? Does life just happen to you or did you choose it?”

He responds:  “If you can’t tell does it really matter?” which is what Angela asked young William when he first entered the park and wondered if she was a Host.

He also recites some very Hosty lines after young William (Simpson) says that he was the best of him (“Maybe, maybe not.”):   “I’m free now. Doesn’t matter where I’ve been. Good or bad, everything we’ve done led to this. And I finally understand my purpose. [I’m the good guy.]

I am confused, though, by his status as a Hybrid. Remember that last we knew, the Hybrids were faulty to a …fault and per Dr. Ford, therefore unable to be outside of the park. Ostensibly, William is in a facility in Sonora, Mexico, and showing no signs of the stuttering/confusion we’ve seen demonstrated in Hybrids — most notably James Delos.Perhaps it is his status as a Hybrid that caused the implant failure.

Equally puzzling is that if William is truly in a mental facility, upon admission, shouldn’t his status as a Hybrid — or at least non-human — have been immediately detected? When a new patient enters, wouldn’t blood tests be run to confirm any substances he might have? There were tests run later, when his implant was being installed  and that showed the unknown protein — the marker Charlotte inserted — in William’s blood but not (apparently) his Hybrid status? In general, are people “outside the park “even aware of Hybrids, and/or were the Hybrids eventually perfected?

All hail the short returns of Peter Mullan, Jimmi Simpson, and Jonathan Tucker (Major Craddock, who escorted William to group therapy).
Zayd Kiszonak played William as a child, and I don’t love the somewhat retconned reveal that William was always a sociopath, but we’ll have to accept it along with the fact that Ed Harris doesn’t have Jimmi Simpson’s mole.

William’s father’s name is Patrick.

As noted last week, my son’s theory that the Host copies are developing their own identities is spot on and a very intriguing twist in the tale. The big question is, will Dolores’ other selves turn on her? I think, yes — especially as it pertains to the Charlotte copy. She already showed signs of questioning Dolores’ motives when they were on the phone and Charlotte said, “Is that what you told Connells?

Additionally in that conversation, Charlotte said something that reminded me of Teddy:  “Why the fuck did we need to keep these emotions?”

Meanwhile, people have figured out that Clementine is one of the Hosts who’ll be joining Maeve in “The Real World” by her ID number — CP0124831983.

HC1983012522 is Maeve’s ID number.

HC3208173692 is Hector’s ID number.

SH205817402 is as yet unknown. My guess would be Armistice.

CH465517080-C is Dolores’ ID number plus the “-C”, which I’d guess means it’s a copy Host.

Teddy’s ID is SV4680468050, so he’s not among them (*sob*).

Charlotte took the damaged Dolores core, presumably the copy, which shut down simulation Dolores who was with Maeve. Presumably, that core is now destroyed, as it was in the blown-up vehicle … or is it? If Charlotte can survive, couldn’t that core? Will Serac’s men get hold of it?

We saw another maze this week on the wall Charlotte and her son walked by.

This is driving me nuts — what is it that falls behind them here? At first, I thought a black shirt or some piece of clothing, but it also doesn’t seem to be that. It’s not an accident, so what does it mean?

Jacob Reed (Hale’s husband) said a very Teddy-like (cheesy) line:  “I don’t know what the future holds for us, but it’s not up to a machine to decide. It’s our choice, Charlie.

Why did Charlotte take off her bracelet in the boardroom, right before she gassed everyone? What is it (she’s not Wonder Woman :D)?

Also driving me nuts is this piece of sculpture, which seems so familiar and yet I can’t identify. I thought both Charlotte and Serac had the same one, but with a little help (H/T Stephen) came to realize Serac had simulated into the boardroom from Charlotte’s office …

which makes little sense to me. I suppose Rehoboam could have indicated that Serac would be safe in the building, but my initial thought was that Serac was a simulation the entire time he was at Delos HQ. He clearly knew he was in danger and Charlotte could have gassed the whole building, or blown it up. It’s odd that Serac would put himself in harm’s way at all, so I was surprised he had merely simulated in from another room in the building.

Lovely Lines:

Fuck the barista.

Is that any different from your usual barroom experience?

Music This Hour:

No songs — Radiohead, Radiohead, wherefore art thou, Radiohead?

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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