If This Is Indeed Now and We Are Indeed Here: Westworld, ‘Passed Pawn’

***Spoiler Warning:  This post contains spoilers for Westworld through Season 3, Episode 7. Spoilers***

In chess, a passed pawn is one that is able to move forward without obstruction, enabling the piece to reach an opponent’s eighth row and be promoted to a more powerful role. While we may interpret Caleb as Dolores’ titular pawn — as Bernard explained, Dolores cannot wipe out humanity herself, so she’s used Caleb to infiltrate the system and in turn, he’ll carry out her mission — there could be a less obvious endgame playing out right before our eyes.

If you were paying attention to the monitors and device screens on display during this penultimate hour, in between Dolores and William’s separate declarations to save or destroy the human population and all the distracting and exciting happenings, you’ll have noticed a rather surprising and interesting detail that may hold the key to Caleb’s true purpose. As usual, our old friend Bernard is piecing together the parts of an increasingly complicated puzzle; let’s presume by his confusing-to-Stubbs inaction that Lowe understands William’s intentions finally align with his own.

Blinded by her singular mission, Dolores’ mistakes continue to cost her in unexpected ways, and her underestimation of opponents could lose her the war alongside that missing limb she might think she doesn’t need (shades of Teddy). Losing control of her other selves allowed for new enemies who’ve already gained strength — hello Clementine and Hanaryo — and missteps that mean she must take herself out of the game in the mere hope of her species’ survival. Having tracked Solomon through William’s blood Dolores introduces Caleb, and Solomon reveals Nichols’ true Huxleyish history as one of the few successfully “reconditioned” outliers while thanks to Serac, the failures now rest in a familiar deep and dreamless slumber.

As with most über-powerful individuals who believe they have the best intentions (Ford, Serac), Dolores has lost clarity and sacrifices those she claims to want to save, in order to achieve her increasingly warped goals. Likewise, William intends to wipe out a species and despite his psychological disorder, his plan must involve more than himself and a single gun. While Solomon recalculates a new data set, Maeve and Dolores enter round one of their knockout fights; Dolores plays dirty, employing Chekhov’s military-grade EMP to stave off this particular death. Heading into next week’s final round, Caleb receives the instructions that pit brother against brother, machine against machine. Perceptible and subtle differences have created separation within the ranks to the point where it’s unclear who is on whose side, and all we truly know is that war is coming.

 

Deep Thoughts:

Why do William and Caleb have the same patient ID number M27021001912B?

This little detail is very interesting and could explain why William is so confident he can kill off all the Hosts. My theory is that Caleb is a clone of William and is actually William’s passed pawn, not Dolores’. I know it’s a bit far-fetched but at this point, so are most theories. Consider a few things; Caleb has at times seem disillusioned (including this hour) by Dolores’ plan(s) and he’s never just fallen in line with her. Like Teddy — and this harkens back to the very Teddy-and-Dolores-like scene in this episode — he questions what Dolores is planning. As much as Caleb appears to disdain some of the technological controls employed by Incite, Serac, and his machine(s), so does he seem worried/horrified by what Dolores’s responses have been/are. “Did you kill all those people? …What kind of revolution are we waging here?” Caleb tells Solomon he killed Francis because of it; “You piece of shit!”
We also know that William has gone through reconditioning (read:  reprogramming, brainwashing), that at some point he was seemingly left. His new data (remember that the lab folks installing the implant didn’t seem to have knowledge that William was a Hybrid, so is this William still a Hybrid or is he something else?) is in the system — this system that apparently connects to Solomon and probably also to Rehoboam — but what happened to his old data? Was it separate and apart from the William we now see? Is this William a clone? As I’ve pointed out in previous reviews, this William doesn’t display any of the glitches we knew Hybrids to have, at least the Hybrids of James Delos’ era. And as Robert Ford once explained to Bernard, the glitchy Hybrids couldn’t leave the park. Is William a simulation? Is William being controlled by himself or something else (a system, Rehoboam)?
If Caleb is a William clone, he could be the key to William saving humanity. That would also prove the ultimate “fuck you” from William to Dolores and I feel like he’d really enjoy that.

Speaking of, Ed Harris had some great lines to spew at Hemsworth’s Stubbs this week:  “Don’t lecture me, you fucking can opener.”  …Shades of Battlestar Galactica’s favorite term for Cylons — toasters.

And after Stubbs mentioned Charlotte marking his blood, “I’m gonna do something with her blood, like mop the fucking floor with it.

Last week we learned that William was in Sonora, Mexico, and that’s where Dolores and Caleb purportedly went to track down Solomon (using the blood protein Charlotte injected into William which in turn, infected the system so she could locate Solomon, which actually is in Sonora [I think?]).

This week William walks out of the Inner Journey Recovery Center with Bernard and Stubbs, and they’re in San Francisco. The possibility exists that they transferred William from one facility to another, but why? (I reviewed the lab in last week’s and this week’s episodes, and they appear the same.)

Note the bridge reflecting in the windows.

Remember, Solomon is technically itself an outlier superseded by Rehoboam which, theoretically, should by now have predicted whatever instructions Caleb has received. “No plan is one hundred percent effective” and with an endless multitude of variants possible, Solomon’s plan isn’t going to work.

It’s interesting that Dolores can’t see the divide she’s created between herself and the other Hosts. Likewise, she sees herself as similar to Solomon, who tells Dolores, “We are not alike in any meaningful way.”

Solomon (voiced by Paul Cooper, who plays Jean Mi) calls Caleb “Subject U454.1,” and Dolores “Host Control Block 6 Alpha 1”.

There were visual references to Futureworld again (all that piping and the underground stairwells),

as well as allusions to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, which coincidentally features a protagonist named Bernard who questions the nature of controlled reality, and a society hooked on happy pills. Dolores refers to Solomon’s “new world order” that doesn’t work.

I can’t say, though, that I’m very fond of the time wasted on playing out Caleb’s whole reconditioning story, which could have been briefer and still as effective. The audience knew there were mind games at play with Caleb and Francis after the encounter with Liam Dempsey, Jr. and many people had guessed Caleb actually killed Francis. The “why” is important to the idea of Whitman’s pills — “military-grade platinum six-seven” — (like Brave New World‘s Soma); the “how” was unnecessarily repetitive.

The voice that gives instructions to Caleb at the end of the hour is different from Jean Mi’s Solomon voice — it seems familiar, but I haven’t found a listing for an actor as yet.

What a glorious pair of fights between Dolores and Maeve. Wood is known for having a black belt in Taekwondo and Thandie Newton certainly held her own. Of course, the arm effect (see it in the aftershow breakdown) was excellent.
Welcome back, Angela Sarafyan’s Clementine and Tao Okamoto’s Hanaryo! It was great to see their brief return. Poor Hiroyuki Sanada keeps getting killed — in spectacular fashion, at least. I hope we see them all again in the finale — “Crisis Theory”.

Every single Breaking Bad fan heard Jesse Pinkman screaming in their heads last night after Dolores and Maeve went down.

Doesn’t look like anything to you? When Dolores and Caleb meet the holographic Serac in the stairwell, he addresses his (new and “improved”) brother and says he wishes he could join Jean Mi …

I’m taking this as a hint he is (like Jean Mi, I think) in a machine somewhere, existing only in simulation mode.

There is still one as yet unaccounted for Divergence — Berlin. Who’s in Berlin? Is it the fifth Host (of the cores Dolores took from the park)?

 

Music This Hour:

Orfeo ed Euridice: Dance of the Blessed Spirits, Christoph Willibald Gluck from his opera Orfeo ed Euridice, performed by Gloria Saarinen

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis has been writing about the entertainment industry for ​over nine 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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