Welcome back to “Westworld.” We’re happy to see you’ve returned, but there are some new guidelines we must go over before you enter the park.
Season 2 of the HBO series, which wrapped in June 2018, left off with android host Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) leaving Westworld with a bag of brain balls, ready to take over the real world in a robot uprising.
Or at least that’s what we think happened.
The confusing storytelling in the second season was overwhelming at times, so going into Season 3, here’s hoping things start to make a bit more sense. They do, sort of.
As our systems boot back up, Season 3 kicks off with Dolores seemingly ripping off some rich people in an effort to get close to a company called Incite and its mysterious “Big Brother”-like data machine, Rehoboam. But the mission leaves her injured and in the care of construction-worker-by-day, criminal-by-night Caleb (Aaron Paul), a new character whose story is surely going to get interesting.
Elsewhere, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) is posing as a meat industry worker in an effort to avoid the heat from the massacre at Westworld. Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson), who we learned last season was replaced by a robot with a Dolores brain ball, is busy keeping robot production up at Delos, despite the aforementioned massacre on company property. And in a bonus scene, we discover Jedi mind-master Maeve (Thandie Newton) is in a World War II-themed park.
All that being said, is Season 3 worth the effort? If you’re quarantined at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, HuffPost reporters Leigh Blickley and Bill Bradley are here to share their takes so you can decide whether or not to press play.
The Bottom Line
HBO wants “Westworld” Season 3 to be a Reddit-fueled viewing experience, which means it’s too complicated a journey for the average viewer to follow. Beware.
Leigh Blickley: Bill, we love(d) “Westworld.” We covered it relentlessly, trying to break down each and every scene. We theorized about the characters, the locations, the brain balls. We talked about it during our lunch hangs! But, like everyone else, we eventually got caught in a maze of confusion while watching Season 2, which makes it very hard to get amped up for a new installment. So we’re here to let our readers know: Is Season 3 worth their time?
Bill Bradley: Leigh, Season 1 of “Westworld” was confusing with a purpose. Season 2 felt confusing to be confusing. Now, Season 3 is ready to “make money, motherfuckers.” To be honest, the first episode almost felt like the greatest hits of “Black Mirror” mixed with “Avengers” and a little bit of Bravo’s “Below Deck.” People have to keep their stats up, there’s a crime-sharing app, Bernard seems to be Thanos working on a farm and chef has dinner ready! All that being said, it’s still confusing as heck.
LB: Still confusing? That rundown was confusing, Bill. But yes, let’s break down that crime app RICO and Aaron Paul’s new character, construction-working criminal veteran Caleb. What are your thoughts? I’m into Cal and find his storyline to be the most compelling so far.
The Characters Are Back Online
BB: I wonder if “Black Mirror” exists in “Westworld”? Because I think if Aaron Paul’s Cal saw the show, he’d be like, “Why the hell is my life on Netflix?” Caleb is every “Black Mirror” character rolled into one, and I’m into it. He’s talking with dead friends, he’s got shitty stats and he’s on a Task Rabbit app for crime, which is my favorite thing of the new season. In his initial gig, we see from the app, he meets up with Lena Waithe and Marshawn Lynch to rob an ATM. I’m not a criminal, but, like, is it free to sign up? Also, Lynch seems to have his NFL number, 24, in his crime app screen name, assuming he’s g1ggl3s24, and a shirt which seems to reveal his moods. Do you get a free shirt with a download? Does anyone know?
LB: The shirt is incredible. A mood ring in clothing form. And the app is Uber for criminals. Commit a crime, get paid. Easy as that! It’s an interesting concept to extend the “Westworld” universe ― the real world is just as scary as or scarier than the theme park. Dolores being free might explain that. She’s out for blood and looking to take down those Delos overlords by getting cozy with Liam (John Gallagher Jr.), who is heading up Incite, a company that seems to have connections to Westworld. Dolores also meets Caleb at the end of the episode, which could lead to some future crime sprees.
And we can’t forget about Charlores ― Dolores No. 2 in Charlotte Hale’s body ― who is presumably working with Dolores No. 1 as the head of Delos. Again, confusing! But oh-so-fun. What’s your take on Charlores/Dolores?
BB: Last season, it seemed like Dolores was hitching a ride out of “Westworld” in Charlotte’s head, so do we have two Doloreses (Dolori?) now? Is this someone else? A Charlotte copy? Valkyrie from “Thor: Ragnarok”? It’s still unclear, but Tessa Thompson is here to mess shiz up. She’s making Delos build host robots again despite the bloodbath at Westworld. It doesn’t sound like a great business plan for the company, but we’ll see where it goes. What about everyone’s favorite fugitive farmer, Bernard?
LB: Bernard, Arnold, Bernarnold, Armold, Armand, who knows? What I do know is he shaved his head, bulked up a bit and is seriously trying to hide his host identity. He’s more about saving cows’ lives than protecting any robots at the moment. That being said, it seems Bernard may be grappling with Dolores’ plan to infiltrate Delos and doesn’t want to be a part of any kind of AI uprising.
BB: My only advice for Bernard, is, dude, stop reading about your alleged murderous death rampage in the work cafeteria. Ya don’t look that different, man. Your master disguise isn’t working.
LB: He’s like Clark Kent, Bill! But let’s get to the big reveal. The after-credits scene revealed Maeve is in a new theme park: Nazi Germany?
BB: Who wouldn’t want to vacation in beautiful ... checks notes ... Nazi Germany! The park deserved to be destroyed. We got a peek at some of the other parts of “Westworld” in Season 2, such as Shogun World and the Raj World, and it looks like Warworld is a new location we’re going to be seeing in Season 3. It’s actually Italy during World War II, according to showrunner Jonathan Nolan, which sounds equally as unappealing. Last season, Maeve became one of the most powerful hosts thanks to hacking the park through Jedi mind tricks, so hopefully, the Force is still with her.
LB: All I can say is Episode 2 has a fantastic “Game of Thrones” cameo and so now I’m holding out hope for Medieval World, in which Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) is still alive and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) didn’t go all Mad Queen on Westeros. Season 8 do-over, anyone?
BB: Leigh, I think there’s a petition for that. The question is: Is “Westworld” Season 3 worth it?
So, Should You Watch It?
LB: If you’re not deterred by puzzling storylines and overly dramatic android jargon — errr, Seasons 1 and 2 — the third go-around is worth a watch, so far. If that isn’t enticing, maybe “Wall-E” is more your speed.
BB: I agree. I’m gonna stick around for Season 3 to see what happens after Caleb meets a wounded Dolores. And what is going on with the ominous “Big Brother”-like machine called Rehoboam? (It sounds like everyone’s mumbling every time they say the name because they don’t know how to say it right.) But “Wall-E” is really good, too.
“Westworld” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO.