WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 3, Episode 3 of Westworld, “The Absence of Field,” which aired Sunday, March 29, on HBO.
In the Season 3 premiere of Westworld, viewers were introduced to Aaron Paul’s Caleb Nichols, a military veteran and construction worker. Through his day-to-day life, fans saw Cal’s routine — or, in Westworld terms, his very own loop. Although he’s trying his best, there’s just nothing that seems to go his way. In fact, despite being qualified for other jobs, Cal’s interviews are never successful. Therefore, in order to get make some extra money, he takes part in small-time illegal activities through an app.
What’s more, it was also revealed that much of the trajectory of the human world was dictated by Incite’s powerful artificial intelligence machine, Rehoboam. Rehoboam charts a course for every human in order to create the best world possible. It does so through the use of highly advanced algorithms. Now, in the series’ latest episode, it becomes clear just how elaborate and terrifying these algorithms are — and how they might be defeated.
In “The Absence of Field,” the paths of Dolores and Cal continue to converge. While they are separated after Cal helps save Dolores’ life, she later comes back to return the favor. Impressed by his willingness to protect her, Dolores sees a potential ally in her war against Incite and Rehoboam. Therefore, she reveals to Cal all that she knows about the A.I. machine, and what it can do. She shows him that Rehoboam is the reason he can’t get a better job.
That’s the case because, according to the longtime predictions of its algorithms, the machine foresees that Cal will commit suicide in roughly 10 years. Since the projections are for Cal to take his own life, the system doesn’t want to devote time and resources to make his life better. Therefore, it stalls him at every turn since, according to it, he’s not worth the effort. The system prevents Cal from earning a better life and, by doing so, it creates the very future it predicts. With no better job and a life that continues to be in turmoil, Cal is likely to take his own life. To put it simply, the machine ensures the outcome of its own predictions.
This certainly paints a terrifying picture for the future humans are living in on Westworld. This is a place controlled by a machine that gives the illusion of freedom, but who dictates every possible action. Rehoboam creates the world it wants, no matter how many lives have to be sacrificed to build it. To the machine, humans are nothing but numbers, avatars to move from one place to the next.
But, despite all of that, there is something, for all its calculations, it simply cannot prepare for the human spirit. It may be far and between in this world, but it’s still there. In fact, viewers see the machine monitor the world for troubling behavior, for subjects that stray from their path. But it might not see how far certain people are willing to go. In fact, now that Cal knows the truth about his life and his place in Rehoboam’s world, he’s willing to join Dolores and fight beside her as she leads her revolution.
This spirit can also be found in the hosts — Dolores, Bernard, Maeve and Charlotte Hale. Although these characters are all robots currently roaming the world, Rehoboam simply can’t predict the outcome of their actions — well, not yet anyway. Dolores is a force that can’t be stopped or controlled, Bernard his charting his own course and Hale has demonstrated that, while she is technically another mysterious host inside this body, she can still channel the rage that makes her a hunter.
The humans are living a life dictated by a machine, and it looks like it will take androids to free them from its grasp — robots who may be the most human out of anyone.
Airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO, Westworld stars returning cast members Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Tessa Thompson, Luke Hemsworth, Simon Quarterman and Rodrigo Santoro, joined by series newcomers Aaron Paul, Vincent Cassel, Lena Waithe, Scott Mescudi, Marshawn Lynch, John Gallagher Jr., Michael Ealy and Tommy Flanagan.
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In the latest episode of Westworld, “The Absence of Field,” fans learn more about Rehoboam's algorithms, which are terrifying but beatable.