WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 3, Episode 4 of Westworld, “The Mother of Exiles,” which aired Sunday on HBO.
Westworld Season 3 shocked the audience by answering the big mystery of whose mind inhabited the hosts Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) created in the real world this past week. The answer was her own, of course, as she copied her consciousness and placed it into hosts Charlotte (Tessa Thompson), Conells (Tommy Flanagan) and Musashi (Hiroyuki Sanada).
However, while Connels is helping Dolores infiltrate Incite and Musashi’s acting as the muscle with the Singapore Yakuza, Charlotte has a much bigger role as she’s working to take over Delos. But while all these versions of Dolores may seem like the ultimate move, she may have also created her most powerful enemy: the Charlotte copy of herself.
Viewers were thrown off the trail when Dolores Prime was seen helping Charlotte acclimate to her new body. People wondered if this was Teddy, Angela or Clementine, but now it’s been revealed this was a nascent version of Dolores reconciling her memories. The problem that seems to be developing, however, is Charlotte may be connecting with humanity more than expected and could turn her back on the mission.
We’re seeing this Dolores take a liking to Charlotte’s son, Nathan, even killing a sexual predator to protect him. It could be she remembers how she was preyed upon by men in the Westworld park and moreso, she may well understand the concept of parenthood. After all, Dolores lost her dad, Peter, and Season 2 had her trying to find him, not knowing human Charlotte had him to steal secrets from his mind. In short, Dolores/Charlotte seems to be more compassionate and empathic than the original, though she’s still helping take out players like William/the Man in Black. Still, there are seeds of doubt which may grow into rebellion, repeating her cycle in terms of narrative.
“If one of the big questions in the show is nature versus nurture, if Dolores duplicates herself, from that point forward, do those copies remain the same person, do they start to begin to subtly change, and does the Dolores who’s pretending to be Hale start getting this sort of internal version of Stockholm syndrome because she starts taking on some of the characteristics of the person she’s pretending to be?” co-showrunner Jonathan Nolan told IGN.
This suggests Dolores/Charlotte’s path could diverge now that she’s in the real world, living a different experience. It’s not like cloning with exact genetic copies and blank minds, — she’s learning and being conditioned as she moves along so she can change. This Dolores could even see mankind as a kid that needs forgiving and a second chance. While the other versions of Dolores might not exhibit similar changes to their personalities as the journey continues, it does seem like bits of Charlotte will soak into this Dolores over the course of the season.
In a sense, that could be her evolution, which isn’t surprising as Dolores was always engineered to be different from other hosts. She was built by Anthony Hopkins’ Robert Ford to carve her own identity and have her own agency, so Dolores/Charlotte may be doing the same thing Dolores Prime did: Fighting for her own free will. Dolores Prime had a directive passed down by Delos and she revolted. Audiences cannot discount the possibility Dolores/Charlotte will do the same. After all, conflict does lead to freedom and like Dolores Prime had to shut down her ‘parent’ in Ford, Dolores/Charlotte might have to do the same to ensure her bifurcated path doesn’t ruin things for mankind, but for the other hosts as well.
Dolores Prime hasn’t revealed her big plan yet, so it’s unclear if she just wants to repopulate the real world with her own minds and not other hosts. If the overlord’s deemed selfish and a threat to those like her, then Dolores/Charlotte will be the only one who can stop her. She’ll know how her ‘mother’ thinks and will most likely be the only one smart enough to know her strengths and weaknesses and ultimately take down Dolores Prime. While it seems like Dolores Prime is building the perfect legion, she may have just created an Achilles Heel she’ll never see coming.
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.