WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 3, Episode 4, of Westworld, “The Mother of Exiles,” which aired Sunday on HBO.
Ever since Westworld Season 2 ended nearly two years ago, fans have held one mystery above all others: Who are the hosts Dolores took with her when she left the park? She escaped in a host replica body of Delos Executive Director Charlotte Hale, carrying five host “pearls,” each of which contained one downloaded host, four black, one red-streaked. She remade Bernard Lowe upon arriving in the real world, using the red-streaked pearl. But there were four more in that bag.
Viewers have been guessing wildly since Season 3 began, as Dolores began replacing key people with replicas. Hale, of course, was one. Connells, the body of CEO Liam Dempsey Jr., was another. As Maeve discovered in her hurt of Dolores, she also recreated Musashi, the ronin from Samurai World, to take over the Yakuza. But who are the hosts she would trust to play these roles for her?
It turns out the answer is Dolores didn’t trust anyone. All of the black pearls were just copies of her own.
Dolores revealed that she was the only host out in the real world (other than Maeve, Bernard and Stubbs) at the end of Episode 4. It was a surprising move as she didn’t have to do that. Bernard was ready to believe Angela was in Connells, Maeve guessed it was Teddy inside Musashi. And as for William, the Man in Black, he thought Charlotte Hale was the real deal. All three discovered at the same time that all assumptions had been wrong.
Perhaps viewers should have seen this coming. Dolores has been traumatized over and over as those she trusted betrayed her. One could argue that Teddy’s suicide was the last straw, the one person who she held onto emotionally, leaving her. The worst part was that Dolores drove him to it, forcing him to commit acts that went against his gentle personality because his core drive was always to do as she asked.
But it’s not clear that Dolores’ trying to do everything herself will work. One of the critical issues in Episode 3 was Hale’s host struggling with their new role, showing signs of rejecting the body in which they were implanted. Most assumed that meant it was Clementine Pennyfeather or someone who was already otherwise traumatized. Learning that this was Dolores is a concerning discovery.
After all, we don’t know what happens when someone clones their pearls like this, because as far as the show is concerned, it’s not something the park does. Sure, there are multiple copies of James Delos all being tested for fidelity in the Sector 16 project, but each of those pearls is different, tweaked slightly to see which version works best. Most of the time, what we see are multiple host bodies but only one pearl. (Like Bernard, for example.) If Dolores’ copies start deteriorating or rejecting the bodies they’re in, what happens to her revolution?
In this episode, Serac tells Maeve he wants Dolores because her pearl has the key to open the Forge. But which Dolores is he after? It’s not clear if all four hosts who carry Dolores inside of them also have a key or if only “Dolores Prime” is the only one. It’s also possible she deliberately implanted the key into one of the other hosts that aren’t her to throw Serac off the scent. Still, does she know that’s what he wants from her?
One benefit of the hosts being Dolores means she doesn’t have to share her plans with anyone else, but it’s also very possible every version of her doesn’t know the answers to these critical questions.
Westworld airs Sunday nights on HBO 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Westworld finally reveals which hosts left the park with Dolores, but the answer only raises more questions.