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Westworld: How Serac's Childhood Trauma Explains Rehoboam | CBR

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 3, Episode 4 of Westworld, “The Mother of Exiles,” which aired Sunday on HBO.

Westworld Season 3 introduced a brand new villain, Engerraund Serac, the co-founder of Incite, a rival to Delos Inc. So far, everything about Serac has focused on how evil this character is. The first time he’s brought up in conversation, Incite’s CEO, Liam Dempsey Jr., acts terrified, all but accusing the man of murdering his father. Characters refer to him as a black hole. When viewers finally meet him, it’s after an entire episode where he’s kept Maeve in a virtual copy of the Delos park, trying to manipulate information out of her.

This lack of screentime means viewers only see Serac via other people’s eyes. To the Delos brass, he’s a thief in the night who came in and stole the lion’s percent of shares in a stealth corporate takeover. To Dolores, he’s the man who created Rehoboam, which is trapping humanity on modest little loops, just as she once was. In the longer view, he’s the man behind the secret plan to steal the data out of the Sector 16 project, and someone who has managed to smuggle hundreds of host control units out of the park. But Episode 4, “The Mother of Exiles,” gives a bit more backstory to Serac’s life, adding some nuance to his choices.

RELATED: Westworld Theory: Who Else Does Serac Have in His Vault?

Upon discovering herself in Singapore, being wined and dined by Serac, Maeve sniffs that he could have done better. “If you really wanted to impress me, you would have taken me to Paris,” she informs him. Serac looks oddly sad. He would have loved to have taken her to Paris, he replies. It was his home city, the place where he grew up. But in a flashback, viewers see that Paris is no more. Maeve’s programming is sadly out of date when it comes to the City of Lights.

That a sudden mushroom cloud destroyed Paris during Serac’s childhood might come as a surprise. But it’s a detail Westworld already revealed, back in the Date Announcement trailer, where Rehoboam tracked several world-disrupting incidents. On Oct. 9, 2025, an explosion, listed only as a “Thermonuclear Incident” took place.

RELATED: Westworld: What Rehoboam Actually Is – and Why It’s So Dangerous

Viewers know what Rehoboam has become, an algorithmically driven program that forces humanity on to predetermined tracks, which then manipulates the luck of the draw to keep them on their paths. Caleb, for instance, has been pronounced a probable suicide, and Rehoboam is determined that nothing good should change that trajectory, declaring “Marriage Not Recommended, Children Not Allowed.”

But that’s not what Liam Dempsey Sr. and his partner, Serac meant to create when they started this project. It was first known as the “Solomon Build,” named after the great King of Judea, Rehoboam’s father, and the bringer of peace. As Serac says in the Date Announce trailer: “For the first time, history has an author.” This program was meant to stop the incidents before they happened, to weed out the potential chaos agents and evil dictators, to bring peace and stability to the world.

RELATED: Westworld: Serac’s Connection to Delos, Explained

How does the Solomon Build give way to Rehoboam? One can guess that the death of co-founder Dempsey Sr. was a significant turning point. As his son says to Dolores if he were going to tell her about Serac, “it would already know,” and he’d be dead, “just like my father.” From Liam Jr.’s words, one can guess that Serac became obsessed with Rehoboam’s ability to tell him the future, first as insurance he would never look up and see his city disappear, and then as a method of control

One can infer that perhaps the program, designed to impartially identify the potential Hitlers of history before they could rise to power, also developed and changed. What was once meant to be an unbiased, benign overlord slowly morphed into one that wanted to survive. Why else tell Serac that Liam Sr. was a threat?

Understanding where Serac is coming from doesn’t change his villainous acts. But knowing what makes one’s enemy tick is always the best weapon to win a war.

KEEP READING: Westworld Theory: Who Else Does Serac Have in His Vault?

What happened to Paris? Serac's childhood loss may explain why he built Rehoboam in the first place.

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