WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 3, Episode 7, of Westworld, “Passed Pawn,” which aired Sunday on HBO.
From its very first episode, Westworld has painted a dark view of humanity. In the titular Western-inspired theme park, robotic hosts were at the mercy of humanity’s cruel delights — so much so in fact that the hosts rose up and rebelled against their masters. However, the difference between man and machine became more blurry in Season 3. As Dolores set out on a mission to destroy humans, we discovered life on Earth was being controlled by a powerful A.I. machine known as Rehoboam. Essentially, humans, like the hosts in the Westworld theme park, were going through a loop of their own.
What’s more, in the series’ last few episodes, we’ve been forced to wonder who the heroes and the villains really are. After all, while we were rooting for Dolores, her villainous actions truly led to the downfall of mankind. Recently, it’s been difficult to choose who to support, especially when we have seen the good Rehoboam actually did for the world.
Now, with its latest episode, “Passed Pawn,” Westworld makes it clear: humanity is the problem.
Engerraund Serac and his brother created Rehoboam to save humanity from itself. After all, the two set on a path to create the machine after Paris was destroyed in a nuclear blast. The state of the world had been growing worse, until Rehoboam was brought online and started creating a better, brighter future for all mankind. The only cost, as we learned, was the people’s freedom. Now, their path was decided for them depending on the outcome of the machine’s projections for the future. And sure, this system is invasive, authoritarian and dangerous — but it also works.
The outside world of Westworld in Season 3 was a stable place where the people prospered. However, there were still those, like Caleb, who were being kept down by the system because of the likelihood that he would take his own life in the coming years. This point of view showed the oppressive, and potentially villainous, side of Rehoboam. But after all of that, it became clear how good a job the machine was actually doing once Dolores released all of its files to the public.
Soon, the world was plunged into all-out chaos as the people reacted in revolt. Suddenly, people were out in the streets, wreaking havoc, attacking one another and destroying the prosperous peace Rehoboam had instilled. Plus, thanks to Rehoboam’s predecessor Solomon, we learn humanity simply can’t be trusted with its own future — it’s the reason the machine exists, after all. Despite all of the advancements in technology of the future, humans still needed the guidance of a powerful A.I. to save themselves — and the planet they live on.
When the humans are left to their own devices, the results are what we see after the release of Rehoboam’s files: panic. This comes at an eerie time as well, given that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that certain people are out for themselves only, without giving a care to the larger community, whether that is by hoarding toilet paper and hand sanitizer or ignoring government orders to stay indoors.
Unfortunately, in Westworld, humanity has fallen on a planetary scale, a victim of itself more than anything. What’s more, Caleb is on a mission to enforce Solomon’s plan, which will lead to the destruction of all humans. Therefore, a human may be the one who puts an end to all humans. We don’t know how that will play out just yet but, at this point in time, it sure seems like the hosts are the ones who deserve to win.
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.
In the latest episode of Westworld, “Passed Pawn,” the HBO series makes it clear humanity is the problem, while the hosts may be the solution.