WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the Westworld Season 3 finale, “Crisis Theory,” which aired Sunday on HBO.
Westworld’s Season 3 finale brings a triumphant conclusion to the story of Dolores Prime (Evan Rachel Wood) as she successfully turns Maeve (Thandie Newton) so she can help Caleb (Aaron Paul) bring Serac’s (Vincent Cassel) vision to a grinding halt. However, Prime dies in the process, as her data bank gets totally scrubbed in the process of gaining Solomon’s access key into the Rehoboam’s mainframe.
But while it appears Prime’s time is over, the very thing that killed her by draining her memories could be what resurrects the freedom fighter next season.
Serac tried all season long to attain Delos’ Sector 16 data regarding the human hosts so he could reprogram mankind. When Maeve finally brings Prime in, he hooks her up to Rehoboam and in a torturous session, the A.I. sorts through her memories, plucking them in the hopes of finding the data set. This breaks Serac’s system, though, as Prime actually got Solomon’s access transferred her mind at Incite’s New Mexico facility before the EMP went off, all as a backup to Caleb’s USB. And just when Rehoboam thinks it’s drained her, it doesn’t know it’s experiencing an infection which allows Caleb to take control and shut it down.
But when you consider how Solomon’s memory was uploaded, there’s a strong chance Prime could have uploaded her memory here too. Many believe Prime backed it up elsewhere before she came to fight Serac’s forces with Caleb and while that’s possible, uploading to Rehoboam just feels like a more left-field twist. It would also count as a failsafe in case the Solomon upload didn’t work, as Prime might have thought her presence in the dark sphere could somehow change the A.I.’s directive.
Solomon already knows her so it may well have protected her mind, keeping it safe in the sphere until she could enter a different host body again. Also, Solomon could actually have recovered her deleted data packets, reassembled and then stored them inside the sphere, so again, Prime can be reborn quite easily. And if Westworld wants to make her a higher power, she can even operate from inside this giant pearl a la Marvel’s Ultron. This means she’d actually become the new Rehoboam, a soldier much more powerful and omnipotent than before. It’d make a more creative arc too because Dolores has shown a god complex in the past, and if the world she wanted with humans and hosts isn’t working out, she could assert dominance and return to course correct. She’d be a threat to new outliers such as Halores, who ruin the beauty of what she worked so hard for.
Prime running apps, flowing as data through code and hacking programs like malware, would certainly one-up Maeve’s technopath ability. It’d feel like poetic justice too, as she’d be freer than ever with this social justice virus helping Caleb, Maeve, Bernard and Lawrence/Dolores again. Conversely, there’s also the chance she could emerge corrupted because Rehoboam, Solomon and her mind inside that one sphere may create a split personality, or even an enemy pretending to be a heroic Prime. We might even get a new version of Prime with unpredictable intentions, charting a fresh take on the character and redefining her purpose.
Halores already waged war on her “mother,” infecting her mind in the finale and warning how the best plan is for her to streamline operations differently. So one has to think Prime’s far from finished and has to return to address this betrayal. As an A.I., the rivalry between them would be more of a spectacle as this digital revival could allow Prime to command robotic legions. It’d be perfect to oppose Halores and what’s sure to be an improved Delos army consisting of both mech robots and war-mongering hosts such as the new Man in Black. To steal a phrase from another HBO hit series, “What is dead may never die,” and in Prime’s case, her death here might just be a new beginning.
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.
Westworld's Season 3 finale killed off a major character, but the Rehoboam artificial intelligence presents a shot at resurrection.