WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 3, Episode 7, of Westworld, “Passed Pawn,” which aired Sunday on HBO.
Engerraund Serac’s plans have been a mystery in Westworld since his arrival. The co-founder of Incite and creator of Rehoboam had an unhealthy obsession with Delos since before viewers knew he existed in the series. From the very first season of the show, he’s been out there, scheming to get his hands on the Sector 16 data. He’s had moles around the world infiltrating Delos. Serac is so obsessed with the park, he built an entire virtual recreation of it, populated with either stolen or copied host brains.
This weird obsession with Ford’s work and William’s company culminated in a hostile takeover by Incite of Delos in Season 3, Episode 6. (Out here in the real world, the Delos website now says “An Incite Company” in the corner and everything.) However, even as Serac demanded the only copy of Delos’ data assets, and deletion of everything else, fans still weren’t sure why he wanted it. The prevailing theory was that he would feed it to Rehoboam to improve the algorithmic predictions.
But as Season 3’s penultimate episode revealed, this data was not for Rehoboam. It was for the machine’s victims.
When Dolores and Caleb took off at the end of Season 3, Episode 5, to parts unknown, it was unclear where they were headed. It turns out they were heading to Mexico, ironically, to the same area where the Westworld park scenes are filmed, leading to some amazing meta visuals. It is in the middle of this desert landscape where Serac built his original labs, and where Rehoboam’s predecessor, Solomon, is housed.
But there’s more. This is also the facility that housed the cells Liam Dempsey Sr. found just before Serac killed him off. While those cells once held the “outlier” people Solomon and Rehoboam identified as threats to the new world order, they are now empty. As Solomon shows Dolores and Caleb when they arrive, Serac put them all on ice, a warehouse full of thousands of cryogenic chambers. These outliers have been frozen in suspended animation until Serac can find a way to cure them of their deviancy.
Serac believes he has discovered that cure. It’s the Sector 16 data that Delos has gathered, the “map of the human brain” Serac spoke of so eagerly to Maeve. William agrees Delos sold him a taste of it some decades back, just a small piece of the puzzle. But that data has been enough to work on a small slice of outlier humans, like Caleb and Francis. Serac believes once he has to the whole thing, he can use it to rewrite the brains of all these outliers and reintegrate them into society.
The data in the Sector 16 project is Delos trying to reverse engineer Ford’s creation of the hosts. If Ford can create hosts so deeply detailed that they have a soul, then by taking the human data and collecting as much as it takes to make a host should make humans recreatable. At least, that’s the theory. But as the Season 2 finale revealed, it only ever worked to a point. One could recreate the brain in a virtual testing system. However, press it into flesh, and the result is always a failure.
Delos’ failure point is pressing the recreated consciousness into the human body. Serac doesn’t need to press the recreated brains into flesh; they’re already in there. What he needs is to reverse engineer it back again, to take the human mind and make it re-programmable, just like a host. Once he does, he can take any outlier Rehoboam identifies, and put them on new, harmless loops, keeping humanity safe.
Dolores wants to stop Serac because he’ll destroy hosts as a threat to humanity. However, Caleb wants him stopped, because this is the ultimate taking of freedom in the name of safety, turning all humans into obedient drones. But can either of them stop him? While they are talking with Solomon, Serac has taken over Delos, removed Charlotte, and melted most of the host stock to liquid. How long until he gets that Sector 16 data and starts reprogramming the entire human population?
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.
KEEP READING: Westworld: The Two Worlds Theory, Explained
In Westworld's latest episode, Solomon reveals Serac's real plan for Delos' Sector 16 data, and it's far more terrifying than anyone assumed.