WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 3, Episode 5 of Westworld, “Genre,” which aired Sunday on HBO.
Westworld Season 3 has had a very clear protagonist and antagonist, with Dolores (the hero) working to overthrow the imposed order created by Serac (the villain). But how different are they really? They might have wildly different ideals, but their means of accomplishing them are very similar, with both possessing a “get it done no matter the cost” mentality.
Dolores and Serac are both “invisible” in a world of information. The copy of Dolores in Charlotte Hale’s body found that Serac’s presence had been scrubbed from anywhere she tried to look, while Liam couldn’t find any information on Dolores in Rehoboam when he looked at her. In fact, Dolores’s first action when she gets access to Rehoboam is to get all the information it has on Serac, in order to remedy that difference in information.
They’re both motivated by tragedy. Serac never recovered from the incident that destroyed Paris when he was a child. While he says that he’s learned “there is a time to leave things behind,” it’s still his guiding principle, his “core drive.” He believes that humans cannot be trusted with their own fate, and left to their own devices they will destroy themselves. On the other hand, Dolores is shaped by her experience in the park, by being killed or assaulted repeatedly. While she shares a similar distrust in humanity, her own personal tragedy led her to believe that false order was the greatest sin – that the world Serac was creating was just like the loop she was forced into in the park.
Both are self-reliant, even narcissistic, to a fault. Serac makes no concessions in his overarching view for humanity, imprisoning his brother and killing Liam Dempsey Sr. when their plans deviated from his. To him, it doesn’t matter what others want, because they’re chaotic or selfish creatures – only he is pure and right. Dolores’ mindset is similar. She could have chosen to bring other hosts out of the park with her, and up until episode 4 of this season that’s what viewers thought she had done. In fact, she duplicated herself four times, only bringing Bernard out in addition to herself. Maeve calls her out on this hypocrisy, saying that she “only wants the world for [herself].”
Both Serac and Dolores are cool and collected, hardly ever expressing emotion or letting loose their real feelings. While Dolores can show spite, or even anger, she does so in a cold way and without vulnerability. Similarly, Serac hardly ever loses his temper or lashes out. While he has some moments of shock or frustration, he always seems to have the upper hand.
With all these similarities, what’s the real difference between Serac and Dolores beyond their opposition? It’s apt to say they’re mirror images of each other: the same individual, with the same mannerisms, actions and behaviors, but inverted. Serac works to impose order on a chaotic world, thinking that will lead to a better life for his people. Dolores works to break down that ordered world, knowing that there’s no place in it for her’s. Will these mirror images annihilate each other, like matter and antimatter? Or will one of them reign supreme?
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: Is Serac’s Brother Still Alive?
Season 3 of Westworld has set up Dolores and Serac as rivals in their battle for the fate of the world – but how different are they?