WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 3, Episode 3 of Westworld, “The Absence of Field.”
Westworld‘s third episode of its new season started with an alarming development: a giant robot. No, really, a giant robot. And not only is it a giant robot, but it’s also a giant robot that comes in multiple parts that link up to form it. It’s easy to draw a parallel to other such robots in media, like the Megazord from Power Rangers or the titular robot from Voltron. But apparently, the inspiration for the robot was a humble Swiss Army knife. From the bright red paint job to the fluidity with which the mech “unfolds,” it’s a design that’s clearly translated to the screen.
So with its real-world inspiration squared away, we’re left to wonder at why it was created in the story of Westworld. The obvious response would be that Delos (the company which owns the park) created them as a response to the massacre that unfolded at the end of Season 1 and throughout most of Season 2. Mechanical behemoths would be excellently suited for dealing with hosts that go rogue since such hosts are made to occupy bodies of around human size. So, problem solved, right?
Wrong. Immediately after the robot is brought out, one of Charlotte’s aides mentions to her that Saudi Arabia (a potential buyer for the robots) dropped out after “the incident at the park.” So, whatever the original purpose for the mechs was, it likely didn’t involve the subdual of the hosts, as the incident at the park (the events of Seasons 1 and 2) were the first indication given to Delos that the hosts could go rogue. A likely alternate purpose for them is as a private military force for foreign governments (such as Saudi Arabia).
However, since that original buyer seems to have vanished, we’re left to wonder what the giant mechs will accomplish now. The only explicit hint given is Charlotte Hale (who is actually a host impersonating the real Charlotte Hale) seems very pleased with the one she sees and that they have three hundred in total. The final line referring to them is Hale says she’s “sure we’ll find a use for them.” But, what will that use be?
With Dolores gearing up for a robotic revolution, it’s entirely possible that these gigantic mechs and others like them will be her frontline soldiers. It even eerily matches one of her lines from episode 1 of this season: “You want to be the dominant species, but you build your whole world with things more like me.” So, if Dolores (through Charlotte) starts actively encouraging an increase in production of “things more like her,” the humans she’s fighting against might quickly see themselves outgunned.
Another detail on the “Swiss Army Knife” robot is its label: RIOT CONTROL. When Maeve took control of a robot on Serac‘s estate, she engaged it’s “Riot Control” mode, which resulted in it killing several of his men. While likely a euphemism to refer to robots being used to enact violence, it hints at a commonality in design behind both Delos’s and Incite’s robots. It’s a small detail, but given that Delos (being run by “Charlotte”) and Incite (with Serac in charge) are being set up as the two sides in the pending conflict, this is a hint that they might not be as different as they seem.
While the robot only occupied a short scene of the episode, it’s unlikely that this is its only appearance, but when and where it will pop up again remains to be seen. It’s clear that the showrunners are setting up the seeds for a revolution, and small hints like the robot (and it’s 299 compatriots) are likely only the 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.
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Westworld's third episode opened with a glimpse of a massive new robot, larger than any others on the show.