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Why Caleb From Westworld Season 3 Looks So Familiar

Throughout its first two season on HBO, Westworld has taken place almost entirely within the confines of the titular theme park, where series creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have mercilessly wreaked havoc on any- and everyone who dared step foot within its borders. Then, they killed or maimed pretty much every living and non-living thing that dwelled there, save for the lucky few who found refuge in the fabled Valley Beyond. 

Leaving little more than a mound of human bodies, mechanical carnage, and scorched Earth behind at the end of season 2, Westworld entered its third season in need of a refresh. It got just that by stepping out of the park and into real-world environments, and by adding a couple of fresh faces to its already impressive cast. While each of those characters continues to contribute in one fashion or another on Westworld season 3, you've probably already noticed that some of them are a bit more familiar than others. The face of the human who's unwittingly thrown his lot in with Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), in particular, stands out. 

On Westworld, he goes by Caleb, and boasts a tortured past that includes a stint in the military and some post-war time living on the wrong side of the law and/or fate, itself. In the real world, his name is Aaron Paul, and he's been a professional actor for over two decades. Spoiler alert: You've absolutely seen him in some film or television project or other over that period. Here's why Caleb from Westworld season 3 looks so familiar.

Aaron Paul broke very bad on Breaking Bad

If you'll allow us to double-down on that spoiler-alert, we'll go ahead and say that we're also quite confident we know exactly where most of you have seen Aaron Paul's face before, because there really aren't that many people left in the world who've never seen a single episode of AMC's breakout meth drama, Breaking Bad. That being the case, it's a safer bet than any that you've also heard Paul speak passionately about "making fat stacks" as Jesse Pinkman on the series, and that you spent the bulk of Breaking Bad's taut, 62-episode run loving, loathing, and pitying the character in equal measure.

You also probably spent a few occasions marveling at Paul's undeniable skill in eliciting such powerful emotional responses along the way. While it was on the air, Breaking Bad was easily one of the best-cast and best-written series around, a fact reflected in its status as a perennial Emmy frontrunner. As a reminder, Paul actually netted three of those coveted statues for his work as Jesse, even besting Game of Thrones' star Peter Dinklage on two occasions. 

So, if you are among the wicked few who've never ventured into the New Mexico night in search of Breaking Bad's uniquely bracing brand of human drama, we'll say nothing else of the traumatic life of one Jesse Pinkman, or the nefarious deeds of his partner, Walter White (Bryan Cranston), and urge you to binge the series with utmost haste, because it remains one of the best shows to ever grace the airwaves - and because Aaron Paul's harrowing work on the show is the stuff of small-screen legend.   

Aaron Paul visited The Last House on the Left

While Aaron Paul has frequently found success on the small screen throughout his career (see also: HBO's Big Love, Hulu's The Path, and more), he's had a bit less success with his big-screen ventures. That's certainly not for lack of trying, as Paul has featured in his fair share of cinematic offerings, recently even reprising his iconic role of Jesse Pinkman for Netflix's mostly marvelous Breaking Bad spinoff film, El Camino.

Though Paul has frequently featured as a wayward soul or criminal, and done so throughout his career in virtually every cinematic genre there is, the actor has only rarely turned his attention toward horror. That changed in 2009, when Paul jumped aboard a remake of one of the most revered, and frequently reviled, horror films of the 20th century. That film was The Last House on the Left, and was based on Wes Craven's soul-shattering 1972 debut of the same name.

Whether you're among the lovers or the haters of Craven's venomous original, there's little question its visceral, gritty approach to "home invasion" horror forever changed what the genre could be. Rest assured that, even if it's slightly less vivid in depicting its most heinous acts, 2009's The Last House on the Left remake is every bit as nasty as the original. It's also every bit as intriguing, with Paul delivering one of his more memorable early performances as one of the a family of dastardly evil-doers who wreak havoc on peaceful suburbanites. 

Aaron Paul got Smashed in one of 2012's most overlooked indie gems

Among Aaron Paul's vast array of big- and small-screen credits, you'll find an equally vast array of hits and misses. Then, you'll find Smashed, his stunning collaboration with James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular NowThe End of the Tour) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. The WorldBirds of Prey), which undoubtedly qualifies as "the one that got away." Released in 2012, the film found Paul and Winstead portraying a young married couple whose hard-partying ways have finally begun to spin out of control. When one tries to put an end to inebriated insanity by getting sober, the relationship is tested, as the other chooses to keep the party alive.

Featuring a seriously impressive smattering of supporting talent that includes Nick Offerman, Megan Mullaly, Octavia Spencer, and Mackenzie Davis, Smashed was extremely well received when it premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, which led Sony Pictures Classics to pick it up for theatrical release. Unfortunately, the film was all but ignored by the general public in an extremely limited theatrical run, and though Smashed has continued to earn fans among the die-hard indie film set over the years, it has never quite found the audience it deserved.

It's high time that changed, because Smashed remains a genuinely soul-stirring romantic drama about addiction, regret, and redemption that features a beautifully ambiguous ending. It also happens to feature one of Aaron Paul's finest performances to date. 

Aaron Paul played The Worm to perfection on Veronica Mars

Like many starting out in television acting, Aaron Paul kicked off his career with episodic guest spots on various shows, leading with a one-off appearance on Beverly Hills 90210. From there, he would go on to take similarly brief bows on the likes of era staples 3rd Rock from the SunThe X-Files (where he first met Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan), and ER. In 2005, Paul joined the ridiculously long list of then up-and-coming actors  who did supporting turns on a beloved CW series by the name of Veronica Mars.

If you missed out on Veronica Mars back in the early '00s or skipped its recent Hulu revival, the series follows a high school sleuth (Kristen Bell) who helps her private detective dad (Enrico Colantoni) crack cases for and against the posh Southern California set. Aaron Paul made his one-time-only Veronica Mars appearance in a season 1 episode titled "Silence of the Lamb," playing a sleazy local by the name of "The Worm." and was initially pegged as a killer of coeds by Veronica after he's found to have compromising videos of several victims. Fortunately, Paul's deadbeat post-teen is eventually cleared of the damning charges in typical, plot-twisting Veronica Mars fashion. Still, the actor more than made an impression in his brief screen time.   

Aaron Paul has also lent his voice to projects like BoJack Horseman

If you're one of the few who hasn't seen Aaron Paul's face in a movie or TV show over the years, it's still quite possible you've experienced one of his performances. Though the actor has clearly kept himself more than gainfully employed in the live-action sector, he's also lent his distinctive voice to a handful of animated projects. Among the actor's voice credits, you'll find a brief appearance on Robot Chicken for their DC Comics special, and a three-episode run on the animated TRON: Uprising series. 

Of course, fans of Netflix's groundbreaking, tragi-comic animated series, BoJack Horsemanwill no doubt recognize Paul as the voice behind everybody's favorite asexual ingenue, Todd Chavez. Paul portrayed the lovable Todd in all 77 episodes of the critically adored series, and frequently stole scenes from co-stars Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, and Paul F. Tompkins with a performance as soul-searchingly earnest as it was hilariously naive and socially inept. 

If you managed to miss all of the above shows, movies, and series, we're still betting a sharp-eared few among you were able pick Aaron Paul's voice from the ether when it turned up on one of Black Mirror's most memorable episodes, "USS Callister." Yes, that's the beyond-brilliant episode in which Jesse Plemmons' demented genius programmer plugs himself into a Star Trek-like VR experience with genetically-engineered NPC versions of real-life folks. Yes, that was Aaron Paul chiming in as a taunting online gamer in the series. And yes, we, too, got chills at the mini-Breaking Bad reunion that went down during the episode, even if the pair were unnervingly re-united a couple of years later for El Camino