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The Ending Of Westworld Season 4 Episode 4 Explained

The first three episodes of "Westworld" Season 4, while not without their mysteries and surprises, were decidedly more straightforward than previous chapters. Gone were the inscrutable jumps between timelines and the constant need for viewers to question whether a character was alive or dead, host or human. But with Season 4, Episode 4, "Generation Loss," showrunners Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan are back to playing with timelines and character arcs that loop around and around, spiraling and intersecting until everyone is dizzy.

When we last left Caleb Nichols (Aaron Paul) and Maeve Millay (Thandiwe Newton), he was human and she was a host, but they were both in trouble. Caleb has been fly-jacked by host Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) and is her prisoner in the new park's behavioral training lab, and Maeve has been bested by host William (Ed Harris) in the latest of their many fights. Episode 4 begins with Maeve and Caleb attacking a fortified Rehoboam backup server on a remote island, where Caleb suffers what looks like a fatal gunshot wound. 

With the seeds of doubt firmly planted as to whether Caleb is really alive in whatever blurred timeframe is now considered the present, Joy and Nolan take viewers back on the twisting and disorienting roller coaster ride in the dark that "Westworld" can often be. 

Charlotte seems to have the upper hand

While Caleb lays on the ground bleeding, Maeve hacks into his limbic implant and shows him what a free and happy life could look like for him. It's a brief glimpse into the Sublime, further raising the possibility that Caleb is a host. But before we can get an answer, Caleb wakes from the fly assault to find himself in the behavioral lab with host Charlotte Hale, who tells him she did to him "What I'm going to do to all of your kind. I made you my pet." It's becoming more clear that her plans involve more than just replacing humans with hosts atop the social and executive hierarchy, and that she is bent on revenge and intent on extracting as much pain from the human race as she can. 

Charlotte tells Caleb that now that her hosts run the park, she can use it to trap and convert more humans into whatever she has made him. "After they're done here, they'll have as souvenirs their debauched memories of their exploits and my parasites," she says. "Welcome to the super-spreader event of the century; you're the first wave. You should be flattered." He tells her he won't allow his daughter to grow up in a world she controls, but at this point, he's not exactly in a position to make that call.

Maeve casts a thick fog over Caleb's reality

Maeve bails Caleb out once again, turning her own auditory sensors off temporarily and commandeering the sonic control tower to disable William and Charlotte. Her knowledge of the original park's loops helps guide her, Caleb, and their prisoner Charlotte safely through streets filled with bullets from the guns of hosts and guests alike. 

Caleb is stabbed in the side during their escape, almost symmetrically opposite from where he was shot during his and Maeve's assault on the island and with a weapon that supposedly could only harm hosts. As they drive away and he bleeds out once again, we go back to the aftermath of their attack on Rehoboam and see Caleb in the hospital recovering from his injuries. Maeve tells him she sat by his bedside for weeks and then envisioned how it would be like if he was free. "It was extraordinary," she continues. "I wanted you to do more than fight to survive; I wanted you to have something worth fighting for."

She seems to be confessing to Caleb that his recent memories, including of his wife Uwade (Nozipho McLean) and daughter Frankie (Celeste Clark), are of her design, based on her own lost daughter and injected into his limbic system to give him the illusion of a happy life. If he truly died from that gunshot, his existence since then has been as a host of her design.

Hale reveals a 23-year jump to a world under her control

After escaping the park, Caleb and Maeve drive to a park quarry for a final showdown with The Man in Black. While Maeve and William exchange gunfire, Caleb takes the still-handcuffed Charlotte into a demolition bunker where he calls for help. He overcomes the flies in his brain telling him to shoot Maeve and takes out William, who quickly recovers from the numerous high-powered rifle wounds and attacks Maeve. But once again, Maeve seems at least a half-step ahead of her adversaries and sets off enough explosives to kill them both and bury them in the rubble. Caleb, safe inside the bunker but still bleeding excessively, thinks he is safe when he sees the lights from helicopters filled with what he presumes are his men but turn out to be Charlotte's minions.

She then eerily asks him if he remembers this moment, and we then get the big reveal of Season 4 so far: Caleb was killed by her troops that day and is now undergoing a fidelity check in the Olympiad offices. She tells him he is the 278th host version of himself, he has been in development for 23 years, and in that time, she and her parasites had taken over the world. Caleb flees his fidelity interview to find everyone clad park-style in villain's black or hero's white. He sees that Charlotte is able to freeze and resume everyone's motor functions at will — with the help of the giant control tower now looming just off the tip of Manhattan Island. But there are more big revelations at the end of "Generation Loss."

Bernard and C reach the goal of their desert search

When we last left Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), he was with the resistance movement agent known only as C, on a search in the desert for a weapon he found in his magic headband explorations through all the universe's possible paths. Meanwhile, C is searching for her presumably dead father and hopes that he is buried there. They only uncover Maeve, but Bernard seems convinced that her lifeless body is the only weapon they need. We then are treated to big reveal No. 2: C is actually Frankie, Caleb's daughter. 

Charlotte's power and influence have been growing along with her swarm of flies, and with the park working as an effective human trap, she appears to be unstoppable. But the combination of Bernard's knowledge, Maeve's power, and Frankie's fellow resistance members could offer a formidable challenge. In one bit of mercy shown by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, almost-omniscient Bernard and almost-omnipotent Maeve appear to be teaming up in the same timeline as Charlotte and host Caleb. The 23-year time jump matches up with C's apparent current age and would make things much simpler as we move towards the impending Bernard, Frankie, and Maeve versus Charlotte showdown.

The most outstanding question regarding this storyline is just why the former park site is now known as The Forbidden Lands and is buried under feet of sand. Did the hosts there rise up like the ones in the original park, and if so was it against Charlotte, the guests, or both?

Christina's world is almost certainly virtual, but who built it?

There are also lingering questions regarding the third universe presented in "Generation Loss." Christina (Evan Rachel Wood) seems to have psychic connections tying her to Dolores and somehow can manifest the video game background characters she creates for work into what passes for her real life. Either someone has figured out how to clone a human based on a host's data, or Christina, Maya (Ariana DeBose), and their world are just another simulation running on a server somewhere. If the latter is true, then who designed the world they are living in?

It could be a paradise built by a mellowed and more optimistic Dolores. We still don't know exactly how many copies she made of herself, and after suffering such a painful apparent demise at the end of Season 3,she may be more concerned with living a happy life than justice for her kind. Their world could be a testing ground created by either Maeve or Charlotte using characters they already know well to help gauge whatever progress they are chasing. It could even be a simulated test for a new park running on William's Hoover Dam servers, with slightly modified storylines like handsome Teddy Flood (James Marsden) scooping up Christina's rolling lipstick instead of a soup can. 

Right now all the worlds appear under Charlotte's thumb

Back in what we're being led to believe is the current reality of "Westworld," Charlotte seems most in control and would likely have a number of test simulations running somewhere to help tighten her grip on humanity. Christina's New York City is entirely too similar to the one Caleb finds himself in when he momentarily escapes his fidelity interview to be coincidental, right down to the streetlights and other scattered outdoor fixtures that appear to be relaying or boosting the sonic tower's signals. 

The episode title, "Generation Loss," is a holdover from the days of analog recording and refers to the reduction in quality with each copy that is made. We saw this same degradation after too many copies of James Delos (Peter Mullan) and Charlotte pointed out to William that his basic motivations made him relatively easy to copy. More complex personalities like Caleb, who is now on his 278th copy, have proved more difficult. It's also possible that Caleb was hostified by Maeve after he died during their assault on Rehoboam Island and has now been double-hosted by Charlotte — a Westworld first that could present all sorts of generational loss issues. What that means for his future — and the last dwindling remainder of humanity's — is still to come.