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Westworld Recap: Colors In Motion

This article contains spoilers for "Westworld" Season 4, Episode 7, "Metanoia."

While the first six episodes of "Westworld" Season 4 have been compelling — and largely cleaned up the storytelling mess created by both Seasons 2 and 3 — they also seemed to be a buildup to something bigger. With its myriad plot reveals and shocking character deaths, Episode 7, "Metanoia," delivers on a whopping portion of that promise.

Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) lead off "Metanoia" by opening the gate to the Sublime at Hoover Dam, with a prelude showing Bernard in dusty-hotel-room-headband-mode going through that part of the simulation. This first double scene is disorienting and at first seems to be leading us down the it-was-all-just-a-simulation path, almost as if creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan wanted to remind audiences that despite being on their best behavior this season, they can still mess with viewers in any of a thousand ways. This trickery is part of what makes "Westworld" mesmerizing and annoying at the same time, but at least this particular misdirection only lasts a few minutes.

Caleb (Aaron Paul) and Frankie (Aurora Perrineau) are finally reunited, although she is understandably freaked out that their age difference has gone from 20-something years to just a handful. It's just one more lump of trauma for Frankie to absorb, and with each scar she becomes colder and more detached, while O.G. hosts Bernard, Maeve, and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) seem to display the most humanity of any of the remaining main characters.

Maeve and Charlotte's long-awaited confrontation doesn't end well for either of them

Teddy "Exposition" Flood (James Marsden) is back, telling audiences and Christina (Rachel Evan Wood) that the world she sees is real but she's not actually there. It's just part of the answer she is seeking as to the nature of her reality; we're all still left in the dark as to how she got there or who exactly she is. He does reveal that she has elements of Dolores in her and that Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) shares some of that lineage.

We get the long-awaited showdown between Maeve and Charlotte, a hand-to-hand battle that takes them through a window at Olympiad headquarters and into one of the many reflecting pools that surround the transcendence lab. When Maeve shows up, Charlotte stops her transplant into one of the half-headed armless drone bodies that apparently represents her evolutionary ideal — something Charlotte probably regrets when William shows up and puts a bullet through both her and Maeve's brain balls.

That's about as dead as a host can get on "Westworld," although flashbacks and the continued existence of the Sublime mean no character is every truly gone. But in the real world and the battle that rages there, Maeve and Charlotte are no longer going to be factors. Neither is Bernard — he also falls victim to the Host in Black's sharp shooting, taking two bullets in the chest and one in the head. 

William and Christina both undergo huge transformations

Host William seems to have taken to the bloodthirsty ways of his human progenitor, and is now treating the world like his own personal Westworld park. He sends a command from the sonic tower out to humans and hosts alike to battle to the death, a conflict that begins as he destroys the tower and strides back towards a burning New York City accompanied by David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold The World." The haunting lyrics tell the tale of both human and host William: "I searched for form and land; for years and years I roamed ... We must have died alone a long, long time ago."

Episode 7 is the first time in Season 4 that all of the major characters and plot lines come together, finally revealing that they all do truly exist in the same timeline and reality. The only exception is Christina, who seems to be moving closer and closer to becoming Dolores with each passing moment. She tries to drown herself in the bath before having some kind of awakening, and as she lifts herself out of the water — in a shot very reminiscent of a host emerging from its printing tub — the musical cues indicate a rebirth. It could be a dangerous one, as the Christina-lores hybrid that rises from that bathtub has a look in her eyes that invokes the angry and frustrated Dolores that led the first host rebellion.

The color of characters' clothes may indicate a world gone bad

What William sets in motion isn't a rebellion — it is global chaos for its own sake. That mayhem comes to a world that was headed there anyway, if Bernard's many warnings are to be taken at face value and if sartorial choices mean anything. Where earlier episodes showed host and human New Yorkers wearing a mixture of black and white with shades of grey introduced later, Episode 7 shows nearly everyone clad in black — including the unquestioned heroes of Season 4 like Bernard, Maeve, Teddy, Christina, Stubbs, and Frankie. There are a couple of background players in white and Caleb is clad in his fidelity interview pale grey scrubs, but only Charlotte in her bright red dress and Christina in her blue blazer wear any color.

In the park, guests were given the choice between white and black garb to signify good or evil. It's unclear whether Charlotte picks out the outfits for her puppets or not, but given her seeming willingness to allow her hosts some autonomy, we can presume she is allowing them to choose their colors. They appear to be choosing evil, as William did on so many of his park visits, and perhaps that's part of the reason she tries to choose transcendence for herself and shuffle off her mortal-ish coil.

There have been musical signs of doom throughout Westworld Season 4

Throughout Season 4 we've heard the sonic control tower emit a four note sequence that should seem familiar to moviegoers (or fans of 13th Century Gregorian monks). The "Dies Irae" has been used as a signal of doom for a number of monumental cinematic moments, per Vox. For instance, it plays during Mufasa's (James Earl Jones) death in "The Lion King." You can also hear it during George Bailey's (Jimmy Stewart) most pivotal moment in "It's a Wonderful Life," as well as Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) returning home to find his Aunt Beru (Shelagh Fraser) and Uncle Owen (Phil Brown) have been murdered by Imperial troops. 

While we've heard it many times in Season 4 when Charlotte issues commands to her minions via the tower, the deafening sequence William uses to set the humans and hosts against one another is much louder, physically shaking Stubbs, Frankie, and Caleb even though they're underground in a subway station. 

It's as if the little harbingers of doom accumulating throughout Season 4 finally came to a head in one big tidal wave, setting off chaos that at first glimpse appears capable of making the war that ended Season 3 look like a church picnic. How effective the three remaining resistance leaders can be against a world gone truly mad is just one of the many outstanding questions as "Westworld" heads into the Season 4 finale. 

When does Westworld Season 4, Episode 8 air?

"Westworld" Season 4, Episode 8, "Que Será, Será," airs on HBO on Sunday, August 14 at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time and streams nationwide on HBO Max at 9 p.m. Eastern. Factions have been fracturing and re-forming throughout Season 4, and William the Murderbot's killing spree has limited the possible combinations going forward. With Charlotte dead, he seems to be alone on the side of wanton bloodshed and chaos, although Clementine Pennyfeather (Angela Sarafyan) has been his trusted lieutenant throughout the season and could rejoin him. He or they will be up against what remains of the resistance, led by Frankie, Stubbs, and host Caleb.

We know Christina is not "real" – whatever that may mean in "Westworld" — but we still don't know who programmed her into existence. Is it Dolores, Charlotte, Bernard, Arnold, Ford (Anthony Hopkins), or even Willam? 

Will Bernard, Maeve, and Dolores stay dead or reunite in the Sublime to figure out a way to fight from there, and will Christina-lores and Teddy be able to join up with Stubbs, Frankie, and Caleb? Regardless of the answers to any of those questions, both the ending of "Westworld" Season 3 and the arc Season 4 appears to be taking heading into the final episode are promising signs that "Que Será, Será" will be both satisfying and harrowing.