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Westworld Recap: Scarred Memories Of The Past

This article contains spoilers for "Westworld" Season 4, Episode 8, "Que Será, Será."

Last week's episode of "Westworld" saw host William (Ed Harris) murder Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright), Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson), Maeve Millay (Thandiwe Newton), and his human self. He topped that off by setting the humans and hosts remaining in the world against each other in a massive fight to extinction. Season 4, Episode 8, "Que Será, Será," opens with him striding through corpse-filled streets toward a showdown with Hale at Hoover Dam. 

Charlotte is only back in action because of William's intentionally bad marksmanship. While the shot that killed Bernard went straight through his pearl, the ones that took out Maeve and Charlotte were far enough off-center to have missed their essential hardware. A robot with the hand-eye coordination to make three consecutive holes in one wouldn't have missed his target by a micrometer, and William's fondness for any worthy adversary is reason enough for him to leave Hale and Maeve able to get back in the game. It's only Charlotte who gets that chance, however, and as her drones rebuild her — stronger and badder than ever — she tells them, "Leave my scars. I want to remember my past. Keep my face. When I find William I want him to know who killed him." 

An eye for an eye makes the whole world dead

It's that single-minded need for revenge that drove Hale to mold the world as she did and also ensured that she would never be happy, even in a playground of her own creation. She does get her wish for vengeance on William, though, shooting him with the gun Bernard planted in Episode 7, "Metanoia" and crushing his brain ball into dust. She later does the same with her own, making them both as dead as anyone in "Westworld" can ever be, but before she takes her own life she brings Dolores back and puts her into the Sublime. 

In a post-episode behind-the-scenes featurette, co-creator Lisa Joy said, "That's [Charlotte's] way of stepping off of this loop, and she's handing the story off to someone else now." It's also a reminder that the consciousness that has inhabited Hale's host body has a significant amount of Dolores' code. The Dolores who engineered the first host revolution and the Charlotte who tried to build a host utopia both had one driving goal: to restore freedom of choice to their kind — although Hale found out that once given that freedom, hosts aren't any more responsible with it than humans. 

Dolores was at the center of the maze all along

The biggest reveal of the season comes when we learn the original Dolores pearl had been sitting below the 3-D map Hale used to monitor New York. It explains how Christina is able to exist virtually in the real world and how she is able to bring in familiar faces to help center her in the unfamiliar realm. "I talked to myself in the voices of others," she tells Teddy. "I need to wake myself up. To see what this world really is." 

But this world is headed down a path of certain doom, if Bernard's predictions and Christina-Dolores' episode-ending monologue are to be believed. "Hosts and humans were given the gift of intelligent life, and we used it to usher in our own annihilation," she says. "A few [human outliers] may escape death for a few months, maybe even years. But ultimately, their kind will go extinct." 

That doesn't bode well for Adina and Frankie, but Bernard did make a digital copy of Frankie so perhaps "Westworld" viewers haven't seen the last of Aurora Perrineau, even if humanity is doomed to go the way of the dodo.

Humans have become the fodder at the end of Westworld Season 4

There don't seem to be many humans left. Frankie and her partner Adina (Morningstar Angeline) are the only two that appear in the episode, other than a few who are murdered by hosts in the opening minutes. They'll have to carry on the resistance without Caleb No. 279, who is glitching badly. While ordinarily that would mean a fiery end at fidelity check central and a new printed body, there's nobody left at Olympiad to run those procedures. 

While poor Caleb is probably doomed to deteriorate indefinitely, Frankie's future is less certain. In the post-episode extras, Aurora Perrineau expressed hope for her character, saying, "I think the final farewell with Caleb is kind of bittersweet and I think he knows she feels safe ... it's so perfect." 

Only Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) expresses a desire to hunt down the outliers, but she's dispatched by Frankie with a perfectly placed shot to the forehead. Presumably Frankie, Adina, and whoever else from the resistance remains alive can live peacefully while the hosts return to the Sublime. They may have to join them there. "Sentient life on Earth has ended," Dolores says as the episode ends. "But some part of it might still be preserved in another world — my world." With the scan Bernard did at the dilapidated Chicagoland park, Frankie could be a part of her world, too.

Memory is all-powerful in Westworld

"Westworld" likes to preach to the power of memory, and "Que Será, Será" is a powerfully delivered sermon on the subject. Frankie's memories of her father are her inspiration and cornerstone, and those he retains of her keep him fighting through 278 more painful deaths. Bernard's vast memories from decades in the parks allow him to run the countless simulations that direct him to the one thin path to a possible future.

It's Dolores-Christina's recall that proves to be the most powerful. As Dolores, she once used her memories to help bring Arnold back to life in the form of Bernard, and Christina digs deep into her recorded past to create a high-stakes test for humans and hosts alike. It will take place in Sweetwater, which she builds and populates based on the data collected from the original park guests and host data already available in the Sublime. One of the often-repeated refrains of "Westworld" states that we only live as long as the last person who remembers us, and Dolores vows to be the one to help humans and hosts alike live on via her memories.

One bad apple can spoil a whole bunch, even if they're all bits and bytes

As Dolores tears down the buildings of the Sublime New York she has found herself in, a voiceover clues us in to her plan. "There's time for one last game," she says. "A dangerous game with the highest of stakes — survival or extinction. This game ends where it began, in a world like a maze that tests who we are, that reveals who we are to become. One last loop around the bend." 

William first arrived to the park as a wide-eyed young man with a preference for the white hat and a naive outlook on the world. Over the years, he devolved into the maniacal murderous Man in Black. If she introduces him back into her world as young unspoiled William, he would be the perfect barometer for her experiment. But given a second chance, does he stay on the righteous path or once again descend into evil madness? If Dolores' hopeful goal is to save humans, hosts, or both from ultimate extinction, including William might be like tossing a rotten, worm-ridden apple into a bushel of ripening ones.

Vivid color, or lack of it, demonstrates hope ... or lack of it

The real world scenes in the "Westworld" Season 4 finale are shot in grim, muted greys and browns. The technique is fitting for an episode where pretty much everyone dies, and helps illustrate the bleak future facing humanity. In Season 3, Rehoboam foresaw a population collapse event in 23 years, which turned out to be a perfectly timed prediction of William's war. If the all-knowing supercomputer is to be further believed, the end of civilization is to come in 25-100 years more — which seems like an optimistic look given the current state of things. 

Only the scenes in the Sublime are in rich, saturated colors, giving the impression that any hope for hosts or humans lies there. The rich greens of the trees behind Dolores, her familiar light blue dress, and the bright flames from a burning city give her stroll through Sublime New York the vivid color that the real city never displayed to her. Back in the real world, even Charlotte's death is shot more hopefully, with the Hoover Dam backdrop given a rosy tint to go along with the red wires running through her body and the flush in her cheeks. 

For a dark episode the musical choices are surprisingly light

Where the cinematography of "Que Será, Será" is mostly bleak, the musical choices are remarkably upbeat for an episode about the collapse of human civilization. Early on we hear Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" as William drives to Hoover Dam to destroy the Sublime. It's a song about the joy and risk that comes along with powerful and unrequited romantic love, like the one William developed for Dolores that sent him on his first few steps towards becoming The Man in Black. 

The episode's title comes from a Doris Day tune that first appeared in the 1956 Alfred Hitchcock thriller "The Man Who Knew Too Much." Caleb and Frankie used to sing the lilting melody and catchy chorus together at bedtime and manage to wheeze out a little of it while he's sewing up her bullet wound. It's an optimistic way of looking at an uncertain future: Day sings of asking her mother and partner what the future holds and in turn getting asked the same question by her own children. The answer is always equal parts wistful and resolute: "Whatever will be, will be; the future's not ours to see." 

The only other musical interlude other than some background score and a few doses of the "Dies Irae" is the Sweetwater park opening theme that we hear from the familiar player piano as Dolores tells us why we are back in the dusty old town.

In Westworld, how dead is dead?

"Westworld" has brought back so many characters from so many deaths that a "dead or alive" dichotomy is no longer useful — especially now that literally no one may be truly alive. Instead, we must ask how dead each character is. At the top of the pyramid are Charlotte and William with their crushed brain balls. Just below them would be Bernard and Maeve with theirs having been pierced by bullets, but both of them are electronic by birth and could be brought back to the Sublime by Dolores and her super-memory. 

Caleb exists in a space between life and death, in a doomed package with no way out except maybe a permanent jump to the Sublime. The souls of the remaining hosts are as alive as they have ever been, perhaps more so than when they had nothing but fragile humanoid bodies to ride around in. While technically the most alive of anyone left in the land of "Westworld," the few remaining humans have, according to Rehoboam's prediction and any reasonable speculation, a far bleaker future. 

The series itself may be equally as doomed.

When does the next episode of Westworld air?

"Que Será, Será" wrapped up Season 4 ... and, perhaps, so did "Westworld" as a whole. 

There is no official confirmation that a Season 5 of "Westworld" is coming, although Ed Harris did tell The Hollywood Reporter, "We have one more season, which will start filming next April and May. I have no idea where that's going to end up." He is referring to the uncertainty surrounding the newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery megalith, which has led to speculation about the future of HBO and HBO Max. Even if the network and streaming service continue on as currently constituted, the new owners may decide that such an expensive production isn't worth their while.

In an interview with Deadline, co-creator Lisa Joy expressed both eagerness and nervousness about a potential fifth season. "You never want to tempt the TV gods, but ["Westworld" co-creator] Jonah [Nolan] and I have always had an ending in mind that we hope to reach," she said, and ominously added, "We have not quite reached it yet." 

What that ending brings for Frankie and the humans or Dolores and the hosts may never be known, unless "Westworld" is resurrected once more.