[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Westworld Season 4, Episode 3 “Annees Folles.”]
Bernard’s (Jeremy Wright) back! After spending years in the Sublime — where he meets his old friend and star of one of Westworld’s greatest episodes, Akechata (Zahn McClarnon) — he returns to the post-apocalyptic present with knowledge of the future… and, specifically, the one future that’ll prevent mankind’s extinction. You might say he’s seen 14 million outcomes, and he needs to make sure the one that happens is the one where The Avengers win. That sort of thing. He also knows that to save the world he’ll have to die, which is a bummer. Here’s how it happens.
Timeline #1: Bernard, Stubbs & New Friends
After awakening from the Sublime, Bernard reunites with Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth), who continues to be a delight in his “tired of all this and absolutely done with everything” attitude. One thing leads to another, and Bernard winds up killing a couple of random guys with a shovel. Why? As he explains to the woman who was supposed to meet them, played by Aurora Perrineau, they were hosts meant to infiltrate her group, which seems to be part of a host-resistance unit. Side note: While this isn’t confirmed, it feels almost too obvious that this woman, whose name is never given, is a grown-up version of Caleb’s daughter.
They go with her to an outcropping of cliffs, where a group of people rides up. There, Bernard tells them he can get them what they’ve been looking for: “a weapon.” Presumably, a weapon that can help them take down Hale-Dolores and bring the world back to the way it was.
Timeline #2: Caleb, Maeve & the Flies
You almost have to wonder if the ultra-rich guests feel ripped off by Roaring ‘20s world. The place has a lot in common with Westworld, right down to the storylines and characters involved. If it were me, I’d be asking for a refund.
Those similarities end up working in Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) and Caleb’s (Aaron Paul) favor, though, as Maeve’s knowledge of upcoming events allows them to jump on a Delos truck carting away dead hosts. (If you’re wondering how this happened, they hang out in the ‘20s version of the Mariposa until “Hector” shows up and wait until he opens fire.) Dumped down a chute, they carefully creep in the shadows… then all hell breaks loose.
The show does an amusing bit of navel gazing as a team of guests after William’s (Ed Harris) heart wind up below ground, too, determined to uncover the “game within the game.” Seeing Caleb and Maeve, they assume they’re part of the storyline and open fire on them, wounding Maeve while going after the park’s Dolores stand-in. Maeve barely makes it out; since Caleb’s human the guns don’t work on him, but they very much might’ve killed Maeve and derailed their whole plan. In the elevator she summons to save them, he fixes her up. “You weren’t half-bad out there,” she says with a smile. Caleb tells her that she saved his life, so he was “happy to return the favor.” What is the history here, and when are we going to find out?
On the lower level, they stumble right into what might be the epicenter of Hale-Dolores’ (Tessa Thompson) plans. They watch as faceless hosts infect fly larva, seemingly turning the insects into parasites (“They seem to like you,” Maeve remarks as they walk past a case full of flies that slam against the glass to get to Caleb). It’s not clear what’s actually happening, though, until they get to a room filled with computer monitors. There, the duo watches and listens as a series of ominous musical notes plays, and humans pick up guns and shoot themselves by invisible command. Despite Maeve’s efforts, they’re unable to stop the first round of people from dying… but the second round includes Frankie, which leaves Caleb distraught and searching for any way into the room.
Now might be a good time to mention what’s going on with Caleb’s family. While he’s been off investigating whatever’s going on with the flies, they’ve had a harrowing experience of their own. The man who was supposed to get them to safety was replaced with a host. They figure out something’s wrong, and Uwade (Nozipho Mclean) shoots him. They get out safely, but then how is Frankie in the Delos command center with Caleb?
She’s a host, that’s how! Maeve manages to override the locks, allowing Caleb in to save his daughter, but he quickly realizes it’s not really her. “All she needed was you,” Host-Frankie tells Caleb, likely referencing a larger plan of Dolores-Hale’s. The doors lock again and Maeve realizes something’s wrong, but the Host in Black steps in and prevents her from getting to Caleb. Host-Frankie grabs Caleb’s arms and her face opens, filling the air with flies. As Caleb yells, they crawl into his mouth, his nose, and his ears. We don’t know what that means for him, but we’re guessing nothing good…
- I’m a little bummed we’re not staying in 1920s-World longer. I suppose the show could go back to it for a bit next episode, but I thought we might get a little more exploration of what the park looked like and how it operated. The Roaring Twenties was such an interesting setting for a park, and it’s too bad it appears to be a one-episode-and-done thing.
- With that said, Westworld did lay on the Young William (Jimmi Simpson) parallels pretty good with Caleb in this episode. He bumps into a host as he gets off the train, he marvels at his surroundings, and he almost helps “Dolores” with her runaway can. “Do not pick that up,” Maeve hisses. Some fans have even pointed out that William and Caleb’s hairstyles are the same. Since Caleb doesn’t have psychopathic tendencies, it’s likely the parallels stop there. But it made for a sequence of fun callbacks.
- For the second week in a row, I’m going to say how much I’m enjoying the Caleb-Maeve pairing. Paul and Newton have an easy chemistry that clicks where Caleb-Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) never really did. Even though we didn’t see them together during the war, the characters’ closeness shines through in moments like the elevator scene and when Caleb and Maeve sit together at the “Mariposa.” Whether they were romantically involved when the fighting was going on or they were always just friends, they work, and they’re fast becoming one of my favorite Westworld duos.
- Presumably, now we have three timelines: Christina and Teddy (James Marsden), Caleb and Maeve, and Bernard and Stubbs. Bernard and Stubbs are farthest in the future if Perrineau is Frankie. Christina could be in the past, but the technology of her world doesn’t seem to fit that theory, so she’s probably in the future at some point as well (or in a simulation). That leaves Caleb and Maeve in a kind of timeline limbo. If Perrineau is Frankie, they’d have to be in the past relative to Bernard.
- The episode’s title is a reference to the roaring ’20s, and translates to “the crazy years.”
- Rating: 4/5. While I wasn’t a fan of Season 3, Westworld is, at least for me, turning things around so far in Season 4. Roaring Twenties-World was a neat concept, and I’m interested to see what ends up happening with Caleb next week. Those flies seem like a death sentence, right…?
Westworld, Sundays, 9/8c, HBO