‘Westworld’ explained – season three episode three: who is in Charlotte Hale’s body?

**Major spoilers for ‘The Absence Of Field’ below**

Welcome to Westworld – the show that makes sense every time, 50% of the time! Season three of the HBO sci-fi epic has been quite well-behaved thus far – ditching the super-complex timelines in favour of linear storytelling that everyone can actually understand. But this week, during episode three, it all started to go a bit timey-wimey again.

While the season opener checked in on paranoid android Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and her quest to destroy all of humanity, part two focused on fellow park host Maeve (Thandie Newton). For this episode, we’re back in the real world with Dolores, but most of the narrative comes from the point of view of Charlotte Hale, the park CEO who was (spoiler) killed at the end of season two. So how can she be back?

Who is in Charlotte Hale’s body?

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If you remember (unlikely), Dolores shot Charlotte in the head at the end of season two. So how is she waltzing around Delos’ swanky HQ then? Well, it’s a long story.

After nicking all the illegal data Westworld had been storing on its customers, Dolores pocketed a collection of small chunky metal balls. Contained inside the balls were the consciousnesses of several key hosts from the park (identities as yet unrevealed).

As an extra parting gift, the barmy bot recreated the body of Hale and placed one of the stolen hosts’ brain-chips inside it. The rogue Hale could now presumably go about her business as normal, pulling the strings of one of the most powerful companies in the world (Delos). Meanwhile, Dolores can sit on the sidelines, secretly controlling everything. Smart plan, eh?

The question remains, however: who is inside Charlotte’s body? Clues are scant, so far, and although cowboy Teddy was last seen escaping into ‘The Valley Beyond’ – a digital cloud of sorts in which hosts now live freely – it wouldn’t be the biggest twist in the world for Dolores to have brought her fave pistol whippin’ hunk back from the dead. Tellingly, she confides in fake Charlotte that she “trusts” her – and it’s hard to think of anyone other than Teddy who checks that box. Other suspects include… well, just about anyone. There’s Angela (smart, capable, loyal to Dolores); Maeve (unlikely, given her exploits in episode two); Clementine (still an option); Robert Ford (never say never); and maybe even a clone of Dolores herself (not out of the question). At the end of the day, anything’s possible in Westworld.

Charlotte Hale
Which host is operating Charlotte Hale’s body?. Credit: HBO

Do Charlotte’s family know that she is a host?

Later in the episode, CharlotteBot is seen putting real Charlotte’s children to bed. Hale’s kids don’t appear to know of their mum’s death, but the scene is presented in a disjointed, confusing fashion. At one point, we see the host crying about her situation to Dolores in a swanky bar. She also reveals deep lacerations on her wrists – which suggests the pressure of posing as the Delos CEO is starting to mess with whoever is inside her head. Again, Teddy previously showed signs of being uncomfortable with Dolores’ destructive plans during season two – he shot himself in the head by way of protest. Could the self-harm and emotional outbursts be teasing Charlotte’s true identity?

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Westworld season 3 episode 3
Aaron Paul as Caleb in ‘Westworld’. Credit: HBO

Are Caleb and Dolores working together now?

Caleb x Dolores action is limited in Westworld season 3 episode 3, but there’s some plot progression nonetheless. After learning from Dolores that society is rigged by a mysterious business magnate who controls a high-tech system which can predict anyone’s future based on an algorithm – that’s Serac, more on him later – Caleb (Aaron Paul) appears to pledge his undying loyalty to her. Together, during a romantic moment on a picturesque boardwalk, they agree to take down the powers that be together. We’ll have to wait until episode four to see how they get on.

What’s wrong with Caleb’s mum?

Further delving into the backstory of construction worker turned Dolores disciple Caleb, episode three introduces us to his family. Specifically, we learn about his mother, who is bed-bound in hospital and suffering from some kind of degenerative neurological disorder. Heartbreakingly, she sometimes can’t remember who her son is and becomes increasingly distressed until Caleb leaves.

Westworld season3 episode 3
Vincent Cassell as mysterious puppet master Serac in Westworld season 3 episode 3. Credit: HBO

How do Serac and Charlotte know each other?

Perhaps the biggest plot reveal this week was saved until last. After arriving at yet another posh mansion, real Charlotte is shown into a courtyard where shadowy trillionaire Serac, played by slick French actor Vincent Cassell, is waiting for her.

During their short but intense conversation, it’s revealed that human Charlotte (now dead, of course) had previously approached the mysterious big bad with an offer to steal all of the illegal park data. It’s unclear what Hale wanted in return, but it doesn’t matter – Dolores scuppered their plans when she acquired the encryption key which unlocks the entire nefariously collected info-dump. Naturally, Serac is desperate to track her down and Charlotte agrees to help.

Even more ominously, Serac’s closing statement for the episode includes the line: “Time is a luxury, my dear. Of which you have very little”. Could the powerful Frenchman be trying to warn the Delos CEO, or threaten her? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Westworld season 3 episode 3 airs at 2am on Monday on Sky Atlantic. It is repeated at 9pm

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