Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Westworld Season 4, Episode 4.Going into season four of Westworld, now halfway through, it looked like the show was gearing up for a climactic showdown between humanity and the hosts. We had seen Hale, played by a terrifying Tessa Thompson in a rare villainous form, beginning to lay the groundwork for a plan to take over people’s very minds. Working against her was the lovely duo of Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) and Caleb (Aaron Paul) who were pulling out all the stops in a desperate attempt to stop him. In the latest episode, the show even took on a slightly more humorous tone as they infiltrate the new park and use Maeve’s knowledge of repeating stories to find their footing. Sure, Westworld being Westworld, there was always a lingering and horrifying feeling that something was wrong. The various timelines and stories all seemed disconnected as if the show was hiding something. In the fourth episode, “Generation Loss,” we saw history lay its cards on the table to devastating effect.
It turns out that the plan put in place by Hale wasn’t just in the making. It was already successful. Despite all efforts to stop her, she won. His operation now has the whole world within reach and Caleb, in his past attempts to stop him, had perished. The undercover mission he’d been on with Maeve? Simply a replayed memory in the consciousness of his now-host body whose fidelity is tested by Hale. Maeve, more invulnerable than once-human Caleb, was buried under the sand. This came after a fight with the man in black (Ed Harris) in the shadow of the massive terraformer first seen in Season 1. She had sacrificed herself thinking it would help ensure Caleb could escape. Alas, it didn’t help. It was later dug up by Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and the daughter of Caleb C (Aurora Perrineau) more than two decades later. They’re hoping to use it as a weapon in a very different fight and world than we’ve anticipated so far.
It was a wonderfully surprising moment, not just because of how it cut the rug so completely for us, as the show has done many times, but for what it opens up for the future. Even though all the timelines have collapsed in on themselves, the future is now vast with intriguing possibilities ahead. Just as he did with the time jump at the start of the season, which turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg, he has now embarked on what is a new future of possibility. of storytelling. While many of Season 3’s twists lacked imagination or momentum, this reveal proves to be the series’ most promising yet. Not only does this reveal how Hale has seemingly turned the entire world into a version of the parks where people are the hosts, but it’s also heightened by a strong performance from Paul when his character realizes his destiny. The way he captures the panic and fear that’s starting to gnaw at him ensures that this gut punch is grounded in his emotions. As he races through the world which then freezes around him, the background falls completely out of the narrative we expected in the best possible way. We and the Caleb-aware host are now in a more exciting tailspin, with the potential to land in any unknown location the show wants to drop us off in.
While there’s certainly more conflict to come, the episode’s final scenes move beyond the simple battle between hosts and humans that we anticipated into something more deeply engrossing. The questions the story now faces are far different from anything that has been raised before. While it was initially engaging to see Caleb grapple with the gargantuan task of figuring out how to stop Hale, the impact of his death on the world is profound. Even at the start, we see that Hale has drastically reshaped the world, leaving the survivors struggling just to survive. Seeing how Caleb’s daughter was affected by not knowing exactly what happened to her adds depth and texture to it all. That the show reintroduces us to a character whose life has been forever altered by the massive upheavals of the past 20 years might catch some off guard. However, the show turns this revelation into something both melancholy and meaningful that only has room to grow. While the first half of the season was going really well, it was still setting up for a more conventional showdown of the same characters. You could see how this was going to end.
For history to then reinvent itself once again, jumping forward to show that a new generation had to fight, adds some interesting wrinkles that pull us in deeper than they have in a long time. It’s not just that the show is as unexpected as ever, it’s that it’s proving more unique in how it pulls it off. In previous seasons, the twists often seemed to get tighter. It was as if he was caught in his own loops, going around in circles without ever looking ahead. This most recent installment did the opposite, unraveling the narrative threads it was setting up in ways that opened up new possibilities. Even though it took the unexpected loss of a major character, the impact of his death is just what the show needed. It ensures that we are constantly kept on our toes as it pushes us into uncharted waters, providing an abundance of potential new directions for it to descend. There are still unanswered questions, though the answers we received showed an entertaining willingness to upend everything we learned. This bold sensibility is something the series desperately lacked as it creates a wealth of opportunities to draw us even further into its story. It’s a book in progress where the pages can be completely rearranged at any time, creating the most thrilling journey he’s had since his debut.