Westworld 3×8 Review: Crisis Theory

Westworld Crisis Theory

‘Crisis Theory’ was a mind-blowing conclusion to an already mind-blowing season of Westworld.  If you’ve hated this season, however, you probably hated this episode, too.

It seems there’s significant push-back against the third season of Westworld, and the response to ‘Crisis Theory’ is no different.  The frustration seems to partially stem from those that came for the western ambiance who have suddenly found themselves thrown into a hard sci-fi narrative, and partially from those who were expecting much larger twists than what we got and were let down that the surprises weren’t as huge as prior seasons.

I came for the science fiction, however, and I know that that twist from season one is hard to top, so I made it through the entire season completely pleased.  

Well, almost

As you are aware, our weekly episode reviews contain spoilers and usually I don’t feel the need to warn for them since it should be a given.  But, that said, since this was a pretty major turning point I’m going to buck that trend and state that the rest of this review has a pretty big SPOILER WARNING for ‘Crisis Theory.’  Please watch the episode before reading this review.

I’ve been speculating since the beginning that either Maeve or Dolores would die in the finale, but I thought it’d be Maeve since Dolores is the protagonist.  I was right that someone would die, but wrong about who it would be.  It appears that Dolores has died.  Maybe.

Everyone on the show seems to be talking like her death is permanent, but a part of me hopes that she’ll come back somehow.  There are multiple copies of her pearl, after all, and her body can be rebuilt.  It’s absolutely possible to be resurrected if you’re a Host, but nobody is acting like that’s a thing that can happen within the show itself.  I’m not sure if they are setting us up for a shocking comeback next season, or if they are genuinely going to kill off her character.  

It’s true that this particular pearl is fried from the upload, but she had a bunch.  Some of them were uploaded into other Hosts –  like Charlotte Hale, for example – but were all of them uploaded? Could there be one somewhere that could be uploaded into another Dolores Host body?  Sure, she might not have the memories of the revolution she started to lead during season 3, but she’d at least be back.  And I’d get more Evan Rachel Wood on my screen.

Dolores isn’t the only major character who died in ‘Crisis Theory.’  In the post credit scene, William bit the dust in a rather brutal way.  A copy of himself slit his throat in a pretty darn gruesome scene that left my jaw on the floor.  That’s a death that really can’t be brought back in any real way like Dolores can.  While there can be William copies, the original one is gone and that’s that.  Any Host that gets resurrected could conceivably be molded into something Dolores-Hale can control.

Unless it rebels just like Dolores-Hale did, that is.  

A lot of people missed the post credit scene, so I’m not sure how they’ll roll out that major bit of information next season.  Seems like a rather big thing to let be revealed in a small extra scene tacked onto the end.  This show thrives with the little details though and you have to pay attention to fully appreciate it, so I guess this is just another thing you have to be on top of to fully understand next season.

Westworld Crisis TheoryOne of my biggest points of worry this season was seeing Dolores and Maeve in direct conflict.  I love both of them a lot and seeing them barrel quickly towards a showdown caused me a lot of anxiety.  But Maeve finally chose Dolores’ side of the ongoing conflict and Dolores’ eventual death wasn’t at her hands as I had originally assumed it would be (if Dolores was the one to die, that is).  Her motivation, however, has been somewhat difficult to pin down this season. 

Her motivation was apparently getting the opportunity to see her daughter again, but she’d seemed somewhat satisfied last season letting her go to their version of a digital after life, so I’m not sure that was the strongest motivation to give her.  While I’m very happy to sing the praises of this show, this is one point I felt could have been polished up a bit more.

Regardless of her initial motivation, I was pleased that she got to continue being an absolute badass this season and eventually teamed up with Team Dolores when it mattered the most.  If I have to say goodbye to Dolores, I’m happy to at least have Maeve step in and become a central figure on the right side of the conflict.  It’s going to be incredibly interesting seeing that unfold.

Bernard and Stubbs’s plot this season felt fairly unfinished, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing that unfold as well.  It seems we are led to believe that Stubbs is dead.  We see him with a rather gnarly wound sitting in a tub of ice, then in the post credits scene we focus entirely on a dust-covered Bernard who has clearly been sitting there for quite a while.  We are led to think that Stubbs must have ‘rotted’ out in the tub.

I suppose he can also be brought back as long as his pearl is intact.

It’s so hard to predict how a final actual ‘death’ works for the Hosts, guys.  I don’t even know.  But Stubbs has been a highlight this season, so I hope he returns.  Sassy Host Stubbs is the best.  Please bring him back.  PLEASE.

We won’t get any more Westworld until 2022.  And, frankly, I don’t have any other current shows to watch so my life is about to descend into an entertainment void where time is meaningless.  But that’s okay.  Time to catch up on all the shows I’ve missed, I guess?  We’ll bring ourselves back online in two years when our apocalypse has subsided and we can focus on the one playing out in Westworld

In the mean time, choose to see the beauty in this world, even if it’s hard.  It’s how we’ll get through this.

Author: Angel Wilson

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.


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