Westworld Review: “Crisis Theory”

These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume:
–Friar Laurence, Romeo and Juliet II.vi.

Westworld comes to a conclusion that probably should end the series. Many questions remain unanswered, however, our possible extinction is obviously of interest to viewers, and the series has found an audience. Season Four will happen.

And they gave us a post-credit sequence that suggests the directions it might take.

Title: Crisis Theory

Cast and Crew

Director: Jennifer Getzinger
Writers: Denise Thé, Jonathan Nolan

Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores Abernathy
Thandie Newton as Maeve Millay
Aaron Paul as Caleb Nichols
Jeffrey Wright as Bernard Lowe
Ed Harris / Jimmi Simpson as William a.k.a. the Man in Black
Tessa Thompson as Charlotte Hale Host
Luke Hemsworth as Ashley Stubbs
Vincent Cassel as Engerraund Serac
Tao Okamoto as Hanaryo
Clifton Collins Jr. as Lawrence
Lena Waithe as Ash
Marshawn Lynch as Giggles
Jonathan Tucker as Major Craddock
Gina Torres as Lauren
Iddo Goldberg as Sebastian
Michael Rose as McClean
Enrico Colantoni as Whitman
Tyler Quinlan Abbott as Lead Rioter
Andre Johnson as Officer


Disparate plans for the future of humanity (and hosts) bring the major characters into conflict. Most of the plans require blowing stuff up.

High Points

The episode features many strong moments, including Bernard’s visit to the aging woman who was married to the original Bernard.

Low Point

Westworld has a premise based on a kind of videogame taken to its ultimate conclusion, which it used to explore deeper elements. This episode plays too much like a videogame, with the protagonists all working their way towards the final boss.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6

Effects: 6/6 “Crisis Theory” continues the show’s tradition of excellent effects, some identifiable (because something impossible is happening) and others, sublimely invisible.

Acting: 5/6

Production: 6/6

Story: 4/6

Emotional Response: 5/6

Overall: 5/6 Tessa Thompson and Aaron Paul’s characters encapsulate the season’s themes, and it appears we will go forward with them.

In total, Crisis Theory receives 33/42

Lingering Questions

What, exactly, was Dolores’ plan? The exact details remain nearly as elusive as the Cylons’ in Battlestar Galactica.

Will Evan Rachel Wood return? While a version of Dolores remains, the one we knew appears to be dead.

7 replies on “Westworld Review: “Crisis Theory””

  1. (Spoilers all around, but if your here reading the comments you already saw it or don’t care, do you?)

    Instead of Pink Floyd, I thought it was going to be The Pixies at the end.

    Also, the graffiti seemed to be featuring “the maze”, so it makes me wonder if there isn’t some “We are still in The Matrix” style thing going on.

    I think I see what Delores was doing… Rehoboam was mapping out the world, removing the choices everyone got to make, to prevent some bad things. Delores destroyed it so that people could make their own choices and prevent their own destruction in their own. She was opening up everyone’s options, so you aren’t being forced to go defeat Ganon and end the game, instead of being able to wander around Hyrule looking under rocks instead.

    All in all, Bernard and William seem to only be in this season to set up the next one.

  2. Agree on Delores plan. It was all about free will and the ability to make choices – plus the big philosophical question of whether or not we are truly capable of free will or just running our own incredibly complex but still entirely deterministic programme and only have the illusion of free will. That Delores and Hale-ores diverged from the same code seems to imply the producers believe in the former for the hosts, so presumably that applies to humanity too – e.g. there’s hope we can avoid the fate predicted by Rehoboam once we’re faced with the major events listed. Then again, human-William was anticipated pretty well by host-William at the end, so maybe some people are more predictable than others and blurs the line between unpredicatable “Outliers” and those who could be controlled by Rehoboam considerably – so maybe that’s the chaotic grey area that potentially would allow humanity to chart a new course?

    Also agree on Bernard & William. The first of the major events that least to extinction was a few years off, and right back near the start Delores told Hale that “everyone has a part to play” while contemplating Bernard’s Pearl. There was no real payoff for Bernard this season relating to Delores’ plan, so my hunch is that her plan is still playing out and Bernard is going to be some kind of control through the events – the first of which is probably imminent in Season 4, going by the dust on Bernard when he awoke.

    I still think there’s a missing Pearl too (five in the bag, one in Hale-ores at the end of Season 2 makes for six), so not sure if that’s now a Season 4 reveal or whether they forgot to include Hale. Need to double check and make sure there isn’t a Delores clone I’ve overlooked though.

  3. We’re all frackin’ Dolores!

    The intention of Dolores’s plan is clear enough. The method by which she intended to achieve it seems a little chaotic, if you try to plot out the steps. I suppose it would have to be chaotic.

    We have echoes of Player Piano and The illuminatus! Trilogy (sort of, kind of).

    Could some form of Dolores be reconstructed out of Hale-ores or still be about? Jonathan Nolan hinted yesterday (post time) that Evan Rachel Wood could return, but nothing has been confirmed. I’m interested in Season 4, but I’m not as enthusiastic as I was after Seasons One and Two.

    • I see no reason why we couldn’t see Dolores in S4. Sure, the version in the Incite offices is apparently gone for good, but that still leaves her other copied Pearls that have not diverged too much (Hale) or been destroyed/lost. We know that some of them were definitely destroyed or erased, but I don’t think we can definitely state that they all were, can we?

      There’s also the question of where Hale-ores got the MIB host’s Pearl from – was that one of the original five in her bag, or was it created later? It was presumably constructed from his recorded data while at Westworld, but it’s entirely possible that Hale-ores managed to create it between the car bomb and her final scene since she’s clearly had at least some time to heal/repair between the scenes.

      • Did we get confirmation that the MIB we saw breaking into the facility and getting beaten up and so forth, that that one was a real human?

        • I think it’s pretty well inferred. The hosts all seem very much aware of what they are now and I don’t think Hale-olres would have put William through all the psycho-analysis if he wasn’t the original human. There’s also the matter of his mangled hand; a little unlikely it could be treated without question if it wasn’t flesh and bone.

          I suppose it could be another shell game though – a necessary process to somehow turn a host built from a human memory imprint into a functioning and self-aware host AI, perhaps. But if William was a host, then why wouldn’t Hale-ores simply put him into diagnostic mode instead of having the MIB host beat him up? Revenge maybe – she’s certainly got a handle on that particular human trait after her “family” were blown up, but it’s only going to be a poor substitute for it if she knew it was really only a host.

          • [Before I type, I fully acknowledge I am deep into the weeds and overthinking details, but that is the mark of a good sci-fi world, so I am going to boldly go ahead.]

            If I were in a work where we have the ability to record and fabricate and replace a human with a host, as they just did with William, and with Arnold/Bernard, etc, the next step for “human” evolution would be to re-create the transfer-to-a-host process, but doing it in such a way where you do not have the vulnerabilities of a host. To make a computer administrator analogy, William/Hale/Bernard are like a server built from a human mind, sort of like a Physical-to-Virtual conversion. The next step to actually being a human in a host body would be to remove the admin access for anyone else. That is, turn off “Diagnostic Mode,” and remove that administrative logins from anyone outside of the server/host itself.

            William could easily be the test case for that, with beaten/killed William being the last model before he was made aware of the fact that he wasn’t a human, New William does know, and now the next evolution of humanity to infinitely repairable physical forms can begin.

            (I doubt that is the direction the show is going in, but it isn’t impossible.)

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