Westworld recap: Survival of the fittest

·7 min read

In the seventh episode of Westworld season 4, "Metanoia" — written by Desa Larkin-Boutté & Denise Thé and directed by Meera Menon — the endgame begins.

Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) make their way inside the Hoover Dam, which the Host in Black (Ed Harris) took control of way back in the premiere. Dolores stored the Sublime here, but Halores (Tessa Thompson) can't access it without the key inside Bernard's head. We watch this opening sequence play out twice.

The first time turns out to be one of the simulations Bernard ran during his time in the Sublime (episode 3), where we learn that this version of Maeve is a copy, and the real version of her is somewhere still out there in the world. He offers her a choice. He could find her, upload her, and she'd be safely reunited with her daughter before the hosts and humans cause each other's extinction. Or, she could stay and fight to save the world, even if they are "doomed to failure." Bernard really is the worst at motivational speeches. "For one who expects us to have such faith in you, you have startlingly little in us," she chastises him. "Do you really think if you knew the truth you would stay and fight?," he asks. "No, I would abandon you, as you expect," she replies as a riot control robot smashes through the wall and presumably kills them.

In the second, real version, he chooses not to tell her that she's a copy — and this time she is down for the cause, determined to free the humans from their loops the same way she freed herself. But she makes Bernard promise when this is all over to send her to the Sublime and reunite her with her daughter. He makes her an unconvincing pledge. Maybe Bernard failed so many times in the simulations because he has no poker face. They head off to take out Halores' tower, leaving the gate to robot heaven open.


John Johnson/HBO

Meanwhile, over at Christina's (Evan Rachel Wood) apartment, Teddy (James Marsden) tells her that she is one of multiple permutations of Dolores, and that Halores is one of them as well. Upon learning her true nature, Christina locks herself in the bathroom and drowns herself in the tub, testing her limits. She survives and emerges reborn. Christina doesn't know why she's here, but whatever this is it has to stop.

Inside Olympiad, Halores tells the 279th version of Caleb (Aaron Paul) that she's going to shut down the cities tonight and put the humans in cold storage, just like they used to do to the hosts in the park. He's bait to draw Frankie (Aurora Perrineau) and the rebels into the city, and they'll be here just in time. The Host in Black is not happy about this new development. Halores says more hosts have taken their lives in the last 3 days than in the last 2 decades, if they don't do this soon there won't be any of their kind left.

Frankie and the remaining crew arrive in the city and prepare to split up into teams: Frankie and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) will rescue Caleb; Bernard and Maeve 2.0 will take out the tower; Odina (Morningstar Angeline) will get a boat and meet them in Red Hook. Both Maeve and Bernard say their goodbyes, convinced they won't make it back. Maeve wishes she could see Caleb and let him know she kept her promise. Frankie insists she'll get the chance when they meet up again.

Bernard tells Stubbs he's been a good friend to which Stubbs replies "f--- you, Bernard." I haven't gotten much chance to talk about him this season, but Stubbs really has been an MVP, throwing some much-needed levity into the mix. He misinterprets Bernard's sentimental compliments; sure this means he's going to die. Bernard cryptically instructs him to make a left at the fork when the time comes. They hug and Stubbs insists they "better f---ing win." (Awww. I love these two. They're my favorite Westworld couple.)

In the control room at Olympiad, Halores sends out an encrypted message to the hosts, informing them this is the last day to enjoy the cities. It's time to let go of sentimental attachments and evolve into the species they were meant to be. But down in cold storage, the Host in Black has other plans, and wakes the real William for another meeting. He wants to know what William would do to stop Halores from taking his world away. "Cultures don't survive, cockroaches do. The second we stopped being cockroaches, the whole species went extinct … We're not here to transcend, we're here to destroy," William says. The Host in Black is still a version of him, and only one of them needs to do what must be done. HiB says he understands, then stabs William in the heart.

Everyone converges on Olympiad and the tower.

Christina uses her narrative superpower to trigger the fire alarm, evacuate the building, and make the writers destroy all the storylines. Then they get rid of the guards as well, but not before overriding the security system and unlocking all the doors, freeing Caleb — a "ghost" from her past she no longer recognizes.

All the chaos makes it easier for Stubbs and Frankie to slip in unnoticed. In their search for her father, they stumble upon the body of William, and Stubbs basically says good riddance. Soon after, he reaches the fork in the road Bernard told him about, and he makes the left, leading them to Caleb. At first, Caleb doesn't believe this is the real Frankie, sure this is another one of Halores's sadistic tricks. But in the end, she convinces him by reminding him of the pet name he had for her when she was a kid, and they share a tearful reunion.


John Johnson/HBO

Maeve 2.0 and Bernard arrive at the tower where he tells her the truth about their mission: no matter what they do, they can't win. Everyone here is going to die, but they can save one part of this world. The choice to still fight with him has to be hers.

At the top of the tower, Halores observes a host transcend into a new, non-human form, and decides it's time for her to transcend as well. Before she can achieve transcendence, she is interrupted by Maeve 2.0, who has decided to stand with Bernard. A great fight sequence follows and the two are evenly matched, but in the end Maeve 2.0 is shot in the head from behind by HiB. But he's not done with headshots yet! He informs Halores they're playing a new game — "survival of the fittest" — and delivers a fatal blow to her pearl as well. RIP to a truly compelling villain.

In the control room, Bernard leaves a cryptic message on a tablet before coming face-to-face with the Host in Black, who monologues before shooting Bernard in the chest. Man, if there's one thing HiB loves more than killing people, it's monologues. He sends out a signal through the tower to kick off one last game where everyone, host and human alike, will fight until no one remains "but the cockroaches." As Bernard lies dying, he replays what he said to Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon) in episode 3: that every scenario ends with his death. Then HiB delivers yet another fatal headshot and fulfills Bernard's prophecy.

Frankie, Caleb, and Stubbs make it down to the subway just as the signal goes out and all hell breaks loose. They escape, but not before Frankie gets shot in the leg.

Out on the street, Christina tries to make the game stop, but her powers are negated by the tone, and everyone she tries to help is unable to see her. Distraught, she asks Teddy what's happening and he drops another bombshell on her: no one can see her because she isn't real.

The Host in Black, decked out in his classic Westworld ensemble, struts out into the mayhem of the city as the tower explodes behind him.It's starting to feel like next week's finale might be the series finale, right? I can't imagine how much further they can take this story, but I'm excited to see how the narrative plays out.

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