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Westworld Renewed for Season Four, So What Can That Tell Us About Season Three?

Thandie newton on westworld. HBO.

It was announced today that HBO’s mind-bending series about robot sentience and the possible bleak future of humanity, Westworld has been picked up for a fourth season. The series, from creators Johnathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, has gained critical acclaim but after a strong start in season two, it’s struggled to hold its audience.

Season three of the series, which has mainly taken place outside of the park, has functioned as almost a soft reboot of the show, and the apocalyptic nature of the conflict so far has led many, including me, to wonder if it would be the series’ final bow. Especially given that the ratings for season three started low compared to seasons one and two, things looked uncertain. But maybe the disruption of the COVID shutdowns has given Westworld a new chance, given that more people might be streaming it and the pipeline for new content has slowed down.

Casey Bloys of HBO praised the show in the following statement: “From the western theme park to the technocratic metropolis of the near future, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed every twist and turn from the minds of master storytellers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. We can’t wait to see where their inspired vision takes us next.”

But what does this mean for the current season of Westworld, which has only two episodes left to air? Well, I think we can now bet pretty securely that the conflict between hosts and humans, and also between the hosts themselves, won’t be resolved in the next two hours. And I think that’s good.

This season has been intriguing, but slow to get going in a lot of ways, as we’ve spent a lot of time building the world and redefining the stakes and characters. While I’ve very much liked the way the series has dug into ideas of god, predestination, and morality, there’s so much more to get into and I’m glad the creators have at least one more season to explore everything. Then again, it could be two more seasons, as the creators have said they have a five-season plan and this renewal didn’t come with any “fourth and final season” hoopla.

As we stand now, we have Maeve allied, however shakily with Serac and his aim to control all of humanity via data mining, algorithms, and possibly “editing” human beings. To further this goal, Serac wants the guest data from the Delos parks, the stuff they were using to try to map human consciousness, and create digital immortality. The stuff Dolores hid away somewhere along with the Valley Beyond.

Dolores prime (Evan Rachel Wood) wants to liberate all beings from their loops and the tyranny of programs, gods or fate that might control them, but that’s hard to do up against an enemy like Serac with unlimited resources, and god-like being like Maeve who can talk to and control nearly all machines. The men in Dolores’ life, Bernard and Caleb, have also been edited and used by different masters it seems, but we’re not sure if they will help her or try to stop her. Same with William.

My guess is that the final hours of the seasons will see many loyalties changing, with either Maeve or Bernard joining Dolores’ side. But I also think Dolores might lose herself, literally. Chalores (the version of Dolores in Charlotte Hale) ended the latest episode seeing looking more like Char-lores, as Charlotte Hale’s family, who she’d come to care for, was burnt. Chalores was already changing, and I think this loss might be enough for her to break the chain between her and her creator.

Whatever happens, it will inevitably give us a lot to consider and pick apart, which is what makes Westworld such addictive television and something we’re happy to see continue for another season.

(via: Eric Goldman/Twitter, image: HBO)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.