The ending of Westworld Season 4 Episode 4 explained

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spoilers below.

It’s the world of Charlotte Hale; everyone else just lives in it. Or in the case of western world‘s latest installment, everyone else’s clones just live in it, unknowingly under their control.

Season 4 Episode 4 ended with another classic Westworldian rug pull, this time revealing that Hale (Tessa Thompson) has accomplished her grand plan of replacing humans with hosts – or so it seems. And they are all under her command. One of them is poor Caleb (Aaron Paul) who realizes that in his current form he is the 278th copy of the original human Caleb, who actually died 23 years ago. Now, this isn’t the classic “OMG he was a robot this whole time!” kind of gotcha western world has hit us in previous seasons. Caleb was truly human when we first met him. But he was infected with a parasite by the flies in the Delos labs, essentially leaving him vulnerable to mind control and messing up his memory. Hale ends up experimenting on him, but he doesn’t know this because each new iteration of Caleb is programmed with his real-life memories. He thinks he’s still his true human self with a bit of brain fog; in reality he is a copy working through his programming. whoops

Explaining Charlotte’s manipulation of Caleb to ELLE.com, Thompson said, “She’s essentially been experimenting on him for a very long time and, yeah, it’s unsavory. And yet we have seen this company, Delos, do this with hosts over the course of the last three seasons. And the irony, of course, is that Charlotte Hale [as a human] was one of the great proponents of it. And thus [is] sort of like sweet justice that Hale is after.”

Keep in mind that this version of Charlotte was introduced as the new host with Dolores’ program last season, but she’s clearly evolved into her own being with her own motivations and perspectives since then. “The Charlotte Hale that we sort of meet this season has been around for a long time, trying to envision a world with varying degrees of success,” says Thompson. “But I would say she’s a mastermind. She’s a stubborn god. Yes, she’s a new creature, unlike anything we’ve seen of her before.”

HBO

Part of that is their desire for, simply put, world domination. Where did this ambition come from? Is it just a thirst for revenge on people who have taken advantage of hosts in the past, or is it deeper? Thompson believes it has to do with Hale’s “picking bones” toward humanity and her unyielding determination to pick them. “I think it also has to do with a righteousness in the sense that she really feels that her vision of this new world makes the most sense, that there’s this idea that Earth, the land of the people, is corrupt and can no longer be saved and saved. And I’m not entirely sure she’s wrong given the times we live in. Increasingly you think, “Are we going to make it? Can we do it? Are we getting better?’”

Perhaps there is also a bit of a rescuer complex behind their plan. “I think she’s trying to find a utopia for her people, for the way she hosts,” adds Thompson. “As misguided as she is in her approach, I think she has some ideas that are based on a true truth. And I think as twisted as it is, it actually comes from a place of genuine love for the limitless possibilities of sensation of this new host form being. I dont know. I think whenever you’re playing someone who is, quote, “the bad guy,” you have to try to find their humanity, their core, their center. And it’s challenging and fun to do that with her.”

As chilling as Hale’s grand plan is, Thompson seemed to be enjoying this leg of their journey. For one, she got to share more scenes with Paul, which was “such a treat,” she says. “He’s so great, he’s good in this scene and every scene he’s in. And he’s just fun to be with, which is a joy, especially when you’ve got long days and you’re doing challenging things.”

And surprisingly, part of that fun came from watching Paul perform Caleb’s WTF moment on this week’s episode. “It was a joy to see how an actor as gifted as Aaron Paul could digest this information and realize that the reality he knows and understands may not be true,” says Thompson with a smile.

Tessa Thompson

HBO

Hey, I understand; Part of the observing ride western world is the pain of confusion, the “What on earth just happened?” questions you ask yourself as the characters you watch ask themselves the same thing. “I think one of the things that feels so exciting about the show is seeing characters who don’t fully understand the worlds they’re in,” says Thompson. “I think there’s a very human parallel, which is that we don’t always understand the world we’re in. Certainly our emotional landscape. Life is messy. We are not always in control of our reality.”

Consider it mindfuck — or, as Thompson puts it, “beautiful chaos” — for both viewers and characters.

At the end (of this episode at least) Charlotte wins; and with every will at her own fingertips, she seems unstoppable. But she is not invincible. When asked about Hale’s weaknesses, Thompson points to “a ruthlessness, a lack of patience, a steely determination that perhaps prevents her from really understanding what other people are saying”. That was probably Hale’s fault when she was flesh and blood, too, she adds.

“I think that’s also one of the funny ironies of the show, which is that we can evolve and change, but there’s something about our core nature that is perhaps unshakable that we have to face it at every turn,” says Thompson. “I think that’s what’s fascinating about Hale, and more generally what the show posits about our nature as humans in general.”

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