Westworld Season 3, Episode 4 review: 'The Mother of Exiles' plays wicked games with truth and reality

Rohini Nair

Apr 06, 2020 16:55:13 IST

This post contains spoilers for Westworld Season 3 Episode 4, 'The Mother of Exiles'.


In 'Contrapasso', episode 5 of Westworld's first season — how far away and alien 2016 now seems! — a particularly lavish sequence saw Dolores, William and Logan in the town of Pariah, at an orgy, as a subplot involving El Lazo, the Confederados and a nitro heist played out. The gilded world of the brothel, the sensory delights unfolding around Dolores and William, the danger awaiting them, was juxtaposed with a haunting score — Nine Inch Nails' 'Something I Can Never Have', reimagined by Ramin Djawadi.

That moment is recreated perfectly in Westworld Season 3 Episode 4, 'The Mother of Exiles'. In a soundtrack packed with brilliance, Djawadi adds yet another gem: an instrumental version of The Weeknd's 'Wicked Games'.

The moment is one of the high points of 'The Mother of Exiles', a plot convergence that sees technocrat Liam Depmsey Jr attend a masquerade, where Dolores and Caleb (aided by Martin Connells) clash with Bernard and Stubbs (who have caught up with them) as each side tries to take Dempsey into their custody. While Caleb and Connells take off after Bernard (and Dempsey), Dolores stays behind to fight Stubbs — a thrilling sequence that makes you wish it lasted a whole lot longer.

The clash is mirrored elsewhere in the same episode — Maeve, under instructions from Serac, finds a yakuza called Sato who may have helped Dolores (and the five hosts she seemingly got out of Westworld) find new identities. Except, Sato turns out to be her old friend — Shōgunworld's Musashi. Or, is he?

Before we get to those climactic face-offs, however, 'The Mother of Exiles' covers a whole lot of terrain. Here's what we now know, after Westworld Season 3 Episode 4 —

1. What does Serac want?

As New Charlotte tried to take Delos private, she found that someone had been steadily buying up stock in the company over a span of several years. Turns out that someone is Serac. Further, New Charlotte finds that Original Charlotte has been working as a mole for Serac, feeding him crucial information about Delos.

In 'The Mother of Exiles' we're told that William aka The Man in Black had sold Serac data from Delos 20 years ago, giving him his "in". Charlotte tells William, who's still seeing his dead daughter everywhere and (in one of Westworld's ongoing neat twists) questioning the nature of his own reality, that Serac could be after the data from the Sector 16 project. Which was where, we saw in Season 2, Delos stored the all the data it had harvested from the guests at its parks.

Serac is, in fact, after the data from Sector 16, as he himself tells Maeve, who is with him in Singapore. If, in the previous episode, we found out that elephants were extinct in this world, through Serac's flashbacks, we learn that other things have been wiped out too — such as the city of Paris. Witnessing the destruction of his former home (is it a nuclear event? We see clouds of fire and smog and — eerily — men in hazmat suits) prompted Serac to look for a way to neuter the biggest threat to the future of humanity: humans themselves.

 Westworld Season 3, Episode 4 review: The Mother of Exiles plays wicked games with truth and reality

Still from Westworld Season 3 Episode 4, 'The Mother of Exiles' | HBO

But even as he compiles what he believes is the "most comprehensive picture of human behaviour" (with Liam Dempsey Sr, and Rehoboam), Serac discovers that someone had put together an even better portrait — Delos, at its parks. And Dolores has the key to this data.

Which is why he needs Maeve to find her. For Maeve, the carrot is being with her daughter in the Valley Beyond; the stick is being stuck in some simulation of Serac's, with him of course controlling her "off" switch as he demonstrated earlier.

As pieces of the Serac jigsaw fall into place in this episode, some of the lesser revelations include —

3. A contest of wills between New Charlotte and William, which sees him being committed to a mental health facility, with her path to controlling the Delos board now clear. William's fate seems to drive home the episode's tagline, "The truth doesn't always set you free."

And 4. Bernard and Stubbs trying to get to Liam Dempsey Jr (in the previous episode they found out that this was the park guest whose data Dolores was interested in) because they think she has 'turned' Dempsey into a host too. An incorrect assumption, as they later establish.

Which brings us to the other major puzzle piece from this episode —

5. Whose control units did Dolores bring out of the Westworld park?

We speculated over just which host's control unit Dolores had implanted inside Charlotte Hale's body. 'The Mother of Exiles' answers that question — her own.

Maeve discovers this answer in Singapore, when she catches up to the yakuza Sato, who turns out to be Musashi. But within the impersonator is another impersonator — it is merely Musashi's shell that Dolores has used. Within him, the control unit planted is not Musashi's own, but Dolores' herself.

So the five "pearls"/control units that Dolores brought out of Westworld weren't of other hosts, they were — as Maeve infers — copies of Dolores'.

Which brings us to what 'The Mother of Exiles' hasn't revealed:

If, of the five copies she made of herself, three now have taken on the forms of Charlotte, Connells and Sato/Musashi, then where are the other two?

And how will Caleb react, when he has an inkling of Dolores' true nature?

The truth doesn't always set you free.

Westworld season 3 is currently streaming on Disney Plus Hotstar. Watch a preview for Episode 5 here —

Updated Date: Apr 06, 2020 16:55:13 IST

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.