Title: Westworld Season 3 Episode 3: ‘The Absence of Field’ Review
Release Date: March 29, 2020
Genre: Science Fiction
Westworld season 3 continues to be split into two very distinct storylines. There is what Delores and her group are doing out in the real world and then there is Maeve who was in her own little world. Or at least she was until the very end of episode 2.
This week, the focus was back on Delores and we got to see more of Caleb. We saw the two bond and become a team as they talk about how they are both prisoners of the system. We also got a bit deeper look at just what Insite is, even if how it’s used and what the danger of the system is, continues to be a little bit of a mystery.
We also got a deep dive into what being Charlotte Hale is all about. That was on the heels of episode 1 where we saw her take over the company, knowing she was already dead. Now we got to see the host in her body trying to live her life. And not doing the best job of it. We also got at least some hints on who indeed is in Charlotte’s body though we still don’t know for sure.
The episode, at its core, is about personalities. There’s Charlotte’s and the host inside of her. There’s Caleb and the kind of personality he’s supposed to have. There’s even talk about his mother having a mental disorder that shaped Caleb’s life. The show is also, as it has always been, about the question of free will and how much control we really have over our lives. Westworld is very good at building and building and building. The show also often has a very slow burn and while the series is clearly ramping up, it’s still not clear what exactly the point of this season is going to be. As we get through three episodes of an eight-episode season, there should be some concern that there isn’t going to be a big payoff to everything the way there was in season 2.
It appears the big bad for this season is a computer program that we never really interact with. Insite is something that is vaguely controlling the world. Delores explains how it’s doing so by showing Caleb how much she is able to find out about him simply by hacking the system.
The downside to this is that, yes, it has a ton of information on people but we aren’t seeing that information being used in a negative way. She explains how it’s being used but we don’t see it.
Perhaps its human nature that we don’t recognize a threat unless the threat is real and in your face. Maybe that’s the message, but at some point, Insite needs to be far more in your face than it has been so far, or the real villain in all this needs to show his face. The previous seasons of Westworld have managed to kind of camouflage who the bad guys are and what the plot is, but at least we had some idea of where to look and at who.
There’s been a lot of talk about a “war” coming but as it was stated earlier, there are only five episodes left and the show has been on a slow burn. If the war does arrive for our Westworld denizens, it needs to pick up the pace.
Who Is Charlotte Hale?
While we spent the episode ignoring Maeve and her quest entirely, we can’t say the same about Charlotte Hale. Not only did we follow whatever host was in her body, but we also learned a bit about her personal life. That included her having a son. Westworld has done quite a bit of delving into the relationships between a parent and child. Generally, the show wants us to know that those relationships tend to go haywire.
That’s no different when it comes to Charlotte. The host who is pretending to be here seems to have just enough information about her life to play her when it comes to the professional side but didn’t know anything about her personal side. One the one hand, the kind of “mommy is a body snatcher” side story is always interesting. On the other side, how she learns about the thing she’s going to use to convince her son she is in fact, Charlotte is more than a little too perfect.
On the host side, there are several hints as to who is in Hale’s body. We’ve probably got it narrowed down but the fact that they still haven’t said means there could still be some kind of twist on the horizon. That host side also briefly came out when “Tommy” was trying to get to her boy and her speech about still being a predator might have been the best scene we’ve seen in Westworld so far this season.
Verdict: If this was the season premiere of Westworld, this would have been a fantastic episode. The fact that it’s episode three and we’re no closer to getting a direction for the season takes some points away. Still, the story beats, in a vacuum were very good. The show is taking the time to illustrate why Caleb would want to work with Delores while also seeing what being out in the real world is actually like for the Hosts. It was a solid episode on its own that gets a bit frustrating as a part of the whole.
- The ambiguity of the host being in Charlotte's body was a great example of what their lives are like and how completely devoted to Delores they are.
- Charlotte-Nathan body snatcher scenario is a nice twist.
- Legitimately sad when Caleb's little robot friend came to help and was then thrown over the edge.
- The scene with "Tommy" might have been the best of the season
- The crooked cops killing everyone BUT Caleb, when he was standing right in front of them was hokey to the extreme.
- You would think an app that lists criminal jobs, including hiring hitmen, would have an option to make sure your targets aren't also alerted on the app.
Oliver has been a lifelong gamer and a writer for most of his adult life. He came to Nerdstash thrilled to be able to write about what he loves the most again. Whether it’s video games, movies, or television shows, he’s a combination of jock and nerd and the two parts of the whole have figured out how to live peaceably.