Title: Westworld Season 3 Episode 4: ‘The Mother of Exiles’ Review
Release Date: April 5, 2020
Genre: Science Fiction
Another day, another episode of Westworld where it’s hard to tell whether the story is moving forward or standing still. It’s a testament to how good the writing on the show is that not moving the plot forward isn’t a killer. While we learned a little bit more about just what Delores is up to and what she’s going after, the show still managed to keep that relatively vague.
We also got to see a return of the Man in Black, and it’s never not pleasant to see William. He doesn’t seem to play a part in this particular plotline, but Ed Harris has done a phenomenal job of breathing life into his character throughout the series. He’s had a small part in this season, and it’s likely that part is going to get even more modest, but he dominates the screen when he makes an appearance.
That isn’t to say everything is going great in Westworld. There are still quite a few questions that should have had answers long before now. Chief among them is just why Caleb is so loyal to Delores. The answer to that may be obvious, and we’re just missing it. But him turning out to be a host doesn’t seem like something the showrunners would do, if only because it would be plenty anti-climactic.
Finally, anytime we see Bernard and Ashley continuing to work together, it’s a good thing. It’s a little interesting that we haven’t seen “Hulk” Bernard show up since the first episode. It’s possible our theory about an homage to the Marvel Comics character was both right on the nose and a one-off. And honestly, the pair weren’t on screen long enough, and their contribution to the episode wasn’t sufficiently meaty.
Man in Black Returns To Westworld
As I said earlier, there is never a wrong moment with Ed Harris as William/The Man in Black. He might simply be the best character in the entire series because he has so many sides to him. There’s an innocent traveler who had never seen the park when he was younger. There’s the older man who was on a quest we didn’t understand when Westworld kicked off. There’s the man he’s become now. That’s quite a broken human being.
We even got a peek into his family life towards the end of last season. He’s easily the most fleshed-out of anyone we’ve met in three seasons. Yes, we got a look at Charlotte Hale but not to the same extent.
That’s why it’s with a heavy heart that it appears he’s been taken off the board. Haunted by the ghost of his daughter, who rightfully welcomes him to “the end of the game,” it appears we’re not going to be seeing him any longer.
Of course, that may be precisely what Westworld showrunners want us to think. Maybe he’s the key to stopping Delores and her minions when the smoke clears. I certainly hope we get to see him again, even if it is just to see him struggle with whether or not he has free will. The man has done terrible, terrible things, and yet he’s easily the most charismatic in the world built by Westworld writers. That was likely intentional.
An awful lot of this season has been about pulling off heists. The season opener almost had a kind of Ocean’s 11 vibe to it. There was a mini version of that in this episode only this time; it was Bernard and Ashley. Maybe that’s why this particular caper didn’t have the same kind of precision.
The heist, an attempt to save/kidnap Delores’ ex-boyfriend, led them face to face with the show’s favorite villain as well as her new helper. Just why Caleb is her new helper still isn’t clear. Because she showed him what Insite does? Because she’s very damn attractive? Just because he’s a criminal and knows how to do illegal stuff?
It’s likely a little bit of all three, but the series wouldn’t suffer from a bit of exposition as to just why this team-up seems to be set up for the long haul.
It wouldn’t be Westworld without a twist, and the one that took place at the end of this episode was certainly a biggie. In some ways, it answered the biggest question of the year though it’s not clear just how important that is to the plot moving forward. Still, in an episode that felt downright disjointed at times, that was easily the most exciting part.
Verdict: We are now four episodes into an eight-episode arc for season three, and it’s still not clear what the point of the season is. We also still don’t understand how the forces and the sides are aligning against one another. With two characters taken off the board in a way that could bring them both back at any time, it would be nice to see the season materialize.
- The twist is a good one
- Anytime Ashley and Bernard are on screen, it's a good time.
- Same with Ed Harris
- The show feels like it's running in place.
- Unsure as to why Caleb is so loyal to Delores