Title: Westworld Season 3 Episode 8: “Crisis Theory” Review
Release Date: May 3, 2020
Genre: Science Fiction
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine. I don’t feel as fine about it being the end of season 3 for Westworld. The series started off a bit slow and with too many questions popping up that didn’t appear there was going to be time for answers. Most of those questions were answered, to some degree or another, but the answers weren’t always that satisfying. Even things such as why Bernard is able to go from Bernard Banner to the Incredible Bernulk was touched on again for the first time since the season premiere. Of course, it still wasn’t really explained, but maybe that’s for us to see in season 4.
After two absolutely fantastic episodes to wind down the series, it would be hard to call the season finale anything other than … disappointing. Instead of “closing the loop,” the end of season 3 was absolutely a stepping stone to season 4. Westworld has done this before. You could argue their odd-numbered seasons are always going to be a setup for their even number seasons. This seemed even less of a season finale than a bridge than season 1 was though.
Delores Gets Her Way
One of the interesting aspects of the season finale is that Delores wins – more than one Delores wins actually – but not in the way we’d expect. She played a very good game of chess over the season. Even someone looking for what it was she was after, and how she was going to pull it off, could be fooled by the way she played the game. The fact that she didn’t technically get to see everything come together and see the pieces fall into place was a nice touch. It would have been a better “touch” if this wasn’t already a show where dead characters come back, all the time. Sometimes in the same episode, they were killed.
Her sacrifice, and her reasons behind how she did it, would all be more poignant if there was even a little bit of doubt that she will be back. That’s the problem with shows like Westworld. Sacrifices aren’t sacrifices if the martyrs never really die.
The Battle of the Williams
If you thought the Westworld episode where William fought his other “selves” was going to be the last time showrunners went to that plot piece, then you haven’t been paying attention. Like the Bernard Banner/Incredible Bernulk set up, this was a bomb that had a very long fuse. It’s also one that has serious repercussions for season 4. Or at least it looks like it will. Just how the next season plays out is going to be interesting to see as it appears there could be three stories in one.
It’s no coincidence the Battle of the Williams in this episode might have been a playing out of the battle between Id and Ego in the human mind. Since the first season, there’s been a question as to which William was going to win out. The man who might fall short, but wants to be a good person or the one who simply doesn’t care about the facade. Now we know. It’s a shame we’ll have to wait so long to see what that means for Westworld.
This is How the World Ends, With Some Bangs But Also a Whimper
The weirdest thing about Westworld‘s season 3 finale is how quickly it changed tone back and forth. At first, it seemed like it was going to be an action-packed shoot ’em out. Then suddenly, there was a 20-minute interlude where everyone argued about free will and whether or not it was a good thing. At the center of both was Caleb, who considering how quickly he befriended Maeve, is either quite the gullible idiot or desperate for friendship.
Whatever issues the season finale had in the middle of the episode were familiar issues. The backstory of Caleb is both essential to the plot and also entirely too long and drawn out. I’m not sure we needed to know Delores and Caleb actually knew each other from way back. I’m not sure what it changed. Considering it’s also a detail that was never hinted at in previous seasons and inserted entirely for wrapping up the year makes it that much less interesting.
The only thing more pointless than that story beat was Bernard’s visit to his wife. Yes, it was emotional. Yes, it further developed Bernard’s character. Here’s hoping that development plays a part in season 4, because if it was just an aside as an excuse to get Gina Torres involved, it was valuable run time, used poorly.
Verdict: At one point during this episode, I had the almost overwhelming urge to just turn Westworld off. That’s not something I’ve felt this season more than one other time. That’s disconcerting both as a reviewer and as someone watching the final episode of the season. I’m glad I stuck it out because the final 15 minutes of the show were some of the best 15 minutes of the season. I just wish more of that finale, had been brought in earlier. “Crisis Theory” wasn’t a bad episode by any stretch, but it wasn’t a great one and that’s a shame considering how much momentum the previous weeks’ work had built up.
- The Charlores turn was interesting if a bit hamhanded.
- William is absolutely the antihero we need.
- Bernard and Stubbs buddy cop scenes always make this list.
- Charlores' turn was indeed both sudden and ham-handed.
- Why does Marshawn Lynch make three different appearances in this season?
- The season finale seems like a weird time to continue developing Bernard's character.
- The riots seem contrived to pop up when and where the characters needed them. They were never really in the background.