It feels like Westworld season three debuted a decade ago—not just two years ago. The third season, subtitled The New World, takes our favorite hosts far beyond the confines of the titular park to 2050s LA and beyond, while also exploring more worlds in the Delos company. There is so much happening at any given moment during Westworld, so most people need a refresher before season three. Each host—and the rare human—is after their own agenda. And their lines are always crossing. Anyway, here’s what you need to remember before Westworld season four premieres.
Dolores Abernathy and Caleb Nichols
We catch up with Dolores just after the Westworld massacre, and she’s already on to the next phase of her revolution. It’s connected to a company called Incite. Specifically the company’s advanced AI system Rehoboam. She worms her way into the inner circle of Incite’s head, Liam Dempsey Jr. Unfortunately, he’s not particularly useful as only his late father’s business partner, the mysterious trillionaire villain Serac, can access the system—that we know of.
Liam’s security team is suspicious of Dolores and ambushes her. She kills them all—replacing head of security Martin with a host version—but appears injured. Caleb, a human and war veteran who was recruited to help Martin via RICO—a criminal TaskRabbit-like app—ends up assisting Dolores, after she’s injured. He ends up helping her on her mission, especially after Dolores rescues him from an attack and explains exactly what Rehoboam is. In short, it tracks everything about a person and can even predict their next moves. Serac, meanwhile, wants information from Delos’ Forge—the place where all guest data lives—and believes one of the hosts, Dolores, has the key.
Finally gaining access to Rehoboam files, Dolores has Martin release them into the world, sending humans the information the AI system has on them. She and Caleb travel to Mexico to visit a re-education facility—where Serac can “edit” people who are more difficult to control, like Caleb—searching for a previous iteration of Rehoboam. Dolores wants to use the system, Solomon, to end Serac’s control. Through Caleb we understand the full extent of what Serac can do. Reconditioning has completely warped his sense of self—from memories to his purpose.
Maeve, coerced by Serac into helping find Dolores, tracks her down. But before Maeve can kill Dolores, she initiates a computer shutdown—taking out both hosts and Solomon. The hosts fight once more but are interrupted by a vengeful Charlotte, who blames Dolores for abandoning her. This allows Serac to finally get his hands on the host he’s looking for. He plugs Dolores into Rehoboam and searches for the Forge key, erasing her memories as he goes. But he never finds it. Maeve kills Serac, while Dolores dies, and with her final memory she transfers Rehoboam control to Caleb.
Bernard Lowe and Ashley Stubbs
At the start of season three, Bernard’s on the hook for the Westworld massacre. He’s hiding out on a farm in southeast Asia until a few coworkers recognize him and he flees to Westworld. He’s looking for Maeve for assistance stopping Dolores but instead finds Ashley Stubbs, somehow still alive.
Bernard and Ashley set off to find Maeve but quickly pivot to search for Liam. They go after him but aren’t able to stop Dolores in Caleb. However, Martin takes Bernard around the Incite headquarters, telling him that the two aren’t enemies but allies in this fight—a classic Dolores line. But as Serac’s men close in on Incite HQ, the company’s files go public and Martin blows up the whole building.
Next, the pair rescue William from a reconditioning simulation. But fueled by his desire to kill all hosts, William shoots Ashley. Bernard fights him and William flees as Dolores’ men—led by Lawrence—show up and hand him a suitcase. The cryptic message takes Bernard to Arnold Weber’s home, where he finds closure with Arnold’s wife and his own backstory.
Throughout the whole season, Bernard’s paranoid about something Dolores did to his code. He runs it, searching for any changes. He realizes during the finale that she gave him the Forge key, giving him access to the Sublime—in addition to guest data. For a minute, he reaches the Sublime. But we next see him only covered dust and in the future.
Maeve’s season three journey begins with a jolt, waking up in Warworld, a World War II-inspired park. It’s pretty harrowing. She and Hector, a version of whom is with her in the park, are surrounded by Nazis and after he’s killed, Maeve kills herself. In repair, she encounters Lee Sizemore who somehow survived all the gunshot wounds he sustained in season two. But spoiler alert, he did not. Maeve realizes he’s an AI copy and she’s in a simulation. She breaks it and comes face to face with Serac.
Serac more or less coerces Maeve into finding Dolores. She tracks down the person helping Dolores build host bodies and demands she lead her to Dolores. This leads her to the Yakuza. But their leader, Musashi, is another variation of Dolores—and not the one she seeks. She recruits Hector and Lee into helping her find Dolores. Unfortunately, while Charlotte is at an imploding Delos, she permanently destroys Hector’s unit.
She continues her quest to find Dolores, tracking the host and Caleb at Solomon. The aforementioned fight ensues and Dolores deactivates herself and Maeve. They cross paths once again, with Dolores in a new body courtesy of Caleb. After Charlotte’s intervention, Serac has Dolores, and later Caleb, but still won’t let Maeve go. Maeve visits Dolores in her memory and they find peace, with the latter sacrificing herself. It’s a moving conversation and Maeve returns to Incite. She mortally wounds Serac and his men, and walks off with Caleb into the world.
When we catch up with Charlotte Hale, she’s still heading up the Delos board. She’s pinned the uprising on Bernard and is trying to restart host operations, which were paused after the massacre. She needs William’s approval but is able to circumvent the process thanks to an algorithm he uses for board-related issues. As we know, the real Charlotte Hale is dead. This Charlotte is a host with a Dolores control unit. Host Charlotte struggles to keep her identity straight—unaware that Charlotte has a son and was Serac’s mole inside Delos.
With Serac buying up a whole lot of Delos shares, Dolores sends Charlotte after William to help keep Delos in their hands. However, things quickly go sour as he deduces that Charlotte is actually a copy of Dolores. She incapacitates him and formally seizes his voting powers, giving her leverage against Serac, by shipping William to an institution. She attempts to take Delos private but doesn’t get far in the process before Serac’s men kill a key ally. Serac begins his takeover during a board meeting and exposes Charlotte as a host. However, a bomb does off killing everyone in the room. (Serac, who wasn’t actually there, survives.)
On her way out of the building, she attempts to crush a selection of host control units before fleeing to find the real Charlotte’s family and escape. Unfortunately, before they can get away, Serac’s men blow up the car, leaving host Charlotte as the only survivor. This causes a fundamental shift in the host. She blames Dolores for using her as a pawn. But when we catch up with her, she’s still head of Delos and has resumed making hosts.
William a.k.a. The Man in Black
William is not in a good way when we finally encounter him about halfway through season three. He’s alone at his mansion hallucinating his late daughter and Dolores in her classic Westworld get-up. Charlotte visits with him in the attempt to take Delos private but she has him institutionalized when he realizes she’s not actually Charlotte Hale, but rather a host. He’s at the same reconditioning institution Caleb spent time at. He’s stuck in a simulation that has him confront different versions of himself and his late father-in-law. However, due to the Rehoboam data leak, he’s left in the simulation until Bernard and Ashley show up and pull him out.
William learns that as an “outlier” in this remote facility, he’s legally dead. It’s not ideal, especially considering that Serac now owns his company. He shares with Ashley and Bernard that his greatest sin is funding Westworld and its hosts. Now, he wants to bring them all down. William shoots Ashley but is unable to kill Bernard before they’re interrupted and he flees. He eventually makes his way to Delos’ office in Dubai and encounters a vengeful Charlotte. Before he’s able to do anything, a Host Man in Black arrives and seemingly kills him.
It’s a lot. But what is Westworld if not a million convoluted, slightly existential storylines condensed into eight episode increments?
Westworld returns for season four on June 26.