Westworld is an HBO series that comes from showrunners Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan (Memento, The Dark Knight, Inception) alongside J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot. It’s now in its third season and is based on the fantastic feature film Westworld which was written and directed by Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton.
The science fiction series focuses on a massive park where human guests can fight, kill, and screw advanced life-like robots referred to as hosts, who eventually (due to extreme circumstances) gain the ability to kill hosts and rebel against Delos, the company with fiendish intentions that bankrolls the park facilities.
Previous seasons have revealed that some at Delos that thought they were humans aren’t and have been pawns in a greater game that seemingly will be explored in this new season. Delos has six parks as the first two seasons explore three of these with Westworld (set in old west United States), Shōgunworld (set in Edo period Japan) and The Raj (set in British colonized India), season three attempts to add additional ones as well with showing Warworld and teasing Medievalworld (was one of the original parks in the movie). It’s possible the sixth could be Futureworld (the title of the feature film sequel to the original Westworld film) or Romeworld (featured in the original film).
Season 3 now focuses on Dolores (played by Evan Rachel Wood), one of the hosts that helped lead the host rebellion against the Delos in Season 2 and has left the park to the “real world”. She now plans on waging a war against the humans while stalking former guests that seem like they could help her quest, willing or not.
Bernard Lowe (played Jeffrey Wright), a key player at Delos, is now revealed to be in hiding from authorities after events at the park in the last season.
Charlotte Hale (played by Tessa Thompson) returns to Delos for a board meeting and dismisses their concerns insisting that they resume host production. We’re also introduced to a new character named Caleb Nichols (played by Aaron Paul), a former military-type that is now working as a construction bot handler during the day and taking criminal side-gigs from some Grand Theft Auto-type app at night.
Caleb isn’t the only new human characters we’re introduced to as Incite Inc.’s Liam Dempsey Jr. (played by John Gallagher Jr) and Martin Connells (played by Tommy Flanagan) a “fixer” for Incite Inc./Liam as Dolores seems to have inserted herself into Liam’s circle after a violent encounter with a Delos investor named Gerald (played Thomas Kretschmann), who happens to be connected to Incite. The first episode in the new season titled Parce Domine pulls the curtain on the unseen advanced human society that Caleb habits and seemingly there are criminal groups that recruit regular citizens to pull-off crimes across the city using an app, it plays like something out of an episode of Black Mirror and is an excellent touch to the world-building. As with most of the series, the episode looks stunning and production designer is on point, it was also directed by showrunner Jonathan Nolan. We know next to nothing about the outside world from the previous two seasons outside of the things Delos has been up to, showrunners have been keen to keep those details from the audience outside hints that humans are on their way out and I’m already questioning if these surroundings are even real. Exploring the outside world has been a gleeful shakeup for myself while watching Season 2, I was starting to get bored of the repetitive locations and taking the story of the park was the only way move things forward. Bernard eventually blows his cover at a cattle processing farm (potentially cloned animals for meat consumption) and decides to return to the park and hires a boat to take him there.
The episode ends with protagonist host character Maeve (played by Thandie Newton) waking up in War World, another corner of the park where they’ve recreated a village in Nazi-occupied Italy during World War II, setting up the next episode. Parce Domine, as with most season debut episodes, is simply an introduction to where our main characters are currently in the show and really nothing more, so keep that in mind.
As this episode isn’t action-packed and attempts to focus more on world-building as previously mentioned. It’s a nice refresher for a fan like myself and worth checking out if you were like me, who was slightly disappointed with the series after the first couple of episodes of Season 2.