The penultimate episode of Westworld Season 4 was a doozy, chock full of raised stakes, shocking fates, and a level of Man in Black savagery we haven’t seen since Season 2.
The episode “Metanoia” (which can mean “change of heart,” indeed) opens with Bernard and Maeve arriving at the Hoover Dam. (We haven’t seen the iconic structure since the season premiere and were beginning to wonder if it would play in at all this season). Bernard explains that because the facility can “house the infinite,” Dolores needed it (and now Hale owns it). More specifically, the massive data vault is a door to the Sublime. He says Hale can’t open the door without the key, which he immediately confirms is him. Pivoting, Bernard asks Maeve if sherry is still her drink of choice. She initially resists before realizing that Bernard knows this isn’t their only shot at opening the Sublime.
Bernard tells her he’s tired. He laments the grim outcome awaiting them, frustrated that he can’t seem to change it. He tells her that they can escape into the Sublime, that the extinction of hosts and humans alike doesn’t have to include them. Maeve, suddenly hopeful, realizes what that means for her and commands him to do it. Bernard declines and tells her it’s more important to stay and fight. A massive mechanical arm crashes through the high-reaching windows around them and the scene cuts back to Bernard sitting with Akecheta.
“Do you understand now where all this is going?” Akecheta asks. Bernard says he does and that he sees where it all ends.
Wasting no time on the Bernard/Maeve front, “Metanoia” quickly reveals what’s actually happening — and where they really are. They are in the Sublime themselves, watching different outcomes play out before an enormous machine attacks and kills them. This next time around, Maeve kills the attacking machine, after which Bernard tells her they must reach Hale’s tower if they want to save the world. Maeve joins him on one condition: that he reunite her with her daughter when it’s all over.
Meanwhile, Christina awakens with Teddy sitting at the foot of her bed. She expresses confusion and remorse, unable to fathom why she would create such a hellish existence for so many people. Teddy explains that she has many sides and that Hale is one of them. Christina leaves the room and attempts to drown herself in her tub. Not only does she not die, but she emerges from the water… different.
Back in the Caleb prison, Hale and William regard their scruffy science experiment with amusement. Hale then tells Caleb that she’s shutting down the cities and placing people “in cold storage.” She puts her entire evil plan on the table: use him to lure the rebels there so she can snuff them all out at once. William listens nearby, visibly disturbed….
Things escalate quickly from there. Frankie, Stubbs and the surviving rebels reunite with Bernard and Maeve near New York City. Bernard says goodbye to Stubbs, whom he claims won’t survive the coming battle. Stubbs hugs him and tells him to win.
Hale sends the world an encrypted message explaining that she and her kind are leaving humans behind. (“Evolving,” she calls it.) Concurrently, the William copy visits the original again. Host-William asks OG William what he would do. William simply repeats the question to his copy, telling him it doesn’t matter which of them defeats Hale, because they’re the same. The William copy then stabs the imprisoned original in the chest and leaves. We’d say OG William is dead (because he definitely looks dead) but we know better than to put too much confidence in any Westworld-related observation or theory.
Christina asks Teddy what Dolores was like, and he tells her that while Dolores was kind, she could also be cruel. The world was cruel to her and she outgrew the stories she performed for other people. Together, Teddy and Christina storm Olympiad Entertainment. By “storm,” we mean Christina politely commands an employee to pull the fire alarm. She then orders everyone in the building, except the writers, to vacate. She has the writers destroy their stories, and then she descends to Olympiad’s lower level. There, she discovers Caleb and has him released.
Frankie and Stubbs also infiltrate Olympiad and discover human William’s corpse (?). Frankie insists they try to help him, but Stubbs, recognizing William, says whoever did this did them a favor. Moments later, Caleb attacks both of them and pins Frankie against his glass cell. She tells him who she is, angering him further. She quickly recalls moments that only she could know, and Caleb tearfully realizes who she is.
Meanwhile, Maeve and Bernard approach the tower. On the way up, Bernard reveals that there’s no way they can win but that he needs her help anyway. She pushes past him, her expression unreadable.
Let’s preface this next bit by saying that the next few minutes of Westworld pack in some of the best, most suspenseful moments in the series. Ready, set… go!
Maeve confronts Hale mid-transcendence, leading to a brutal fight, one that crashes them both out a window and continues in the water feature outside by the plaza. Before either can deliver the finishing blow, William appears out of nowhere to shoot Maeve in the head, before murdering Hale as well. He leaves their bodies in the pools surrounding the tower.
William then intercepts Bernard, who is recording on his tablet what seem to be instructions. William shoots him, too. As Bernard bleeds out, scenes from his chat with Akecheta reveal that he never expected to survive the war. (“There is no scenario in which I survive.”) William shoots him a third time, after which Bernard appears to vanish into the Sublime. William then uses the tower’s control to override Christina’s influence and compel every person in the city to kill each other. That means every major character is now in immediate danger.
As Caleb, Frankie and Stubbs attempt to escape, a rioter shoots Frankie, non-fatally. The three get away, but only barely. In another part of the city, Teddy explains to a puzzled, desperate-to-intervene Christina that people can’t see her because… she’s not real. Dun-dun-dunnnn!
“Metanoia” ends with the triumphant William copy donning his signature shoot-’em-up attire and strolling away from the tower, as it explodes.
What happens next truly is anyone’s guess. But that’s what the Comments section is for! Share your reactions to “Metanoia” and your predictions for next week’s finale!