Westworld season 3 episode 3 review: Tessa Thompson’s career-best turn | #espionage | #surveillance | #ceo


Who run the world? Charlotte (Picture: HBO)

What does it mean to be human? This has always been the central question to Westworld, and one that its grappled with for three seasons. 

This week, we get closer than ever to answering that question and the answer is as obvious as its been. 

What makes us human, it’s love…right?

If last week’s episode was a mind-bending de-tour used to re-introduce Maeve (Thandie Newton) then this week shines a spotlight on a different but altogether different character in the form of Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson).

Well, we say Charlotte Hale – but it’s not actually Charlotte Hale, just a copy of her body that Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) has implanted another host’s consciousness into. 

The question of who exactly is in the body of the Delos exec – Teddy? Doctor Ford? Clementine? – seems to be a driving force of the first part of this season, so we’re sad to say that we don’t find out the answer to this. 

However, what we do get is a slice of pitch-perfect sci-fi in which a lot of stuff happens. Not only are we catching up with a wounded Dolores and Caleb (Aaron Paul) as they attempt some good old industrial espionage, we’re also on Charlotte’s tail as he discovered that the villainous Serac (Vincent Cassel) is attempting to steal Delos from under her feet and with it the secrets of implanting human consciousness into android bodies.

Charlotte Hale is now Westworld’s best and biggest player (Picture: HBO)

But there’s something wrong with our favourite robot masquerading as a real woman. No, she’s still smoking cigarettes whilst strutting around in all-white suits, but now she’s struggling with her identity. 

Which is, namely, Charlotte Hale has a secret child that we never knew about – is this host pretending to be a mother now capable of love?

It’s a question which seems posed against the most interesting narrative flourishes of this season, which is taking a deep-dive into James Bond territory and setting up a final end-game between Dolores and Maeve. 

And this is still present in this episode, but as soon as Tessa Thompson appears in a scene, all the air is sucked out of the room and you can only concentrate on her.

Sci-fi, truly great sci-fi, helps us both understand our world and contemplate what could be next – this episode does both beautifully. 

Charlotte Hale may be dead, but her son is not, and it opens up all sort of interesting characteristics about this seemingly cut-throat executive from the first two seasons that we never thought of before. But the episode also sees Charlotte in a conundrum now she has someone to look after – can she be a mother? Can anyone devoid of humanity ever, really truly, care for someone else?

This question is answered in to what this writer’s view is the greatest sequence in Westworld history, which by this point really is saying something.

It’s Charlotte’s (West)world now and we’re all just living in it (Picture: HBO)

Although this time around, there are no rampaging killer cyborgs or vast vistas of the western desert, it’s a…conversation in a park. Charlotte happens upon her primary-school-aged son talking to a middle-aged man in a park, the stranger has a dog and invites Nathan to pet it. 

It’s a jarring sequence because this is not some far-flung sci-fi plot to rule the world or change society, it’s an insidious happening that could happen today for 50 years from now. 

To say that Tessa Thompson gives the performance of her life as she saunters up to the man, placates her son and then goes ahead and chokes the life out of the predator preying on her son would be a massive understatement. 

And just like that, Westworld makes its central thesis very clear – love makes us human, and Charlotte Hale can still love and protect her son like no other. 

It’s a powerhouse performance, truly breathtaking, and hints that Charlotte – and whoever is using her body right now – could be about the grapple with a lot more than Dolores’ plot for a host revolution.

Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores continues her femme fatale streak (Picture: HBO)

Key Moments

  1. Tessa Thompson’s career-best performance protecting her son in the park
  2. Aaron Paul’s Caleb is tortured by two guns-for-hire, who attack an implant fitted into the roof of his mouth
  3. The revelation that, before her death, the real Charlotte Hale was Serac’s mole in Delos, featuring fellow Marvel actress Pom Klementieff

More: Westworld


Westworld season three is a clear (and so far successful) reboot of a show that sometimes got dragged down in its own philosophy. The Absence Of Field has philosophy in abundance but never gets dragged down with it.

Alongside a narrative that questions the nature of love, and who can love, it has all the usual thrills and spills that fans have come to expect from Dolores’ attempts to take over the human world.

Balancing a high-stakes industrial espionage plot and some great action pieces, Tessa Thompson’s narrative as the imposter Charlotte Hale manages to both ponder the meaning of love and drive the plot forward. The actress has never been better. Does Westworld have a new central player?

Westworld season 3 continues Mondays at 9pm on Sky Atlantic.

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MORE: Westworld and Game of Thrones crossover: George RR Martin was mastermind behind TV’s best kept secret

MORE: Westworld season 3: 5 questions after episode 2 from Maeve vs. Dolores to Vincent Cassell’s mysterious Serac


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