Westworld Season 4 hit viewers with a massive twist in episode 4, "Generation Loss". We learned that the seemingly singular serialized storyline from Westworld Season 3 has actually gone back to the format of Season 1, telling us two storylines split between two different timelines – two drastically different timelines, given the game-changing events that happened. (MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW!) The big twist in Westworld Season 4 is that Hale (Tessa Thompson) actually succeeds in "infecting" humanity with her machine "parasites," creating a perfectly controllable populace. Poor Caleb Nichols (Aaron Paul) finds out both he and Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) died the night of the final fight with Hale, and he's brought back online as a host over two decades later.
Now that Westworld has revealed the two timeline twist, the more "tame" storyline of Season 4 – like "Christina's" (Evan Rachel Wood) existential woes, or Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) searching for a "weapon" to defeat Hale – suddenly have much more drastic importance!
"Oh gosh, I'm always so bad at these questions. I mean, now that we know that Hale has won and the humans in fact have been subjugated by this new A.I. power structure, I think we have to see how the fight for free will – this time waged by humans against robots – plays out. And it's pretty fun. You see all of our actors doing what they do best, kicking ass and exploring their lives and the realities around them."
Westworld is known for flipping the script on viewers – and this Season 4 twist is one of the biggest ones yet. Westworld started out with the mind-bending loops of the hosts gaining sentience and the desire for free will from an endless repetition of horrors they endured as playthings of the Westworld guests. The early seasons of the series followed characters like Dolores and Maeve all struggling to get out of the loop of Westworld, constantly having to deal with the heartbreak of finding out that seeming freedom was just another level of the "game." Now the human characters (or at least characters like Maeve and Caleb that have "humanity" only in the spiritual sense) will have to run the maze that Hale and co. have set up for them, while we all have to wonder who is even still "human" in the traditional sense, or what new "free" reality this new generation of hosts can build.
"Yeah, I mean nothing beats empathy quite like literalism when you're literally put in the shoes of the other person," Joy says. "And that's what's happened here. You know, the park went from a place where humans went for their enjoyment and the hosts were captive and unaware of their situation, and now we've just turned New York City into a park and the humans are now suffering what the hosts used to suffer from."
Westworld Season 4 is airing on HBO and streaming on HBO Max.