Here at Esquire, during every season of Westworld, we like to play a game called, Whose Body is This Anyway? Considering Westworld treats body-and-brain pairings like the Drew Carey’s game show—where, if I may, everything is made up and the points (in this case, plot coherency) don’t matter—it’s a pastime of ours to throw brain orbs against a wall, trying to guess who is in whose body after a particularly infuriating episode.
There’s no better time to fire it back up again, than after Season Three, Episode Three, “The Absence of Field,” which is mostly centered around one question: Who is in Charlotte Hale’s body? If you’ll remember, at the end of Season Two, Dolores body-snatches the Delos executive, then goes ahead and shoots the real Charlotte Hale. (That’s how she safely leaves Westworld.) When Dolores gets to the real world, she recreates her original body, then puts one of the five brain orbs she smuggled out of the park in Hale’s robot body.
“The Absence of Field” fills in the months between when Dolores gets robo-Hale up and running, and the present-day events we’ve seen so far in Westworld, with Dolores teaming up with Caleb, and Serac enlisting Maeve into Dolores-hunting service. When Hale wakes up for the first time, whoever’s in there doesn’t know who they are. (First words between Dolores and new Hale: “Where am I? Who am I?” and, “Who do you think you are?” C’mon, Westworld.) Dolores tasks new Hale with stealing Delos’s secrets, and coaches her up to act just as cutthroat as OG Charlotte—and, oof, to be a mother to a young son Hale left behind.
The episode is stuffed with clues—and a ton of misdirects—as to whose brain orb is in Hale’s body. First of all, we can rule out Bernard—Dolores shows his bloody brain orb to Hale, presumably before she rebuilds his body. The most popular fan theory is that it’s Teddy, Dolores’s sweet robot boyfriend, resurrected from the dead. It’s the obvious choice: Just take all the cuddles between the two, Hale’s simple, innocent one-liners, and dialogue like, “Who knows you better than me?”
But that seems too easy. This is Westworld, after all. The only other person in Westworld that Dolores has ever had an intimate relationship with is the younger version of The Man in Black—the one played by Jimmi Simpson—whom we last saw subjected to the fidelity test at the end of Season Two, so he could be a host. Plus, robot Hale’s mini-tantrums and swearing seems very un-Teddy-like. Our sweet boy wouldn’t talk like that. So, did Dolores find a way to crib some version of The Man in Black from the Cradle before she left Westworld?
With the end-of-episode twist, which showed that robot Hale is in cahoots with Serac, is there any possibility the INCITE baddie found a way to swap Maeve’s brain orb into Hale’s body? With host Hale crying over the video of human Hale singing to her son, and saying it woke something up inside of her, it’s likely that, whoever it is, they had a child in their Westworld arc. That would be very Westworld, having several degrees of brain-trading, plus a genius way for Serac to get close to Doris without her realizing it.
Of course, robot Hale could be a deep-cut host: Someone like Clementine, Angela, her father, Peter Abernathy, or, dream choice, Marshawn Lynch’s character, so Hale can go Beast Mode and annihilate Delos (hey, crazier things have happened in this show). Anyway, this has been Whose Body is This Anyway? The winner is you, for sticking with Westworld.