“The end of David Fincher’s 1999 provocation “Fight Club” and the end of this week’s Season 3 finale of “Westworld” are essentially the same moment, one mapped onto the other like a Dolores pearl dropped into another host’s body. After a revolution deliberately premised on bringing anarchy to a well-ordered, antiseptic world, a man and a woman can only watch helplessly as the bombs detonate in high rises and chaos engulfs the city.
In an up-and-down season where “Westworld” never quite found itself — and seemed to stop looking — Engerraund Serac’s scheme was the one consistent bit of intrigue because his intentions always complicated his villainy. He did all the terrible, manipulative things that villains are supposed to do, right up to a torture scene with Dolores that recalls the ever-so-slow laser beam in “Goldfinger.” And yet there’s no mustache-twirling malice to any of his decisions, even when he’s taking a life. Serac and his brother saw the apocalypse coming and took the necessary steps to keep it from happening — or at least to keep it from happening as soon as it projected. If that meant eliminating free will and the occasional troublemaker, then so be it.
One of the paradoxes of the season is that Dolores intended to free the human world, not destroy it, but there may be no actual difference between the two. The thin shred of hope is that anomalies like Caleb will lead mankind to the anomalous destiny of survival, but those final shots are not optimistic. “Change is messy, difficult,” Dolores tells Caleb as they sidle through violent street clashes, but she never seems to be looking ahead to where that change might lead. That’s the privilege of being an immortal android: The planet doesn’t have to be inhabitable for her to inhabit it, so it costs her nothing to roll the dice for humanity. Serac may have been a snooty trillionaire, but he knew the stakes.”