Westworld season 4 episode 6 recap: Cookie takes on the monsters

·5-min read

With just two episodes of its fourth season to go after this week’s instalment, Westworld should be heating up. Instead, it continues to be rather heavier on exposition than it is on entertainment. Even the return of perennial hero Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) is rendered less thrilling by how heavily her resurrection had been sign-posted.

Still, it’s promising to see Maeve team up with Caleb’s daughter Frankie, now a grown-up rebel known as C (Aurora Perrineau). I’d previously guessed that C took her new name as a tribute to her missing dad, but I now realise it’s more likely an abbreviation of his nickname for her: Cookie. So the question is: faced with the almost insurmountable task of saving humanity from the clutches of Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson), will this Cookie crumble? Let’s find out…

Daddy-daughter issues

We open with a flashback: Caleb’s wife Uwade Nichols (Nozipho Mclean) and daughter Frankie (Celeste Clark) are part of a rebel group breaking “outliers” out of Charlotte Hale’s meticulously controlled city. In this case it’s a young man named Jay (Daniel Wu), who lost his brother and who we’ve seen will grow up to one day lead the rebel group. Despite the disappearance of Caleb (Aaron Paul), Frankie keeps her spirits up by sending him radio messages. She tells him about their latest small victory, although Jay shuts her down when she says he’ll be like a “brother” to her.

Then we jump back to the show’s present timeline, 23 years later. Frankie, now C, is driving Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) to the rebel base in the ruins of the Golden Age amusement park. In the back of their truck is the precious cargo they recovered from the sand a couple of episodes ago: a damaged but still intact Maeve.

When they arrive in the park, which is now covered in layers of sand that accentuate its similarities to the original Westworld, Bernard has no trouble finding his way around. After all, as he points out, the two parks “share an architect”. He quickly scavenges the parts he’ll need to repair Maeve, but before they can reboot her they’re interrupted by the return of Jay and the rest of his rebel team from breaking outlier Lindsay out of the city.

There’s a catch, of course: One of their team has been infected or replaced during their visit to the big city, and is now a spy for Charlotte Hale. C is the only one in the clear as she stayed behind. Could it be Lindsay? Or someone else? C isn’t sure until Jay tells her that she’s like a “sister” to him – a clear sign that he’s not the same Jay she met all those years ago. The pair fight and for a moment it looks as if Jay has the upper hand, even shooting out a radio that crackles into life with a message from Caleb. That’s until Maeve reappears in the nick of time to stab him in the head, rescue C and team up with her to defeat Hale and save humanity: “Let’s finish what we started.”

Hale sets a trap

Charlotte Hale is growing increasingly upset and perplexed by the fact that many of her fellow hosts are choosing to kill themselves, very much against her wishes. She suspects Caleb has something to do with it, given that he was the first to defy her and that he once taunted her by telling her he has something she doesn’t.

Whatever it is he was referring to, he won’t tell. So she offers him an olive branch of hope: the news that his daughter is alive and outside her clutches. This information inspires Caleb to escape his cell, aided along the way by several of the 278 previous versions of himself that Hale made in order to interrogate. One even volunteers to be his personal airbag, breaking a dangerously long fall. He makes it further than any previous version, all the way to a radio transmitter on the roof of the Olympiad building. From there, he broadcasts a message of love and apology to his daughter - the one that Jay so inconsiderately prevents her from hearing.

At this point it’s revealed that Caleb’s entire escape has been a set-up, a way for Hale to persuade him to reveal his secret by thinking he’s free. (This conceit is reminiscent of the infamous Rick & Morty episode “The Rickshank Rickdemption”, which briefly launched a delirious craze for Szechuan sauce.) Caleb taunts her once again by telling her the reason her citizens keep killing themselves is that: “Your hosts would rather die than live in your world… they’re not infected, they’re just trying to get away from you…”

Hale crushes Caleb’s neck with a single hand, but it’s clear she’s not well. Not only is she bleeding from self-inflicted wounds on her forearm, but her next move is simply to burn her remaining stock of Calebs, build herself a new one (number 279) and start the interrogation all over again. Ironically, Charlotte Hale is now just as stuck going around and around in a repetitive loop as any of the mind-controlled citizens who live in her city. Unfortunately for Westworld, so is the show.

‘Westworld’ season four episode six is available on HBO Max in the US from Sunday 31 July and Sky Atlantic in the UK from Monday 1 August

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