Season 3, Episode 4 of Westworld, "The Mother of Exiles," finally brought back The Man In Black. This older version of William was last seen in the Season 2 epilogue, far in the future, where he has become a host. Viewers came into Season 3 expecting to see the Man In Black take the first steps towards this future. But instead, things have gotten off track. In Episode 4, The Man In Black's fate was revealed, and it seems to have taken a curious turn. Warning: Spoilers for Westworld Season 3 follow.
When the episode opens, William is at home, weeks after being rescued from the Delos parks. Technically, he's still on sabbatical and has been since that first trip to the park where he shot Maeve's daughter all those months ago. But he's not doing well. His wife committed suicide. He killed his daughter Emily in the park, believing her to be a replica. Now he's seeing them everywhere he looks, waking up in the bathtub where his wife drowned, having conversations with Emily's ghost as she bleeds to death in front of him.
It's enough to make anyone question the nature of their reality. William certainly is, shooting mirrors and screaming that he knows what's real.
It's not a pretty sight Charlotte Hale finds when she walks into his house. But she needs him to snap out of it. Serac has bought 38% of shares. If William doesn't pull himself together, get in the waiting car to go to the emergency board meeting in person, and persuade the investors to vote to go private, cutting Serac out of the deal, Incite will own Delos by sunrise.
On the outside, it all sounds above board. But fans know this isn't Charlotte, but a host, with someone unknown inside. (Whoever they are, they're very good at shaving men with a straight razor too.) Even if it was the real Hale, fans also know Charlotte is the "mole" inside Delos that she's shouting about at the Man In Black. Whatever she's up to, chances are it's not taking William to an emergency board meeting.
Unfortunately, the Man In Black doesn't catch on to the truth until Hale quietly reveals who it is driving the bus. "I know you," she tells him, "down to your bones... Your oldest friend." William draws back in horror, "Dolores?"
Give yourself a gold star if you guessed right: Dolores is driving the Charlotte Hale replica. William attacks her, screaming Hale isn't real. It's the proof she needs to show the Man in Black has lost his grip on reality. The men outside, who work for a private mental asylum, take him away.
But how is this the fate of the Man in Black? There are clues in Dolores' words, both as Hale and later as herself, in William's visions.
Hale: It's amusing you think you chose to kill your own daughter. You don't even have a choice in your own grief.
Dolores: You don't even understand who you are, [or] if any of this was your choice.
Consider Rehoboam's abilities; how it engineers lives to create self-fulfilling prophecies for someone as insignificant as Caleb. Now imagine what the program can do to William, a person very much in Serac's way of owning Delos.
If Dolores read Caleb's algorithm file, she surely also read William's. He's been put on a loop to self-destruction, just as she was for all those years. No wonder she thinks this is justice.