There's something remarkable going on as Westworld Season 3 changes. Dolores leaving the park for the outside world would naturally cause the series to evolve. But after two seasons where the show has tinkered with character perception and interwoven multiple timelines, Season 3 feels remarkably straightforward. It could be a result of leaving the park; the real world cannot fool the eye in the same way. But a growing number of fans are buying into this Westworld "Two Worlds" theory, which suggests the show is still playing with perception.
The theory started with the opening credits, which change every season. The new version shows a host reaching up towards its reflection, only to discover it's the surface of a pool. The host then passes through the water, leaving the robot inside it behind. Fans initially thought this a metaphor for Dolores crossing into the "New World" of the season's subtitle.
But in Episode 3, Dolores talks of a "Mirror World" one created by Rehoboam, which it made to model out human history going forward. Why exactly Incite was driven to create it hadn't been made clear yet, but this confirmation there are "Two Worlds," a real and a reflection, has caused fans to start questioning everything. That includes if the host is passing into the real world, or dividing between the real world and a mirror.
This theory also ties in the idea Serac is not a real person, but an avatar of Rehoboam. If his conversation with Maeve were in the Mirror World, that would explain all the discrepancies.
But the biggest boost that the show is messing with viewer perception comes in the scenes with Charlotte Hale. Throughout Episode 3, Hale (who is being controlled by an as-yet-unknown host) is researching her subject, including the last recording Hale ever made, a message to her son, Nathan, telling him she loves him.
The host listens to the message twice. The first time, viewers hear this:
This is Charlotte Elizabeth Hale. This is a message for Nathan. Nathan Hale, my son, I love you so much, buddy. The night that I left, you wanted me to tuck you in and sing you are song. So I am going to sing it to you now.
She then sings "You Are My Sunshine."
The second time viewers hear it, at the end of the episode, the recording is twice as long.
This is Charlotte Elizabeth Hale. This is a message for Nathan. Nathan Hale, my son, I haven't always been there for you. There's so many things I need to say. This might be the last time that mommy gets to talk to you. I love you so much, buddy. I am so proud of you, and I am sorry. I am so sorry if I ever made you feel like you weren't the most important thing. I was trying to build a life for us. And now I realize none of it even matters. The night that I left, I wanted to sing you a song, our song, but I didn't have time, so. So I am going to sing it to you now.
Why the discrepancy? Fans believe the first scene is Hale in the Mirror World, the one modeled by Rehoboam. The second is the real recording. Rehoboam does not understand human emotions or nuance. It only records the gist of the message, not the heart. The original version contains all Charlotte's guilt and regret, which Rehoboam did not deem necessary.
Could this be Westworld's secret twist this season? Viewers will be watching for more discrepancies from here on out.