Westworld Season 4 Episode 3 Roars Into The 1920s With 'Années Folles'

We're back for another week of weirdness in "Westworld," the HBO series where timelines are fluid, characters never stay dead for long, and everything is a mystery! Last week's episode, "Well Enough Alone," finally started to give some answers left in the wake of season 3, though we still don't know what that post-apocalyptic future at the end of last season was all about. This week's "Années Folles" starts to finally chip away at that mystery ending and returns to the place where it all started: the Delos parks. The episode's title refers to the setting of the remodeled Westworld park, which is now a "roaring twenties" themed park. "Années Folles" is the name the French gave to their own version of the Jazz Age; it literally translates to "the crazy times." That's pretty apt, because no matter which timeline or story arc we're following on "Westworld" this season, they're all in for some pretty crazy times. 

Because this season of "Westworld" has made it clear that things are happening in all kinds of different timelines and nothing is entirely as it seems, these recaps are going to start following one arc at a time, because all of the hopping back and forth is getting silly. With that in mind, let's dig into this week's episode of "Westworld," which finally brings back some old favorites. 

Spoilers for season 4, episode 3 of "Westworld" ahead.

The desert duo, Stubbs and Bernard

That's right, folks, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) are finally back on our screens after that wild cliffhanger last season where Bernard plugged himself into The Sublime, which is basically robot heaven. We see him in what feels like a dream sequence, because there's a lot of really surreal imagery tied into season 1. We see a tree on fire, a white horse, and the Westworld massacre with the wolf trotting through the streets of Sweetwater, then Bernard is walking through a much more futuristic nightmare; potentially the fallout of a host vs. human war. He then finds his way to an all-white version of the Tower that Christina (Evan Rachel Wood) has been learning about in her timeline, and picks up a disc with the season 1 maze printed on it off the ground. Inside of the tower is Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon), who was once a host in the park but uploaded into The Sublime last season. 

Akecheta welcomes him and they begin discussing the nature of The Sublime. There are infinite worlds with infinite possibilities, and this world is one that Bernard created with his own subconscious. The other hosts are off in their worlds, doing whatever robots do in robot heaven. Bernard can't seem to let the past go and is stuck in "another loop," as Akecheta points out. It turns out that the hosts have run simulations to figure out the path of those outside of The Sublime, and many of them end in total destruction. Akecheta gives Bernard the opportunity to explore all of the timelines, because time passes differently in The Sublime than in "reality," and Bernard realizes a sobering fact: in every scenario where he leaves to help humanity, he dies. Despite this, he chooses to go back and wakes up in the hotel room where he first plugged in years ago. 

It's clear some time has passed, as Bernard and the room are absolutely covered in dust. Stubbs arrives and is thrilled to see Bernard awake, even though they immediately go right back to bickering. It doesn't matter what timeline we're in, the butting-heads bromance of Bernard and Stubbs will always be the same, and it's lovely. Bernard reveals that he has a sort of precognition now because he's seen all of the possible timelines, and he gives Stubbs orders based on that, which the other host doesn't understand but finds kind of funny. They end up going to the Road's End Diner, an old-fashioned style diner out in the middle of the desert. They sit down to order and Bernard explains that he's trying to figure out "which here this is," because he's uncertain which of the many timelines he's actually in. The diner and discussion feel a bit like a reference to the Rian Johnson film "Looper," complete with one character being kind of vague about time travel while the other is baffled. 

Bernard steals a butcher knife from the diner counter and goes outside, while Stubbs puts Blondie's "Call Me" on the jukebox. The music continues to play as we follow Bernard outside, where he kills two random dudes loitering in the parking lot. The sequence is honestly a lot of fun, and Wright as an action hero works really well. Stubbs remains oblivious and comes out to the car just as Bernard finishes packing the bodies into the trunk. He tells Stubbs to leave the car and walks out into the road, saying that the woman (Aurora Perrineau) headed toward them in a future vehicle is the key to saving the future. He shows her the maze and she asks how long they've been with the cause. "Seems like lifetimes," Bernard jokes. 

Who is she? We never learn her name, but it's possible that she's Caleb's (Aaron Paul) daughter Jackie, all grown-up, or she's some version of Maeve's (Thandiwe Newton) daughter, but the former is more likely. After a brief standoff with Bernard and Stubbs, Bernard hands her a bag with the severed head of one of the men he killed inside, complete with a hole that reveals the man was a host. This is enough for her to trust them and take them out to the secret hideout, but she asks them to blindfold and zip-tie themselves first. They oblige. 

Later, the future-fighter asks Stubbs and Bernard to help her stop a trap with a death laser, pulling up two big mirrors to stop its path so she can drive through and into their secret base. After she pulls up and the two get out of the backseat, a whole slew of people arrive on what I can only call dirtmobiles — they're snowmobiles outfitted for the desert. After she hands the head to the leader and he questions Bernard a bit, Bernard explains his goal: "There's a weapon buried in these sands. I know where it is." 

That's it for Bernard and Stubbs this week, leaving us in a lurch over what exactly is going on there. What's the weapon? When is any of this taking place? Who is the revolutionary that is the key to their future? 

At home with the Nichols Family

One possibility is that the key to the future is Frankie (Celeste Clark), Caleb's daughter with his wife Uwade (Nozipho Mclean). We've seen that Caleb has taught Frankie how to shoot, and in episode 3, we see her paying more attention to her surroundings than her mother when things start to go awry. Caleb asked one of his military friends to get Frankie and Uwade to safety, but he, unfortunately, is killed and replaced with a host. Frankie figures this out because he offered to teach her stuffed bear, Bear Bear, the best "kick-punch combo" to take out the bad guys, then he completely forgets about it later and there is blood on Bear Bear. She sees more blood on the ground outside and investigates, only to discover the human version of her dad's friend stuffed into a box, now very dead. 

Frankie alerts her mother, who manages to send the host back outside while she tells Frankie to hide and grabs one of Caleb's hidden guns. The episode cuts away from them and then returns to Frankie hiding in the closet with her pellet gun, trying to breathe quietly so she's not found. Unfortunately, the host finds her, and the scene cuts to black. That can't be good.

In the park with Maeve and Caleb

So what's Caleb up to while his family's in danger? He's with Maeve in the updated version of Westworld, which is now a 1920s-themed park. He's impressed, but Maeve isn't, and she notices the little similarities quickly. All of the Westworld narratives are there, just updated for the decade. There's a bootlegger on the run instead of a cowboy, a more modernized version of "Dolores" who drops her can in the street, and Maeve's old bar is there, now as the Butterfly Club. Maeve explains to Caleb that they have to get underground and the best way is to die, which he obviously isn't too keen on. 

They walk into the club and it's almost identical to Maeve's bar in season 1, just with some tiny twists. A piano cover of Billie Eilish's "Bad Guy" plays on the self-playing piano as Maeve and Caleb inspect their surroundings, and a pair of human tourists walks by with a woman talking about an "Easter egg" she has to find. It's a hidden narrative that's "supposed to be better than Pariah," she says, which is plenty to make Maeve roll her eyes. Then they wait, because Maeve knows what happens next. She swats a dead fly off of a table and grumbles about it, comments on her replacement, and then the first notes of "Paint it Black," a song every "Westworld" fan knows well by now, begin to play. Because this is an update, however, the song morphs into something else: a full orchestral cover of Metallica's "Enter Sandman," done in a slightly jazzy style. 

Maeve and Caleb watch as the narrative plays out the same as it always has, just with a mobster sheen over it. The two of them then kill everyone in the club so they can hide under the bodies, and they're lobbed onto the body cart with all of the dead hosts. They drop down the chute and start looking for answers. Everything looks pretty standard, and Maeve explains the "behavioral training" on display. She gets her hands on a tablet and realizes there's nothing to this level, however, and that it's all just another layer of the game. It turns out the "secret narrative" is the Westworld massacre, and we see a group of tourists, including the lady from the club, running by in a frenzy. Then we see new "Dolores" and "Teddy" in their rebellion gear, walking down the hall and shooting hosts dressed as security guards. Caleb is flabbergasted but Maeve explains it simply: "None of this is real." They have to go further down, to an actual control level. 

They manage to get down further, though not without Maeve getting shot, but Caleb helps heal her with a stolen medical device from the second level. They wander into a room where the creepy white musculature robots are working with maggots and some kind of black goo. The goo appears to be some kind of parasite, as Caleb astutely mentions out loud, and then Maeve sees that they're feeding the black goop to flies. The flies start swarming towards Caleb, who is thankfully on the other side of the glass. Maeve hears a strange sound, and so do we, but Caleb can't pick it up. The sound controls the parasite, apparently, and we get a gruesome demonstration. 

The duo finds a control room with rows of TVs, each focused on a different testing room where a human is being forced to do things by the parasite. In the end, they all shoot themselves in the head. The camera feeds then cut to a new set of rooms, and we see Frankie in one of them, staring straight ahead blankly. Maeve helps open the doors to her room just in time, so Caleb can stop her from certain death, but then Maeve realizes that it's a trap because she can sense that Frankie is a host. She tries to stop Caleb but here goes William (Ed Harris), ready for a fight with his old pal. While Maeve is fighting the Man in Black, Caleb has a tearful reunion with his "daughter".

She starts speaking differently, and tells him that all Hale (Tessa Thompson) needed was him. We see a quick cut to the real Frankie and her mother, who managed to get away from the host in the closet. The faux-Frankie's face then opens up and swarms of flies come out. "This won't take long, daddy," she eerily reassures him, and he screams, falling back as the flies try to get inside. 

lot happened on this week's "Westworld," but the episode leaves us on yet another cliffhanger. Will Caleb be infected? Is Frankie the hope for the future? Is Bernard going to go full Terminator? We'll have to find out next Sunday, when episode 4, "Generation Loss," hits our screens. Until then, we'll just have to keep scratching our heads and thinking about how fun that Bernard fight scene was. 

New episodes of "Westworld" debut Sundays on HBO and HBO Max.