The American Psychological Association defines “messiah complex” as “the desire and compulsion to redeem or save others or the world.” It pairs with its definition of “Jehovah complex,” defined as “a form of megalomania in which the individual experiences delusions of grandeur and identifies with qualities associated with God.” It’s a dangerous combination of complexes that has raw capacity to rapidly eschew morality and nuance for the sake of power, ownership, and the creation of identity.
They are complexes most evidently harbored by Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Serac (Vincent Cassel). On the surface, they are diametrically opposed to one another and indeed their actions are playing out as such. However, the parallels between the two in driving the similarities home are eerie and the show’s slow attempt at building Dolores into a questionable character finally clicks.
Dolores is under the impression that she is the only one who can save the hosts as a species from humans and their questionable at best motivations. She formed this impression from the intense trauma of her experience in the park, the treatment of the hosts by humans as a whole, and the abilities she has earned over the course of her awakening. She is determined in her righteousness, in her capacity to overturn a world that is so far proving to be far more dangerous than she could have ever expected it to be. It therefore comes as no surprise as to who is inside the bodies of the hosts she smuggled out of Westworld.
Serac’s formative childhood experience, of which we so far have only received a snippet, is dominated by the nuclear decimation of Paris. We don’t know exactly what happened yet, but it is a historical point in this world first noted in HBO’s date teaser for the season as a “thermonuclear incident.” We’ll see if this is a result of warfare, the French reliance on nuclear energy, or perhaps a combination of both. But it instilled in Serac the idea of unpredictable human behavior destroying the planet and therefore, human behavior must be predicted without any outliers. Dolores is far too grave of an outlier and as far as he’s concerned, Maeve (Thandie Newtoon) has the best chance of stopping her.
At the end of the second season, someone in Charlotte Hale’s (Tessa Thompson) body smuggles five hosts out of Westworld and a fun game this season so far has been wondering who those hosts are. As it turns out, they are all copies of Dolores. “If you want something done,” she declares pithily, “do it yourself.” It’s a philosophical construct born out of those complexes and to one which Maeve rightfully wonders, is Dolores creating a world for everyone or is she simply creating one for herself?
If Dolores isn’t careful, and there are not that many narrative signs to point towards that, then she runs the risk of turning into William (Ed Harris), a man whose own ideas of being God drove him to a point where he is literally unable to distinguish between reality and fiction. The idea of Serac gaining access to the Delos data drives him towards reality for a brief moment in time before he realizes that Charlotte is in fact a copy of Dolores. Charlotte (as we’ll continue to call her for now) reminds him with a slight triumph that he will be institutionalized, declared incompetent by the board of Delos, and then his control of the shares will be passed right over to her. The price one pays for drowning in delusions.
+ We’re at the halfway point already. Isn’t that wild?
+ “Would you know if you had been changed? As a machine.”
+ “You live as long as the last person who remembers you, Bernard.”
+ Living for that suit purchase scene.
+ Offshore accounts and hiding away funds from “tax exposure” are still a thing in this future? Expected, I guess.
+ Great to see Katja Herbers and Hiroyuki Sanada again
+ Are you as obsessed with Ramin Djawadi’s cover of The Weeknd’s “Wicked Games” as I am? Great news – it’s released as a single!
+ This is the most interesting William has ever been. On the flip side, Bernard has never been more dull, which is mildly irritating.
+ This season continues to be visually stunning.