“I only know what I tell myself.”
This amazingly short line of dialogue is spoken by Caleb (Aaron Paul) to Caleb (always Aaron Paul), who — along with many other Calebs — are in a unique hell in “Fidelity.” He’s already faced the devastating news that he failed to stop Hale (Tessa Thompson) from taking over the world 23 years agobut things get worse when he finds out as Host that he hasn’t reached loyaltyit starts to malfunction.
Hale went to the trouble of making 277 previous copies of Caleb because she is desperate to find out how he was able to resist her mind control parasite, becoming the first Outlier. Her hope is that if she finds out, she can stop the Aberrants from “infecting” her Hosts and causing them to commit suicide. When he was human, Caleb taunted Hale by claiming that she knew how he was able to break free from her control, so all she has to do is keep creating more Calebs until she learn the answer.
Hale tells her all about it in her cell, bringing a comical hourglass to indicate her burgeoning demise. She also tells him that his daughter Frankie (Aurora Perrineau) is alive, which causes Caleb to burst into tears of bittersweet joy, a moment powerfully played by Paul, even after Hale taunts him saying she slipped the one of his hosts in Frankie’s Outlier Rebellion. After Hale leaves, the opaque windows of his cell go light and Caleb gets another painful shock – he’s not alone. Several other Host versions of himself occupy similar cells, and they are all in various stages of disintegration.
It’s the first of many entertaining and unsettling moments in “Fidelity” where Caleb is forcefully reminded that he’s no longer human. But luckily a particularly degraded version of Caleb gives our Caleb a hint that he needs more time, so he checks the hourglass and finds a small canister in it, which knocks him out so he looks dead. One of Hale’s drone hosts presses the stop button, causing jets of fire to erupt from the ceiling. The only escape is through a grate on the floor… which mysteriously has a small arrow carved into it, indicating how the grate should be opened.
When Caleb escapes, he falls into a pile of bones and ash – clearly the remains of Calebs who weren’t so lucky. As he travels through the bowels of the Olympiad Entertainment building, he begins to see signs that he is not the first Caleb to have made this exact escape. There’s an ashen handprint on a wall, where a former Caleb got ready. After a fight with a drone host, he finds a bloody handprint on the wall, indicating that a Caleb had suffered the exact same fight before, and possibly even received the same injury.
But nothing beats the gruesome scene Caleb discovers after crawling through the air vents. There is a dying Caleb near an opening, and when our Caleb looks down he sees a giant chute with the bloody corpses of two other Calebs on the ground who were so desperate to escape they risked death. fall. Luckily, the dying Caleb has an idea: to act as a human cushion so our Caleb can survive the fall. It’s a sacrifice, but the two Calebs are united in wanting to contact Frankie. They fall. Our Caleb lives. The other Caleb dies horribly. And finally, Caleb goes to the roof of the building, where he uses the radio from a construction elevator to send an audio message to Frankie.
You don’t have to be a genius to know that Hale engineered Caleb’s escape; if several previous Calebs had taken the same route, Hale would have figured that out before she got to Caleb #278. She would certainly have searched the building from top to bottom to make sure it didn’t truly become free. But Caleb only finds out after delivering his message, when Hale appears, holding the canister she clearly left in the hourglass, and says she waited a long time for him to go far enough to be able to hear the message in the hope that it would contain some. index. It’s not, so Hale breaks Caleb’s neck and has a new Caleb host made.
If you think about it for more than a minute, none of this makes sense. Why did Hale make the escape so elaborate? If everything had to be exactly like this for Caleb to message Frankie does that mean she was making copies of Caleb specifically to be in the other jail cells to freak him out and give him the clue cartridge? Did she place the other Calebs there, or did she intentionally leave dead bodies lying around the building for him to find? Also, why did Hale let this take place in the real world instead of a simulation, saving valuable time and resources?
I didn’t care in the least about those issues while watching “Fidelity” because again, it was so pleasantly weird, and I only partially care now. I can still wave at Westworld when it’s fun. What irritates me much more are the two awkwardly crammed flashback scenes in the episode. The first is of young Frankie scraping her knee and refusing to step on it. Caleb gives him a pep talk, where he reveals the incredibly corny way, he managed to resist Hale’s flies: “You know what kind of person can’t be beaten? The kind that doesn’t give up.
The second features young Frankie, just after Hale has taken over the world, finding young Outlier Jay with his mother. After they escape, Frankie says something about how Jay can be his new brother, which Jay angrily refutes, having lost his current brother to Hale’s anti-Outlier machinations.
Cut to Frankie and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) in the present, heading to the desolate remains of Mobworld to revive Maeve (Thandiwe Newton). Frankie is suspicious when Bernard reveals everything he knows about fixing hosts, and even more suspicious when Bernard somehow knows that even Mobworld rooms were able to instantly scan a person’s data. by having Frankie scanned by the room. However, she still wants Maeve to be rebuilt because she recognized her a long time ago, when Maeve came home to warn their family to hide. If anyone knows what happened to her father, Frankie thinks, it must be Maeve.
When the other rebels join them at Mobworld, Jay (Daniel Wu) announces that Hale knew they were coming, and that there is a traitor among them. Frankie instantly shoots Bernard, who is he identified as a Host the minute Bernard took her digitized data, which could be used to create a Host version of her. (Bernard’s reason for making the copy: “It’s complicated.” Sigh.) However, she wants Bernard and Stubbs to live at least long enough for Maeve to be finished, much to Jay’s chagrin. This gives Bernard the opportunity later to tell Frankie that one of the returning rebels is one of Hale’s hosts, but he doesn’t know who it is. It’s Jay, as Frankie finds out when he says something about being like a brother to her, which tweaks her thanks to the awkward flashback from earlier. They have a big fight, and the awakened Maeve kills Jay and saves Frankie at the last second. The end.
Still, “Fidelity” is an effective episode thanks to the classic Westworld the crazy wit of Caleb’s script – a script good enough that the rest of What the Hell Is Going on With Christina™ wouldn’t mind being delayed another week (or more). But there are only two episodes left and the world is still under Hale’s thumb, Caleb is non-functional, Christina is probably Dolores but with her memory erased, and Bernard still isn’t telling anyone what the plan is. Season four was a big improvement over last season, but it’s about time Westworld pick up the pace.
- Bernard specifically mentions that Hale has one of these mega-simulators, which leads me to be presumptuous in my belief that Dolores is in it, generating narratives for people controlled by Hale in the real world.
- You’re telling me there’s technology that can remotely find people breaking free from Hale’s mind control, but there’s no test that can tell the difference between a host and a human? For example, shouldn’t everyone in the rebellion go through a metal detector from time to time?
- How can drone hosts hear someone blink, but even with this map locating outliers, they apparently can’t tell them apart otherwise?
- How did Hale know the Rebels were coming to town if she hadn’t replaced Jay yet? And is it something meaningful to the narrative or just a plot? You really can never tell with Westworld.
- One of Caleb’s memories is of walking through a field with his daughter – and it seems aalmost exactly like Maeve’s frequently shown memory of her walking in a field with his daughter. Is this just a parallel, or did some of Maeve’s data go into Caleb’s core?
- Do nurses really eat their patients’ pudding while they’re unconscious, or was Caleb’s future wife just a monster of the first order?
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