Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Westworld Season 4.From Delos to Incite, the world of Westworld is full of sleazy companies that deal in the business of the human mind. So, you know, it’s not that different from our own world. However, while real companies like Facebook may engage in emotional manipulation or sell your data to political operatives, in the HBO series things are a bit more sophisticated. Delos intended to copy entire human minds into AI, and Incite’s Rehoboam promised a world of eternal stability through the manipulation of human lives. Throw Olympiad Entertainment into the mix, and you’re looking at a world in which it’s not just people’s data and livelihoods that are in the hands of corporations, but their flesh and will.
Olympiad Entertainment debuted in the first episode of Westworld Season 4. After a time jump from the Season 3 fight against Rehoboam creator Engerraund Serac (Vincent Cassel) which cost the original Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) her life, we are introduced to a Dolores lookalike named Christina. In a world freed from the control of Serac’s divine AI, Christina works as a scriptwriter for game studio Olympiad Entertainment, creating stories for various NPCs. But Christina’s world isn’t as free as she thinks. Bums on the street warn passers-by of a tower that controls their every move, and at least one man is certain that Christina herself is responsible for the tragedies in her life. What initially looks like simple paranoia quickly gains new layers as Christina begins to investigate what happens to her characters when she’s finished writing them. After the events of episodes 5 and 6, it became clear that Christina and Olympiad Entertainment have a lot more to offer than meets the eye. But what exactly is going on?
To understand how Olympiad works, we must first take a look at another entertainment company in the Westworld universe: Delos Destinations. The Delos subsidiary responsible for Westworld and other guest-filled theme parks secretly collected data directly from the brains of its guests through the hats provided upon arrival at their chosen destination. Delos’ excuse was that he was using all this information to better understand his clientele, but the real goal was to create copies of the minds of selected guests and transfer them to synthetic bodies, making the most wealthy clients. of the business practically immortal. This technique was first used in Season 2, with disastrous results: James Delos (Pierre Mullan) had his own consciousness transferred into a host body to face an eternity of being burned to death due to the prototype’s lack of mental stability.
But technology tends to improve over time, provided it continues to be used. When the Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) version of Dolores takes over Delos at the end of Season 3, the mind transfer technique is already perfected. So much so, in fact, that Halores Season 4 has a host version of Man in Black (Ed Harris) as his right-hand man, resuming his position as CEO of Delos. Their plan is to replace key political figures with hosts so that Delos can get permission to open a new Prohibition-age themed park, something the company is struggling with after the bloodbath of season 2. Or, at least, that’s the part of the iceberg that’s visible above the water.
As is usually the case with Westworld, things are much more complicated than they seem and involve several deadlines. Halores’ true plan is to take over the world. At first, season 4 seemed like it was about stopping her, but it turns out she’s already won. In episodes 2-4, we see Maeve (Thandiwe Newton) and Caleb (Aaron Paul) traveling through Golden Age Park to find out what’s really behind this new Delos venture. They fail to make it out, but manage to uncover Hale’s true intentions: the park also serves as a front and trial for his mind-control scheme, which involves lab-modified flies that infect human hosts and secrete a black slime in their brains. The goop makes human hosts responsive to commands issued by a machine behind the parks walls, very similar to the tower the tramp near Christina’s workplace had in his drawings. At the end of episode 4, the show reveals that a larger version of the tower already exists outside the park and controls the actions of every human in the world, with a few notable exceptions.
There are those, like C (Aurora Perrineau) and Jay (Daniel Wu), who managed to slip out of Hale’s control. They are dubbed outliers and hunted down mercilessly by the hosts, who use the human world as their private playground, much like humans once did for them.
And then there is Christine. But, judging by Episode 5, she’s not human, but a rare guest unaware of her own nature. In “Zhuangzi”, Christina has a life-changing second date with Dolores’ romantic interest in Westworld, Teddy (James Marsden). He reveals to her that the man the stalker who accused her of ruining her life wasn’t crazy at all, but 100% correct. It turns out that the characters Christina writes for Olympiad-developed games aren’t regular NPCs, but living, breathing people. Olympiad Entertainment is not a game company, but the place from which, at least in part, the orders transmitted by Hale’s tower originate. While Hale herself and other hosts can control human behavior through speech, Christina’s stories work much like the loops that once allowed hosts to go about their daily activities in the parks. Part of Christina’s awakening process involves her realizing that she can change people’s fates just by thinking about it. She can, for example, introduce two lonely women to each other in the park, then force them to fall out and return to solitude. She can also control her boss’s decisions and her level of satisfaction with her job, suggesting that Olympiad has no other real employees: the company is just an illusion created by Hale to keep Christina oblivious to the nature of her existence, as well as humanity.
Having gone through all that trouble for Christina not knowing who and what she is, it’s only natural that Hale is less than thrilled with her sudden change in behavior after her date with Teddy. Alas, humanity’s new host lord has more pressing matters to deal with at this time. Hosts have started killing each other, the number of outliers keeps growing, and perhaps most importantly, she’s bored. Partly for information about outliers and what she believes to be an epidemic of man-made suicide, partly for entertainment, she has created a torture chamber for Caleb’s conscience. Using mind transplant technology invented by Delos, she created multiple copies of her ancient enemy which she keeps trapped inside the Olympiad building. These synthetic calebs are only allowed to escape from their holding cells to die horribly or be subsequently captured and interrogated by Hale in loyalty tests.
But, by the end of Episode 6, Hale seems to have gotten tired of torturing Caleb. Her tests just weren’t yielding the expected results, so she ordered that her rooms be cremated, along with all of her multiple bodies. But even with Caleb on the sidelines, Hale still has a lot to do and the anxiety is literally eating away at him. Will she find the time to take care of Christina? Or is Olympiad Entertainment ripe for a power shift?
Westworld airs Sundays on HBO. Episodes are available to stream on HBO Max.