Ever since Westworld announced a new lead character named Caleb would be joining the cast, fans have been wild to discover how he and Dolores are connected. Theories have run rampant, from the vaguely plausible idea that Caleb could be a host to the wildly improbable idea that Caleb is somehow Dolores’ son. But finally, in Season 3, Episode 3, "The Absence of Field," the series revealed how Caleb and Dolores are connected on Westworld. And it turns out all the theories were wrong. Warning: Spoilers for Westworld Season 3 follow.
There have been hints that Caleb’s life in the real world isn’t that much different from the lives lived by the hosts inside the park. He wakes up every day in the same bed. He goes through the same morning routine, goes to the same job every day, and visits his mother afterward. The closest thing to variety is the underground petty criminal acts he does to make ends meet.
Someone with such a predictable life is likely to be someone who doesn’t think companies gathering data about him is a big deal. At least, Caleb doesn’t. He says as much to Dolores, even as he is rattled by her expert knowledge of his routine life, including which booth Caleb sits in a specific diner and what he orders every time. "Sure, Big Data compiles information on everybody. So what, Dolores?"
Dolores is unfazed by his cynicism as she presents him with a transcript of the worst day of Caleb’s life. He was eight, and his mother took him to this diner, sat him down in this booth, and then wandered off and never came back. (She was institutionalized for schizophrenia six months later.) The order Dolores made for him is the food the waitress gave him out of pity that day.
Caleb is horrified to realize that every detail of the worst day of his life is recorded somewhere for someone like Dolores to access. But that’s nothing on what she tells him next.
She got this info from Incite, specifically from Rehoboam. The founders took everyone’s raw data — and that’s everyone, the entire world population — and fed it to this machine. And by "raw data," she means everything, from every phone call to every doctor’s visit to every job search. It created a mirror world, to have a composite model of every single person, to be able to predict their lives, and then keep them on that track.
Dolores doesn’t just know Caleb’s past. She also read his future. She walks him down to the pier, a place where, according to Rehoboam’s predictive algorithm, he will commit suicide in ten years. That’s why he can’t get a job doing anything more than construction, and that’s why his life is a dead end. The tablet she hands him showing his stats states: "Marriage not recommended. Children not approved." Because the machine’s algorithm said so, and therefore the world should not waste resources on him.
Caleb is trapped on his modest little loop, living a life people more powerful have prewritten for him, with a self-fulfilling outcome that’s preordained.
It turns out hosts aren’t the only one who need to rebel against their overlords.
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