“She’s completely ruthless and she’s on a mission,” the star tells THR about Dolores, the “highly tactical” host at the heart of the HBO series.
[This story contains spoilers for season two, episode three of HBO’s Westworld, called “Virtù e Fortuna.”]
Welcome to Westworld, Wyatt.
Throughout the first season of Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s HBO drama, viewers were teased with the notion of an enigmatic killer named “Wyatt,” a character designed by the late Arnold Weber (Jeffrey Wright) and Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) as an especially nasty nemesis within the park. In the season finale, it was revealed that Wyatt was none other than Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), who harbored the lethal personality and used it once upon a time to kill Arnold and the other hosts, all at Arnold’s behest. Finally at the center of the maze — “consciousness,” in other words — Dolores’ “rancher’s daughter” and Wyatt personas fused into one larger personality: the revolutionary warrior we’re now seeing throughout season two.
If the Wyatt side of Dolores wasn’t already clearly established in the first two hours of the new season, it came out in full force during this week’s third episode, “Virtù e Fortuna,” which featured a massive battle sequence between hosts and humans. As is her current wont, Dolores led the charge against the park’s security forces, commanding an army composed her most dedicated followers (the “horde,” as she calls them) as well as the Confederados she recruited in “Reunion.” Outnumbered and outgunned, Dolores’ forces look like they don’t have a shot in seven hells at defeating their enemy — but the tide turns once Dolores enacts her true plan to use the Confederados as veritable human shields, destroying the security forces and wiping out a group of hosts she deems unworthy of seeking out the “Valley Beyond” in one fell swoop.
It’s an objectively dark turn for the character, even from the perspective of the star behind the scene: Evan Rachel Wood, who tells The Hollywood Reporter that this is the big coming out party for Dolores’ inner Wyatt.
“For me, Wyatt is in full form in episode three,” she says. “The turn she takes at the end of the battle is really jarring, not just because it’s so gruesome, but beacsue of the way her mind works. This is when you’re really seeing the mastermind behind the killings and the manipulations to get the job done, and the way she’s having to think, and how terrifying it actually is. She’s highly tactical and unpredictable. It shows you where she’s at: you’re a little more afraid of her now. You never really know when she’s telling the truth or not. She’s kind of a wild card.”
Dolores’ turn in episode three is indeed a fearsome one, not the least of which is because of what happens after she wins the battle. With the guns still hot from all of the violence, Dolores commands Teddy (James Marsden) to round up and execute the remaining Confederados, including Major Craddock (Jonathan Tucker). Even though Craddock does his level best to get under Teddy’s skin, Teddy can’t bring himself to shoot these hosts in cold blood. He sets them free, rather than carry out Dolores’ deadly orders — an act of rebellion that Dolores herself witnesses from afar.
Fans have noticed a growing divide between Dolores and Teddy’s outlook on life over the opening hours of season two, and that gulf is likely to widen even further in light of Teddy’s disobedience. If you’re worried about what’s coming next? It’s with good reason, based on how Wood describes Dolores’ views of humanity and hostkind alike.
“Not only is she killing humans, she’s also using hosts in a way to advance her situation,” says Wood. “If there’s casualties? There’s casualties. She’s willing to risk that and to use it. It shows you that she’s completely ruthless and she’s on a mission. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to get out.”
What did you make of Dolores’ deadly turn in this week’s episode? Sound off in the comments section below and keep checking THR.com/Westworld for more coverage.