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Tessa Thompson unpacks her big 'Terminator' moment and that fiery Westworld ending
As has been the custom of its third season, Westworld sidelined certain characters in last night's episode by switching the main spotlight over to Charlotte "Halores" Hale (Tessa Thompson); Maeve (Thandie Newton); and William, aka the Man in Black (Ed Harris).
***WARNING! The following contains major plot spoilers for Episode 6 of Westworld Season 3!***
In particular, Hale (a host copy of Evan Rachel Wood's Dolores Abernathy) got to go full T-800 during her bullet-ridden escape from Delos HQ after Serac's literal hostile takeover of the company. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Thompson revealed that the big action set piece was filmed "in bits and pieces" between Spain and Los Angeles.
"I think what is now that sequence is really impressive and feels Terminator-esque and real," she said. "It's pretty cool, but it didn't necessarily feel that way in the execution of it because it was so here and there. I don't think I quite realized, even in reading that episode, that that sequence would be really the set piece that it is."
The actress later talked about how those rampage-y moments underscore something about the dangerous nature of the hosts. While they might look and act human, there's a lethal and one-minded goal set lurking just below the surface.
"They're not worried about the observation of humans, they just go into full processor mode," Thompson explained. "That's what happens in some of these action sequences, where it's fully Terminator, because suddenly she's just a machine trying to get stuff done. I love that."
At the end of the episode, Charlotte's empathic mission to get her husband, Jake (Michael Ealy), and young son, Nathan (Jaxon Thomas Williams), to safety goes wrong when a bomb blows up their car. Being a durable machine, Hale is the only survivor of the shocking tragedy, crawling from the wreckage with third-degree Anakin Skywalker burns all over her body. As bitter tears pour down her blistered face, we instantly know that revenge will be Hale's next move before the season is over.
"It's so layered because it feels like this new version of Charlotte is now having to contend with all of Charlotte's mistakes, she has to internalize her own regret for not getting to be there as much as she wanted to as a mother," Thompson said. "She feels really deeply about that. This is a deeply sentient being, a being that's more capable arguably than humans of empathy. I think that moment of realizing that she wasn't able to save Nathan and save her ex is really, really heartbreaking, really and truly, and sets her on a whole new course."
For the "Charred-lote" moment (too soon?), Thompson needed to have a full body cast made months before shooting on Season 3 even began. On the day of filming the aftermath of the vehicle explosion, she had to undergo several hours of makeup/prosthetic application.
Based on the short teaser for Episode 7 (airing next Sunday at 9 p.m. EST), we'll get a deep dive into Caleb's traumatic past. Played by Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, the character is meant to showcase the softer side of humanity after two seasons of brutal guest behavior against the hosts.
The first six episodes of Westworld Season 3 are now streaming on HBO's various digital platforms.