Westworld loves a mystery. What is the maze? Who is the Man in Black? What the hell was season 2? The third season of the HBO epic is no different. While standard questions about timelines and loops abound in Westworld season 3, there is also a fresh conundrum at the heart of these new episodes: What is Rehoboam?
The mysterious machine makes its debut 34 minutes into Westworld’s 2020 premiere, “Parce Domine.” The advanced piece of artificial intelligence — which is named after the second King of Israel and the son of Solomon — appears to be at the centre of Dolores Abernathy’s (Evan Rachel Wood) ultimate game plan for worldwide host domination in season 3. Rehoboam is so important, people spend the last few minutes of “Parce” killing each other over the machine and the company that owns it, Incite. However, we barely know anything about Rehoboam — at least at the beginning of the season.
In the cold open, Dolores plays multiple mind games with a wealthy man named Gerry (Thomas Kretschmann), who previously worked at a mysterious company named Incite. Incite, we learn a few minutes later, is the tech company that owns Rehoboam.
At the beginning of the episode, Dolores confirms Gerry left Incite harboring the kind of company secrets he was meant to turn in when he started retirement. Dolores has him hand the information over to her, saying he’s “trading them for his life.”
When asked why she needs the tech company details, Dolores says, “I’m the last of my kind. For now. I need a competitive advantage.” Rehoboam will probably be that advantage. It is suggested that Dolores will not be using the Incite secrets to amass a fortune, since Gerry's money is in the “investment” in the “origin of a new species.” Gerry helped Dolores on her journey towards the Rehoboam.
The next time we see Dolores, she is at a fancy international party with Liam (John Gallagher Jr.), the current “figurehead,” as he will eventually call himself, of Incite. One of Liam’s friends (Rafi Gavron) says Incite, created by Liam’s late father, “saved the world through algorithm.” This HBO-created website shows that Incite can figure out everything from the song “stuck in your head” to “what’s missing in your life.” Dolores confirms the company runs all of life in Los Angeles, “even the traffic.”
Liam responds with this bit of exposition, which feels like it will matter at some point in Westworld season 3: “We’re just a technology company. We were just in the right place at the right time. Thanks to my dad, we have the best AI.”
Then, he introduces Dolores to Rehoboam, which seems to live in the centre of Incite’s L.A. headquarters. It is a gigantic metallic black orb, with red lights ticking away inside.
“My father sketched the whole thing out on a weekend. Took him 15 years to build it. After they optimized it for the last time, they lost track of how many thoughts it has per second. Not thoughts, exactly, strategies,” Liam explains to Dolores. “My dad thought the biggest problem in the world was unrealized potential. He thought that if you could chart a course for every single person, you could make the world a better place.”
The back half of the episode suggests Rehoboam uses all known data to figure out what anyone would, or should, do. It is now entirely in the control of Liam’s dad’s unnamed Incite partner (who is suggested to be Rehoboam’s ultimate “architect”). Liam just has basic access to the machine’s outer layers. This way, Liam is forced to be the public-facing leader of the company without holding any real power.
“No one knows what the system is doing, other than its original architect,” Liam tells Dolores. “If I was going to tell you, he’d know already. Rehoboam would tell him. I would already be dead — just like my dad.”
The fact that Liam is in the dark about Rehoboam is terrible news for Dolores, who clearly only got close to the tech mogul for his access to Rehoboam. Around the 37-minute mark of the “Parce,” Liam has a forced meeting with a business partner (MCU alum Pom Klementieff) of the man secretly running Rehoboam. She says that “someone is testing the system” and suggests that the pesky individual has “abused the trust of someone who already had access” to do it. After all, the ultra powerful machine would “alert” its owners if anyone from the outside even tried to touch the system, Liam says. This conversation also suggests Incite is has a major connection to Delos, the company in charge of Westworld.
We’re meant to assume the culprit is Dolores, who is currently eavesdropping on the conversation from a neighboring building.
Dolores ends “Parce” murdering Incite’s head of security, Martin Connells (Tommy Flanagan), and replacing him with a Westworld-style host. That means she has a brand new way to get inside Rehoboam — architect be damned.