Westworld: 7 theories on the mystery behind Caleb

Evan Rachel Wood, Aaron Paul in Westworld Season 3. Photograph by John P. Johnson/HBO
Evan Rachel Wood, Aaron Paul in Westworld Season 3. Photograph by John P. Johnson/HBO /

Westworld’s Caleb Nichols has proven to be this season’s greatest enigma. So much so, that theories on the mystery behind him are mounting.

Westworld‘s Caleb Nichols has been sticking out like a sore thumb since the third season began. As Dolores likes to say, we all have a role to play, and Caleb doesn’t seem to have one. It’s like the only reason he’s around is that his life sucks and he rather volunteer in Dolores’s revolution, and that’s about as deep as his story gets. Even still, there’s something in the air that suggests that there’s a whole lot more to Caleb than meets the eye.

For starters, Westworld‘s spending a lot of time fleshing out Caleb’s past and it’s not going to waste precious airtime on an irrelevant character when it can devote it to Dolores or Bernard. Liam Dempsey Jr. presented the next tip-off when he scanned Caleb’s Incite file. On two separate occasions, Liam seems to imply with a startled face that there’s something Caleb is unaware of about himself.

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But the most significant indicator that Caleb will reveal something more profound about himself is his relationship with Dolores. Dolores doesn’t trust anyone, not even herself, literally. A case in point is when Dolores met up with her copy of Haleores on a quiet floor in case she had to terminate herself. Since Dolores doesn’t trust anyone at all, there must be something about Caleb that motivated her to trust him. What could that possibly be?

Let’s review a few possible theories on what we might not know about Caleb:

1. Caleb is a host
The biggest surprise on Westworld has always involved hosts convincingly masquerading as humans. That makes it very possible that Caleb’s big secret is that he’s a host living in the human world without any knowledge of his artificial existence. It would also account for Dolores trusting him so quickly.

2. Caleb killed Francis
Caleb’s deceased friend Francis has chimed in on the show as the voice of Caleb’s virtual therapist so that Caleb feels like he’s speaking with his most trusted friend. From the looks of it, Caleb keeps having flashes of what must be the day that Francis died. Though we haven’t seen anything that explains what really happened. What if Caleb’s secret is that he doesn’t remember he killed his best bud?

3. Caleb died with Francis
Speaking of Francis, from the little we’ve seen, it seems that he was the only one to die on that mysterious night. But what if Caleb died that night too? This turnout would account for Caleb’s mother, insisting that he is not her son.

4. Caleb is the final Dolores
What if the final Dolores copy is Caleb? Hear me out! Caleb could be a Dolores sleeper agent that will activate at the appropriate moment. Let me tell you,  Dolores would have thought of the most ingenious way to ambush Westworld‘s audience if Caleb reveals that he, too, is Dolores.

5. Caleb is the key to destroying Rehoboam

Whether he’s Serac’s outlier brother, a host, Dolores, or some regular joe destined to fail, Caleb could also be the ultimate disruption to destroy Rehoboam. Maybe Dolores stumbled upon Caleb and saw him as her secret weapon or perhaps she had him written into her plans all along. Either way, he could be the outlier Serac said could permanently cripple Rehoboam.

6. Caleb is the first successful host of a human

Delos corp may not have been successful at making a host of Founder James Delos, or of any other human, but that’s not to say that someone else didn’t succeed. Caleb could be the first host to carry the consciousness of a deceased human. Delos struggled with creating hosts of humans because the end product couldn’t accept their reality. Based on Caleb’s faulty memory, someone could have discovered that the key to creating a host of a human is to erase the person’s memory of their own death. And maybe Dolores is that someone?

7. Caleb is behind a criminal operation that killed his friend

Let’s just say Caleb was a criminal and put together a robbery or some other stunt that got his friend killed. Maybe Caleb’s suicidal tendencies and guilt pushed him to find a way to cross out the bad memory to move on with life. Liam died telling Caleb that it was him. Although what he was saying isn’t clear, maybe he was implying that Caleb is the one who is responsible for Francis’ death.

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Do you have any Caleb theories of your own? Share them in the comments below.

Westworld airs every Sunday at 9 P.M. ET on HBO