After sitting out most of Westworld's Season 3 premiere (barring a brief post-credits sequence), Maeve is front and center in Episode 2 as she fights to escape a new park. But who put Maeve in Warworld in the first place? A past version of the show might have made fans wait several episodes (if not an entire season) to find out, but this time, the answers came fast and loose.
The last we saw of Maeve in Season 2, she was lying dead on the beach after holding off the horde of mind-controlled hosts just long enough to ensure that her daughter made it through the door into the Sublime. After Season 3 trailers confirmed that Maeve would soon find herself in Warworld, fans began speculating wildly about how she ended up there, who repaired her, and what reason that person had for putting her in a new park. For once, it seems like the writers pulled off a twist no one saw coming: Warworld isn't real. Maeve isn't inside the park, she's inside a simulation.
The revelation came at the same time as Bernard, who had returned to the island to recruit Maeve to help him thwart Dolores, found Maeve's body in cold storage with its consciousness ripped out. No one had fixed Maeve at all; her dead body was simply dumped along with all the other slaughtered hosts, and at some point in the months between the end of Season 2 and the start of Season 3, someone went there to retrieve her consciousness and place it inside a computer system.
This feels like a deliberate and friendly ribbing of the show's fanbase, given that viewers have speculated since day one that some (if not all) of Westworld is taking place inside a simulation. But while fans were busy theorizing that the real world is a simulation, it turns out it was Maeve, not Dolores, who was trapped inside a computer.
Still, the question remains: who put her there? Once Maeve realizes the truth of her surroundings and finds a way to escape the machine, she's confronted by the man responsible for the simulation: Serac, one of Incite's two co-founders (along with Liam's dead father), and the man who runs the mysterious Rehoboam machine.
He explains to Maeve that while Rehoboam was designed to analyze, predict, and direct human behavior, it has been encountering anomalies in its programming ever since the hosts rebelled and infiltrated the mainland. Serac wants Maeve to help him kill Dolores so that the unpredictable variable in Rehoboam's equations is removed and humanity can get back on track. (Or back on his track, at least.)
Serac seems to have a very similar view on the hosts as Robert Ford did, in that he sees the hosts as anomalies. In Season 1, Ford explained to Dolores that he became disillusioned with humanity after 30 years of watching guests come to his park and realizing that humans can never change — but hosts can. In Season 2, he doubled down on this idea, telling Bernard that humans are nothing more than "passengers" inside their bodies, slave to their own code. This idea was reinforced in the Season 3 premiere, as Caleb was shown on his own sort of "loop," awakening in the same position several times, just as Dolores did in the very first episode of the series.
But while both Ford and Serac might agree on the unpredictable nature of self-aware hosts, they came to wildly different conclusions based on that belief. Ford saw hosts as worthy of inheriting the world from humanity; Serac sees hosts as threats that must be executed in order to preserve humanity.
Dolores and Maeve have certainly never been friends. But will Maeve really side with Serac against her own kind and help to wipe out the few remaining hosts in the world? Or will she find a way to team up with Dolores against him? Viewers can't know the answer to that question yet — but unfortunately for Serac, neither can Rehoboam.