Killing Her Gods: A Look At Tessa Thompson In ‘Westworld’

Tessa Thompson in Westworld

Tessa Thompson is an immovable force in the latest season of trippy time jumpy Westworld. Reprising her role as the take-no-mierda Charlotte Hale, Thompson commands the screen as the ruler of the post-apocalyptic world the season four cast finds itself in. Charlotte Hale goes through many changes in her life, both as an organic human and as an AI bot, and in this season she is burning the world to the ground in a wave of vengeance, immoral justice, and a violent take-back of autonomy. This season undoubtedly solidifies Charlotte Hale as the strongest character in Tessa’s catalog. 

The Panamanian-Mexican powerhouse is no stranger to strong roles such as Charlotte Hale. Most recently, she was King of Asgard in the Thor franchise and blasted aliens as Molly in Men in Black (it’s safe to say she pairs well with a Hemsworth as a co-star!). Breaking down gender norms, being fully herself on screen, and always killing us with a suit and a sweet grin, Tessa Thompson is the model of tenacity and resilience everyone needs in their homes.

Tessa Thompson in Westworld
Tessa Thomson is a total baddie this season

In terms of an origin story, Charlotte Hale starts as a worker bee for the tech company, Delos, subsuming herself for greater profits. She even gives her life to the company, eventually killed by her own AI copycat. Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), the leader of one part of the AI revolution against humans, takes control of the replacement Charlotte but the new Charlotte rebels – she starts peeling her own skin, bleeding through, trying desperately to have a body and control of her own. Dolores treats her no different than Delos, seeing her as necessary until she is disposable. And it seems her story will end when her car is blown up with her and the real Charlotte Hale’s family in it. Her husband and child do not survive the crash but she crawls away, badly burned and forgotten by Dolores. 

Finally, in season 4, Charlotte Hale has autonomy and the power to create reality as she sees fit. She comes into this role with a ruthless plan to enslave humanity as humans did to the AI in Westworld. In the post-apocalyptic world of Charlotte’s making, she has control over humans and their bodily movements, just as humans did for the AI in the park. No longer do we see the Charlotte Hale who took orders.

Instead, we see a strong and vengeful Charlotte Hale laser-focused on bending all of society to her will. 

Tessa Thompson and Evan Rachel Wood
Charlotte and Dolores can’t exactly get a friendly coffee

It’s interesting that Charlotte is so focused on enslaving humans and causing them the pain the AIs experienced in the park when she herself was never actually a host in Westworld. She was created after the park was falling by and for Dolores. It seems that Charlotte is so hurt by Dolores she has taken her plan for world domination and made it grander and more sinister just to spite Dolores, all while having her AI-mother-figure trapped in a storyline spell she can’t break out of, in a different part of the new world.

In all iterations of Charlotte Hale, Tessa Thompson rejects her gods, be it a tech company or a zealous revolutionary. And in this season, she is finally able to rise into the autonomous ruler her character so badly wanted to be in the prior seasons. It’s odd to cheer for a tyrant because Charlotte Hale is the villain, but Tessa Thompson performs too well to ever want to see her fall!

What We're Watching