After spending an entire episode diving into Delos’ true plans for Westworld and the other theme parks it owns, this week’s episode, “Akane No Mai” picked back up with Maeve and Dolores’ plot threads. This episode in particular finally fully revealed Shogun World, which fans of the series have been clamoring for since samurai hosts were first teased during the finale of the show’s first season. It was a pretty great episode in terms of visuals and peeling additional layers of the park back, plus it featured some great swordplay and gore.
As has been the case this season I will try to recap the episode based on the timelines we’ve seen this season to go over the major plot events that took place and about when they took place during the show’s multiple timelines. So, just in case you’re not caught up I have to give a big SPOILER warning for the content below!
Timeline 1: At Least Two Weeks After the Hosts Awake
Bernard with Delos Security
We haven’t spent much time with Bernard in this particular timeline in the show, which again takes place after he awakes on the beach and is picked up by the Delos head honcho. What was shown in this brief check-in with Bernard will be important to the overall story this season, although, as it was presented in this episode the information provided is a bit cryptic at this point. Bernard learns through a Delos lab tech that the host’s cores have been reset, and not just rebooted to a prior build. They’ve been virgin-ized as the tech explains, which means they’ve been wiped clean of any Westworld programming, so like a human baby, their minds were reset to a blank slate. I have a feeling this was done by Bernard and possibly Dolores, and that it may be a part of a bigger plan for the hosts, but for now it does appear that the hosts are in trouble in this timeline. It’s also revealed that one third of the hosts have been destroyed at this point in time, and that the Delos team is still cleaning them out of the lake shown in the first episode.
Timeline 2: Few Days After the Hosts Awake
We spent most of the episode with Maeve’s group, which was awesome because it meant we were going to spend a bunch of time in Shogun World. This theme park didn’t disappoint either, because not only was it fun to see, but it also offered up new revelations about the parks, and Maeve herself.
Anyway, Maeve and her group get caught by what is revealed to be the doppelgänger group of Hector’s own band of outlaws from Westworld. We meet his double, as well as Armistice’s, and they even pull of the exact same heist that Hector and his group would in their own narrative in Westworld. Lee does confirm that Shogun World was made for people who think Westworld is too tame, and that it borrows heavily from Westworld’s own narratives, which is why the Ronin we meet and the Geisha are just Japanese versions of Hector and Maeve.
Maeve and her group eventually get pulled into a Shogun World narrative, but as Lee points out, the narrative quickly goes off script after Maeve’s counterpart Akane kills the Shogun’s messenger, which in turn results in him sending ninjas to attack and kidnap her surrogate daughter Sakura. Once again the similarities between Maeve and Akane are made clear as both have a natural maternal instinct, which helps them bond instantly, so Maeve pledges to help get Akane’s daughter back. It’s also during this attack that we learn that Maeve’s powers are becoming god-like. She not only foresees the ninja attack, but after she’s prevented from speaking her magical words to have them kill themselves, she learns that she can influence hosts just by thinking. She essentially becomes their “Voice” and can make them do whatever she wants without speaking a word. Maeve is literally becoming a host god!
Thanks to Hector and the Ronin, Maeve and the others eventually escape the attack and head off in search of Akane’s daughter. Along the way it’s shown that the Delos security team dispatched to Shogun World has been disposed of. Although, thanks to one of the soldiers who had a radio or one of the host control units on his person, Lee does grab it and hide it, so I expect he’ll use it to call for help, or to possibly tinker with someone’s (Maeve’s) code.
Maeve’s group eventually makes their way to the Shogun, and it’s revealed to them that he’s leaking the same cortical fluid that is causing Bernard to go haywire. This is also why the Shogun World narrative that Lee picked up on started to go off script, it wasn’t because the Shogun awoke as he and Maeve suspected, it’s because he’s literally broken. This in turn leads to the Shogun killing Akane’s daughter in front of her, which in turn causes her to saw the top half of his head off with a knife. This then leads to Maeve and Akane being lined up for execution until Maeve uses her Professor X powers to make the Shogun’s warriors kill themselves. Maeve’s thread ends in this episode with another army bearing down on her, but she takes up a sword and proclaims to put her new “voice” to the test.
Dolores Gets Dark
While Maeve’s thread dominated most of this episode, Dolores’ narrative also got some love. Although, when talking about love, it’s pretty clear that she no longer has any for Teddy and most of the other hosts she has interacted with over the years. In this episode Dolores and Teddy are back in Sweetwater, which looks like a war zone at this point in time. It was made very clear that she questions her feelings for Teddy, and it’s also clear that he isn’t so sure about his feelings for her. Although, after a somewhat odd sex scene, it appears as if they’re committed to each other, but then she leads him to a barn with something rotting in it. Dolores then reveals that Teddy isn’t worthy to continue her journey, so she has the Delos tech that she has kidnap alter his programming without his consent. Wyatt is clearly winning the battle of her two personalities, so Dolores continues to be one of the more dark hosts posts the awakening, and she’s far from being finished with her mission.
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