“Westworld” fans have been waiting for a look at Shogun World ever since samurai were spotted in the Season 1 finale. It took the series until the fifth episode of Season 2 to get a peek inside this park, and the wait was worth it. The bulk of the episode takes place in Shogun World, which evokes the Edo period of Japan and sees Maeve (Thandie Newton) grow into the most powerful host in the park. Dive into the action and revelations of “Akane no Mai” below.
The Mesa – Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) watches the Delos rescue team clean up the massacre at The Mesa. Humans are put in body bags while dead hosts are rounded up in hopes they can one day be reprogrammed. One employee makes a startling revelation that about one third of the hosts appear as though they’ve been wiped. It’s as if there was never any data stored inside them. The man mentions that the culprit could be a large explosion in a server room, or perhaps this is simply the number of hosts who have “woken up.” Abernathy is also missing, which means Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) must lose him at some point before the present day timeline.
Doppelgängers – Picking up on the final scene from last week’s episode, samurai warriors charge at Maeve and her group. They are lead by the ronin Musashi (Hiroyuki Sanada), whom Maeve tries to subdue with vocal commands. Musashi and his men halt the attack, but apparently English has no effect on them. Maeve is gagged and her team taken as prisoners into Shogun World. They quickly realize that the central village is nearly identical to Westworld’s Sweetwater. Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) and Armistice watch in confused fascination as Musashi and a female companion reenact their heist routine from Westworld. Maeve also has a doppelgänger in Akane (Rinko Kikuchi), the local madam. Realizing she is coded to speak many languages, Maeve speaks Japanese to finally get the Shogun World hosts to hear her case.
Army of Blood – Instead of fleeing this world quickly, the group has to participate in a “quest.” The local Shogun wants to purchase Akane’s daughter Sakura. But Akane surprises Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) by murdering the shogun’s emissary, thereby diverting from her programmed loop. Sizemore suggests they all escape the shogun’s forthcoming wrath by heading to Snow Lake, which he knows contains an entrance to the tunnel system. But a group of ninjas attack in the night. During the ensuing fight, a ninja wraps his hands around Maeve’s throat, preventing her from issuing any voice commands. Before she succumbs to strangulation, Maeve appears to “download” something before opening her eyes wide. Whispers fill her head as she psychically commands the ninja to let her go and run his face through with a spear. “I think I’m finding a new voice” she tells Sizemore.
Sweetwater – Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Teddy (James Marsden) return to Sweetwater. The train parked at the station has special interest for Dolores and she orders the entire vehicle searched. She says that she’ll use the locomotive to find her father, but one has to wonder if she will be traveling down the new set of tracks the Man in Black (Ed Harris) saw being built last episode. Meanwhile, Teddy offers to take Dolores away from this mess where they can live in peace together forever. Somehow, this sweet gesture prompts Dolores to divest a gruesome story about how her father once burned a large portion of their herd, because flies were infecting cattle with “blue tongue.” The smoke drove the flies away and the strong animals survived. I think that’s going to be a “no” to your happily ever after, Teddy.
Kill Your Darlings – Angela (Talulah Riley) returns with intel that Abernathy is being taken to The Mesa, so the train is loaded up for a morning departure. Teddy pledges to follow Dolores wherever she goes, and the pair have sex in what may be the first scene of physical intimacy between them. But the tenderness doesn’t last long. Dolores wakes her lover in the night, saying she has been thinking about whether their feelings are real. “I saw you tonight” Teddy tells her, “and you saw me.” “I did see you Teddy” she replies, “and I’ve seen that you’re not going to make it.” Several men enter the room and surround Teddy. Dolores orders him held down and likens him to one of her cattle with blue tongue. “To grow we all need to suffer” she says, as a technician forcibly alters Teddy’s build via a tablet. It’s unclear what specifically is being changed in Teddy’s code, but we see columns of his personality zero out while agony crosses his face.
Refusing Freedom – With Sakura abducted in the ninja attack, Maeve heads directly to the shogun to retrieve her. She poses as a translator to a Chinese dignitary (Akane in disguise) and is granted a meeting with the villain. She notices that the man glitches several times during the interaction and Sizemore points out that cortical fluid is leaking from his ears. The malfunctions have made the shogun psychotic. So much so that he ordered the ears of his men chopped off so the “witch” could not cast spells on them. So much for Maeve’s vocal commands. He eventually sees through Akane’s disguise and says the only way to retrieve her daughter is if they both dance for him that night. As Akane prepares for her dance with Sakura, Maeve tries to “wake” her with the knowledge of a new world beyond the one Akane knows. But Akane fights off and rejects this knowledge, choosing to stay with her daughter over the freedom from her narrative. As far as I can tell, she is the first host to reject consciousness in the series.
Akane’s Dance – Before the women can begin the dance, the Shogun walks up to Sakura and impales her with his sword. “As promised, now she’s yours,” he scoffs at Akane. “Now dance.” With her dead daughter at her feet, Akane holds her head high and begins an elaborate dance. She twirls her way down the stage until she is before the Shogun, brushing his face with her hand. In a single motion, she unsheathes a dagger from her headwear and buries it in the shogun’s face. Before anyone has time to react, she twists it around his skull, sawing his head in half. Akane and Maeve are dragged to their knees by the guards and are about to be executed. Having enacted her revenge, Akane accepts her fate, but Maeve is a survivor. She musters forth her new Jedi mind trick power and forces the Shogun’s men to turn their weapons on each other. The rest of the army, which Hector and Musashi kept at bay in the village, now come charging toward the camp. Maeve picks up a samurai sword, ready for battle. And ready to use her new god like powers to bend the world to her will.
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