The latest episode of Westworld, Season 2 Episode 8, might just be one of my all-time favorites. Titled “Kiksuya,” the episode was filmed almost entirely in the Lakota language. Before the season aired, fans were told there would be one episode filmed almost entirely in Japanese. But they kept quiet that there would be a second episode also filmed in another language. I was glad for that surprise, because it really paid off in the end. This post, of course, will have major spoilers for Season 2 Episode 8 of Westworld. Don’t read on until you’ve seen the episode.
This episode was absolutely phenomenal. They introduced a new character into the storyline, and it turns out that he was at the center of many unanswered questions. And by the end of the episode, I cared about Akecheta almost as much as the characters who have been around since the beginning.
Akecheta’s story was handled so much better than Maeve and Hector’s duplicates from Shogun World. I loved Maeve’s storyline as she came into her own and discovered her powers. But the storylines of her duplicates felt almost forced at times, especially after Maeve’s story was completed. I enjoyed seeing them interact with Maeve as she learned the extent of her powers, but after that (such as with the one-on-one sword battle and their decision to stay behind) — well, some of that last part felt unnecessary.
But that’s not the case with Akecheta. His storyline is compelling and I’m hoping he’s featured in more plots to come. In fact, he appears to be one of the wisest of the hosts, even if he doesn’t possess the powers that Maeve has. He has Dolores’ awareness, but not her violent drive.
So tonight, we learned that Akecheta found the maze early on, when he discovered Arnold had been killed by Dolores. Dolores was almost a “satan” figure to him, the Deathbringer. And through this discovery of the maze symbol, he began to regain his past memories. This was stopped short when he was pushed into the Ghost Nation narrative. But over time, and because of his love for Kohana, he regained those memories and found his own autonomy.
Akecheta also embarked on an intense search for the door, a search that is mirrored by William’s search for the Maze in Season 1. He wanted to find a place where they could be free and their memories safe. His search, interestingly enough, was sparked by finding Logan in the desert. How Logan was rescued, however, still remains a mystery.
Akecheta’s search for the door was not successful and Kohana was taken from him. But in his search for the door, he found a self-awareness that could not be taken away. He is another Dolores and another Maeve, but his journey happened entirely outside of Ford’s awareness, which makes him unique among the hosts.
Akecheta had a drive to teach others about the maze and help them become self aware. But he did it through peace, not violence like William did.
Tonight, we also had a small plot progression with William and his daughter, Emily. She told Akecheta that she wants her dad to suffer. Was she saying this just to free him or was it sincere? Only time will tell.
We also saw a progression with Maeve’s storyline, which truly broke my heart. When Lee betrayed her last week, I yelled at the TV. How could he do that after what he saw? Now he seems to regret that decision, but not enough to do anything about it. He just left her. She may not get free at all. (However, I’m holding out hope that the absence of Felix and Hector mean that they will free her at some point in the future.)
We learned at the end of the episode that Maeve was able to communicate with Akecheta through the mesh network, and he assured her that he will be looking out for her daughter. That part of the story gave me chills. The man she thought was her enemy ended up being her daughter’s savior. Looks are deceiving. What matters is what is in the heart.
We also learned that she is the only one thus far with admin privileges (at least that Delos knows about.) Those admin abilities were programmed into her by Ford. But what Delos doesn’t know is that Ford himself still has admin privileges too, and now he resides within Bernard.
So now we have a few competing storylines that are starting to come together. They include:
- William is following Ford’s game for him. He’s searching for a door but almost died in the process. Now his daughter, Emily, has him. We also know that William was spreading a sickness. My guess is that the sickness is William’s way of giving the hosts’ sentience, through violence. That leads to violent ends, as we have been warned. (We also still don’t know the meaning of that map Emily was carrying around.)
- Dolores may be another contender in Ford’s game. She doesn’t believe in true liberty for the hosts, as evidenced in what she did to Teddy. She’s seeking a weapon in the Valley Beyond, and she’s deciding for herself who is worthy of passing through the Valley.
- Akecheta has been searching for a door which is likely also in the Valley Beyond. He’s the first host to become self aware, and he did it through a non-violent process centered on love.
- Maeve may have also found self-awareness through love rather than violence. But she also has admin privileges through Ford’s code. It’s unclear where her autonomy ends and Ford’s program begins. She’s the only one who can control hosts like Ford can.
- Charlotte is seeking to send a code hidden within Abernathy to Delos. We still don’t know what that was (if it was another consciousness, the bicameral mind program, or a blueprint for transferring human consciousness into a host.) Right now, Dolores has that code, though.
- Bernard is now controlled by Ford, who is sharing his control unit and residing within it. So now it seems like Bernard may not be a contender in Ford’s game like I thought.
There are other important characters, like Hector, Elsie, Strand, and more. But after this episode, I think the main contenders in Ford’s game are Dolores, Maeve, Akecheta, and William. And possibly Emily. What do you think?