SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers from the Ghost Nation-focused Westworld episode “Kiksuya.” Proceed with caution.
The Ghost Nation has been one of Westworld‘s biggest mysteries. In this week’s episode, “Kiksuya”, their leader, Akecheta, recounted his memories to Maeve’s daughter. It turns out that he has been awake since the Man in Black was still William, even before.
Now he has a clear mission, one that leads to the same “door” that Dolores and the Man in Black are searching for. His purpose is very different to Dolores’ however. Could he be the true savior for which the hosts are looking?
Ghost Nation Remembers
Akecheta and the Ghost Nation have been part of the Westworld narrative since Season 1. They have always been in the background, like the ghosts for which they were named. While speaking with Maeve’s daughter, Akecheta recounted his past to her. He had a wife named Kohana, a woman he loved, and he was a peaceful man. Until the first massacre. Until he found Arnold dead, Dolores dead, and the cryptic maze that Arnold had left behind.
After the park reboot, they made Akecheta more violent. They took away his family. They gave him a personality that was full of rage and revenge. The Ghost Nation no longer adhered to a specific narrative but was allowed to ravage and kill as they saw fit. Akecheta lost sight of the maze and the life he led before.
But, Akecheta recalled feeling the presence of “others” — the humans — in the park. In one memory, he came across a young Logan Delos. In Season 1, Young William had left Logan to roam the wilderness naked, tied to a horse. When Akecheta found him, Logan was on the verge of madness, rambling on about “the door.” This “cracked something open” in Akecheta. He began to awaken and remember his loops.
Akecheta then found the “Valley Beyond.” He found “the Door” that Dolores and the Man in Black have been looking for this entire season. Before Akecheta went through this door, however, he wanted to save his wife. When he washed his face, she remembered him.
What is The Door?
When Kohana asked him what the door was, he said “a place to keep our memories safe.” This confirms some theories that the Valley Beyond is some kind of backup database. Akecheta’s wife was picked up by guards when they strayed too far off their path. Then, she was replaced with another host.
After her replacement, Akecheta resumed his search for the Valley again. His search nearly cost him his life many times, until he met Maeve’s daughter. She restored his hope and his faith in the journey. As more and more of his Nation was replaced, he began to find others in his tribe who also noticed the vanishing. This inspired the Ghost Nations spiritual beliefs about “below” and those who don’t come back.
“Below” was code for reprogramming, so he allowed himself to be killed. Apparently Akecheta is an Alpha 2 and hadn’t been updated in over nine years. The programmers left him to update and he went down to cold storage to find his wife.
Heartbreak was all that Akecheta found, as she had been retired as a host. This, was his true wake up call. His heart grew to contain an overwhelming sense of compassion for the other hosts who, like him, had lost their loved ones. His mission then went beyond himself to include all hosts.
Closing The Door
Akecheta’s new mission was no longer just finding the door, but closing one. He told his fellow tribeswoman that he could close the door and open another, a new door that would prevent the humans from hurting them again. So, are there two doors? One that has to do with hosts and one that has to do with humans?
Akecheta then became the Maeve of the Ghost Nation. He began to wake up his fellow hosts. He carved the maze into shapes and rocks. He even watched over Maeve and her daughter every day, until Maeve was removed from the storyline, before the Man in Black killed them.
One night, Akecheta met Ford. Ford admitted that he was aware of Akecheta’s obsession with Arnold’s maze. “There are many worlds, and we live in the wrong one,” Akecheta told Ford. He believed that the new world will restore all that he lost, including his wife.
Ford ended their conversation with a cryptic prophecy; one that we understand because it has already happened. “When the Deathbringer returns for me, you will know. Lead your people to the new world.” The Deathbringer was Dolores, and when she killed Ford and a number of hosts and humans, Akecheta knew that it was time to leave Westworld.
“Now it’s time to find the door, before the Deathbringer ends us all.” That is his mission now. If his mission is to lead an Exodus, then what is Dolores’ mission? Akecheta makes it sound like she wants to destroy the hosts. Perhaps she does? Perhaps her plans only benefit some hosts, like she told Teddy. “Only some will make it to the Valley Beyond”. But his plan involves all hosts? Or maybe just Ghost Nation?
The episode ended on a zinger of cliffhanger: Maeve, while on a host operating table, was sending signals to Akecheta the whole time. So, were those her memories or his? It would appear that while those were all his memories, she had accessed them to explain the truth to her daughter. The real question now is, is it his mission to free his people, or is it hers?
Westworld airs on HBO, Sundays at 9PM.