SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers from the Westworld Season 2 episode “Akane No Mai.” Proceed with caution.
Maeve and her company of hosts and humans finally make it to Shogun World, only to find that it’s almost identical to Westworld. While helping another mother reunite with her daughter, Maeve discovers an interesting new power over the hosts.
In Sweetwater, Dolores and Teddy finally consumate their love. Dolores, however, cannot abide weakness, and makes a disturbing alternation to his programing. Let’s jump into this week’s episode of Westworld, “Akane No Mai”.
Welcome to Shogun World
Shogun World held many surprises during this episode. The biggest surprise was the reveal that it was almost an exact copy of Westworld. The language, the cultural context, even the characters are different, but the narrative is almost completely the same.
Maeve came face to face with her “dopplebot”, Madame Akane, who was played by Pacific Rim actress Rinko Kikuchi. Hector‘s Shogun World counterpart was Musashi, who was played by Wolverine actor Hiroyuki Sanada. Fellow Wolverine actor Tao Akomato played Armistace’s double, Hanaryo. Their dragon tattoos were almost identical, as was the music in the Japanese brothel house.
While the initial narrative played out similarly to Westworld’s, everything went sideways when a Shogun Army ambushed the town to avenger their leader. Maeve discovered new powers during the skirmish, however, and found a way to escape with Sakura, Akane, and Sizemore.
This storyline gave way to an interesting conversation with Sizemore about being more than just code. While he still saw Maeve and the other characters as robots, Maeve explained how she was growing beyond her programming to care about others, like Akane and her daughter.
Maeve’s New Superpower
Sizemore took this opportunity to ask Maeve how she “spoke” to the other hosts with her mind. The Samurai who witnessed it called her a witch because she could manipulate them with her mind. Maeve found a way to tap into the sub-line communication that exists between each host. It was convenient then that Maeve could speak to other hosts without words because the Shogun leader had burned all of the ears off his own men.
During this narrative, Maeve witnessed the love another mother had for her daughter, the love Akane had for Sakura. This shared motherhood bonded Akane and Maeve in a beautifully powerful way. Maeve even tried to free mother and daughter from their narrative using her new voice, but Akane pushed back.
When the ruler killed Sakura in front of her mother, Akane had to dance for him. Her dance ended in blood and with Maeve using her new superpowers to take out all of their enemies.
Return to Sweetwater
Dolores then brought Teddy out to the fields where they used to ride, where they spent so many days falling in love. She asked him the solution to parable, about diseased cows. While Teddy wanted to show mercy to the animals in her parable, her solution was much more violent.
Teddy even asked Dolores to stay with him. It was the equivalent of a marriage proposal. Dolores and Teddy then consummated their love, which may have been the first time the pair had ever had sex with each other, consensually, outside of a narrative. Their lovemaking was a moment that had been building between the pair for years, maybe even decades.
Dolores questioned her feelings for Teddy, she wondered if they were part of her narrative, but somehow she knew that her love for Teddy was real, and that his love for her was real. They “saw” each other during their shared intimacy — their song even started playing. But Dolores’ morbidity came roaring back and, deciding that Teddy was too pure for her New World Order, she reprogrammed him. ThisIsInsider pulled a screengrab from Teddy’s programming that showed Dolores making him just as cruel as a Wyatt. How heartbreaking.
This episode also showed three possible timelines. Since Bernard pulled Teddy’s body out of the lake 10 days after Ford’s death, then her and Teddy’s night together falls somewhere between those two dates. How Teddy ends up in that lake with all the other hosts is one of the underlying mysteries of this season.
Westworld airs Sundays at 9PM on HBO.