Westworld Season 2 Episode 5 “Akane No Mai” Recap

Maeve levels up her abilities in Shogunworld, while Delores makes a final decision on Teddy.

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No more fun teases – Shogunworld is finally here! In this week’s episode of Westworld Team Maeve has been captured by a mysterious group of Japanese outlaws who are not-so-coincidentally familiar to her own posse, while Delores makes her final decision on what to do with Teddy.

Maeve and company, which at this point includes the humans Lee the writer and techs Felix and Sylvester, and the cowboy outlaw hosts Hector and Armistice, are swiftly captured by a force in Westworld that has only been teased so far.

Maeve doesn’t speak their language and her host-controlling powers aren’t working. Lee reveals that all hosts should have the ability to communicate, an important fact that Meave later elevates to the next level.

We then get our first official look at Shogunworld, the medieval Japanese part of the park, and it all looks like a Japanese version of Sweetwater. In fact, the story even plays out the same, with a Japanese version of Hector and Armistice rolling into town to rob a brothel, safe and all.

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When the action subsides Maeve finds her voice, speaking fluent Japanese and forming an alliance between their two teams.

It’s funny watching the dopple-bots interact. Lee warns that it could fuck with them, but it really comes down to their respective personalities. Hector-Musashi (played by Hioryuki Sanada, one of my favorite Japanese actors) are distrustful, Armistice-Hanaryo are like curious, dangerous cats, while Maeve-Akane form a deep bond over their loyalties to their adopted daughters.

It’s that loyalty that gets Akane, and our entire group, into trouble. She changes Lee’s narrative and kills the Shogun’s emissary for wanting to purchase her adopted daughter and geisha Sakura. Lee suggests an egress to Snow Lake, which is also an access point for the park.

Before they can make their escape they’re attacked by ninjas. This is Shogunworld baby!

Maeve can’t use her host-controlling powers as she’s grappled by a ninja. Instead she evolves a new form of communication, a sort-of mind-code-speak that transmits directly to her attacker, who promptly kills himself. Even Lee is startled by this sudden new ability, which was most likely already explained to us by Bernard when he was searching the neural network for Abernathy.

Unfortunately the surviving ninjas kidnap Sakura, then the whole damn army of the Shogun show up. The cowboy and samurai rebels provide a distraction so our non-combatants can make an escape.

In reality they march toward the Shogun’s encampment with a simple plan – use Maeve’s powers to get in and rescue everyone.

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The first part of the plan works, and they make it inside while posing as emissaries of China. At some point along the way Lee finds a phone or phone-like device on a body and quietly snatches it, giving him a possible way to contact the outside world later on.

Maeve’s plan falters when they reach the Shogun, however. He had learned that she was a witch, and mutlited himself and his men so they wouldn’t be able to hear her. Not sure if he literally deafens them or not, but either way it effectively nullifies her speaking powers.

Akane proposes a trade: she’ll dance for him if he returns to Sakura, and he agrees. We’re treated to more flashes to Maeve and her daughter as she sees more of herself in Akane, even attempting to awaken her. The whispering code-speak was a neat touch.

Before the ceremonial dance the shitty shogun strides up to the women and guts Sakura. She instantly dies, though I’m pretty sure being stabbed in the gut is more of a long and painful bleeding-out process rather than an insta-kill.

Akane swallows her emotions and dances. When she gets close she slides a needle dagger out of her hair and stabs the shogun in the head. Except she doesn’t just stab him, she fucking saws most of the top of his head off. Brutal, violent, and gory.

The Shogun’s men react immediately, setting the women up for execution by sword. It’s then that Maeve channels her new power: the mind-code-speak, and forces all of his men to kill each other instead, while her allies escape. Talk about leveling up your abilities!

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As cool as Maeve’s Shogun story was, Delores’ was much more subdued and mostly boring. Her part of the episode heavily focused on the relationship between she and Teddy. Their relationship has become strained since she had ordered him to kill Craddock and the last of the stranglers, and he had refused and let them go (to later be killed by the Man in Black).

They share one last passionate romance scene, which may be the first time we’ve actually seen the two of them engage in the sexy time.

Afterwards she shows him a bunch of dead cows, illustrating her point she makes earlier in the episode. When a disease ravaged their herd, her father burned the infected, while Teddy suggested quarantining them. She finds his methods to soft, and sees his worldview as too kind for her plans, despite their love for each other.

He had promised to follow her anywhere, and could have proven an important moral compass. But her decision to lobotomize him using her captured tech proves that she ultimately sees him as a weakness, and that this is a war to be won, possibly at the cost of her own happiness. It further proves that Delores is descending down the path of super villainy.

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We also got another brief glimpse into the future/present, where our security team is trying to piece together the puzzle of what happened. The writing here is awkwardly melodramatic and corny as we learn that about 1/3 of the hosts they’ve recovered are completely blank slates, which Karl is referring to as intellectual property. Once again we see Teddy’s dead body on the heap, though now we realize that the real Teddy may have been killed long before.

Winners

Maeve: I can think of no better person deserving of the Winners column then Maeve in this episode. She’s incredibly resourceful, emotional, and clever, and that’s not even including her new found super-powers of mentally controlling hosts! I think they’re prepping us for an epic clash between her and Delores, and I’m 100% Team Maeve.

Shogunworld: Shogunworld definitely didn’t disappoint. Unlike The Raj we got a full story that took place here with entirely new characters, and I loved the twist that the first half was basically the same as the outlaw story in Sweetwater.

Losers

Teddy: Good News – you get to bang Delores one more time. Bad news – she’s going to lobotomize you afterward. Teddy may be the epitome of Nice Guys Finish Last.

Musings

  • Did you catch that nifty Japanese orchestral version of “Paint it Black” during the initial fight in Shogunworld? Greatness!
  • Sylvester may be a wee bit racist as he asks Felix if he can talk to them, and Felix shoots back that he is in fact from Hong Kong.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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