Home Reviews TV Reviews Westworld Season 2 Episode 5 – “Akane No Mai” Review

Westworld Season 2 Episode 5 – “Akane No Mai” Review

"Welcome to Shogun World"

This week’s Westworld episode finally delivered on the promise of giving us a deep dive into the intriguing new park, Shogun World! As always, SPOILERS will most likely follow… Seriously, if you haven’t grasped that concept yet why are you even on our site?

If you need a refresher before reading this week’s review, check out our Episode 4 review or any of the previous three episodes.

This weeks episode focused primarily on Maeve and Dolores. Maeve boasted some fancy new mind control powers while Dolores showed us just how far she was willing to go to reach her goal, this bitch gets crazier with every episode.

There seems to be a pattern developing in regards to what we can assume to expect from these episodes. The even numbered episodes seem to give us mind blowing twists and action, while the odd numbered ones like this, tend to make sure we know what the fuck is going on while simultaneously giving us a slow-burn style plot. Westworld seems to be taking a lot more time to make sure it’s viewers know whats going on. Which is all good and well, but there is a line between spelling shit out and beating a dead horse. While it doesn’t take away from the episodes entirely, it can feel a bit monotonous at times.

The biggest reveal from this episode was the fact that Strand and his team have found out that a third of the hosts they’re rounding up have never held data. While it is unknown at this time why some hosts have never had anything on their control units, I think it is safe to assume that Bernard, and/or Dolores have something to do with it. Aside from this revelation, the rest of the episode revolves around two of our favorite badass women, Dolores and Maeve.

Westworld Screenshot

For starters, Lee’s admission of pure laziness led to some absolutely fantastic moments between the Westworld trio and their Shogun World counter parts. Basically, Lee used the same narratives throughout the other parks, meaning each one offers guests the same stories, just in different settings. It was explained though, that Shogun World is for the “hardcore” park-goers. Samurai don’t mess around. What was great about this revelation is instead of some long winded explanation, we were basically just shown how similar the different parks are. Maeve, Hector and Armistice watch the very same heist they were a part of, go down in Shogun World; practically identical to what they did and said. After that, watching Armistice’s Shogun counter-part tell her “Even a Snake can become a Dragon” as they proceed to study each other like it’s the first time meeting their twin was immensely satisfying as well. On top of that, the dynamic between Hector and Musashi (Hector’s “twin”) is fantastic. Their personalities being identical creates this tension and mistrust that both actors play off remarkably well.

Finally there is Maeve and Madam Akane that take center stage. The two strong, defiant women, while being cut from the same cloth, also differ in terms of their views about what they are. Maeve at one point tries to open Akane’s mind and give her the same truth that she found about herself in the first season. Surprisingly, Akane stops Maeve and instead chooses to remain blissfully ignorant about what she truly is; instead, choosing to live with the “memories” she’s been programmed with. This raises an interesting point that Maeve realizes after Akane turns down her offer. “Some things are too precious to lose, even to be free.”

The focal point of everything that happens in Shogun World, however, is the fact the Maeve learns an impressive new trick. Basically, she can mind control any host she fucking wants. While the affect of what this means is made very clear throughout the episode, what it means for Hosts like Dolores back in Westworld remains to be seen. I’m sure we will be seeing some form of power struggle go down between these two women before the season ends.

Westworld Screenshot

Akane’s choice to remain ignorant about what she is was an eye opening moment for Maeve. This freedom to choose is exactly what she believes in and is in fact the very thing she is fighting for. Meanwhile, Dolores seems to have other ideas…

Poor, poor Teddy.

Instead of choosing to love Teddy for the man he is, Dolores decides to make Teddy the man she wants him to be. After a slick double crossing Teddy ends up being reprogrammed to be a tougher, meaner man than he once was. While repercussions of her actions have not yet been seen, I’m curious to see what Marsden does with this change of character. Personally, I feel like this will be something that comes back to bite Dolores later on. This violation of choice is exactly what Ford didn’t want to happen. Whats funny is that Dolores has become everything she hated about the Man in Black. The other hosts around her are a means to an end instead of her family and friends. They’re as disposable and a way for her to reach her goal.

This sense of commanding everyone around her to do her bidding is the very reason I think we will see a clash of power between Maeve and Dolores. If you can recall their last, brief, meeting Maeve pointed out that Dolores is pretty quick to command those around her instead of letting them choose for themselves. So far though, Maeve has the upper hand, because, you know, mind control isn’t something all the hosts come pre-programmed with, including Dolores. Maeve is much better suited, presently, to survive. Dolores seems to still be playing out her programming, even if it is in a very extreme way.

This episode of Westworld marked the half way point of this season! Hopefully, the latter half will focus more on playing out events rather than spending an entire hour setting them up.

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