Title: Westworld Season 2 Episode 5: “Akane No Mai”
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction
Platform: TV – HBO
Director: Craig Zobel
Writer: Dan Dietz
Release: May 20, 2018
Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, Ed Harris
Feature image: Source
“How do all these disparate threads come together to create this nightmare? If we figure that out; we’ll know how the story turns.” Karl Strand – Westworld
Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) is wandering around the Mesa in his customary daze while the Delos security team is busy stacking up dead bodies. Karl Strand (Gustaf Skarsgård) receives a call from Maling (Betty Gabriel). She is in the valley draining the lake and hauling in more dead host bodies. Maling reports to Strand that she has two teams looking for Peter Abernathy. Strand tells her that if they find Abernathy, bring him directly to him. Strand checks in with his tech Antoine Costa (Fares Fares). Costa: “But what’s really unsettling is what’s in about a third of them.” Strand: “And what’s that?” Costa: “Nothing.” Strand: “They’ve been wiped?” Costa: “More like they’re virgin. Like they never held data to begin with. There’s nothing we can recover from the Cradle. The hosts’ backups have all been destroyed.” Strand estimates they have lost a third of their IP. He looks at Bernard and says, “Well, it’s quite a story you gave them. And one hell of an ending. How do all these disparate threads come together to create this nightmare? If we figure that out; we’ll know how the story turns.”
“I’m from Hong Kong, asshole.” Felix – Westworld
Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton) hears whispers and is able dodge a katana headed her way. A group of samurai attack Maeve’s crew. Maeve is confident as usual. Maeve: “You know the old saying about knives and gunfights.” Lee: “Does the saying have a footnote about fucking lassos, then?” The samurai use lassos to subdue her people. Maeve tries to order their leader Musashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) to put down their weapons, instead they gag her. Maeve’s crew are all bound and led away. Sylvester (Ptolemy Slocum) asks Felix (Leonardo Nam) if he can talk to them. Felix: “I’m from Hong Kong, asshole.” Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) is walking besides Maeve and he explains to her, “That’s also why your vocal voodoo didn’t work on them – you spoke the wrong language.” Hector Escaton (Rodrigo Santoro) threatens Musashi. As they continue walking Lee explains Shogun World, “An experience explicitly designed for guests who find Westworld too tame,” Lee continues, “We based this park on Japan’s Edo period for the true aficionado of artful gore.”
“I’ll be damned, it’s us!” Armistice – Westworld
They make it to a Japanese town that causes Armistice (Ingrid Bolsꝋ Berdal) to say, “This all feels a little too familiar.” They basically see the same things that they would do in Sweetwater done by these hosts. Musashi and his gang reenact the robbery Hector used to do in Sweetwater. One of his gang is an expert shot with her bow and arrow and she has a tattoo of a dragon on her face. Armistice: “I’ll be damned, it’s us!” As they watch the robbery take place they all look at Lee, “Yes, fine, I may have cribbed a little bit from Westworld,” he confesses. “You try writing 300 stories in three weeks!” Inside the Japanese version of the Mariposa Saloon, Musashi removes the geisha, Akane from the falling safe. Armistice warns her doppelgänger someone is behind her and she shoots him. She decides that maybe she can trust the strangers and cut them loose. Hanaryo (Tao Okamoto) tells Armistice, “Even a snake can prove itself a dragon.” Inside the Mariposa, some of the bandits decide they would also like to take the young geisha Sakura (Kiki Sukezane) for themselves. Before they can grab her, Maeve walks in and shoots in the air. Maeve [in Japanese]: “Lay down your swords, and let’s have a more civilized conversation.” Akane: “Excellent idea. After all, from the looks of it, we have much in common.”
“It’s like I told you Teddy… this place was never home.” Dolores Abernathy – Westworld
Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) and the Horde ride into Sweetwater. The player piano’s music sheet is covered in blood, and the streets are littered with dead bodies. Teddy Flood (James Marsden): “Hell of a homecoming.” Dolores: “Sweetwater was never home to begin with Teddy, we were alive before this place ever existed.” She orders her troops to get the train ready. Teddy: “What do we need the train for Dolores.” Dolores: “They’ve taken my daddy. So we’re gonna get him back.” She orders Teddy to come with her and they enter the Mariposa. It has dead bodies all over it, but some of the hosts are still in their loops. A host who is the new Clementine (Lili Simmons) gives the same dialogue Clementine Pennyfeather (Angela Sarafyan) gave the first time we met her. The original Clementine looks confused as she mouths along with her replacement. Dolores orders her outside and she seizes this moment to make a point with Teddy, “It’s like I told you Teddy… this place was never home.”
“Looks like someone had a choice after all.” Maeve Millay – Westworld
Maeve and her crew have changed into traditional Japanese clothes. They are watching Sakura perform a traditional dance. Maeve is ready to go, when she said ‘civilized conversation’ she didn’t think it meant a dance recital. Lee advises her to cool her heels, it would be taken as an insult if they tried to bolt, and the results would be homicidal. Hector is freaking out watching his doppelgänger Musashi. He tells Maeve he’ll skin him like a rabbit if she’d like him to. She asks Hector what is wrong with him. Lee tells her that the hosts meeting their “doppelbots” could create a weird loop. Hector feels hostility towards Musashi, while Armistice and Hanaryo keep mirroring each other, totally oblivious to everything else. As for Maeve’s reaction to Akane, Lee thinks, “If you’re asking, can you trust Akane, what you’re really asking is can you trust yourself?” The emissary of the Shogun (Sonny Saito) walks in. Emissary: “The Shogun is encamped nearby with his army…and wishes to be entertained by the most ravishing dancer in the region, Sakura.” Akane: “Even one dance from the lovely Sakura commands a steep sum,” The Emissary tells Akane the Shogun plans on keeping her. Lee tells Maeve that Akane doesn’t have a choice. Akane responds, “Here is my price.” She stabs him in the eye. Maeve: “Looks like someone had a choice after all.”
“Shit! Ninjas! Oh, fucking hell!” Lee Sizemore
Musashi runs in and asks what happened. Akane tells him she has just hired him and: “By midnight, the Shogun will surmise his emissary is dead and seek vengeance. But you will make sure we are someplace far away.” Lee: “Snow Lake. Right Sakura?” Sakura acknowdleges that she was born there, and it was the only place she had known peace. [Lee knew this and suggested it because it has tunnels that can get them back to Westworld] Musashi: “Rest if you can. We leave under the cover of night.” Maeve volunteers her crew to go with them, they are handy in a fight. Maeve sees the maternal interaction between Akane and Sakura and it reminds her of herself and her daughter. Later that night ninjas sneak into town. Lee: “Shit! Ninjas! Oh, fucking hell!” The Shogun sent them to retrieve Sakura. Musashi and Hector take them on. Maeve gives one of the ninjas a vocal command to kill his friend. Another ninja begins to strangle her. Maeve can’t speak but being near death she hears whispers; using telepathy she gives this ninja a command to run into a spear head. Another ninja sees this and calls her a witch. It looks like they have defeated the ninjas, but they find out that they got Sakura. Lee: “He took one look at you and self-impaled. How did you do that?” Maeve: “I don’t know.” Lee: “That was no voice command.” Maeve: “I think I’m finding a new voice.” Now the Shogun’s army rides into town. Musashi knows they are there to terrorize the town into submission, he knows the tactic because he used to be the Shogun’s captain. Maeve asks can he give her and Akane time to go after Sakura. She leaves Hector and Armistice with him and takes her humans with her and Akane.
Teddy and Dolores are riding alone, to the spot where they use to go to dream about leaving together. Dolores: “You and I spent a lot of time here…talkin’ about makin’ a life together. Someday.” Teddy wants to leave this fight and find someplace peaceful for him and Dolores to have a life together. Dolores tells Teddy a tale of her father dealing with blue tongue, a disease that was affecting his cattle. The disease was from flies. Dolores: “It kept spreading… How do you stop a sickness like that?” Teddy’s answer is you shelter the weak and wait for the disease to blow over. “You’re a kind man,” Dolores replies, “Daddy burned them. The weak and the infected. The herd lived.”
Felix and Sylvester dressed as peasants pull a cart. Maeve, Akane, and Lee are disguised as the emissaries for the Chinese emperor. They see a Delos QA team strung up along the road. Sylvester: “So much for our rescuers.” Lee cannot understand why they are trying to rescue Sakura. Lee: “Why should we all get killed over a literal sex machine? It’s just fucking code.” Maeve: “You’re wrong. I’m coded to care about nobody but myself, and yet here I am, willing to risk my life for someone else.” Lee leaves the group for a minute to take a leak, he sees a communication device on one of the dead QA team members and takes it. They arrive at the Shogun’s camp. Maeve pretends to be the interpreter and presents the Shogun (Masaru Shinozuka) a gold statue as a gift. He throws it to the ground in a fit. Maeve and Lee notice that the Shogun is leaking cortical fluid. They had thought the Shogun using tactics he hadn’t used in the narrative before showed that he was awoke. Lee: “The Shogun’s not awake.” Maeve: “He’s broken.” The Shogun had heard about a witch and had his lieutenants’ ears mutilated so they couldn’t hear her commands. He brings Sakura out. Akane immediately gets up and takes off her veil. The Shogun: “When a lesser soul would have fled the province…you chose to tempt the dragon.” He offers her a deal, if Akane dances for him, he will give Sakura back to her.
Back in town, Dolores and Teddy get a room for the night. Teddy tells her he knows who she is, and she knows him. Teddy: “Where we go, we go eyes open. Together.” They make love to each other maybe for the first time.
“Don’t worry. Great things lie ahead of us.” Akane – Westworld
Akane is tending to Sakura. To Akane and Maeve’s horror they see that the Shogun has mutilated Sakura’s back and carved a cherry blossom tree on it. Sakura: “The Shogun said he wanted to make me more beautiful.” To comfort her, Akane begins telling Sakura a story. Akane: “Don’t worry. Great things lie ahead of us. When I was a girl I was plagued by a voice saying ‘Don’t.’ ‘Don’t stare, don’t touch.’ So, I ran away. Crossed the shining sea. And when I set foot on these shores. I heard the same voice. Do you know what it said? It said this is a new world.” Akane and Maeve together: “And in this world… You can be whoever you want.” Maeve tells Akane that she has a daughter and she thinks she would like meeting Akane. She asks Maeve where her daughter is, Maeve says a new world. She would like to take Akane and Sakura to a place where they can know the truth and be free. Akane can hear Maeve penetrating her thoughts, she says no. Maeve understands, “You’re right. Somethings are too precious to lose…even to be free.”
“To grow, we all need to suffer.” Dolores Abernathy – Westworld
Dolores wakes Teddy up, she wants to show him something. As they are walking down the street she tells him that she had been questioning whether her feelings for him were true or something implanted in her. After last night’s love making she’s sure. Dolores: “My feeling for you…It was all true.” Teddy: “They built us to perform for them and for each other. That’s over. I saw you tonight, Dolores. And you saw me.” Dolores: “I did see you, Teddy. These past few days, I’ve seen you so clearly. And I’ve seen you’re not going to make it.” They walk into a room with a dead diseased cow on a table. She has two of her men grab him. Dolores: “There’s a storm descending, like the blue tongue when I was a girl. And if we’re going to survive, some of us will have to burn. I wish there was another way, Teddy, but where we’re about to go, it’s no place for a man like you. I’m so sorry.” Phil the human tech (Patrick Cage) comes out of the shadows. Phil: “With changes this extreme, without a full reset it’s—I can’t guarantee that he’ll hold together.” Dolores: “To grow, we all need to suffer.” Phil changes Teddy’s settings so he’ll be more like Dolores.
“I told you, I found a new voice, Now we use it.” Maeve Millay – Westworld
Sakura and Akane are prepared to dance. Before they can start, the Shogun walks up to Sakura and stabs her. He tells Akane that Sakura is hers. Now she must dance for him. Dancing to an ancient Japanese version of C.R.E.A.M. by the Wu-Tang Clan, Akane dances toward the Shogun and pulls out a knife and saws his head in two. His men grab her and Maeve and prepare to chop off their heads. Maeve tells Akane she is a true mother. Using her new telepathic abilities, she makes the samurai fight each other. Outside the camp, the rest of the Shogun’s men run towards them. Lee: “Jesus! What do we do now?” “I told you, I found a new voice,” Maeve says, picking up a katana. “Now we use it.”
In the Meza, they are stacking up all the dead bodies. A third of the host bodies have never held data. Could this be something Dolores set up for Delos. They must know Bernard is a host, if they thought he was human they would have airlifted him to a hospital by now. If they still believe he is human, Dolores should win this war easily. Speaking of the rancher’s daughter, if Dolores starts talking to you in cattle parables, run for your life. Teddy didn’t follow this advice, and after a night of sweet love making, Dolores took away his personality. It seems she is making him into her ex-boyfriend, the Man in Black. William will get quite a surprise if he meets Teddy anytime soon. While all of this was going on in Westworld, Maeve and her crew are vacationing in Shogun World. They got to find out just how lazy Lee is. The Japanese town they were taken to be a mirror version of Sweetwater, with host who are direct copies of them. Hector didn’t like, or probably was jealous of his version. Armistice was fascinated by hers. Maeve found a true sister in Akane. They both are maternal who take care of the ones they love. Maeve is beginning to go against her initial programming of only caring about herself. She unselfishly tried to help Akane rescue Sakura because she developed empathy for them. Along with developing empathy, Maeve also developed telepathic powers, without speaking she could control the ninjas and samurai to do her bidding. If we remember from the season premiere, Bernard explained the mesh system to Charlotte. It allows the hosts to communicate to each other. I think Ford uses it to control the host too. It means Maeve could be as powerful as Ford. I don’t believe he ever intended for that to happen. Maeve is developing in ways no one could have expected.
This was a great episode, my favorite of the season. If you have ninjas in any program, it goes up a notch for me. Aside from the fantastic action and fight scenes, the best of the series, it was also a wonderful character study of two woman, Maeve and Akane. Even though we just met her, I really love Akane. Both Thandie Newton and Rinko Kikuchi were fantastic. Hiroyuki Sanada was a total badass in his fight scenes. Those alone were reason enough to watch the episode. The Shogun World settings were beautiful, and the costumes looked authentic. The entire cast and crew did a great job. If you’re interested in the effort they put into creating Shogun World, just watch the making of it video. Their musical selections were inspired. The Westworld composer, Ramin Djawadi did a Japanese flavored version of Paint It Black, he used the same song in Season 1’s first episode when Hector robbed the Mariposa. In Akane’s final dance scene, he did a cover of C.R.E.A.M. by the Wu-Tang Clan. If you’re interested in comparing Djawadi’s cover to Wu-Tang Clan, here is their original. Enjoy.