In Sunday night’s Westworld episode, titled “Akane No Mai,” we finally enter Shogun World – and it’s very, very familiar.
Here’s what happened [SPOILERS AHEAD!]:
– We’re in the control center with the Delos people piling up all the dead bodies they found floating in the lake. Even Teddy is there, as Bernard stares at him, moving around the humans still undetected. This whole forward jump thing is a tad confusing because we don’t know what happened to Elsie. Anyway, we find out that about half of the hosts have been completely wiped of their data, that they are “virgins,” which means Dolores is up to something (more on that in a bit). Oh, and they are still looking for Abernathy.
– Maeve and her crew enter into the long-awaited Shogun World park, as a ronin named Musashi and his samurai followers take them prisoner to a nearby village. Maeve tries to control them but because she doesn’t speak Japanese at first, they don’t hear it. This is all explained by Lee, the storyteller, who plays a bit Captain Exposition in this.
– They come to the Japanese village, and it all seems suspiciously like Sweetwater. Lee explains that this place is basically a feudal Japan version of Westworld (“You try to write 300 stories in three weeks”). The Japanese hosts are doppelgangers for ones we already know, so Musashi is Hector. Madam Akane is Maeve. And Akane’s favorite employee, the young and doomed Sakura, is the young and doomed Clementine. There’s even a female Japanese warrior with a dragon tattooed on her face, much like our tough Armistice with her snake. Maeve is able to access her Japanese translator and then gets their attention.
— Although the story starts to play out the same, it begins to go off course when Akane kills a messenger from the Shogun leader, who is demanding she hand over her precious and delicate Sakura. This means war, of course, and that night ninjas attack. As they are fighting them, something happens with Maeve in which she is able to stop the ninjas by using her mind, rather than just saying it out loud. Looks like she has tapped into the wi-fi mesh and this “new voice” is giving her God-like power. Totally cool. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to stop the ninjas from stealing Sakura, so now they must go rescue her.
— Meanwhile, we see Dolores and Teddy return to Sweetwater and it’s a mess, with bodies everywhere, but some host programs are still running, like in the brothel. They are going to get the train working and make their way to the Mesa.
— Later, they are surveying Dolores’ former home and ranch. Teddy says it’s not too late from them to go off together, alone, and settle somewhere to live a quiet life. She replies by telling a story about how once a few of the cattle were infected with a disease carried by flies. Dolores asks Teddy what he would have done to save the other cows from getting the disease, and he says he would have quarantined the sick cows and tried to nurse them back to health. Dolores looks at him sadly. She says her daddy burned the cows instead, sacrificing a few for the greater good. Ah, now we get the picture.
— Back in Shogun World, Maeve, Akane and the rest trek to the Shogun camp (just like the Union soldier fort). They meet the Shogun who has heard of Maeve’s “witch” like behavior. In order to protect his warriors, he has them all cut off their ears so they can’t hear. Yikes. But something is wrong with the Shogun, who is leaking cortical fluid (we know what that means).
— Still, he is in control for the moment and he strikes a deal with Akane that if she dances for him, then she can have Sakura back. That night, Akane and Sakura share a quiet moment before the ceremony, with Akane reciting a speech Maeve knows oh so well. Then when they take the stage to perform, the Shogun kills Sakura in front of Akane. She seems unmoved and begins to dance, but when she gets close to the Shogun, she takes a hefty pin from her hair and nearly cuts off his head with it.
— The Shogun’s warriors grab Akane and Maeve and are about to behead them when Maeve uses her new voice and turns the warriors against each other. All hell breaks loose then, as the Shogun soldiers start killing each other. But more are running towards them, and Lee screams what are they going to do now? Maeve grabs a sword and basically says there’s a new sheriff in town.
— Back in Sweetwater, Dolores and Teddy finally consummate their love in the brothel, but when Teddy wakes up, Dolores is standing there, looking at him. “I have to show you something.” She takes him to a room with a rotting animal carcass and tells him that she thought about what he said and realizes that he is just not made for this new world. As some of her men grab Teddy, Dolores instructs the tech guy to increase his Aggression, Bulk Perception and Hostility, while decreasing his Compassion to zero. Bye, bye, sweet Teddy. Hello, mean Teddy bot.
It seems both Dolores and Maeve have reached the pinnacles of their powers, each with their own agendas. Can’t wait to get these two back together again.