12:45pm PT by Josh Wigler
'Westworld' Photos Head Deep Into Ghost Nation Territory
The Ghost Nation tribe has been a part of the fabric of HBO's Westworld from the very beginning, though its exact role in the narrative remains unclear. Is it friend or foe? Depends on whom you ask.
In the first season, Ghost Nation was set up in an adversarial context, engaged in battle against the likes of Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), William (Jimmi Simpson) and Lawrence (Clifton Collins Jr.) at one point. Members of the secretive tribe were responsible for abducting Ashley Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) near the end of the season as well. But in season two, the most enigmatic group of hosts in the park has begun to emerge in a more benevolent light, rounding up humans and keeping them away from the rebellious hosts.
"You only live as long as the last person who remembers you," Akecheta, played by Fargo alum Zahn McClarnon, tells Stubbs at the midpoint of episode four. Sounds like wise words, indeed, and that advice looks likely to receive some clarification in the coming episode: "Kiksuya," directed by Uta Briesewitz, and featuring McClarnon in a central role.
The official "Kiksuya" preview makes it clear that Ghost Nation will stand front and center in the next episode, corroborated by newly released photos from the show. In fact, of the five photos from the episode released thus far, all of them center on Akecheta and others from his unique corner of Westworld, including characters played by Martin Sensmeier and Julia Jones.
What does Westworld stand to gain from diving deep into Ghost Nation's history and customs? A lot, depending on how it plays out. While it comes at a curious time in the season's arc, given the recent assault on the Mesa and the nebulous fate of characters like Maeve (Thandie Newton) and the Man in Black (Ed Harris), Ghost Nation potentially represents a faction with its own understanding of consciousness and set of beliefs about how the hosts should exist.
In terms of potential reveals, keep in mind that the very first person we see Dolores kill in season two is a member of Ghost Nation. "Not all of us deserve to make it to the Valley Beyond," she tells the man as she guns him down in cold blood. Will we see the other side of that violent act, and if so, will we come to understand why Dolores and Ghost Nation are in apparent opposition?
Then there's the matter of Akecheta, "the first of us," as he is described back in "The Riddle of the Sphinx." Photos make it clear that we'll see the man in the context of the park, but the very first time we met him, Akecheta was dressed up in business attire, seducing Logan (Ben Barnes) in an effort to gain Delos' support of the park, on behalf of Ford (Anthony Hopkins) and Arnold (Jeffrey Wright). The deep dive into Ghost Nation territory, and into Akecheta, provides an opportunity for the show further to explore that long-ago era.
We're just days away from the answers to what lies ahead in "Kiksuya." Until then, feast your eyes on new photos from the coming episode, laid out below:
Sound off with your expectations for the new Westworld episode in the comments section below, and keep checking THR.com/Westworld for more coverage.