12:45pm PT by Josh Wigler
'Westworld' Podcast: Shogun World and the Robot Evolution
Forget the revolution. In the fifth episode of HBO's second season of Westworld, "Akane No Mai," it's all about evolution.
The installment, set almost entirely within the realm of Shogun World, highlighted something very new and potentially very telling about the show's future: Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton) achieving what she describes as "a new voice," a silent way of communicating with her fellow hosts. Both she and Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) openly question the nature of this new ability. We posited a theory shortly after the episode aired: Maeve, with her maxed-out attributes, has the ability to connect with the "mesh network" Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) first referenced in the season two premiere.
For those who need a primer on the "mesh network," it refers to the hosts' method of communicating data with one another, primarily used to make sure storylines are intersecting where they need to or steering clear of one another as the case may be. Bernard uses the network as a means of tracking down Peter Abernathy (Louis Herthum), the host that Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) and the Delos board have a keen interest in.
It stands to reason that Maeve is using that same network when she commands an assassin to kill himself by jamming his face into a spike, or when she instructs the shogun's soldiers to turn on one another, using nothing more than her mind. What's more, the mesh network is also likely the means with which Maeve is able to channel the story of Akane (Rinko Kikuchi), and how she's able to share memories between herself and the greatest dancer in Shogun World.
These apparent new uses of the network have great ramifications for Westworld moving forward. It's a mark of the hosts' evolution, as they continue their journey toward consciousness and a life of independence. It separates them deeply from their human counterparts, that they can act in true unison based on the commands of one host. Should someone like Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) master the ability, or even the Dolores-enhanced version of Teddy (James Marsden), the possibilities could be pretty grim. But if it's someone like Maeve, empathetic and supportive of hosts making their own decisions about consciousness? The possibilities are pretty exciting about the hosts' future.
What's more, if Maeve is able to fully understand and articulate the extent of her "new voice," she should be able to take a page out of Bernard's playbook and use the mesh network to track down the person she's seeking: her daughter. If that happens, and if she finds out about a certain stolen radio, expect Sizemore's stock in Maeve's plans to drop dramatically.
Maeve's new ability is one of many topics discussed this week in "Welcome to Westworld," the Post Show Recaps podcast co-hosted here on The Hollywood Reporter. Listen to Josh Wigler (THR's Westworld beat reporter) and Jo Garfein (founder of the nonprofit Cancer Gets LOST) discuss "Akane No Mai" in greater detail in the player below.
Make sure you don't miss an episode of Welcome to Westworld by subscribing to the show on iTunes or your podcast catcher of choice. Send in comments and questions in the field below using our feedback form or reaching out to Josh and Jo directly on Twitter. Keep checking THR.com/Westworld all season long for news, interviews, theories and more.
Welcome to Westworld and welcome to our handy guide collecting every episode of the podcast.
• Season 1 Podcasts: All found on PostShowRecaps.com
• Season 2, Episode 1: "Journey Into Night"
• Season 2, Episode 2: "Reunion"
• Season 2, Episode 3: "Virtu e Fortuna"
• Season 2, Episode 4: "The Riddle of the Sphinx"
• Season 2, Episode 5: "Akane No Mai"