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It was the most emotional Westworld episode of the entire series: “Kiksuya,” from director Uta Briesewitz, and writers Carly Wray and Dan Dietz, centered almost entirely on Ghost Nation warrior Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon) on his journey toward consciousness.
But that’s the past — and that flower that grew so beautifully in the dark is about to lead the way to one of the HBO drama’s darkest acts yet.
Here’s our roundup of the past week’s coverage of “Kiksuya,” as well as a preview of what’s ahead in season two’s penultimate installment, “Vanishing Point.”
• “Kiksuya” Recap: “Take my heart when you go.” The romantic words have become synonymous with the Akecheta-centric episode, one of the clearest and most emotionally impactful episodes of the series, let alone the season. Our recap recounts exactly how it played out from Ghost Nation warrior’s perspective.
• What “Kiksuya” Confirms About Season 2: In addition to being a moving hour of television, “Kiksuya” was also an informative one, as far as the greater mythology and themes at play within Westworld.
• Zahn McClarnon (“Akecheta”) Interview: The actor at the heart of the episode spoke with THR about a number of topics, including his tribal makeup: “It was about a two-and-a-half-hour process. It’s a mixture of glue and paint, so it’s extremely uncomfortable. But it does get you into that headspace that you’re outside and in the sun with this paint on you that’s cracking, and they need to touch you up every five minutes because there’s paint cracking on your face. It’s probably the most difficult part of the job, getting that done every morning. I was very happy on the mornings I didn’t have to wear the paint.”
• Carly Wray (“Kiksuya” co-writer) Interview: In an extensive interview, the Westworld writer explains how “Kiksuya” came together, starting with an initial “wish” from co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy: “We collectively landed on this idea that while this is informing the narrative of the season as a whole, we should also be telling a really personal and emotional story. We landed really quickly on it being a love story. Once we hit on that, we were really off and running. It was exciting to build out a love story for this character who we had only really met as a menace up to this point.”
• “Kiksuya” Podcast: In our weekly podcast, “Welcome to Westworld,” co-hosts Josh Wigler and Jo Garfein debate the nature of the “new world” Akecheta is striving toward.
• “Vanishing Point” Preview: Season two’s penultimate episode looks like it will heavily focus on the Man in Black (Ed Harris) and the circumstances that led up to his latest and deadliest trip to the park, judging by the preview for “Vanishing Point.”
• “Vanishing Point” Photos: Beyond the Man in Black, photos from “Vanishing Point” shine a spotlight on Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), only one episode after her rebranding as “The Deathbringer.”
Check back every Saturday all season long for continued roundups of THR’s week in Westworld, and in the meantime, keep following our daily coverage at THR.com/Westworld.
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