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“Kiksuya,” focused squarely on Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon) and his journey through the maze, was more than a beautiful hour of Westworld. It was a revelatory one, too. The mythic episode, directed by Uta Briesewitz, and written by Carly Wray and Dan Dietz, not only put the Ghost Nation warrior into firm focus, it also peeled back layers on many of the season’s greatest mysteries.
For instance, there’s the reveal at the end of the hour that Maeve (Thandie Newton) has been listening in on Akecheta’s conversation with her daughter, using the same mesh network the hosts use to transfer data to one another subconsciously. It’s confirmation of the theory we first floated out after “Akane No Mai,” in which Maeve demonstrated her “witch”-like powers for the very first time; now, the theory is an outright fact, one with massive ramifications for Maeve and the other hosts in the park.
That’s not even taking into account Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) and other humans who now not only understand how the hosts can use the mesh network, but happen to have Maeve in their custody. Their odds against Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) have suddenly improved tremendously.
Speaking of Dolores, we learned something new about the revolutionary robot at the heart of season two’s narrative: namely, that she’s been on Akecheta’s radar for decades and not in a good way. The Ghost Nation leader refers to Dolores as “the Deathbringer,” an apt nickname given the trail of bodies she’s left in her wake since becoming woke. Dolores and Akecheta are now positioned in direct opposition, and given the soulful quality of “Kiksuya,” it’s little wonder which host the show wants viewers to support.
In terms of Akecheta’s goals, he’s in search of “the Door,” presumably the same one that the Man in Black (Ed Harris) has been seeking all season long. Ake floats out his theory about the door’s purpose while speaking with Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) toward the end of the episode: “I believe there is a door, hidden in this place. A door to a new world. And that world may contain everything that we have lost. Including her.”
When Akecheta talks about “her,” he’s speaking about Kohana (Julia Jones), his long-lost love who has been decommissioned and placed in cold storage. The episode sees him discovering the same dig site a young version of the Man in Black (Jimmi Simpson) once showed to Dolores many years ago, which reinforces the notion that this place — the birthplace of digital immortality for humanity — and “the Door” are one and the same.
If Akecheta seeks a new world in which he can reclaim his lost love, does that mean he believes the way to save his people is by trading in their mortal forms for a new digital existence? If he and the other hosts are to survive, will they have to move forward into a virtual realm? Given Ford’s afterlife in such a state, Westworld viewers must seriously consider the possibility that the “analog” world in which the show exists will soon give way to a digital realm, if only partially.
What are your theories about the future of season two, given the Akecheta origin story? Sound off in the comments below and keep checking THR.com/Westworld for more coverage.
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