Episode 5, entitled “Akane no Mai”, is the episode fans have been waiting for since we all got our first glimpse of a Samurai host. This week we go to Shogun World! But first we checked in with Delos Incorporated and Bernard (I think it’s Bernard but I’m really started to wonder if it is actually Bernard) on the current timeline. Our visits with this group have been random and very brief, much like this time. We see them cleaning up the park and gathering up the hosts. They are checking their chestnuts for information and realize that most of it is gone. I don’t really know what this means or what impact it has on everything but what I do know is nobody seemed happy about it. All of this brings suspicion on to (maybe) Bernard. Which leads me to believe that we will spend a lot more time on this timeline soon.
After that brief aside on the most current timeline we catch up with Maeve in Shogun World where we find out that Sizemore is familiar with the story that is going on there. He’s familiar because he wrote it and not only that, it is the same story that Maeve is apart of in Westworld. I struggle with this. While it makes sense to have similar stories across the different worlds, it also seems very convenient. It also brings so many questions to mind, most of which I will get into later. The other thing that bothered me in Shogun World is the fact that they don’t seem to be acting to far off their storylines. Sizemore said that their story was playing out differently which means that everything changed for them the night of Ford’s party as well, but it doesn’t seem to have changed too much. That is a small gripe because overall the first glimpses of Shogun World were pretty great.
I haven’t been the biggest fan of Maeve’s character. I love Thandie Newton and I enjoy her performance but the character arc of this particular character is uninteresting to me. That got worse with this episode. As much as I enjoyed Shogun World, I was bored with what was happening. They basically are going on another journey in the midst of their journey to find Maeve’s daughter. Which is fine because they have to get out of Shogun World but Maeve staying to help Shogun Maeve (played by Rinko Kikuchi, whom I really like) just wasn’t interesting to me. I understand the parallels they were making between the two characters and how we get to see Maeve continue to develop humanity but it didn’t really work for me. With that being said, that final scene was still pretty badass. I don’t really understand Maeve and what she can do but when it’s in action, it’s pretty dope. I am also interested to see where Akane (or “Shogun Maeve” as I called her earlier) goes from here, since it looks like she will play a role in the larger story. Is she truly like Maeve and will she develop along the lines that Maeve did? Maeve already tried to show her what she is capable of but Akane wasn’t interested, does that change now? And if the two of them are together, can they be stopped? Either way, Akane spices up Maeve’s storyline for me so I’m interested to see where it goes.
One character that has always worked for me is Delores. I was glad to see her back this week. This episode she was dealing with the fallout of losing “her dad” and Teddy disobeying her orders. You could tell almost immediately that something had changed between them. That change was made perfectly clear when Delores and Teddy have a conversation out in a field. This is an absolutely beautiful scene! It is shot so well and creates a beautiful juxtaposition to the chilling conversation they are having. It seems harmless enough to begin with as Teddy tries to get Delores to just run away with him, again. The conversation turns when Delores starts to tell a story about sick cows, when she is actually asking Teddy to decide how Delores should deal with his disobedience. This scene was eerie and made all the worse because Teddy doesn’t really know what’s going on. This is the first time in the show’s run that I really bought in to the emotional stuff between two hosts. It’s honestly starting to change my outlook on the show as a whole. Even though the Delores and Teddy scenes were brief they were impactful. I could feel the anguish in the decision that Delores had to make. Obviously she didn’t have to make that decision but she felt like she did and that pain resonated. I really liked the storytelling between these two characters and I still love the arc that Delores is on. She is still by far and away the most interesting character.
Overall it’s probably one of my least favorite episodes of the season. It was slow and drug along. There are so many unanswered questions and this episode didn’t really address them, it kind of felt like a waste. Some interesting things came from this episode but on its own, it wasn’t that strong.
Questions After Episode 5, “Akane no Mai”
- Is that Bernard on the current timeline? If not, who is it? And when was there a switch? We know that they were working on storing people’s consciousness’s in hosts so that means that it could literally be anybody, including another host. Teddy? Ford?
- Did Sizemore write all the stories for all the parks? If so, how many overlap? Is there a Maeve in every park? A Teddy? A Delores? What happens if they all get together? Are hosts rebelling in every park? Will the other parks come to play in the larger story?
- What is Maeve actually capable of? We’ve seen her control hosts now for a while, this episode we saw her control them with her mind. Is there anything she can’t do along those lines?
- Without Teddy will Delores be more ruthless? He seemed to be her conscious and now that he’s gone (essentially) there is nothing to stop her from going complete Wyatt. And if she is willing to do that to him, what isn’t she willing to do?
Image Credit: HBO