Last week I said that because of how action-packed the last couple of episodes have been this week’s episode will be much more toned down and less eventful. And I was right… well kind of, I didn’t expect this type of episode at all. I still don’t know how I feel about the episode overall. I’ve seen the reception to the episode online and from what I gathered people loved it. This was a bold episode for the show runners to make, especially considering where we are in the season. With my reviews I usually split it into sections dedicated to the different characters that are present in the episode. But this episode was different as it was solely focused on one character. So I apologise in advance if this review comes across as a mess because I still don’t know how I feel about the episode as a whole. While this week’s episode was focused on one character it did help fill in the gaps from the first season with The Maze and overall it answered a lot of questions I had about the park.
The star of this episode was Ake, the leader of the Ghost Nation. This is part of my biggest issue with the episode because this is a character that we have seen in the background throughout the series. To spend an entire episode with him and his tragic background didn’t do much for me. It was hard for me to be invested with a character that wasn’t one of my favourites. What I do like is how his story plays into the bigger picture with the park. His narrative/story clearly resembles that of Maeve’s which I found really interesting. He had the chance to leave the park as he finally starts to wake up just like Maeve but he goes back for Kohana to find out she’s in a different loop. Like Maeve his partner is at his core and while they aren’t humans they still feel and have a strong connection with them. The scene where Ake finds Kohana after he kills himself in the storage unit was incredible. I know I said I don’t have much invested in the character but his performance and the way it was built up I couldn’t help feel sorry for him, for all of them.
This episode was also important because it shows us the purpose of Ghost Nation and what they’ve been doing this whole time. Ake wasn’t the only one to notice that he was in the ‘wrong world’. Others amongst him start to realise something is wrong as their family members start to get replaced and they see people from previous narratives. The Ghost Nation is growing with members who are awake. This is why they aren’t killing the humans and hosts they run into. It’s Ake’s relationship with Maeve and her daughter that kind of confuses me. I understood early on that Maeve was communicating through him to her daughter. But he says he’s been watching them for a long time. He tried to warn them about the Man in Black’s attack but failed. I’m trying to figure out the early connections between Maeve and Ake other than them sharing the same type of narrative if that makes sense. I understand why he would want to track down Maeve now because she’s the most powerful host. But back then she was no different to the other hosts.
Ake’s journey to The Door
In this episode we got our best look at The Door as Ake has come the closest to it. He described it as the passage to the real world. Going back and looking at screenshots of the facility it’s hard to take away anything about The Door. It did look like a futuristic building but what’s its purpose? Are they producing new hosts? Or is it literally a door to the real world. But Ake killing himself so he could get back to the Masa was another door if you really think about it. Of course he can’t kill himself now since there are no backups and Delos are having a lot of problems themselves. One interesting thing to note about The Door is how it changed overtime. I mentioned how it looked like a facility when Ake first sees it but when he comes back later it’s almost been covered up by the desert now. Delos must have changed the map or made some alterations to stop hosts from reaching it.
I also wanted to point out how he runs into Logan on his journey to find The Door. At the end of season one Logan’s fate was unknown. When William sent him on that horse was he sending him back into the real world? Or was he sending him out to die? We find that Logan was stranded in the desert and he went crazy. He’s was talking about The Door as he tells Ake he can’t find it because he’s in the wrong world. This helps Ake’s journey to becoming awake. When Ake comes back Logan is gone. As for the current timeline the last we heard of Logan was when William told his father that he had died from an overdose. To be honest I don’t really trust William and I believe this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Logan.
Origins of The Maze
The revelation of how The Maze started was something I really enjoyed in this episode. It was the staple of the first season and to be honest I kind of forgot about its importance. But as I said with this episode it felt like they were filling in the gaps. The Maze was something I always thought Arnold and Ford created for Dolores to reach consciousnesses. To find out it actually started with Ake and his tribe was a great reveal. It made sense too, I love how he shows up after Dolores kills Arnold and he takes The Maze toy as a symbol to remember what happened. He was the one who was leaving the engravings of The Maze around the park. I remember seeing this maze engraved on a table back in season one when we visited Lawrence’s hometown. I also never understood how The Maze was found under the scalp of that Ghost Nation member’s head from season one. We find out that they did it to hide it from the Delos team. It’s crazy how they just took to this random symbol that probably wasn’t even meant for them. Or was it? Again every time I think Ford may not be in control of the narrative he is. He tells Ake that he was built to be curious and that he’s been watching him. Would this explain how the Delos team never wiped his memory when he died? There must be a reason for that, they had to be under the instructions of Ford. While Ford didn’t create The Maze he certainly used it on the likes of Dolores and The Man in Black. Ford also tells Ake that he wants him to be free now and with the park currently in disarray that’s possible.
The Man in Black’s Suffering
As I said last week Emily would show up and help her father. I find it crazy how a man of his age after taking that many shots is still alive. I’m starting to believe he isn’t a human anymore, he has to be a hybrid or something. From what we have seen William and Emily’s relationship has always been complicated. It’s clearly not your traditional father and daughter relationship because of what happened to Emily’s mother and the impact of the park on the family. She shows up to the Ghost Nation’s camp and first of all I’m thinking “How the hell did she know he was there?”. I thought showed up to help him but her conversation with Ake is really interesting. Ake himself wants to heal The Man in Black so he can actually suffer but so does Emily. Emily says she’ll make his suffering process a lot worse. Initially I was thinking why would Ake want the Man in Black to suffer but by the end of the episode it’s obvious this is clearly Maeve talking through his mind. Of course she would want The Man in Black to suffer, in fact both of them would as he failed to protect them in the first place. I just never knew Maeve could use her powers from outside the park which makes her even more powerful.
Overall this week’s episode certainly wasn’t your typical Westworld episode. I thought it was a brave and bold choice to focus on Ake’s story. The more I write about it the more I find myself appreciating the episode. I don’t have to love it to appreciate the meaning of the episode and its purpose. And this episode was important it was deep, complex and emotional. It showed us the power of love in the park and what people would do for it, even if they’re hosts. This episode connected The Maze, The Door, Maeve, Ford, Dolores and the park in general together. This episode answered a lot of questions that fans may have had. Or maybe it didn’t I can see why some probably won’t like this episode but I ended up enjoying it. Is it one of the best episodes of the series yet? Not to me but it’s their most bold and mature take on the park yet.
Let me know your thoughts on this week’s episode