Westworld – Akane No Mai Review
I have a proposal for Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy: Let's just spend the rest of the Westworld
season with Maeve and her band of interesting supporting characters (including their delightful Shogun World counterparts). Let's follow them as they explore the parks and Maeve's ever-growing power. Let's see Maeve try and find her daughter (who I suspect will be located just in time to link this arc to Dolores and William's- perhaps the daughter is at the heart of the Game?). Because this is, by far, the most interesting arc with the most interesting and complex set of characters. And I bet I'm not the only person who would love more time with Maeve and less watching William wander around getting clues from oracle host children.
Shogun World was everything we hoped it would be, and the twist of finding that Sizemore simply duplicated the same characters and base story he used in Westworld was a thing of beauty (see, the show can put in some fun twists that resonate within the narrative without teasing them out for weeks on end). Seeing Akane allowed Maeve a chance to really take stock of her own individuality (those disconcerting Akane flashbacks Maeve was able to tap into only seemed to strengthen the bond between them), and Sizemore's line of "Can you trust yourself?" will likely prove to have a major impact as we learn more about Maeve's journey and her new companions.
But while Maeve's journey into Shogun World expanded her character, it also allowed us to see the limits of both Hector and Armistice. Neither host is as woke as Maeve, but both reacted to their counterparts in very insular (and telling) ways. Hector's anger and resentment made sense with his programming, as he's used to being the real muscle in a situation. He naturally wouldn't want to give up that mantle to a usurper. However, Maeve doesn't have the time to worry about keeping two Hectors from coming to blows, so he's going to have to get his act together (or get a personality adjustment from Felix).
Armistice, on the other hand, seems completely fascinated by the idea of two of her walking around the park (and, since there are six parks, one assumes there are likely more Armistices around- Sizemore doesn't seem the type to simply replay the same characters only one time). For someone so focused on violence (and so darn good at it), it was strange to see her sitting quietly, mirroring her counterpart. While Hector allowed his fiery personality to dominate his actions, Armistice took a more Maeve-like approach and tried to understand what was happening. I suspect these two very different reactions will define these characters as we move forward.
While Team Maeve was off meeting new hosts, Team Dolores returned to Sweetwater to start prepping for a trip out into the real world. I've made fun of poor, stupid Teddy a lot this season, and I have to say I'm relieved that Dolores made the choice to flip his personality. Because I couldn't take another week of him following her around Westworld like a confused puppy (and I suspect poor James Marsden didn't want that either, as there are only so many ways to look totally lost in a conversation). Dolores's survival of the fittest mentality is particularly interesting, as it's so very human (and so very William). It's easy to see that certain hosts just won't work in the outside world. And Teddy as written is certainly one of them.
A tougher Teddy, who doesn't have the moral principles so ingrained in him? Well, he'd probably do alright (although we know he ends up in the lake, so, we know something is going to go wrong in the next few episodes). Changing a host into something against his programming can work in the immediate present, as we saw with Bernard changing Rebus into a pussy cat. But with hosts slowly waking up and remembering past lives, I have a hunch these massive personality changes ultimately won't take. Things will bleed through. And when that happens, I'm not sure a fractured host mind can survive.
-- I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but it's interesting to see Teddy continually track through the traditional "girlfriend" arc. This week, he finally gets to have a night with his love only to wake up and have her decide she doesn't want him the way he is and change him.
-- In the present storyline, which we only had a brief scene of this week, the tech found that many of the lake hosts had their data completely wiped from them. So who's the culprit? Bernard seems the most plausible, but both Maeve and Dolores have access to pads and techs, so it really could be anyone.
-- I've said it before and I'll say it again, I never expected to enjoy this season of Westworld
as much as I have been. Especially when I haven't been enjoying this season of Legion
all that much. The beauty of TV: Each season is a new beast and can change your thoughts on an entire series.