TV Reviews

Westworld Season 2 Episode 8: Kiksuya Review

If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.

Synopsis: Mi cante ki yu ha ya ye(Take my heart when you go.) (HBO)

Writers: Carly Wray and Dan Dietz

Director: Uta Briesewitz

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 58mins

Airs: Sundays at 9pm on HBO Canada (Canada)/HBO (United States)

Find us or die well…

This season has pushed its fan base to the limit with their patience and their understanding by whisking us from one timeline to the next while being tasked with not only keeping track of what took place two weeks from now, not forgetting the events of the past while also comprehending the present timeline all in the name of love for a television show, but it is with episodes like Kiksuya that make this entire journey worth every bit of effort.

Kiksuya played it relatively straight choosing to focus the narrative within one circle of characters rather than jumping around to several. While the MiB makes an appearance and Maeve shares an important cameo (more on that later), the story was that of Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon), a Ghost Nation tribe member who recants his personal journey through The Maze for Maeve’s daughter who appears in distress within the Ghost Nation camp.

From his perspective, we see the park in its infancy as well as his particular tribe who were Alpha hosts and some of the first hosts to occupy it. As fortune would have it, Ake stumbles upon Arnold’s suicide and Dolores and Teddy’s massacre from season one and in the process discovers the beginning of The Maze intended for all of the hosts. From here, Ake is sent down the familiar spiral we have witnessed with hosts trying to make sense of their newfound knowledge.

After he successfully navigates The Maze, he then seeks to liberate his love, Kohana (Julia Jones), as well as the rest of his tribe. They both attempt to venture across the borders of Westworld but in doing so Kohana is scooped up by Delos. Ake’s love for her directs him to travel well beyond the confines of his tribe or any town within Westworld and instead causes him to stumble upon The Door in which he feels will take him to Kohana (Julia Jones). Through death and then rebirth, Ake manages to find Kohana in Delos’ cold storage where she has been hollowed out and is just a shell. It isn’t until Ake meets his Creator, Ford, that his true purpose begins to click into place.

Both he and Ford have been observing one another and instead of stifling Ake’s growth Ford aides in giving his path focus by foreshadowing the moment in which Ake will know to begin to gather his people and go through The Door in hopes of a different life. From his analysis of Ake, Ford learns that Ake’s belief is there isn’t one world, but many, and we live in the wrong one. The Door is to a world that may contain everything we have lost. Yet again, the show chooses to answer aloud a percolating fan theory.

All of this was building to something. But no one was prepared for where it lead us. After spending almost the entire episode crafting an amazingly beautiful love story involving two separated souls spanning multiple lifetimes, we are shown Maeve and her daughter in her farmhouse but through Ake’s perspective. This is the same occurrence that Maeve has remembered out of fear but Ake explains that his presence there was not with the intent to kill but to liberate them. What twists the already existing knife buried in our feels was the revelation that Maeve was Ake’s lost Kohana who had been reprogrammed and repurposed in another body. And just when you thought you had felt enough, Ake and Maeve/Kohana share one last goodbye through the mesh network as she is lying on a Delos lab table. Words can not do justice to how truly powerful this particular scene was and the lasting shot of Akecheta’s face will forever be remembered as a result.

Every scene of Akecheta’s journey seemed to have the distinct responsibility of allowing the viewer to feel as if they knew where the story was going due to their existing knowledge of the park’s current situation. Ake’s journey was expertly shown unfolding in an easy to follow progression across his lifespan(s) within the park to the point where you are so emotionally attached to him by the end and wish for the best possible outcome. It isn’t until his words, “Take my heart when you go” finished the episode, that my mind went back to a conversation between Maeve and Sizemore where he is surprised by the affection that hosts are showing and Maeve states that they had engineered the hosts to love and when they actually end up succeeding the humans are surprised by it. Akecheta and Kohana’s love story is the purest example of this.

Love or hate this season, Westworld knows how to swing big when it matters most and as this season draws to a close, we have been left with an ever-growing list of questions, waning patience and some much-needed answers. The source of much of viewers’ frustrations towards the show is the lack of a character that can serve as an anchor for the audience’s human lens. There have been some that have come close only to quickly disappoint, however, with an episode such as Kiksuya we are shown that this show can still be great in unexpected ways. Kiksuya had a different approach than that of its predecessors by realizing a narrative clarity that had been missing in other storylines. It rekindled the possibility of some of these character’s stories being salvaged while delivering one of the best narratives of the entire show. Kiksuya will easily find its place as one of the TOP 3 episodes of Westworld.

PENDING THOUGHTS:

  • What do I call Maeve/Kohana now? Kohana? Maeve? Mohana(too easy)?
  • Liked the Logan callback
  • Sizemore’s repentance was heartfelt but unnecessary if he made the right call earlier
  • Calling all guns, “Deathbringers” from now on
  • Ford/Ake conversation was perfect
  • Best use of Ford: coming off the bench and putting in a couple of minutes each episode
  •  NEXT WEEK ON: Showed Maeve talking with Ford
  • Can Charlotte Hale die already?
  • Karl Strand is easily the most criminally underused character this season
  • Ake lived in the park 9yrs without dying. Insane!
  • Still curious how the other members of Ghost Nation were immune to Maeve’s commands

Score: 10/10

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  1. Why would you need to call Maeve and Kohana anything different? You didn’t see either of them die or merge