After a few action-packed episodes, this week’s episode of Westworld goes deep into the history of Ghost Nation and Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon), who lived a peaceful, happy life until he stumbled across the Maze and the true nature of the park. The connection between Akecheta and Maeve is finally explained — in an emotional twist, it’s a story of compassion and protection, not violence and murder — and it’s especially interesting to learn that these two clearly broke from their programming more than most other hosts. Is that what drew them to one another in the first place? A sense that something about their world was wrong? We’ll leave that thematic dissection for the recap, since it’s time to get to the biggest questions about “Kiksuya.”
“Kiksuya” is the Lakota word for “remember.” This is the most flashback-heavy episode to date, so it’s a fitting title as Westworld dives into Akecheta’s past.
This is the key unanswered question. Over the course of “Kiksuya,” we watch as Akecheta discovers the truth about Westworld, even venturing beyond the park to the facility below to find his lost love. Have any other hosts also ventured that far off their programming? And if so, when will we find out?
When Akecheta ends up in the facility the first time, the technicians are stunned to learn that he is an “alpha” host, meaning his programming hadn’t been updated in almost a decade. Is this a singular experience? Or will we find out that other hosts — perhaps in other parks? — haven’t been updated since the early days of the park? We’re also not told much about the effects of this “alpha” status. If any other “alpha” hosts are out there, how might their behavior differ from the others?
It certainly wasn’t Ford, who seems confused about the symbol’s longevity when he encounters Akecheta later in the episode. Akecheta tells him that he found it “when the death bringer killed the creator.” It’s possible that we’ve seen the maze image in Arnold’s journals, and Arnold definitely spoke of the maze concept to Dolores before he died. So the best bet is that he left the maze and the booze behind. But did he know that Akecheta would become obsessed with it and discover the truth? The whiskey is an interesting clue, in that it’s another recurring image for Westworld, most commonly with William: We see him bring whiskey to James Delos three times, plus he drinks it at the bar in the season-one finale (it’s also a nod to the movie, in which Yul Brynner’s Gunslinger drinks whiskey). Here’s something else to consider: Is the Maze meant for hosts more than it is for guests? We’ve seen it used for Dolores and now Akecheta. Does this add weight to the theory that the Man in Black is a host too, given his obsession with the maze? And is the whiskey being left beside the Maze image another clue to this theory?
Lee is seriously defeated when he sees Maeve bloody and near death in the repair facility, desperate to save her before she’s … well, we’re not entirely sure what Charlotte plans to do with her now. Is Lee eager to keep Maeve alive because of the evolution she represents and the power she holds, or has he actually grown attached to her? And the more pressing question: Can he still keep her out of Charlotte’s grasp?
In the final moments of the episode, Charlotte learns that Maeve has been communicating with the hosts — not to mention commanding them — which nobody at Delos has been able to do since the uprising. Could Charlotte use Maeve, either literally or through what she learns from her programming, to get Westworld back under human control? (Here’s another interesting wrinkle to consider: Maeve’s programming from Ford was to leave the park. Perhaps he knew that she was powerful enough to derail his new narrative?)
When she gets William back from Akecheta, she promises “great hurt” for her father. Does she mean it? If so, what form would that take? Or could she be bluffing Akecheta, promising pain but truly saving her father?
Once again, Grace has an amazing ability to find her dad across the massive real estate of the parks. How does she keep doing that? Perhaps more importantly, do we think this is a question that has an answer or something for which we just have to suspend disbelief and go with the Westworld flow? Whatever the case, Grace traveled all the way from the Raj, found her dad, lost him, and then found him again with Ghost Nation. Either she’s an amazing tracker … or one of these people is actually a host who’s trailed by something other than footprints in the sand. Unless, of course, the writers are relying on some stunning coincidences.