TV Review: Westworld, Season 2, Episode 5

This recap/review of Westworld is written with the expectation that everyone who reads this and comments below will have seen the episode already. Thus, if you've yet to see the episode in question, DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER. SPOILERS!

EPISODE: Season 2, Episode 5: Akane no Mai

PLOT: Maeve (Thandie Newton) discovers the secret of Shogun World, while Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Teddy (James Marsden) try to reconnect.

REVIEW: After being teased with episode three’s cliffhanger ending, we finally get a glimpse at the long-awaited Shogun World. True to form, the show-runners at HBO haven’t spared any expense, with the Japanese cast as star-peppered as the American one, with Hiroyuki Sanada and Rinko Kikuchi joining the fray.

What’s especially cool here is that we see how the creative team at the park ported over and recycled plot lines between the park, re-purposing Hector’s saloon heist for an assault on a geisha house. Hector and Maeve both have doppelgangers, with the former feeling threatened by the capable Musashi, while Maeve strikes a more empathetic chord with Akane. Like Maeve, Akane is humanized through a maternal instinct that runs deeper than mere programming, with us seeing that she loved a young geisha desired by a perverted Shogun. This allows the two casts to find common ground, paving the way for a bloody team up.

The whole episode is grand guignol, maybe setting a show record for gore, with arterial sprays aplenty, especially in a badass scene where they take on ninjas, making this the most action-packed episode to date.

By contrast, Dolores and Teddy’s side story is more low-key but just as important. Since the season started up, we’ve seen how Teddy’s been unable to process his new reality, thinking that somehow there’s a quiet future in store for the pair that’s just not meant to be. At one point in the episode, he tells her that he’s sure there’s a parcel of land out there for the two to live in and be happy, and the fact that he thinks that’s possible shows how limited he is. He still thinks of Dolores as that simple farm girl in distress, and she realizes his white-hatted cowboy schtick just won’t work - so she reprograms him to be a killer. We haven’t seen the result yet, but it should give Marsden some juicy material, as if I have any complaints about his character, it’s that he’s a little too blandly good.

Overall, this week’s is probably my favorite episode of the season to date, being a nice mix of action and character-building, and I especially like the Shogun World additions - hopefully, they’ll stick around for awhile. Now that we’re halfway through the season, things are coming together nicely, and I’m sure it’ll play itself out to a satisfying conclusion, although I doubt things will wrap up too cleanly, as clearly, they’re working with multiple seasons in mind. It’s gonna be a fun ride.

Source: JoBlo.com



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