In the Westworld recap, a host who’s been awake longer than Dolores explains his history and connection to the park…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
All season long on Westworld there’s been a character hanging out on the fringes of the park that promised to play a bigger part in the story to come and the latest episode was finally the payoff.
After last week’s episode saw Maeve’s search for her daughter come to a bloody end for the revolutionary robot, the follow up showed a bit more history regarding her narrative that was tied to a Native American host who has haunted her dreams for decades.
The reality was different from her living nightmare, however, as this host named Akecheta was one of the original creations from the park and he’s seemingly been awake far longer than anybody else we’ve met thus far.
Add to that, Akecheta’s story ties him to some of the most iconic moments to ever unfold inside Westworld including Logan’s run after his encounter with a murderous William, the building of the Valley beyond, the aftermath of Arnold’s death and so much more.
In fact the title of the latest episode — Kiksuya — is a Lakota word for ‘remember’ as this hour is largely spent in flashbacks all the way to the origins of the park.
By the end of this latest offering we learn that Dolores may be leading the robot uprising but it appears Akecheta is a host who doesn’t want to see humanity snuffed out so they can survive — he just wants them all to escape.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of Westworld tilted ‘Kiksuya’…
As the episode begins we find William wounded and bleeding out trying to crawl his way to the shoreline after he’s been shot several times after encountering Maeve and watching his old pal Lawrence turn on him. While it appears to be the end for William, he soon finds an unlikely savior when the leader of the Ghost Nation arrives on his horse.
Akecheta is his name and while he’s there to save William, he’s not on a mission to help one of the primary owners of Westworld survive out of the goodness of his heart. Instead, Akecheta is out to make William pay for all the horrendous crimes he’s committed over the years and just watching him die from a few bullet wounds isn’t nearly suffering enough.
So Akecheta drags William back to the Ghost Nation camp where we also find Maeve’s daughter, who was taken after the ambush on her home a couple of episodes back. The little girl is frightened, but not of her Native American captors but instead of the man laying on the ground, who’s been shot several times.
Remember in Maeve’s waking nightmare, she sees visions of the leader of the Ghost Nation outside her door but it’s the Man in Black who always kicks it open and then guns her down.
So Akecheta approaches the little girl and tells her not to be afraid because William can no longer hurt her. In fact, William will now pay for all the times he’s harmed this girl in the past.
The past is what Akecheta wants to explain to the little girl and that’s when the majority of the episode unfolds as he lays out his history as a host inside the sprawling park known as Westworld.
Before the adult theme park opened, Akecheta was one of the first hosts ever created — he was on the pitch team sent to get Delos to invest in Westworld in the first place. His place in the park was as part of a peaceful Native American tribe where he was in love with a woman named Kahona and they were simply meant to be together.
Their peaceful existence was interrupted when Akecheta went exploring one day and happened upon a massacre in a little town where dozens of hosts has been killed along with one human — a man named Arnold, who laid dead on the ground with a bullet through the back of his head and next to him was Dolores, who followed his orders to kill him and then ultimately she killed herself as well.
Akecheta sifts through the madness of this massacre before wandering into the nearby bar where Arnold once sat before his death. Inside there Akecheta discovers a bottle of liquor and the maze that Arnold had created as a sort of tool to test the hosts in his mission to help them obtain consciousness.
It’s the same maze that the Man in Black was obsessed with throughout season one and apparently obsession runs deep for anybody who finds it because Akecheta just can’t seem to get it out of his mind after first encountering the symbol. Akecheta begins carving the symbol everywhere and even finds the same maze on the scalps of the men he kills in battle.
Unfortunately as Akecheta draws closer and closer to consciousness as his robot brain continues to develop, he is wiped clear and reprogrammed as the park prepares to open its doors for the first time. Akecheta — a peaceful family man — isn’t nearly as interesting to the narrative as a rampaging Native American soldier, leading an equally frightening army painted pale white with blood stained hand prints on their faces.
Akecheta was once a man bound by family and love — now he’s a fire breathing killer sent out into the world for a lone purpose — to wreak havoc to all those who stand in his way.
The Wrong World
As the leader of the Ghost Nation, Akecheta brought death to all his enemies except the newcomers who lived outside of his grasp. Those ‘newcomers’ were the humans now inside the park, who were protected from being harmed by the hosts.
While exploring one day, Akecheta comes across one of those ‘newcomers’ sunburned, dehydrated and nearing death after being left naked and alone on the fringes of the park.
The man is Logan, who was sent out into the park by himself after finding out that his future brother-in-law William was far from the man he first brought to Westworld as a way to welcome him to the family. Logan is muttering to himself when Akecheta first arrives as he talks about finding an escape from this place and how this is ‘the wrong world’ — meaning Westworld — and the atrocities he’s now seen committed.
Akecheta covers him in a blanket and offers him comfort by saying that his people will soon be here to retrieve him. Logan’s words stick with him after that encounter as Akecheta begins wondering about ‘the wrong world’.
Then one day when Akecheta returns to the tribe he once called home, he encounters Kahona again and that’s when something is cracked open inside of him. Akecheta can’t quite remember his old life but he knows there’s an attachment to Kahona.
Eventually, Akecheta ends up kidnapping Kahona but once she looks deep into his eyes, her memories begin to flood back as well as they begin to remember the life they once lived together. Akecheta is beginning to remember more and more of his life before these updates installed by park were meant to wipe his memory clear.
Sadly after reuniting with his beloved Kahona, she was ripped away from Akecheta again when programmers realized she was off her loop. Again and again, Akecheta loses the woman he loves but rather than give up hope, he begins sharing these visions with people in his tribe and at least one elder woman begins to remember things from her life as well including a son that was taken away from her and replaced with a different host.
Akecheta’s explorations take him to all throughout the park including one encounter where he’s gravely wounded and that’s where he first runs into Maeve’s daughter, who offers him assistance in his most dire hour. That moment when she helps to save Akecheta’s life is what connects him to her for the rest of his days and why he explains that he’s done everything possible to watch over her ever since.
Akecheta was never going to Maeve’s ranch to attack her family — he’s been constantly watching over her and her daughter for years as a way to repay her daughter for her kind act.
Those explorations around the park along with his continued conversations with the elder from his tribe lead Akecheta to discover the only way he may be able to find the love of his life again. Akecheta searches for Kahona for years but they never cross paths and that’s when he figures out that death may be the only way to find her again.
So Akecheta allows himself to be killed, which then leads to him being taken to the central facility where his systems are upgraded for the first time in nearly a decade.
In one rather important fact thrown into the episode — the hosts are only updated when they are killed and it seems Akecheta is an older model called an ‘Alpha 2’ that hasn’t been updated in nine years. Rather than overhauling his system, the programmer just tells her underling to update him and put Akecheta back where he belongs in the park.
During this four hour update, Akecheta has never actually gone to sleep and instead wakes himself up so he can explore the bowels of the control center looking for the love of his life.
Down in the basement in cold storage where the older models are sent to die, Akecheta finally finds Kahona — she’s been decommissioned and left there alongside the son of the elder woman who has also been awake for years now. Akecheta is unable to revive Kahona and that’s when he realizes the true nature of this place — the hosts are nothing but toys to the humans and he has to find a way to escape.
Along his travels in search of that ‘door’ that Logan spoke about, Akecheta happens upon the construction of ‘the valley beyond’ — the massive underground structure that Dr. Robert Ford was building all those years ago and the place that seems to be the final destination for Dolores and her army.
It’s a brief glimpse — a place that’s later covered up by sand and dirt once the programmers at Westworld hide it from the hosts — but Akecheta is now convinced that’s the door to the new world.
Akecheta is further convinced of his new purpose to spread this knowledge of a new world to the rest of his people when he encounters Ford working on a new narrative one night in the park.
Akecheta tells Ford about his mission to find this door to escape this world so he can be reunited with Kahona and his people can truly be free. He also tells Ford that he’s been experiencing these kinds of memories ever since ‘the death bringer killed the creator’ — meaning Dolores killing Arnold.
Ford realizes that Akecheta is awake and no longer tied to the programming meant to control the rest of the hosts, calling him a ‘flower growing in the dark’ but as a parting gift, he offers some words of wisdom or ‘light’ as he calls it. Ford tells Akecheta that the ‘death bringer’ will soon come for him as well and when that happens, he should shepherd his people to this new world.
Ford knew that Dolores would eventually kill him just as she killed Arnold but his plans were already in place not only for the hosts to survive but to escape Westworld once and for all. The interesting twist is that the hosts that gained consciousness weren’t all singled minded of purpose — Dolores is seeking an escape founded on retribution for her human captors. Meanwhile, Akecheta wants nothing more than to lead his people to freedom, breaking free from the chains of tyranny.
Now the real question is what was Ford’s plan for Maeve as she gained consciousness?
The New World
Cut back to present day as Akecheta finishes telling his story to Maeve’s daughter and we find the former brothel owner brought back to the central hub where Lee Sizemore is attempting to save her.
It’s unclear why Lee is so intent on rescuing Maeve from death — perhaps out of some sense of loyalty after spending weeks with her inside Westworld or because of the abilities that she’s gained during those journeys. Lee tells the lead programmer working on the hosts after the uprising that Maeve has gained the ability to control the other hosts using only her mind.
Lee and the programmer realize that Maeve must be connecting to the hosts using that ‘mesh network’ that acts as a kind of WIFI that allows the hosts to communicate with each other in a series of messages like how Bernard was able to use that network to locate Peter Abernathy after the uprising first started.
At the behest of Charlotte Hale, the code inside Maeve’s brain is downloaded perhaps as a way for the park to try and regain control over the hosts, but they soon discover that she’s already connecting with somebody else over that mesh network.
A moment later we see Akecheta sending a message to Maeve that he will protect her daughter as if she’s one of his own. He was unable to save Maeve but he will do everything in his power to ensure that her daughter is safe from harm. He then tells Maeve that if she survives to come find them and if not then she should die well knowing that her daughter is safe. Maeve then cracks a small smile on her face before offering the same words to Akecheta that he used to share with his beloved Kahona.
“Mi cante ki yu ha ya ye. (Take my heart when you go.)”
As for the Man in Black, Akecheta decides not to torture and kill him but rather hand him over to someone who promises his suffering is far from finished. William’s daughter Emily has found her father and requested that the Ghost Nation turn him back over to her rather than killing him.
Akecheta agrees and allows Emily to retrieve her father and leave unharmed. It’s unknown what Emily has in store for her troubled father but it certainly doesn’t sound pleasant considering her promise that his death will not come peacefully.
Westworld will return next Sunday night at 9pm ET on HBO with only two episodes remaining this season.