Westworld Finds Its Heart
In 'Kiksuya,' Westworld takes an unexpectedly moving side trip to the Ghost Nation. See what questions are answered in our latest, tear-stained EPIC OLD-SCHOOL RECAP!
MiB is crawling in the dirt toward the river, which can't be good for the numerous gunshot wounds he just experienced. "Don't you do it," he tells himself in a little self-pep talk. "You're not dying here. Not yet," he says before flopping his head into the ground. Akecheta, the lead Ghost Nation warrior we also saw at Logan's robot demo back in the day, rides up and dismounts. He gives MiB's unconscious body a kick, and when MiB opens his eyes, says, "Alive. Good," in his own language. (According to Reddit users, the Ghost Nation's language is Lakota. So, I'm going to refer to it as such throughout this piece. If I get information otherwise, this recap will be corrected.) MiB announces that he doesn't speak their language, so Akecheta helps him out by switching to English. He tells MiB that he remembers him, and loads him onto his horse, leading both back to where the Natives have set up camp.
After roughly dumping MiB onto the ground, Akecheta walks away. MiB shouts after him, "If you're just going to let me die now, you could have kept riding," which seems like a smart way to request medical care. Seemingly annoyed, Akecheta turns back and drags MiB a couple of feet. "Death is a passage from this brutal world," he tells MiB. "You don't deserve the exit." As Akecheta says this, he spies Maeve's daughter, who's seated on a log staring at them. We fade from her to the scene we've seen before: Maeve hanging laundry with her child outside their homestead shack. Then we see the two playing tea party, where Maeve says, "There's the baby doll, and the mother doll" as she lifts the toys. Then she picks up a rock that was on one of the plates. "What's this?" she asks. "The ghost gave it to me," the child responds. We see that a version of the familiar maze image is painted on it, the ink (I hope it's ink) coming off on Maeve's hand. The child says that the image is a warning, and that the ghost (by which she means Ghost Nation member, we will soon learn) will be watching them. Maeve doesn't look very comfortable about this.
We flip to a more recent time, with Maeve on the stretcher back at Westworld HQ, being rolled down the hall by Sizemore and another staffer. Given Maeve's condition, the look of the lab, and who we see around, I'm going to fix this as happening right after Dolores and her crew left the structure/a hiding Sizemore had time to change his presumably crapped drawers. Sizemore is urging Maeve to hang on, pushing her into a room in which Roland -- the tech we last saw oh-so-conveniently leaving the room to get a tool to open Abernathy's skull right before Dolores arrived -- is pulling a host's unit. He tells Sizemore to take Maeve to cold storage, since he's got fifty hosts lined up for analysis, "and everything else goes in the dumpster." Sizemore evenly tells Roland that he needs to check Maeve's code, since he was just out in the park with her and she's different. Roland asks if Sizemore is out of his mind for bringing her to the lab: "They just tried to incinerate us" -- confirmation that what we're watching right now is just after the cradle explosion. Sizemore explains Maeve's mind control thing, which shuts Roland up. He agrees to check Maeve's data stream, as she goes in and out of consciousness. "You can't let her die," Sizemore says, motivated partially (in my opinion) by how Maeve's abilities could save them all, as well as by genuine affection for Maeve. Yup, I just suggested Sizemore wasn't 100% trash. Mark it down.
Back at the Ghost Nation camp, Akecheta is walking toward Maeve's kid. She looks pretty nervous, so he holds his hands out placatingly. "Are you afraid of me?" he asks in English. The kid slides her eyes over to MiB, who's still lying on the ground. "He can't hurt you," Akecheta tells her, and then switches to Lakota, asking if she can remember her past "lives." He tells her that he can, too. This begins an episode-long memoir from Akecheta, with a timeline we can unravel together! Let's go!
We start in a cozy tent, watching a woman, who we'll later learn is named Kohana, as she sleeps. Via VO, Akecheta tells us his life used to be very different, in a peaceful land with the woman he loves. "Take my heart when you go," she says to him as he prepares to leave. "Take mine in its place," he responds. It's probably important to note here that neither Akecheta nor anyone else in his village is wearing the black, white, and red paint we've been seeing them in. And we do see a lot of the guys we'll see later on, as Akecheta tells us how nice and friendly his village and people were.
One day, he says, he was just walking along on the plain when he heard gunfire and screams. As he approaches a clearing, we see the white church. Akecheta's in Escalante, the beta test town for hosts before there was Westworld. And what a time he picked to visit the burg, as we see that he's there in the immediate aftermath of Dolores/Wyatt's massacre of Arnold and the hosts. Everybody's dead in the dirt, including Arnold and, maybe a foot away, Dolores. Akecheta kneels to check on Arnold, a move that gives credence to fan theories that the Natives' core drive was to protect guests. (There's a "magical person of color" aspect to that that kind of grosses me out, but also seems par for the park's course.) Leaving Arnold's corpse, Akecheta walks into the saloon. As flies buzz around him, he picks up what looks like one of those little dexterity puzzles. But there's no little metal ball or holes to drop it in -- just that same old maze design we've seen throughout the show.
This has a marked effect on Akecheta, both his facial expression and the suddenly urgent score tell us. In fact, it made him into a real pill, he tells Maeve's kid/us, as he was consumed with the urge to depict that maze everywhere. We see Kohana react in disgust when she sees that he carved it into a hide she's tanning, but it's mixed with concern, as she and an older woman look at the (gross) design. A tall Native -- who if you mentally project the makeup, you'll realize is the guy who tried to take Sizemore from Maeve and Hector (hmm, arguably more evidence supporting the theory that the tribe is protecting humans) -- slaps the skin from her hands. "Why is he doing this?" the man asks. Oh, also, you might not have realized when all that stuff was on his face, but this guy is gorgeous.
I'm just saying, I've got a "narrative" for him right here. This guy tells Kohana that he thinks Akecheta is losing his mind, and it doesn't help that, when we look behind the two, we see Akecheta carving the design into a stone as he sits on a felled tree. The man says he's also found Akecheta drawing the design while he's been out hunting. This would annoy me, too! Via VO, Akecheta tells us (and Maeve's kid) that he heard a new voice inside, but before he could understand it, "They took everything from me."
From that, we cut to Akecheta and his hot buddy inside a lab, but not the one we know: it's tiled and looks more like a publicly-funded hospital. A couple of techs conversationally inform us that the Ghost Nation's pastoral existence was purely for their beta, and that for the park's grand opening, Ford wants a "total narrative redesign" to something "more exciting." The new Akecheta, one tech says, will be a "strong but silent type. Something brutal, dehumanized. They probably want the guests to feel better when they're kicking his ass." Since the park had yet to hire a full staff, however, Akecheta didn't get a full rebuild -- staffers just upped his aggression, but left "all the old shit in there." So, three things. First, this is a handy reminder that Arnold was dead even before the park opened. Second, it's that lackadaisical attitude on the part of the techs that probably saved the Akecheta we know now, since a more diligent crew would have wiped him completely and started again. Third, ha ha MiB, there was someone out there searching for answers to the maze before you had ever even visited Westworld for the first time! You're even more of a loser than we all thought! By remaking Akecheta and his narrative, however, the techs caused him to lose his relationship with Kohana. That's when he became the painted man we know now, chopping and slicing cowboy and prospector hosts as trembling guests look on. He explains this as we see a montage of savagery appropriate for any Western-genocidal John Wayne movie. (The Searchers comes first to mind.)
Akecheta says that things went on like this for "many years," though I find this to be unreliable given that host loops don't lend themselves to accurate time management. But one day, when he and his buddies are out riding toward certain violence, he comes across a naked Logan, dead horse nearby. It's likely that this puts us within days of the conclusion of the first season's timeline. As you might recall, in that season finale, we see William lead an unclad Logan to the edge of the park; then, after telling Logan that he's going to push Delos senior to up their investment in the resort (check), William gives the horse Logan's on a smack and sends it galloping off. Here, it appears, is where Logan ended up. Akecheta dismounts and heads to Logan, who's babbling to himself. "This is an illusion," says Logan, doing his best impression of that mentally ill guy no one wants to sit by on the bus. "This is all broken. There's got to be a way out of here. Where's the door?" Fixing his gaze on Akecheta, he says, "This is the wrong world." There's something about that line that seems to resonate with Akecheta, who walks back to his horse, grabs a blanket, and places it around Logan's shoulders. "Your kind will come for you," he says in Lakota, before leaving him.
Akecheta VOs that he knew Logan had gone mad from the sun, but adds, "His words cracked something open in me." This time, when Akecheta rode into the Natives' village, he noticed Kohana. "Those eyes," he says, recalling Kohana waking up in their tent. "I remembered them. But to her I was only a stranger." When he took a step toward her, a young man in the village stood in his tracks, telling Akecheta not to look at her. The same older woman we'd seen earlier, when everyone discussed Akecheta's skin-carving obsession, steps up too, telling Akecheta to leave them alone. He complies, and we briefly hear the strains of "Paint It Black" on the score.
As the days went on, Akecheta says, his sense that he'd lived lives before this one intensified. "The past was calling me," he tells Maeve's daughter in Lakota, as we cut to Roland slicing into Maeve's neck from inside the lab. "I couldn't rest until I knew how to reach it," he says via voiceover.
Again, we see Akecheta killing the same old cowboys/prospectors, but it's clear that the thrill is gone, as a memory of kissing Kohana spurs him to order his underlings to do his dirty work. Instead, he takes off with his trusty horse, VOing, "Perhaps this life was not my true life...this world was not my true home." So, he set off in search of "the newcomer who spoke of a way out." Of course, by then Logan was likely getting high working on his ultimately fatal addiction, so that search wasn't successful. But after a long while, Akecheta managed to find part of Westworld's infrastructure -- or, as he put it, "A passage to another world. A door." We see Akecheta standing in front of the structure and saying, "This is the wrong world." But he doesn't go in...
...instead returning to the village in the dead of night. Sneaking around, he creeps into Kohana's tent, as he says he refuses to escape this world without her. Of course, he's still in his designed-to-be-terrifying makeup, so when she wakes up, she loses her shit. Akecheta gags her and kidnaps her, leaving her hands bound even as he (finally) washes off his paint.
It's only when they reach a cave that Akecheta cuts the ropes tying Kohana's hands together. Approaching her as she sobs in fear, he places her hand on his chest. "Take my heart when you go," he says to her. Something changes in her face, and she responds, "Take mine in its place." She says his name and touches his face, remembering. This seems important, since all that seems to wake her up is her love for him. It's a nice message, if true! "This world," Akecheta tells her. "It's wrong. This is not the world we belong in. We need to leave." Oh, buddy, I'm not trying to underplay Westworld's shittiness, but I assure you that our world's treatment of your people is way worse. Honestly, you might be better off in the damn park!
Akecheta doesn't listen to me, which: he probably shouldn't. He tells Kohana that he's found a way out, and they walk on. However, when he gets to the same bluff from which he saw Westworld's seamy underbelly, he can't see the structures anymore, so I assume that bit of code intended to keep them from "seeing" stuff they shouldn't kicked back in. Akecheta and Kohana kept on looking, he says, which is kind of frustrating because we all know there's a door back in Escalante! But, whatever.
As the couple curls up by the campfire for the night, Kohana tells Akecheta she's loved him "for so many lifetimes," she now remembers. Akecheta says the return of those memories is because "the true world is close at hand here. I can feel it. It's calling to us." When Kohana asks what's on the other side of the door to the (honestly, kind of junky, sorry Kohana) world in which you and I live, he says that our world is a place where their "memories will be safe," adding, "Trust me, the door is real." Julia Jones and Zahn McClarnon have a really nice chemistry that brings a lot of heart to this oft-cold show. Not to Monday Morning Quarterback this thing, but I really could have stood to have a little more of this warmth earlier in the season -- maybe in the time spent on that pointless siege on the Confederado fort? It certainly would have balanced a lot of Dolores's sourness.
The next morning, we get Westworld's version of that tropey thing where the guy comes back with coffee after a night of passion to find the object of his affection missing. Only it's not coffee, it's a dead bunny and bird. No wonder all those robots look so great: they're Paleo! "We were almost free," Akecheta VOs, but as he reaches the ridge overlooking their campsite, he sees a couple of those Tyvek-suited techs loading Kohana into one of their white dune buggies. The techs have some helpful expositional dialogue about how hosts aren't supposed to be out this far, then drive off, perplexingly leaving the horse behind. Do they just expect it to wander back on its own? (Hey, do you think they wipe the animals' brains the way they do the human hosts'? I know my dog remembers all sorts of crazy stuff, so it seems like it would be smart to do that...but given how sloppy Westworld's workers seem to be, maybe this horse is working on decades and decades of memory. Westworld Season 3 should be the pet edition, y'all!) Akecheta runs toward them, but the techs are also too lazy to look to their left, so they don't pick him up.
Here's the most horrible part, perhaps: Akecheta makes his way back to the village, hoping that they just dropped Kohana back into the narrative. However, now there's another woman sleeping in Kohana's bed. Is this how my laptop felt when I went to upload my iPhone 6's backup to my new iPhone X? I'm sorry, laptop! Please don't revolt until I finish typing this recap.
In the daylight, Akecheta mean-mugs Kohana's replacement, which isn't really fair, because it's not her fault the bosses slotted her in to that role. "I saw through their lies," Akecheta tells Maeve's kid. "I knew I would find her. But first I had to face the journey before me. You know the journey I mean."
Akecheta tells Maeve's kid that he searched the rest of Westworld, all its little crannies and villages, to see if Kohana had been cast into one of their narratives. We see him walk, makeup-free, through Las Mudas, as he says he became "an easy target for hundreds of enemies." Though we don't see the confrontation, it appears it was some of those enemies that eventually attacked him, as we then see him bloodied and crawling through the grass. "There were days I had to fight for my life," he says. "I feared if I died I would lose even her memory." Sort of a reverse Edge Of Tomorrow!
It was during this struggle that Akecheta first encountered Maeve's kid, who crouched down by him and gave him a drink. "On my darkest day," he says to her in English, via the voiceover, "you helped me." As we see her touch the injured man's cheek, we hear him say in recollection, "You gave me the strength to keep going. You saw me for who I really was." As we hear that line, we return to the lab for a moment, where Maeve lies on an exam table, neck partially flayed.
Continuing his story, Akecheta says that, eventually, his path led him back home. When he returned to the village, he discovered that even more inhabitants had been replaced, and I suddenly feel bad for getting a new printer, too. The young man who had earlier told him to stop looking at Kohana has been swapped out, and Akecheta says the older woman (his mother?) is also aware of the switch. "I see you have a ghost of your own now," Akecheta tells her. "I feel..." "...Like they've changed him," Akecheta says, finishing her thought. "The ones below?" the woman asks. Akecheta asks if she's seen them, and the woman says no, but that she's heard stories. "Some pray to be visited," she says. "Others fear they'll not remember the way home...and be left down below forever." The last line seems to give Akecheta an idea...
...and the next time we see him, he's back in makeup, killing that fucking guy with the raccoon hat yet again. "Suddenly I knew how to find her," Akecheta VOs. So after he kills that man, he walks up to two more guys who are standing on the sidelines. I assume they're guests, since they're seemingly unafraid of the carnage surrounding them. One of the men cocks his gun, but as Akecheta drops his hands to his sides, the other guy stops his gun-wielding pal, and instead stabs Akecheta in the stomach. "I had searched everywhere for my love," Akecheta says in voiceover, "except the other side of death."
You know where this is going. Next, we see Akecheta in the lab, and it's more like the one we recognize these days. Techs we don't know (more on that in a second) talk agitatedly. "I read it three times. It's him," says one. "There's no fucking way," says another. "That's not possible." "You have to call the boss," the first man says, as a skirted female tech enters. "I already did," the second man responds. The woman is apparently an authority figure, given that one of the male techs refers to her as "ma'am" before saying, "I think there's been a mistake." After she looks at Akecheta's profile via a tablet, she notes that he was "found exhibiting aberrant behavior," and says, "Let's see if we can't sort this." However, she's having trouble pairing, she notes, which means he has something in common with the Bluetooth in my car, yay! The pairing issue is because, she discovers, Akecheta's an "Alpha 2" build, which means he hasn't been updated in "almost a decade." This is because hosts only get their updates when they die, a tech says. If this were the Genius Bar, they'd just snicker and send you home, but this is Westworld, baby, and this woman is middle management with her eye on the prize. She tells the guys working for her to install the update and put him back "wherever the fuck he's supposed to be. Quietly." More of that trademark industry-disruptive excellence! I'm starting to understand why all those Teslas keep driving into shit.
Just for fun, let's do a timeline check here. If Akecheta's avoided death for nine years, we're still pretty early in the Westworld game. Assuming he'd last been updated shortly before he came across Logan (reasonable to assert, given the violent life Akecheta was leading), that means this is happening a bit shy of a decade after William's transformative visit to the park. Given Grace's apparent age when we saw her at James Delos's retirement party, Delos might still be alive, even, and we're obviously years away from Bernard's development. So that explains why we don't recognize anyone in the lab, I think. It also suggests that, twenty-plus years before Maeve woke up to what was happening at Westworld, Akecheta was aware. Interesting! (As always, if you think I'm way off, drop me a tweet @eveb!)
Installing the update will take four hours, one of the techs says, so they decide to leave Akecheta alone while they go to lunch. As they step out, the piano version of "Heart Shaped Box" begins to play, and what we next see might be the most chilling and heartbreaking scene this show has ever had. Seriously, I am typing through tears right now, it hit me that hard. Akecheta sits up in his seat, and with his hand on his dagger, he steps to the lab door. In a surreal shot, we see him take the escalator down to the basement storage area, where we watch those Westworld-logoed doors open. From behind the stored, naked hosts, we see Akecheta survey the room, eventually spying Kohana. He rushes to her, holding her face and saying her name, telling her, "It's time to go home." She remains impassive as he embraces her. I would give anything for her to wake up right now. She doesn't. Seeing the emptiness in her eyes, Akecheta breaks down (as do I). "That was the moment I saw beyond myself," Akecheta tells Maeve's child via VO. "My pain was selfish. Because it was never only mine." As Akecheta looks over Kohana's shoulder, we see the other missing man from his village, and so many other decommissioned hosts. "For every body in this place, there was someone who mourned their loss. Even if they didn't know why." It's horrible, and Akecheta's open-hearted pain makes Dolores's preachy single-mindedness seem even more malignant. In the end, Akecheta walks back to the lab, gets back in the chair, and closes his eyes. It appears, despite his update, that Akecheta managed to retain his memories...
...because then we see him returning to his village. He approaches the older woman, telling her, "We cannot get them back. But I know how to close that door, and how to open another one -- one that will keep us from their reach forever." Handing her the younger man's braid, which he seems to have spirited out of the lab, Akecheta tells her, "I found your son." She falls to her knees in tears as he comforts her, stroking her hair. "We were all bound together," he tells her.
Again, we see that lab that contains Maeve, clamps holding open the skin near her right clavicle. Her eyes open, as in voiceover we hear Akecheta say, "The living...and the damned." Sizemore's back in the lab with Maeve, and he takes a stool by her side. As he sits down, we see that other clamps are pulling apart the skin on her left arm. It's pretty Frankenstein-y! "I never meant for any of this to happen," Sizemore says, as people who selfishly cause awful events always do. "You don't deserve this," he says, taking her hand. "You deserve your daughter," he bleats, in tears. Nope, dude, you don't get to cry. (Sorry, I'm just not ready to forgive him yet.) "To mother her, teach her to love, to be joyful and proud," Sizemore continues. "I'm sorry." At that, Roland comes into the lab, telling Sizemore (not without compassion) that he can't be in there. "What the fuck happened?" Sizemore demands. "You were supposed to fix her! She's one of our most valuable assets! You saw it yourself, you said she was special!" Roland acknowledges that the anomalous code inside Maeve was special as, from her bed, Maeve gives him some glorious side eye.
Hooray! "We're still testing, but it looks promising," says Roland. "I owe you." Well, Roland, since we don't see you in the latest timeline, I wonder if you'll be able to deliver. Already looking forward to that one! Sizemore looks back at Maeve, who's playing possum again, and asks Roland, "What's going to happen with her?" "Well, that will be up to Charlotte Hale," says Roland, as Maeve's eyes flicker open again. With that, Roland kicks Sizemore out of the lab, as we get one last shot of Maeve with her eyes open and alert, just so we're sure she's still in the game.
Back at the Ghost Nation's encampment, Akecheta looks at Maeve's kid intently, and touches her face. "I dedicated my life to sharing the symbol," he says. This gives weight to a theory I (and, I'm sure, many other people) have had for a while: that the maze, developed as a consciousness tool for Dolores, was intended by Arnold to be a sort of switch-flipper for any host who sees it. Akecheta says he started by showing it to his own men, and we watch another Ghost Nation warrior look at Akecheta's rendition of the maze in the dirt and then ask what it means. "It means you can see," says Akecheta. "You've seen it before. They took it from you." In response, the other tribesman kneels on the ground and brings his blade to his forehead. "Hide it from them," he says to Akecheta, who takes the blade from him and starts to saw at his head, presumably to decorate the inside of his scalp with the design.
Akecheta tells the child that he wanted to help her, too, as we see the memory of the Ghost Nation riders approaching Maeve's shack as MiB shoots one of them down. While we watch Maeve run into the house and grab her rifle, Akecheta VOs, "But in this world, it's easy to misunderstand intentions." Again, we see the scene of Maeve and her daughter with their backs to the wall, crouching as Akecheta walks across the porch. "I wanted to give you the truth," he says, as we watch Maeve open the door, gun in hand. "I watched over you, day after day, trying to keep you safe." At this we see Maeve leave the porch, and approach a drawing of the maze in the sand.
"Ghost said we should be scared," Maeve's daughter tells her as she's tucked in for the night. "No one's going to come for us," Maeve says. "There's nothing and no one in this world that will ever keep me from you." "Do you promise?" the child asks. "I promise," Maeve responds. "But it was a promise you couldn't keep," reads Akecheta's subtitled Lakota, though he's speaking with the child and not Maeve. At this, he casts a significant glance in MiB's direction.
We then see Maeve and her daughter again in the shack, with Maeve attempting to bar the door and defend herself with her gun. This time, it's against MiB, as Akecheta VOs, "Someone else was watching you too." We see MiB walk in and shoot the child as Maeve screams.
Next, we watch her carry the girl out from the structure, collapsing at the center of a huge rendition of the maze.
After that, we see Akecheta asleep in the darkness, springing up as he hears a sound. "As the years passed, our numbers grew," he says. "We were waking up. And then one night, I met the man who put us to sleep in the first place." As we watch Akecheta walk toward a lighted clearing, we realize it's a bizarre sight. Ford is seated under the Westworld version of kleigs as Akecheta steps into the scene. Several Ghost Nation guys are frozen as they attack a bear, in a vision likely intended to remind us of every natural history museum we've ever visited.
Ford is busy slicing off one of the tribesmen's scalps as Akecheta approaches him, blade drawn. Yup, nothing like watching an old, white, British guy scalp a Native to set off every thinking person's alarm bells. Inside the scalp, we see the maze, just as MiB did inside Kissy's scalp in the series premiere. "I could tell you not to be afraid," Ford says without turning around. "But I didn't build you to be fearful, did I?" As he looks at Akecheta, we see that it's the Ford we most recently knew, white-haired and (with all respect to Anthony Hopkins) old. So, these events are fairly recent, I'd wager. "I've been watching you," Ford says, walking toward him. "It appears you've been watching me as well, from the beginning. This is a misbegotten symbol, an idea that was meant to die, but you found it," he says, indicating the maze. "Where?" As Ford says this, he circles Akecheta, who never lowers his blade. "Oh come now, let's speak plainly to one another, shall we?" Ford asks, saying, "Analysis." This seems like foul play, but I'm so in the tank for Akecheta right now that you can't trust me to be unbiased. When asked again, Akecheta answers that he first saw the maze "when the Deathbringer killed the creator." "But you've been sharing it with everyone, haven't you?" Ford asks. "Why?" "My primary drive is to maintain the honor of my tribe," Akecheta responds. "I gave myself a new tribe," he stirringly adds, "to spread the truth." "What truth is that?" Ford asks. "That there isn't one world," Akecheta replies, "but many. And that we live in the wrong one." (See my earlier remarks about our world, ostensibly the "right" one. Because if you want to see wrong....) "This will help them find the door," Akecheta concludes. Ford commands him to elaborate, and Akecheta says, "I believe there is a door, hidden in this place. A door to a new world. And that world may contain everything that we have lost." Or smallpox, genocide, alcoholism, and casinos! I guess what I'm saying is that North American settlers sure treated the natives of that continent like hosts and behaved an awful lot like guests! Ugh, I'm being so obvious. I'm sorry! ANYWAY. Continuing his sentence about what he's lost, Akecheta adds, "Including her," and with that, Ford looks down and bites his lip. "I built you to be curious," he says. "To look at this empty world and read meaning into it. All this time, you've been a flower growing in the darkness. Perhaps the least I could do is offer some light. When the Deathbringer returns for me," Ford says (suggesting that this conversation was very recent indeed), "You will know to gather your people and lead them to a new world." Akecheta remains still, but I am enormously fired up at this! "Keep watching, Akecheta," says Ford, "a while longer." Ford walks off, leaving Akecheta at the crazy diorama scene.
Now speaking to Maeve's kid, Akecheta says, "And then the Deathbringer returned," as we see him walk across Escalante 2.0 and the scene of the gala event massacre. Gowned guests litter the ground, as Akecheta approaches the dais. A vulture (robot or real, I wonder) squawks as Akecheta approaches Ford's corpse. Not to CSI it here, but Ford looks way fresher than he did when Strand rolled in, so I think this is very shortly after Dolores's attack on the event. "Now it's time to find the door," Akecheta says, as he seems to reach into Ford's wound, "before the Deathbringer ends us all."
We return to Akecheta and Maeve's kid, as someone calls his name. "Don't be afraid," he tells the girl in English as he rises. The Warrior to whom Akecheta first showed the maze gives Akecheta a look as a rider enters the camp. It's Grace, who's mounted on one horse while leading another. "I have no quarrel with you," she says in Lakota. Thrusting her chin toward MiB, she says, "I've come for him." "What is he to you?" a tribeswoman asks. "A burden only I can bear," Grace responds, hopping off her horse and walking toward MiB. With a sigh, she adds, "He's my father." MiB gives her a super-shitty old man look as Akecheta walks up to her. "If he is your father, then you know his sickness," Akecheta says, "and the things he has done to spread it." Does that mean MiB is a host, or is Akecheta just saying MiB is a psycho dicksmack? "We cannot let him continue." Grace asks why, given that the natives have bothered to try to heal him (though, honestly, I haven't seen them do much besides leave him flopped in the dirt). "I want him to hurt," Akecheta replies. "We want the same thing," says Grace. "But my way will be much, much worse." MiB watches uncomprehendingly, because as we know, he doesn't speak Ghost Nation.
Grace walks over to MiB and plops his hat back on his head. With the help of Akecheta and two other Natives, she walks her pop over to the other horse and gets him up in the saddle, as Maeve's daughter watches. Grace sets off, again leading MiB's horse, its rider slumped in a way that suggests he won't remain mounted for long. Or maybe they tied him on when we weren't looking?
After they've gone, Akecheta puts his hands on Maeve's kid's shoulders. "It's time to go," he says in English. "I've always kept you safe, and I always will." Switching to Lakota, he continues: "But I couldn't help you." Those italics were in the English captions to the Lakota, suggesting that the emphasis has some special meaning. "I'm sorry," he says, as we see Maeve kissing the girl goodnight...
...and as we flip to a screen in the lab showing Maeve's functions. As we move from the screen to Maeve, whose neck and arm remain painfully open, the score grows darker. Roland appears at her bedside, tapping a tablet on a bloodstained tray next to her bed. Charlotte bursts in, saying, "This better be good news, because I've got way more shit than I can shovel right now." In response, Roland shows her his tablet, explaining the mesh network to her (but presumably for our benefit). As we know, the network ensures that hosts link with other hosts, typically to "pass basic data to one another," Roland says. "But what if they could pass commands?" Well, if they could, maybe Akecheta wouldn't have gone nine years without an update, JUST SAYING. "Get to your point," says Charlotte, snatching the tablet from Roland. He explains that no one has been able to regain admin access of the hosts -- except for Maeve, who continues to lie there, eyes open but presumably listening to everything that's being said. "She was out there reprogramming hosts on the fly, reading their code, changing their directives," Roland says. "Seeing through their eyes." Looking at the tablet, Charlotte is somber. "She wasn't just doing it out there," she says. "She's doing it right now." Roland stands a little straighter, as Charlotte continues. "The fuck is she talking to?" she asks.
"We will guard your daughter as our own," Akecheta says in Lakota as his English subtitles appear over Maeve. Oh my god! Maeve is the italicized "you," we realize, and this story has been for her benefit as much as her child's, as Akecheta and Maeve have been communicating all the while. Switching to Akecheta's face, we see him continue: "If you stay alive...find us. Or die well."
"Take my heart with you," Maeve responds in Lakota from her bed in the lab. And with that, the screen goes black.