Sunday, May 27, 2018

What I’m Watching: Westworld

Westworld: Season 2, Episode 5 “Akane No Mai” (B)

After an episode rooted in science and plot development germane to how we got to where we are now, this was an extremely dense and less than invigorating hour. Seeing much of the Shogun World play out just like we’ve seen Westworld in the past isn’t as enticing, and there’s something - perhaps it’s the language barrier - about it that just makes it pale considerably to the mystery and the grandeur of Westworld. We’re learning more about the hosts and less about what makes them who they are, with both Dolores and Maeve continuing to take on powerful roles in understanding what they can control now that they have their memories and that they know what’s really happening. Others are being clued in to Maeve’s abilities, with Musashi ordering her gagged so that she couldn’t command them, a temporary solution whose complete uselessness was demonstrated by the unexpected mental powers she utilized at the end of the episode to spare her life and orchestrate chaos around her with nothing more than her mind. There were two notable guest stars in this episode, Hiroyuki Sanada from “Lost” and the very underrated 2010 film “The City of Your Final Destination,” as Musashi, and Rinko Kikuchi, Oscar-nominated for the overrated 2006 film “Babel,” as Akane. Dolores grasps that Teddy is far too idealistic for what’s to come, and therefore he’s not going to get to experience it all clear-eyed like she will. The most fascinating moment of this episode, to me, was Clementine watching the new version of her character, played by Lili Simmons, recite the same lines she used to say, and I’d love to get back to the operational goings-on rather than these simulated storylines.

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