Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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"Akane No Mai" finally delivers a picture perfect Shogun World, complete with familiarly intriguing new characters, meticulously intricate world design and a buffet of violent delights.
Rinko Kikuchi's performance was thrilling, embodying Akane's tightly controlled pain and rage in a gorgeous sequence of moves.
The episode deftly exemplified how our similarities (and differences) can build empathy and lay the groundwork for connections and introspection.
On Westworld, the pleasure of wandering its enormous spaces in search of quests is a backdrop for deeper, less goal-oriented explorations that swap philosophy in under the guise of gamification. This makes it a great TV show and a frustrating game.
One of the best things about Season 2 is how it's made the universe surrounding the Westworld park feel more and more real, and this episode was the epitome of that accomplishment.
Bringing in A-list Japanese actors like Kikuchi and Hiroyuki Sanada helped sell me on the pathos of the Shogun World hosts, but the plot itself was too intentionally rote for me to really buy into.
For all the queasy bloodshed and queasier cross-cultural politics of this episode, part of me wishes we'd been in Shogun World all along.
One obvious dead giveaway is when the script seems to be echoing verbatim exactly what members of the writer's room think of all this, well, it feels on the nose in much the way a straight left does.
Shogunworld was designed for people who thought that Westworld was a wee bit too tame. So lets just say things get crazy for Maeve, Hector, Armistice, and their newfound doppleganger friends.
By virtue of math, that leaves three whole parks currently unidentified, and potentially in the midst of their own robot uprisings.
Seeing a brand-new park certainly infused the series with a burst of fresh visuals with the lush production design of Shogun World providing a rich landscape for the eyes.
As interesting as the new world was, it was the developments in Maeve and Dolores in neighbouring parks which left us stunned.
And as I mentioned, when Maeve sets her mind to it... she can kinda do anything. Now I can't wait to see what two Maeve's are capable of.