It's been 18 months since Westworld Season 1 revealed the existence of other parks within the Delos portfolio. A fight between Maeve's band and Delos security which spilled out of the Westworld labs and into labs of the next park, filled with Samurai hosts and adorned with "SW" on the walls. During the run-up to Season 2, the showrunners confirmed this stood for "Shogun World" and viewers would be visiting this year. This week's episode spent nearly the entire hour there. So what is Shogun World on Westworld? Warning: Spoilers for Westworld Season 2 follow.
At the end of episode 3, Maeve and her band accidentally crossed the border from Westworld into Shogun World, experiencing cold and snow for the first time before being captured by a rogue Ronin, named Musashi. As they are brought to the village, Maeve and her band get a good look at what Shogun World is, as do viewers, and the answer turns out to be a huge surprise.
Lee claims Delos and Ford designed Shogun World as "a place for those who find Westworld too tame." But a better description would be "Westworld, but Japanese."
The hosts are Asian and they dress and speak like they are directly out of the 1600 feudal period. But on arriving into town with his prisoners, Musashi and his band raid Madame Akane's House of Entertainment. It is exactly the same scene as when Hector's band of outlaws ride into town to rob the Mariposa saloon, right down to the dialogue. The soundtrack even plays a koto-tinged "Paint It Black."
Armistice is shocked and horrified as she beholds Musashi's female second in command, tattooed with a dragon instead of a snake. "I'll be damned. It's us!"
Lee insists it's not plagiarism to put slight variations of the same characters one park over. Besides, he had three weeks to come up with 300 narratives.
So Musashi and Hector are "dopplebots," as Lee calls them, ready to murder each other at a glance. Madame Akane and Maeve are dopplebots as well, down to the same red outfits. Akane even has the same maternal feelings as Maeve, but hers are focused on the girl in the role of Clementine Pennyfeather, Sakura.
That's where things go "off loop." The Shogun breaks programming and sends his troops into town (something Lee swears isn't supposed to happen ever) because he believes he adores Sakura, the "most ravishing dancer in the region." He attacks the Geisha's house and kidnaps her. Now it's a mission for Maeve to help someone else find and rescue their daughter.
Upon arriving at the Shogun's fort, Maeve and Lee discovered he is leaking cortical fluid from his ear, not unlike Bernard back home. The injury makes him impervious to Maeve's commands, and are part of the reason he's gone off-loop.
Moreover, having heard about Maeve's abilities to command with her voice, he has "defended" against "the witch" by puncturing the eardrums of everyone under his command. Luckily, Maeve has started to be able to command hosts using only the power of her mind. Perhaps the Shogun is not wrong to call her a witch after all, though Maeve simply considers it "finding her voice."
When Akane agrees to dance for the Shogun herself for the return of Sakura, he agrees... only to stab Sakura a few steps into the performance, handing over to the Madame the girl's lifeless body. Akane got what she came for, but not how she intended. Her revenge is swift.
Maeve uses her wordless command and turns the Shogun's fighters against each other, walking away from the bloodbath that follows. Viewers can only hope her own search for her daughter follows a different narrative than the one she sees here.