I.D. Check – Westworld S01E05 East vs. Westworld


Finally!  This week we got a chance to visit Shogun World which had been teased as far back as the end of Season One.  While we did get a glimpse of Delos’ version of Colonial India, it was only a brief one, whereas we do get a deeper look at their portrayal of Japan’s Edo Period.  It’s fascinating to see the characters of Maeve, Hector and Armistice reflected in Akane, Musashi and Hanaryo, but through an Eastern viewpoint.

But instead of the discussing how similar the characters are (it’s a wonderful touch that Hanaryo has a tattoo of a dragon, vs Armistice’s snake, for instance), I like to see the differences between the two parks that illustrate fundamental differences in Eastern vs. Western philosophy.  Musashi and Hector are supposed to be analogs for one another, yet how they became the outlaws of their respective worlds tell a very different story.  Musashi is a ronin, a samurai with no master.  He has been rejected by the power structure and society at large, which has led him to a life without honor.  Hector was driven to become Westworld’s Most Wanted because he lost his lover, Isabella.

Maeve and Akane also are very similar but with significant differences.  Though Sakura is supposed to play the role of Clementine, for Maeve, she instead is the lost daughter from the homestead.  Akane loves and cares for Sakura, but it is through their relationship at the Geisha House, not a familial one.  After the death of the Shogun at her hand, Akane is told by Maeve that now she is a true mother, perhaps foreshadowing Maeve’s redemption as a mother through the death of William, the man who killed her daughter before her eyes.

In both cases, though, the Shogun World hosts bonds are through the view that your place in society, whether as head of the Shogun’s army, or through the relationship of Akane and one of the women in her employ, can be some of the deepest bonds that drive your destiny.  In Westworld, the motivations are more of an individual nature, the loss of a lover or partner that drives Hector, or the love between mother and daughter.

I’m interested to see how you saw this episode from the other side of the world.

Irene Sarwindaningrum is a frequent contributor to Electric Streams Media

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