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The Three Most Pressing Questions From ‘Westworld’ Episode 8

The most recent episode of ‘Westworld’ was like none that came before—but that doesn’t mean it didn’t raise more questions

HBO/Ringer illustration

Westworld Episode 8 is gone, and it took our hearts with it. “Kiksuya” was unlike any other episode that came before. Linear, bottled, and emotional throughout. “Kiksuya,” which means “remember” in Lakota, threaded many of the missing links in the Westworld corkboard, but now we have even more questions. Now we need answers, and we’ll search everywhere for them (except the afterlife).

What is behind “the door”?

In the season premiere, William was given a quest to “find the door.” Seven episodes later, we finally found out what that means … sort of. The “they said it, they said it!” moment came from Logan, who we last saw in this timeline in the Season 1 finale being sent off into the desert riding a horse butt naked. Akecheta finds him posted up by a tree, still naked and in dire need of water (and probably some aloe vera for his nether regions).

“This is an illusion,” a rattled Logan tells Akecheta. “There’s gotta be a way out of here. Where’s the door? Where’s the door? Fucking way out of here. This is the wrong world. This is the wrong world.”

Those words stuck in Akecheta’s mind, and he eventually found what he considered to be “the door.”

All screenshots via HBO

“The door” Akecheta finds is the same construction project we see young William show Dolores in the final shot of the second episode of this season.

When Akecheta returns (months? years?) later to find the door, it has vanished and been replaced by … wait for it … a valley!

And it’s not just any valley! The rock formation in the distance resembles the rock formation submerged in the mystery sea, all but assuring us that the door either leads to the Valley Beyond or that they are one and the same (and are currently flooded).

Akecheta calls it “a door to a new world, and that world may contain everything that we have lost. Including [Kohana].” After Dolores implied in last week’s episode that the Valley Beyond is where human minds are stored on control units and await an upload into host bodies, it seems that the valley bridges the worlds of life and death.

In last week’s episode, Ford tells Bernard, “The passage from one world to the next requires bold steps.”

With this in mind, we can reinterpret Maeve’s signature backstory monologue from Season 1, which was repeated by Akane earlier this season, in which she explains how she came to Sweetwater to escape the voice inside her head telling her what she couldn’t do.

“So I ran away,” Maeve says. “Crossed the shining sea. And when I finally set foot back on solid ground, the first thing I heard was that goddamn voice. Do you know what it said? It said, ‘This is the new world. And in this world, you can be whoever the fuck you want.’”

That “crossed the shining sea” reference doesn’t seem like an accident now that the Valley Beyond is flooded. The next episode is titled “Vanishing Point,” a.k.a. the point where two lines that stretch into the distance appear to converge. That sounds like a hint that the worlds we know in Westworld — host and human, physical and digital, waking and dreaming, life and death — will all converge in the Valley Beyond, and Akecheta, Maeve, and Bernard will bridge those worlds.

What’s Emily going to do with William?

Emily comes to collect William, who is on the brink of death in the Ghost Nation camp. Akecheta says he is keeping him alive to make him suffer. Emily says that’s her goal, too, but that her way “will be much, much worse.”

It seems notable that in the same episode “the door” is revealed, William is at his weakest. William has repeatedly expressed regret and disdain for his plan to monetize immortality, now represented by the door. He told James Delos in Episode 4 of this season, “I’m beginning to think that this whole enterprise was a mistake.” In Episode 2 he was even blunter, telling Lawrence, “I’m gonna burn this whole fucking thing to the ground.”

Theories have swirled for weeks that [tinfoil hat alert] William died at some point in the last year and his mind has already been transferred into a host body. (We elaborate on that theory here, here, and here.) For a man who’s been shot as many times as William has, emotional pain may be far more real to him than physical pain (of which there are plenty of options). Perhaps the most painful thing Emily could tell him is that he’s already been sentenced to a waking nightmare: life after death. As Akecheta told William, “Death is a passage from this brutal world. You don’t deserve the exit.”

How did Akecheta figure out how to use an elevator?

After searching all of Westworld to find his long-lost wife, Kohana, Akecheta looks in the one place he hasn’t searched: the afterlife (this is peak relationship goals). Akecheta wakes up in an observation room and, in the most relatable exchange of the entire series, the technicians realize he has been clicking “remind me tomorrow” on his software updates for nine years. That moment is followed by perhaps the most dumbfounding moment of the entire series: Akecheta finding Kohana. Last month, I took the wrong turn in a drive-through, so I don’t understand how Akecheta found a needle inside of a stack of needles the size of a literal mountain.

Please take a moment and imagine Akecheta wandering around your office. Now imagine that your office looked like this:

Before you say it, no, it is not normal for hosts to wander around the hallways. This scene directly mirrored the scene in which Maeve tours the Mesa with Felix in Season 1 (they even played the same music) and Felix is constantly begging Maeve to turn back before they get caught. He’s worried even though Maeve is wandering around with a technician and without war paint covering her upper body.

Westworld makes fans take some perilous leaps of logic. This is a show where 50 percent of host debriefings go wrong, and we’re supposed to believe nobody notices any of those even though the walls are made of glass (including the time Maeve slit Sylvester’s throat and he was fine). This is a show where security guards stroll up to a Confederate robot fort like it’s a birthday party. Unless Ghost Nation members are invisible ghosts, this is the most ridiculous thing the show has done so far. Actually, it’s ridiculous no matter what.

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.