The big question we have after watching Westworld season 2, episode 8

An image from Westworld season 2 episode 8

If you’ve seen the latest episode of Westworld season 2 (if not you really shouldn’t be here because major spoilers are on the way), I don’t need to tell you how incredible it is. Episode 8, Kiksuya, finally puts a Native American character at the center of the show as we explore Akecheta’s story, as told by himself to Maeve’s daughter. It really is a beautifully painful tale that equally matches the brilliance of some of Westworld season 1’s episodes and weaves the role of the Native American Hosts - which have been largely ignored up until this point - into the series’ main storyline. Retconning their involvement in the birth of the park, the events of season 1, and the current happenings does raise some questions about possible inconsistencies though.

Akecheta awakens after Arnold makes Dolores kill all the Hosts in the original park, and after a long journey which spans multiple awakenings and attempts to save his lost love, he finally decides to secretly focus on awakening his fellow Native American Hosts. This means that by the time Dolores, AKA Death Bringer, starts the robot revolution at the end of season 1, Akecheta and his people are basically the most well-prepared Hosts in the Park. This raises questions over how they were able to achieve this given that the Westworld techs keep a pretty close eye on any inconsistencies in the Hosts, but the more pressing questions for me is, why didn’t Arnold make Dolores kill all the Native American Hosts in the first place? 

We know that Arnold tried to prevent the opening of the park by programming Dolores with the Wyatt narrative and having her (with the help of Teddy) kill all the Hosts in the park, Arnold, and then herself. He hoped that without him, Ford wouldn’t be able to rebuild and open the park and subject his creations to a fate worse than death. This obviously didn’t happen, but up until this point, we were led to believe that Arnold’s attempt involved killing all the Hosts in the park. We now know that this is not the case as Akecheta comes across the massacre seemingly only a short time after it occurs and finds the maze game which Arnold left in the bar, which eventually triggers his own awakening. 

Why did Arnold choose to leave the Native Hosts alive? Is it because he knew Ford would be able to bring all the Hosts back anyway? He does say this to Dolores just before she kills him and it’s the reason why he knows he needs to die as well, but if this is the case, then why bother having Dolores kill any of the Hosts at all? Another possibility is that he didn’t know about the Native Hosts and that it was a project Ford was working on on his own, but this seems unlikely given the Hosts are basically his invention. After all - we know the Native Americans were a Beta project. It feels like there must be a reason why Arnold chose to leave Akecheta and his people alive, while killing Dolores and the rest, but we just don’t know what it is yet. Shock, horror - it looks like there’s another level to this game…

If you think you know why Arnold left the Native Hosts alive - or is you have other Westworld theories about the latest episode - feel free to post them in the comments section below and let’s talk about them together! 

Lauren O'Callaghan

Lauren O'Callaghan is the former Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar+. You'd typically find Lauren writing features and reviews about the latest and greatest in pop culture and entertainment, and assisting the teams at Total Film and SFX to bring their excellent content onto GamesRadar+. Lauren is now the digital marketing manager at the National Trust.