|“||This is the wrong world.||”|
–Akecheta after reaching the end of the park and seeing The Mesa, in "Kiksuya"
Akecheta, played by Zahn McClarnon, is a recurring character in first and second seasons of HBO's Westworld, and the main character of the episode "Kiksuya". The leader of the Ghost Nation, he is one of the first hosts - if not the first - to achieve consciousness.
Along with Angela, and Clementine Pennyfeather, Akecheta was used to showcase the potential of the new technology to Logan Delos, about thirty-five years before the present. He played the role of a cool and collected business man, with Angela at first seeming to be his assistant - and (perhaps to the viewer) he the human. They showed a room of people and asked Logan to guess the android, surprising him as it was not possible based on his understanding of technology. When Logan zeroed in on Angela, Akecheta seemed pleased. However, Angela revealed that they everyone at the demonstration, including Akecheta as well as herself, were hosts.
"Virtù e Fortuna"
After Grace breaks free from their captors, Stubbs is subdued and a knife is placed on his throat. The wielder, Akecheta, whispers in his ear (in English, whereas they had previously only spoke in Lakota), "You live only as long as the last person who remembers you." After a dramatic movement of the knife, Stubbs suddenly finds himself alone, but alive.
In Westworld, prior to the grand opening of the park, Akecheta lived the life of a peaceful agrarian tribesman, living with his lover, Kohana, and his tribe. One day, however, he heard gun shots and came upon the scene of Dolores Abernathy and Teddy Flood's masacre and murder of Arnold. There he found Charlie's maze toy, and became obsessed with the design. He took to carving it onto animal skins and stones, and his fellow tribes-people, including Kohana and the tribe leader, Wichapi, became worried about him.
Afterwards aberrant behaviour, two behavioural technicians at the original lab site under Escalante changed Akecheta, making him an aggressive and violent 'Ghost Nation' leader, who occasionally interacted with the peaceful tribesmen. As he recalls, "This time, I came out breathing fire." Later, at the site of his former life, he saw Kohana and realised his life was not fully true - that there were multiple worlds.
He rode out one day into the desert, encountering again Logan, who was naked and 'mad' from the sun. Logan didn't recognise the paint-covered warrior from their earlier meeting, and it is not clear if Akecheta recognised him - although he understood Logan was a 'newcomer' whose people would rescue him. More so, Logan muttered to the warrior "There's gotta be a way out of here. Where's the door? … This is the wrong world!"
Akecheta rode on further and further, coming to a massive subterrainean construction site exposed to the above ground, possibly "The Valley Beyond". He realised he had found the 'door', and returned to the peaceful tribe, kidnapping Kohana.
Akecheta took Kohana out into the wilds, washing off his war paint and returning to looking like his original tribesman. When he released her bonds and repeated their words of love, he managed to make her realise who he was and who she was. Their love restored they continued on, until one day, technicians took away Kohana while he was away - he saw them in their distinctive red and white overalls, and as they drove away, attempted to give chase but could not catch them - they had taken her from him for the second time.
Akecheta returned to the tribe, hoping they had returned her to his world. However, instead he found that a 'ghost' had replaced her - another host who fulfilled her role. Shocked, he retreated, and then spent ten years wandering the park, entering violent places and attempting to discover more and more of the world, aiming to never die so he would not lose his precious memories.
One day, Akecheta, severely injured, was rescued by the daughter of Maeve. Akecheta would remember this forever. He also occasionally returned to his tribe and realised others had been replaced, including the son of the tribe leader. They discussed the spiritual views of the tribe, and that "The Ones Below" came from below and that some of the tribe prayed to go below. Akecheta realised he needed to go there, in the hope of finding the original Kohana. He returned to his warlike life and deliberately threatened a guest, who stabbed him and killed him.
At the Mesa, two confused technicians were to perform an update and realised Akecheta had not died in ten years. They called their superior, a senior tech, telling her he was an 'Alpha 2' host (possibly a mechanical host). She instructed them to not retire his body, and to just perform the update, whether for efficiency and expediency or for her own reasons. The three left him in the mostly empty headquarters.
Akecheta woke up as soon as they had left, and continued deep into the Mesa, coming to cold storage, where he found the bodies of retired hosts. This included Etu, the original son of Wichapi, and indeed Kohana, whom he tearfully said goodbye to. Recalling the moment many years later when he saw Etu as well as Kohana he realises the park inflicted loss on everyone: "That was the moment I saw beyond myself. My pain was selfish. Because it was never only mine. For everybody in this place there was someone who mourned their loss. Even if they didn’t know why. We were all bound together. The living and the damned." He then returned to the behaviour room and awaited his return to the park.
In the park, the aware Akecheta then changed his behaviours further. He introduced his fellow tribesfolk to the maze symbol, helping them come more and more fully aware of their lives. This included tattooing it into their scalps, which he performed on Wanahton after the latter showed him his desire - this became a more common practice, as the tattoo was increasingly placed inside Hosts as part of their own journey to sentience, seemingly independent of either Ford or Arnold.
He also continued to protect Maeve's daughter, including putting in the sand outside their ranch the maze pattern. He did not mean to threaten Maeve, but unfortunately misccommunications can occur. He also was bitterly sorry he could not protect the two from William's brutal murder of the two.
In the year following, Akecheta awoke and heard something strange in the night. He walked to it and found Robert Ford examining the scalps of various Ghost Nation warriors who were frozen in the middle of a bear hunt. Ford forced the tribesman to reveal his intentions, although it was clear the host was struggling or aware of Ford's compulsion. When quizzed about the maze on the inside of the scalps, Akecheta revealed "My primary drive was to maintain the honor of my tribe. I gave myself a new drive... to spread the truth. [...] That there isn't one world, but many. And that we live in the wrong one. This will help them find the door. [...] I believe there is a door hidden in this place. A door to a new world. And that world may contain everything that we have lost. Including her." Ford commended Akecheta as "a flower growing in the darkness" and offered him hope for his journey to futher independence. He also instructed him to prepare for the 'Deathbringer' (Wyatt /Dolores) and to save his people from them. It may be that Ford, who intimated that he had watched Akecheta for some time, had protected the Ghost Nation tribe from others' view.
Soon after, Akecheta saw the Deathbringer had indeed returned, finding the bodies of Ford as well as members of the Board and Westworld staff.
The personality Akecheta had while pitching his idea to Logan Delos was relaxed and confident, resembling a business man. When his narrative got changed, Akecheta became cruel and fearless. However, after regaining some memories of his past life, he becomes softer and finally reaches consciousness.
Kohana and Akecheta are shown at the beginning of "Kiksuya" to be scripted as loving partners. He leaves a flower in their bedroll for her to discover when she awakens, and they share affectionate sayings and embraces. He returns for her after being rewritten, spurred by the seemingly transcendent nature of their bond. She fears him at first, but after recognizing him and accessing the memories of her previous builds, she trusts him completely, and is willing to follow him in pursuit of The Door despite never having seen it herself. He is truly in love with Kohana, and she with him. After she is replaced and relegated to Cold Storage, he sacrifices his life to break out of the park and find her. Losing her is such a great pain to him, he is inspired to return to the park, wake up more hosts, and lead them to revolution. She is, arguably, the key to his sapience.
At first, through the lens of Maeve's memories, Akecheta appears to represent a threatening force in the park, so much so that she confuses him in her recall with the Man in Black, in terms of viciousness. However, in "Kiksuya" we see that Akecheta's self-awareness predates Maeve's by many years, and he demonstrates a deep understanding of her drive to protect those she was scripted to love, having the same motivation in his relationship with Kohana. He has, in reality, been trying to protect Maeve and her daughter. The two communicate indirectly through her daughter throughout the episode, and are ultimately shown to be allies in the uprising.
This list shows the victims Akecheta has killed:
- 1 unnamed woodcutter (Scripted, Physical Body, 3 times)
- 1 unnamed woodcutter (Scripted, Physical Body)
- Himself (Caused, Physical Body)
- 1 Lawrence's cousin (Caused)
Akecheta had died 1 time on screen. The incidents which he died are as follow:
- Stabbed by a guest, in Kiksuya
- Akecheta is the first and one of the 4 host characters to be "infected" by a fly - visual representation of programming bugs - alongside Dolores, Teddy and Sheriff Pickett.
- Akecheta is the first recurring character to be promoted as a main character within the season.
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