‘Westworld’ Season 2: Maeve’s “Mesh Network” Mind Control, Explained

Step aside, Professor X. There’s a new powerful “psychic” in science-fiction, and it’s Maeve in the HBO series Westworld. In the latest episode of Season 2, “Akane No Mai,” Maeve properly masters a new ability to mentally “speak” to or even control the other hosts throughout Delos’ lavish theme parks.

But is Maeve the only one capable of using this power? And, how will she use it as Season 2 barrels towards a grand finale? More importantly, did Robert Ford ever anticipate Maeve would wield this power?

Minor spoilers for HBO’s Westworld ahead.

In “Akane No Mai,” the first episode set in the Japanese-themed Shogun World, Maeve (Thandie Newton) finally gains control of a new “mind control” power allowed her (and her company) to get out of dicey situations.

At first, Maeve had to verbally issue commands, but now it’s evolved into Maeve being able to control any host without having to talk. It’s synthetic telepathy, because Maeve taps into the “mesh network” within all hosts, which activates upon proximity. Sort of like wi-fi.

In the first episode of the season, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) told Charlotte (Tessa Thompson) that all hosts have a “subconscious link” to the closest host to them, which probably does wonders for the immersion and interactivity for the park’s narratives. This subconsious link/mesh network is likely how Maeve is able to connect to the other hosts. And it’s definitely how Maeve was able to recognize Akane (Rink Kikuchi) as her Shogun World doppelgänger.

Rinko Kikuchi as "Akane," the Shogun World version of Maeve in HBO's 'Westworld.'HBO

But it’s the power to control the hosts that begs a bigger question. Just how did Maeve come across this power when other hosts, even Dolores/Wyatt (Evan Rachel Wood), have not? Well, at the end of Season 1, Maeve forced Felix and Sylvester to crank her powers up to eleven. But, whatever prompted this new development remains to be seen.

In spite of all these smoke and mirrors, we already know a surprising amount about Maeve’s powers. When she met Ghost Nation earlier this season, her powers failed her. But in Shogun World, she learns why: Maeve needs to literally speak their language. A quick exposition dump by Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) reveals that hosts can speak thousands of languages no matter their region. Maeve speaks Japanese, and now it appears she doesn’t even need to open her mouth to control hosts — all she needs to do is think. That’s why she’s so unbothered when more armed men arrive at the end of the episode.

“I found a new voice,” she tells her shaken companions. “Now we use it.”

Westworld airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO.