STAR WARS: THE ACOLYTE EPISODE 7 REVIEW: "THE LONG-AWAITED ANSWERS ARE DISAPPOINTING"

Warning: The following contains spoilers for The Acolyte episode 7. Turn back now if you're not up to date!

The Acolyte has finally lifted the veil on its closely-held secrets – and the long-awaited answers are… disappointing? 

The episode takes us back to Brendok, where we watch the events of that fateful night the witches died unfold again, though, this time, from the Jedi's point of view. It's an excellent opportunity to murky the waters, blur the boundaries between dark and light, and generally make us question what we know about the Jedi Order.

But the episode doesn't really accomplish any of those things. The Jedi are on Brendok searching for a vergence, and they genuinely believe the planet to be uninhabited. They truly do stumble across the twins by chance, and Sol gets a feeling in the Force that Osha should be his Padawan. She wants to go, Mother Koril takes drastic action to stop that from happening, Mae really did set the fire, and that's that. 

We discover that Indara has no intention of ever taking the twins back to Coruscant, too, and the tragedy essentially comes down to Padawan Torbin being homesick and impatient. Bad things for a Jedi to be, of course, but when he races away with Sol in tow to find proof of the vergence and return to Coruscant, it's 0-100 in the worst way. It just all feels rushed. 

Impulsive action 

When Torbin and Sol arrive, Mae has already set the fire that will spiral out of control across the entire coven. She doesn't mean for it to spread so much, though, so she seeks the help of Mother Aniseya, who is facing Sol and Torbin. 

Mother Aniseya, for some reason, transforms into a dark mist – and Sol, for some reason, ignites his lightsaber and stabs her through the chest. As she dies, Aniseya says she would have let Osha go with them. For such a huge event, it's over very quickly, and I just can't wrap my head around why any of this actually happened. Is Sol spooked by what appears to be a dark power, so acts reflexively? That must be the case, but it's undercooked, especially when the show has positioned Brendok as the pivotal night the entire series is built upon. 

Koril then possesses Kelnacca, and another well-choreographed fight scene plays out as the Jedi try to subdue him. This is how Torbin gets his scars, and Lee Jung-jae and Carrie-Anne Moss both get to show off some impressive acrobatics, so it's interesting enough to watch. The problem, though, is that the entire coven is working in tandem to possess Kelnacca, and when Indara moves to free him from the mind control, every single woman seemingly drops dead. Why? I have absolutely no idea. Did Indara do something to them, or was it merely a side effect of their powers being countered? It's left frustratingly unexplained. 

The one genuinely interesting moral decision comes when Sol can't save both Mae and Osha from the collapsing walkway. He makes an abrupt choice to save just Osha, leaving Mae for dead. This feels like the kind of ruthless, unemotional choice a Jedi would make: Osha is the one who wants to go, Osha is the one who seems least touched by the darkness, therefore Osha should be the one to live. It's skated over very quickly, though, and it's quite exasperating to watch Mae and Osha just stand there yelling each other's names and doing nothing else while Sol is supporting the walkway. 

The choice to lie to Osha about what happened on Brendok comes down to Indara saying they shouldn't take her dream away from her after so much tragedy. It's a bizarrely saccharine – and plot-convenient – sentiment from a Jedi who all episode has been cautioning against attachment and going against the Council. It's a strange ending to a strange flashback, and to learn the Brendok mystery essentially boils down to a couple of impulsive decisions made on the spur of the moment is very disappointing when the opportunity to delve into the Jedi's way of thinking against a dark coven of witches with their own ideas on the Force was so vast. 

The wrong perspective 

By the time the episode ends, we've learned what really happened on Brendok, but we have no idea what present-day Mae and Osha make of the revelations – or even if they've actually learned what happened. Sol seemed to be poised to tell Mae the truth at the end of episode 6, but it's unlikely that Osha is hearing the same story, considering she's with Qimir. 

Quite frankly, it's an entire episode that probably could've been slimmed down to a much shorter flashback interspersed with the – far more interesting – situations Mae and Osha find themselves in now. That would've avoided showing us the same events again from an ever-so-slightly different angle, and it would also mean Sol could've been explaining his own actions, fleshing out the weird, more rushed moments. When the present is so fascinating, spending an entire episode stuck in the past is a misjudgment. 

It's also intriguing to learn that the twins are one life form split into two, which ties into The Acolyte's overall themes of duality. Could they be a dyad? We'll have to wait to find out. Again, this is something the episode could have dwelled on more if we hadn't spent the entire runtime on Brendok. 

There are still questions remaining as we head into the finale, then, and I'm struggling to see how The Acolyte can wrap up Osha and Mae's story in just one more episode when they're still separated. We might be looking at future seasons, but I'm still hoping for season 1 to tell a complete story in its own right (as the showrunner promised). At the moment, it looks unlikely, and that would be a shame for a series that has held such potential. 

The Acolyte continues weekly on Disney Plus. For more on the Star Wars show, check out our deep dives on: 

2024-07-10T09:26:29Z dg43tfdfdgfd