The Acolyte: Episode 4 Review

 

Familiar Faces

We get to see a young Ki-Adi-Mundi early on in the episode, which was exciting and confusing at the same time. He’s the one that specifies that the Sith have been extinct for a millennium, so that leaves me with questions as to where this show is going (not that I didn’t already have plenty of those). We also see a Kel Dor being quiet in the corner, but he didn’t get mentioned in the end credits.

Family

Yet again this show takes a perfectly valid argument and dismisses it. This time it was simple in Osha saying she wasn’t wearing the civilian robes, but then we immediately see her in them on the ship. While this one was meant to be a gag, it is happening too often. Sol pushing so hard on the family aspect was also a little odd, given he was taken by the Jedi at, I believe he said, the age of 5. He’s adamant that there is good in Mae, and he’s clearly dealing with a guilty conscience given he left her for dead after she fell (still don’t believe she fell anywhere). He’s one of the few characters that is truly 3 dimensional, so I like the character building.

Subtlety

Mae spends a good portion of the episode questioning why Qimir is there helping her. The hints they throw at him being Zipper Face are not subtle whatsoever, and I’m not sure which I’d rather it be. Either he’s Zipper Face and they made it blatantly obvious in an unsatisfying way, or he’s not and they’re trying that hard to subvert expectations rather than doing it in a way that makes it feel more natural.

Khofar

The forest planet of Khofar is beautiful, and the giant, flying rollie pollies of death are terrifying in the best possible way. It was amusing how everyone was shocked that the moth was attracted to light, though. I’m interested to see if they do anything with those fungal spores that puffed when Mae tripped and fell. I’m assuming that’s why it seemed Kelnacca didn’t fight back.

Mae’s “Change of Heart”

This was the best writing that has been in the show so far. They spend a good chunk of her time on screen having her scared of Zipper Face because if she fails, she dies. Her deciding she was going to abandon her lesson and her master to reunite with her sister, and the plan along with it, gave her some legitimate depth that she didn’t have before. I also appreciated her hiding in the cabin when she was being called to come outside, rather than taking the option of her joining the fight. It makes the villain actually seem like someone who we should be afraid of.

The Death

It doesn’t look like Kelnacca fought back at all. BUT! I also think those fungal spores I mentioned earlier have something to do with it. Joonas Suotamo has said that Kelnacca was a loner, but I don’t think he was the type to not report back for as long as he had, kind of loner. Joonas has stated he was extremely disciplined, on top of him just being a Wookiee, so him just sitting in that chair wouldn’t make sense unless there was something affecting him. We’ve never had a Wookiee Jedi in primary or secondary canon for a reason, they would be extremely overpowered, so how was he taken out so seemingly easily? I’m betting those spores were altering his mind in some capacity. Hopefully we’ll get an answer to that soon.

The Fight

I’ll be honest, as someone who has been in love with Star Wars their entire life, seeing all of those lightsabers was extremely exciting. I was a little less thrilled by Zipper Face just floating down to the ground behind Osha, but there are things that could explain that. Whether that will happen or not when we actually get to see the fight is up for question. I’m still hopeful we get answers to all of the questions this show has left in it’s wake.

This episode felt a little short (the fact that it’s been the shortest episode so far not withstanding). It actually moved the plot along in a productive way, started to legitimately merge the storylines together, and then it ended abruptly. Hopefully that means we start with a battle at the top of next week’s episode, and not that we’re getting more flashbacks.

 

Episode 3

The Witches of Brendok

Were these witches exiled from Dathomir, or is this opening up storytelling to have the Witches of Dathomir not the only witches in the galaxy? Are there actually the Witches of Brendok, and other planets as well? I definitely would not be upset if that were the case. I appreciate that they are more like the witches from The Courtship of Princess Leia and less like the ones Katie Lucas wrote in The Clone Wars. As someone who has read that book, the Nightsisters of the Clone Wars never felt correct, so this, in conjunction with the witches from Ahsoka, felt more in line with what I know and love about this sect of force users.

On a side note, Mother Koril being a true Iridonian Zabrak is so utterly exciting. Her personality was perfect for the race; she was just oozing with pure self-confidence and ready to fight at a moment’s notice. I’m questionable about the pointy ears, but I’ll take what I can get.

Procreation

After the episode was finished, I had to look into this one a bit further. Apparently, it’s canon that Nightsisters can procreate without needing a Nightbrother. I’m kind of meh on the matter at the moment. Hopefully, they go into this in a little more detail later in the show so I can formulate an actual opinion on the matter.

The Dialog/Pacing

It’s becoming a trend in this show that when there is conflict, the characters will argue, but whoever needs to concede for the story to move along will do so without much reason. It’s a fairly quick “I don’t want to do this thing,” “You need to do this thing,” “Oh, okay.”

I don’t know that an entire episode needed to be spent on that part of their past. I do think it’s important to Mae and Osha’s story, but it was fluffier than it needed to be, given that they only have eight episodes to explain exactly what is going on. I think the time would have been better spent giving half of an episode to that backstory and the other half to events happening in the present.

Prediction

No one died that day on Brendok. Mae was never there at their room, a fire was never started, and the clan fled somewhere else to hide. Aniseya and Koril created a force illusion, both to fool the Jedi, who would not have been expecting it and to give Osha closure so she would be better suited to the Jedi. Mind you, that didn’t work. Osha washed out because she could not let go of what happened to her family that day. I’m thinking that Aniseya believed if she closed that door for Osha, she could move forward without any regrets, except it backfired and now they will be found again.

Episodes 1 & 2

The Death of Indara

While I don’t find killing her off an odd choice with the premise being that Jedi are being murdered, I find it odd that half of the marketing is centered around Carrie-Anne Moss’ Indara when she doesn’t make it past the first scene of episode 1. I get that Headland wanted there to be a shocking cold open, as stated in interviews, but we were promised Trinity with a lightsaber and got all of a couple of minutes of Indara with her lightsaber drawn. At least in Game of Thrones, we got Ned Stark for 9 episodes before they killed him off. I’m definitely hoping for some flashbacks of the character so we can see more of her.

The Twin Complex

It came as no shock to anyone who has been following this show that Mae is a twin to former Jedi padawan Osha. I wonder if it was a slip-up with the closed captioning that gave away that Osha was a separate character or if it was intentional, given that it doesn’t seem overly shocking in the show. Yes, some characters were surprised, but they did not draw out the tension it could have created, but then they moved on rather quickly. It certainly didn’t seem like it was meant to be some big plot twist. Because we know who is playing their mother, I’m wondering if we will see her in flashbacks or if Osha and the Jedi that were stationed on Brendok were all shown a force illusion that didn’t actually happen, and Mae has spent the past decade and a half thinking the Jedi kidnapped and/or killed her sister.

Mae’s Fighting Style

Mae’s moves repeated for all three fights, even against Torbin, who was in a meditative state with a force shield around him. It always followed the same pattern: leg sweeps, jabs, and a tomahawk kick before swiping at her opponent’s lightsaber. This tells a lot about her character and whoever is training her; sparring is repetitive, so her muscle memory leads with the same moves. I’m very interested in seeing if she keeps the same pattern when fighting Kelnacca. I predict she will lead with the standard leg sweep and have to adapt immediately to something else because of the size differential. I kind of hope that he just takes the hit to the ankle and stares down at her. As for whoever is training her, either this tactic has worked in the past, or he has absolutely zero experience actually fighting a fellow force user in earnest.

Who is the Big Bad?

I find it most likely that this is someone new, but I definitely have hopes for the big reveal. I would personally love for, who I will refer to as Zipper Face until his identity is revealed, the overarching antagonist to be a young Darth Plagueis. In legends, he was born sometime between 147 BBY and 120 BBY, but no current canonical birth year exists. Headland has spoken multiple times about her love of the expanded universe, so it is not outside of the realm of possibility that this is Plagueis as a young man, training an acolyte as he plots to kill his master, Darth Tenebrous. I will be honest and say I have not read the High Republic novels, and they may give more insight than I currently have on who it may be. Do I think it’s going to be Darth Plagueis? No. Do I hope it’s Darth Plagueis? Absolutely. With Sol firmly believing Mae was dead, even stating he saw her lifeless body, this could be Plagueis playing with life and death.

 

Character First Impressions

Indara: Gone too soon.

Vernestra: Not who I thought she would be based on what I’ve read about her from the books. I expected her to be more hardened and certainly not surprised by Sol’s attachment to his former padawan, given her attachment to her own.

Sol: He is going to be a force to be reckoned with. His control is intense and fun to watch.

Jecki: Definitely the know-it-all little sister of the show. Hopefully it doesn’t get taken too far.

Yord: An absolute favorite. He gives off young Obi-Wan vibes, with a little bit of Gray from Fairy Tail mixed in.

Mae and Osha: Lumping them together because I think that’s the point of the show. Mae’s start to each fight was amusing with how awkward she was. Osha is still up in the air for me, but I’m interested to see where she’ll go. I anticipate the ability to use the force by the end of the show.

Qimir: Interested to see who he actually is. Not sure if he’s a Han stand-in or if there’s more to him.

Kelnacca: So utterly excited to see a Wookiee Jedi, especially after the end of episode 2. Even though we’ve seen Wookiees without clothes since Chewbacca first appeared on screen, it was weird seeing him without his Jedi robes on. He screamed drunken uncle, scaring off the neighborhood kids, and I loved it.

 

Check back next Wednesday for observations on episode 4!