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'The Acolyte' Episode 4: To Kill a Wookiee, Nerd

By Mike Redmond | TV | June 19, 2024 |

By Mike Redmond | TV | June 19, 2024 |


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Welcome back, my little padawans. We’re gonna hit the ground running, so buckle up.

After spending last week with a Rashomon-style flashback that gave us Osha and Mae’s backstory — minus some key details, that now seem even more significant — Episode 4 returns to the present where Mae and everyone’s favorite Blake Bortles fan (Manny Jacinto) are on a mission to kill the Wookiee Jedi Kelnacca. More importantly, if you had Jacinto’s character pegged as Mae’s Sith master, this episode does a whole lot of pointing in that direction. Maybe a little too much, but maybe not. We’ll come back to that.

Anyway, considering Mae has already killed Indara (Carrie Anne-Moss) and Torbin (Dean Charles-Chapman), and Sol (Lee Jung-jae) is back on Coruscant, it doesn’t take a whole lot of detective work for the Jedi to figure out that the next target is Kelnacca. So we’ve got ourselves a good old-fashioned collision course, and with a reluctant Osha tagging along. She was pretty content with bailing and letting the Jedi deal with her stabby twin until Sol convinced her to come along.

With Osha in tow, the Jedi team arrives on Khofar where a little otter dude named Bazil gets to work tracking down Kelnacca. Realizing that sh*t could get real again, Osha asks Yord (Charlie Barnett) to take out Mae because she can’t trust herself not to freeze again like she did back in Episode 2. Unfortunately, everyone’s favorite himbo Jedi is more concerned with doling out philosophical bon mots instead of being prepared to kill the twin sister of the woman he’s totally crushing on. That’s what happening here, right? I can’t be the only one noticing it. Although, there seems to be vibes between Osha and Jecki Lon (Dafne Keen), and this is a show about lesbian space witches. May they rest in peace.

As the Jedi move in, Mae and Qimir (Jacinto) talk an awful lot about her master’s mission/test to kill her opponents without using a weapon as they near Kelnacca’s home. Mae seems extremely suspicious of Qimir, and while this seems like she’s sharing our hunch that he’s secretly her master, The Acolyte does a head-fake by revealing that she’s just watching him to plan an escape. You see, Mae is suddenly not so hell-bent on being a Sith after learning that Osha is alive. In fact, she’s all the way out and ready to turn herself over to Kelnacca. When Qimir goes off to get some water, she snatches him up in a trap and makes her move. There’s just one small problem with her plan: Somebody has already killed Kelnacca. They’ve also left Mae standing next to the body as the Jedi arrive outside his hut.

As the Jedi demand that Mae surrender, Sol is definitely picking up that something is very, very wrong, and he’s not wrong. Mae’s master is finally making their presence known, and they are clearly powerful as hell. Not to mention, they’re sporting a sick mask that gives off proto-Kylo Ren vibes while also sporting a gnarly smile. Unfortunately, the episode is over just as our villain starts wrecking the shit out of the Jedi.

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Mike Notes:

— Let’s address the elephant in the room: Is Mae’s master Manny Jacinto? The odds are looking pretty good. (And even better if you dig into interviews with Leslye Headland.) Osha, Yord, and Sol have been cleared as suspects, and Kelnacca was killed as Qimir conveniently vanished to get water. However, Jacinto being the villain is almost a little too easy, and Osha dropped a line in the episode that may have been a clue. When we’re first introduced to Bazil, Osha asks Jecki if “he, or they, is with us.” While this initially read as some welcomed respectability politics in a show that’s already introduced lesbian space witches, it could be a clever hint not to assume the identity of Mae’s master. We still don’t know all the facts here.

— Case in point: As the Jedi get ready to confront Mae, a visibly troubled Sol tells Osha, “I’ll explain everything” once they’ve secured Mae. Bro, what does that mean?! Obviously, last week’s episode left out some key information about what really happened to Osha and Mae’s coven. It’s a safe bet that the events were told from Osha’s perspective, which is why we’re missing the whole story. We’re also seeing even more evidence of the Jedi’s corruption as Vernestra Rwoh (Rebecca Henderson) once again seems overly focused on protecting the Jedi’s secrets and making the Order seem infallible. I know she’s a beloved character from the High Republic books, but the lady is fully ensconced in political maneuvering. That said, she does seem pissed and genuinely concerned about what the hell really happened back on Osha and Mae’s planet. Not to mention all that talk that Mae is just a pawn for something much bigger.

— Switching gears, I want to walk back my remarks about the Jedi training “child soldiers.” Granted, Ahsoka leaned heavily into that theme, but did very little to interrogate that notion because it’s sole mission was spamming Clone Wars nostalgia. Plus, the concept is a little too “online,” if you know what I mean? So, I want to give props to Kate V, who made this solid point in the comments:

I’m also not someone who buys into “the Jedi are not good guys and they steal children to turn them into child soldiers.” I mean, really. This is a universe aimed at kids and many, not all, of the series want to be accessible to them and in those kinds of shows and films child characters are often in situations, which we would never think it right to put them in, for narrative reasons. Children watching this stuff want to imagine themselves as Jedi. I really think characterizing them as raising child soldiers and being bad guys is trying to add complexity and nuance that isn’t there.

That is correct. Kids training to be Jedi is a perfect plot device for actual kids to insert themselves into the story. Calling them “child soldiers” is a little shrill, and I wanted to right that wrong on my part. However, I still maintain that slaughtering toddlers was a butt-stupid creative decision for Anakin becoming Darth Vader in Revenge of the Sith. I know everyone’s looking back at the prequels with rose-colored glasses these days, but George Lucas screwed several pooches, and that was one of them.

— Speaking of our sand-hating boy, if you think The Acolyte Episode 3 somehow made Anakin “less special” because Osha and Mae we’re maybe created by the Force, die mad. There was clearly a coordinated effort by sad dorks to declare Episode 3 the “worst Star Wars episode ever,” which is incredible considering The Book of Boba Fett literally bailed on its main character and torpedoed The Mandalorian Season 3 in the process. I mean, Christ, there was a whole episode of Obi-Wan where they did the kids in a trench coat gag, so who are you kidding with that sh*t? Because it’s definitely not a woman who will ever come near you. I can tell you that much.