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the-acolyte-episode-1-recap.jpg

Who Is the Sith Master in ‘The Acolyte’ Premiere? Some Theories

By Mike Redmond | TV | June 5, 2024 |

By Mike Redmond | TV | June 5, 2024 |


the-acolyte-episode-1-recap.jpg

As Star Wars continues to be extremely hesitant about rolling back into theaters after the wet fart known as The Rise of Skywalker failed to do a single interesting thing with the wide-open canvas left by The Last Jedi, the franchise has not been shy about firing off series after series on Disney+. This strategy has led to some surprisingly dizzying highs like Andor, and some excruciating lows like, well, pretty much everything else.

That brings us to The Acolyte, the newest Star Wars series from Russian Doll creator Leslye Headland. Here’s the good news: Based on the two-part premiere, the show is already packing considerably more promise than whatever the hell happened to The Mandalorian. That said, while The Acolyte is clearly a passion project for Headland, don’t expect an auteur vision on par with Andor. Instead, the show has much more pulpy vibes that deftly combines Star Wars, kung fu movies, and a captivating murder mystery. Will The Acolyte have legs outside of diehard fans? I’m going to be real, probably not. But the diehards will have a ton of fun provided they’re not anti-woke weirdos who will die sexless and alone.

On that note, SPOILERS.

Right out of the gate, The Acolyte makes it clear that this will not be a simple tale like The Mandalorian or Ahsoka. If you read my recaps for those shows, I repeatedly discourage wild theories because they were basic matinee serials where what you see is what you get. The Acolyte is a whole different ball game.

Case in point, if you were thrilled about Carrie-Anne Moss playing a Jedi, well, that was over real quick as she became the first and immediate victim of The Acolyte’s killer in a slick action scene that set the tone for what to expect from this show’s more martial arts-based fights. We’re dealing with a Jedi Order that’s operating 100 years before the events of The Phantom Menace, which gives The Acolyte a wide berth of freedom to tinker with the audience’s perceptions of the space wizards while also staying refreshingly clear of Skywalkers and Palpatines. That freedom gives Headland space to set the table for a so-far competent mystery that has no shortage of twists.

The biggest one is that Amandla Stenberg is actually playing twins. Granted, you’ll probably start to guess that twist not even halfway through the premiere like I did, but thankfully, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. In a nutshell, Osha (Stenberg) is a former Jedi padawan who’s accused by the Order of murdering Moss’ character, which seems like the case because the killer looks exactly like Osha and she mysteriously skipped hanging out with her fellow mechanics the night before. However, we soon learn that the real killer is Osha’s twin Mae, who was presumed dead when the two were children. Someone is training her to get revenge for a tragic event on Osha and Mae’s home planet of Brendok.

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According to the Jedi, the official story is that Mae started a fire that led to the death of her and Osha’s family. Jedi Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae) tried to save both children but was only able to rescue Osha, who would later become his padawan. Judging by Mae’s actions, the official story might not be entirely true. She’s working her way through the four Jedi stationed on Brendok, starting with Indara (Moss). Her next victim is Torbin (Dean Charles-Chapman), whom she kills just by saying, “Hey, beardo, drink this poison or tell everyone about the shit you pulled.” He doesn’t even put up a fight, just goes straight for the liquid death. That leaves Sol, and the Wookiee Jedi, Kelnacca, on her hit list.

While Mae does get an unsuccessful crack at Sol, The Acolyte starts to set up another mystery: Who is the master training Mae? We’re given a glimpse of them in the final moments of the first episode as they explain that Mae’s mission is to kill the Jedi “dream” by not using weapons hence all the knife-fighting and poison. But it’s not much to go on considering they’re a shadowy figure in the distance, albeit one who fires up a red lightsaber that invokes Yoda’s warning about the Sith in the prequels: Always two there are, a master and an apprentice.

Herein lies the fun of The Acolyte: We’ve got ourselves a theory show, folks. I’m willing to bet that we’ve already seen Mae’s master in the two-episode premiere, so let’s run down the potential suspects.

Sol: I’m going to assume that Sol probably looks suspicious to a lot of people because the dude is clearly hiding a whole lot of secrets about what went down on Brendok. Things get shadier when Mae noticeably doesn’t manage to kill him, and he seems to almost taunt her that she doesn’t even know who’s been training her. Headland is playing a skillful game, though, so this could be some clever misdirection.

The bald green lady: In the grand Star Wars tradition, I couldn’t make out this woman’s name without using Google, but apparently, it’s Vernestra Rwoh (Rebecca Henderson). From her very first interaction with Sol, she seems well-versed in hiding the Jedi’s indiscretions to protect the Order’s image, so we’re dealing with someone who knows her way around some subterfuge.

The hot buff guy: Homeboy’s name is Yord (Charlie Barnett), and I’m just going to put my cards on the table here: I’m accusing everybody at this point because they’re all acting fishy. Oh, you’re surprised that Osha has a sister? I bet you are, you crazy jacked himbo who conveniently put her on an easily escapable prison ship. I’m not believing anything you say until you take that shirt off again, mister.

Osha: Back to being serious, because yes, Osha is definitely a suspect. She was missing when Indara was killed and the master is clearly using some sort of robotic voice-masker. Not to mention, she’d have the same motivations as Mae as well as a background in Jedi training. And, again, what’s the old saying about Sith? Always two there are…

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Manny Jacinto: If The Acolyte makes the bold and incredible decision to turn freaking Jason Mendoza into a Sith lord, I will have no choice but to declare it the greatest show in television history. But here’s the thing: This isn’t a jokey suggestion. Jacinto’s character knows a lot about Mae’s mission, easily repels her attacks, toys with Osha, and is just a little too eager to assist the Jedi. He is 100% a contender, and a prime one at that.

However, there is a chance that The Acolyte could go in the exact opposite direction by making the most worst possible choice.

Goddamn Palpatine: I will personally drop a nuke on Lucasfilm. The mutants who inhabit the earth will ask, “Whatever happened to those human things?” and their three-eyed elders will respond, “Well, they say ol’ Mike got worked up about his laser stories that day…”