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The Acolyte Episode 1 & 2: An Intriguing Start

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Thomas Richards
| June 9, 2024
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The Acolyte, the latest Star Wars Disney+ series, is here at last! This series is our first look at The High Republic era outside of the novels (which I own but haven’t read yet. Soz), and it has definitely brought a different vibe to Star Wars. I’ve been excited about this series since it was announced a few years ago. I was hyped to see a series all about a Sith acolyte set in this time period going around and just doing evil shit. And after the long wait, the first two episodes have been dropped at once for all that delicious Star Wars goodness. But does this new series start out on the right foot? Or is it a rocky beginning? Let’s find out.

Starting With a Bang

Bringing a dagger to a Force fight. (Lucasfilm/Disney)

Episode 1, “Lost/Found,” kicked off the series with a bang and set the tone for what’s to come (I hope). This episode introduced us to most of the major characters we’ll follow throughout the series. These include mechanic and former Jedi padawan Osha Aniseya (Amandla Stenberg), Jedi Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae), Jedi Knight Yord Fandar (Charlie Barnett), and Sol’s padawan Jecki Lon (Dafne Keen). This episode established the relationship between these four as well as the state of the galaxy during this time. The Jedi are at their most powerful, and their presence is felt throughout the galaxy, with one even chilling at a bar on a random planet. But, when a mysterious force user appears and begins killing Jedi Masters, the balance begins to shift. Now a suspect in the murder of a Jedi Master, Osha is brought back together with her former Master, Sol and friend, Yord. Through an unfortunate turn of events, Osha and the others must find this assassin and solve the mystery before it’s too late.

I enjoyed this episode for the most part. From the get-go, it set itself apart from other Star Wars projects through its environments and character designs. The planets don’t all look like they’ve been through years of war, and there is a feeling of peace, but with a hint of something sinister in the works. I also liked the first fight scene we got, and I honestly thought I was watching a scene from The Matrix. That could be because Carrie-Anne Moss appeared as Jedi Master Indara, who went one-on-one with the titular acolyte (although I don’t think we’ll see much more of her). The choreography was dynamic and engaging, and I hope they can keep up this level of quality.

The performances of the other characters were also good, but nothing that blew me away. Amandla Stenberg does a good job as Osha, and I’m interested to see how she evolves throughout the story. I also enjoyed Lee Jung-jae as Master Sol and was surprised that this was his first English-speaking role (good for him). The other characters didn’t leave much of an impression on me, but that will hopefully change as the series goes on. Overall, a decent first episode with a solid foundation.

Cat & Mouse

You can’t tell me what to do. (Lucasfilm/Disney)

Moving onto Episode 2, “Revenge/Justice”, picked up right where the last episode left off with Osha, Sol, Yord, and Jecki on the hunt for the assassin targeting Jedi Masters. Quick spoilers for the end of episode 1 now, so if you want to remain unspoiled, stop reading now and come back later. So, it turns out that Osha has a twin sister named Mae (also played by Amandla Stenberg), who was presumed dead. Instead of being dead, she’s been training with a mysterious dark side user in the ways of the Force and is now ready to kill some Jedi. With this new information, our gang of heroes is now in a cat & mouse game with Mae, trying to find her before she can murder any more Jedi. The episode bounces between Osha and Mae’s perspectives to help create the feeling that they are tracking Mae down. But time is ticking, and who knows how many Jedi will be dead before this game reaches its end.

This was another intriguing episode, but I’m a little torn on how I feel about it. On one hand, I’m still digging the vibe and aesthetic of the series. I love how it still looks like Star Wars but not at the same time (same, same, but different). I’m also warming up to some of the characters, such as Sol, Osha, and Jecki (who is probs my standout fav from the good guy’s side). The fight scene at the end of the episode between Sol and Mae is another great showcase of the fight choreography, and I can’t get enough of it. I also really liked the addition of Mae’s work partner, Qimir (Manny Jacinto). His disheveled appearance hides his true dubious nature (my guess is that he’s a Sith apprentice). I’m also impressed with Stenberg and how she’s portraying Osha and Mae, but that’s where my biggest grip lies.

As I mentioned earlier, I was keen to see a series where we follow the villain, and up until the end of episode 1, I thought that’s what we were getting. But then they pulled the twin card, and my excitement dropped a bit. I mean, sure, it’s still a cool dynamic, but I think I was hoping for something else. Like, Osha could’ve been the killer and is just gaslighting everyone, which would add a lot more tension and unease to certain scenes. Or maybe it could’ve been a trauma split personality thing (like Jekyll and Hyde). This episode did make me feel a little more hopeful about the direction the story is going, but I can’t help but be a tad disappointed.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Please become besties. (Lucasfilm/Disney)

Across both episodes, I was impressed with how the series looks and sounds. I already mentioned how the environments look, but the costumes also looked like a mixture of the prequel era and The High Republic. I liked how you can easily tell who is a Jedi from a mile away with their bright cloaks and fancy robes—a far cry from the darker colours we see in the prequel films. I also enjoyed the soundtrack, which mostly felt entirely new but with hints of classic tracks, like the Force theme. In terms of the story, I’m intrigued but not as excited as I was. I think I was really looking forward to a villain-centric series, and we might still get that, but I can’t help but think that with the twins’ angle, Mae will either die or be turned back to the light (can’t we get another bad guy who stays a bad guy).

But I’m still interested in seeing where the story goes from here. Who knows, maybe by episode 4, I’ll be fully on board with the story, but only time will tell. Also, side note, does this series take place 100 years before The Phantom Menace or Revenge of the Sith? Because the marketing said before the prequels, but the text at the start of the first episode said 100 years before the rise of the Empire. Could they explain that later on in the series? Or was it miscommunication? I don’t know, but I do be confused.

Can you spot the Jedi? (Lucasfilm/Disney)

The first two episodes of The Acolyte were a decent start for the series. I enjoyed it a lot, especially the aesthetic, fight scenes, and some of the characters. But the story at this point has me a tad disappointed with the path they’re taking. But, with six episodes still to go, maybe I’ll change my mind. I would still recommend giving the episodes a shot if you’re at all interested in the premise. It’s not the best start a Star Wars series has had, but still a fun time. Keep it locked to Couch Soup for more content on The Acolyte to feed your hungry nerd Sol (get it? Because Sol and soul? I’ll see myself out).

Have you seen the first episodes of The Acolyte? What did you think? What was your favourite moment? Let us know in the comments below where we can make theories on who trained Mae.

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Drew Lewis
1 month ago

It’s good. It’s on par with Ashoka and Mando at this point. The visuals look great, and the action is stellar, but it still feels like it’s written for mediocre TV, not prestige TV. And while everything looks polished it doesn’t look cinematic. So far, Andor is the only Star Wars TV show that has managed to be incredibly well-written and look cinematic. Now, there’s still a lot of story to be told, and I hope I’m proven wrong. I love SW and I’m excited to see more.

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