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The Acolyte Episode 3: The Origin of a Sociopath

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Thomas Richards
| June 18, 2024
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The Acolyte has returned with Episode 3, and it’s not what I expected. Titled “Destiny,” instead of continuing where Episode 2 left off, we jump several years into the past to see what events have caused the situation the main cast finds themselves in the present. I found the choice to have the flashback episode so early in the season a bit odd, but I still went in with an open mind. That is something I can’t say for a certain portion of the fanbase, who have just been very vocal about how this episode “ruins canon” and “is woke garbage,” among other things. It’s completely fine not to be vibing with The Acolyte, I’m still on the fence, but when your only criticism is that it’s “woke” or that “Disney ruined Star Wars with all this PC bullshit,” I’m just gonna assume you have nothing better to do with your life besides bitching about a fictional TV show on the internet. With that out of the way, let’s break down Episode 3 of The Acolyte.

SPOILERS AHEAD FOR EPISODE 3 OF THE ACOLYTE

It’s Time For a Flashback

Aniseya is sitting in a brightly lit room. A rocky wall is behind her. She has a neutral/slightly worried look on her face. She is looking at someone to the right of her.
She got that Mum stare. (Disney)

The plot of this episode is all about Osha and Mae (Amandla Stenberg) when they were kids 16 years ago. They are from the planet Brendok and are part of an all-female witch coven/cult thingy. It is also shown that even when they were little kids, Mae was a little sociopath. This is seen as early as the first scene when Mae nearly kills an alien butterfly just for funsies and only stops when Osha gets upset. Mae continues this behaviour throughout the entire episode, culminating in a fiery tantrum. But the episode isn’t just about how Mae was always a sociopath; it also showcases the twin’s family, how the Jedi are viewed from the outside, and even some hints at some less-than-ethical means of making babies. There was a lot of new information and perspectives shown in this episode, and while I found some interesting, some didn’t work for me.

For everything I enjoyed about this episode, another aspect left me wanting more. I liked seeing where the twins came from, but I think that having the flashback episode now harms the show’s pacing a bit. I would’ve preferred this to be episode 4 or 5 or have the flashbacks woven into another episode instead of an episode with only flashbacks. I also liked how the Jedi are presented in this episode from the perspective of people outside the Republic. Seeing them just rock up to a random group on a random planet and ask to see their kids (even if they’re not allowed to take them without permission) definitely would give me weird vibes.

But besides that plot point, I wasn’t as engaged with the episode’s story as I wanted to be. Sure, it was cool to see how this series is expanding the High Republic era of Star Wars with new factions and ideas, but it didn’t do much to get me any more invested than the last episode. That’s my biggest issue with this series right now; I just don’t care enough. Granted, it’s only been three episodes, but I hoped I’d be more invested by now.

Same Person, Different Time

Indara is walking in front of Aniseya's coven. The coven are on the stairs and Indara and the other Jedi are at the bottom. The other Jedi include Torbin, Kelnacca, and Sol. They are in the middle of a courtyard at night.
You don’t even go here. (Disney)

Being set 16 years before the main story, this episode had the opportunity to flesh out some characters we already know a little bit better. The best example of this is Master Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss), who, if you remember, was killed at the start of Episode 1. We got to see more of who she was as a Jedi, and it turns out she was a bit of a stickler for the rules. She would quote protocol and the laws of the Republic to people who obviously didn’t care. She perfectly encapsulates the “perfect” Jedi at the time, someone who follows orders and trusts fully in the Jedi and the Republic.

Another familiar face is Sol (Lee Jung-jae), back when he didn’t have long hair, and he’s the opposite of Indara. Even when he was younger, he still did what he thought was right regardless of the rules and protocols. But, even though Sol is great, it was another way the episode showed how the Jedi aren’t perfect. Sol was brought into the Jedi at four years old, and even though he’s on the more progressive side of the Jedi, he still believes in most of their values. All this is laying the foundation for what would ultimately doom the Jedi in the prequels (their hubris and thinking they are always the good guys), and it’s something I enjoy seeing.

And now we get to Osha, Mae, and the coven of exiled witches. Seeing Osha and Mae as kids (played by actual twins Leah and Lauren Brady) was okay, and the kid actors did a decent job overall. I liked how, even as children, Osha was obviously a good kid while Mae was unhinged. So much so that when Osha was preparing to leave the coven (which her Mother, Aniseya, was gonna allow), Mae’s response was to just kill everyone by burning their home down (the aforementioned fiery tantrum). I don’t know how that makes sense, but I guess it would stop Osha from leaving. I was also intrigued by the exiled coven, but most of my questions were left unanswered, which made it fall flat for me. If they end up explaining more about this coven throughout the series (which I assume they will), maybe I’ll look back on this episode, and it’ll land better for me.

Jumping to Conclusions

Aniseya is walking up a set of stairs at night. She is wearing ceremonial clothes and her palms are facing upwards. The res of the coven are surrounding her. They are also wearing ceremonial robes.
Time for a cult ceremony baby! (Disney)

The biggest talking point from this episode’s plot was Osha and Mae’s origins. Being part of an all-female coven, having kids was always gonna be a challenge. They don’t explain how they pulled it off, but they do hint that the leader of the coven, Aniseya (Jodie Turner-Smith), used a method that is frowned upon by the rest of the galaxy. It could be a possibility that they used the Force to create the babies (similar concept to Anakin, but not the same), but I propose some alternatives. Being witches, they could’ve used some funky voodoo magic shenanigans to create the twins. Or, they could’ve used an archaic version of cloning that was thought of as a miracle during this time. They could go in multiple ways, and only time will tell what happens.

Something that seems to be getting under some people’s skin is how the coven refers to the Force as the thread. Now, I don’t get why this is such a big deal. The Force has had multiple names throughout the franchise, such as the Life Current, the Ashla, and Sight. This is nothing new for Star Wars, and I’m sure the Force will get many more names in the future.

Kelnacca is sitting on a box next to a speeder bike in a field. Various pieces of equipment are scattered around the area. The tree line is in the background. Kelnacca is looking towards the camera.
He just vibing. (Disney)

Episode 3 of The Acolyte was another mixed bag for me. I enjoyed the different perspective on the Jedi and seeing a new faction in this universe. But I’m still not invested enough in the characters or story to care much about it. I’m still intrigued by the series, but I hope the next episode can knock it out of the park or at least get me to care about what’s happening. Keep it locked to Couch Soup for more Star Wars coverage to feed your hungry nerd soul.

Have you seen Episode 3 of The Acolyte? What did you think? Are you vibing with the series? Let us know in the comments where we can all respectfully discuss all things Star Wars.

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