Star Wars

The Acolyte Just Used the Jedi’s Greatest Strength Against Them

You know what they say about good intentions...

Amandla Stenberg and Lee Jung-jae in The Acolyte
The Acolyte

For as long as the Jedi Order has played a role in the Star Wars saga, they’ve been their own worst enemy. The Jedi fought hard to keep their reputation as peacekeepers in the prequels, but hypocrisy, pride, and a general lack of foresight all eventually contributed to their undoing. Subsequent Star Wars stories have each built on the idea of the flawed institution, but none so succinctly as The Acolyte.

Lucasfilm’s latest is not shy with its opinions on the Jedi Order. The series hinges on a murder revenge premise, with the primary victims being Jedi with a dubious shared past. We’re not exactly meant to root for the condescending Master Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss), the reclusive Master Torbin (Dean-Charles Chapman), or any of the other Jedi who find themselves on Mae’s (Amandla Stenberg) hit list. The Acolyte makes its stance on Jedi abundantly clear: Before the fall of the Republic, the Jedi were essentially space cops, and all cops are... well, y’know.

That sentiment felt especially potent after The Acolyte’s first flashback episode, which partially explained why Mae is hunting Jedi in the first place. Episode 3, “Destiny,” is mostly told from the perspective of Mae’s twin sister, Osha, who dreams of being whisked away from her home planet to train as a Jedi. Her future master, Sol (Lee Jung-jae), is framed as the empathetic light in an otherwise-fraught Jedi Order. His kindness is the very thing that saves Osha from her sister’s wrath; we’re made to believe that Mae destroyed their home to prevent Osha from abandoning her. And while that is kind of true — a fact we learn in this week’s episode, “Choice” — it turns out that Sol also played a major role in Osha’s tragic past, despite his good intentions.

Spoilers ahead for The Acolyte Episode 7!

The Acolyte finally presents the truth of what happened on Brendok.


The Acolyte brings us back to the planet Brendok, 16 years before the events that kickstarted the series. Rather than following young Osha and Mae (played by Lauren and Leah Brady), “Choice” offers a more objective version of the story. They’re searching for a “vergence,” a phenomenon that could allow life to flourish on the planet. And after stumbling onto Mae and Osha and observing their aptitude in the Force, Sol believes that there’s something strange going on. He mostly feels this responsibility to protect Osha from a fate she may not want: having to join the coven of witches her mother (Jodie Turner Smith) presides over. There’s also some sketchy stuff about a “sacrifice,” but neither Sol nor Indara probe too far into that.

“Choice” is concerned with telling another side of a clearly incomplete story, but it also doesn’t give us the answers we expected. From Osha’s perspective, Sol is her savior and protector, while Mae essentially ruined her life. And yes, The Acolyte does double down on the mistakes that Mae made that fateful night, but Sol doesn’t get off unscathed either. His meddling ultimately leads the Aniseya coven to their doom; he’s even the one that murders Mae and Osha’s mother. Perhaps most crucially, when he struggles to save both Mae and Osha from a fatal fall, Sol makes the choice to save only Osha and leave Mae for dead.

Sol finally gets to tell Mae the truth — but is it too late?


Despite all that destruction, Sol is still not entirely the villain of this story: every mistake he made on Brendok began with good intentions. But, as Mother Aniseya says just before her demise, “Someday, those noble intentions you all have will destroy every Jedi in the galaxy.”

With one simple line, The Acolyte reframes the Jedi Order’s biggest weakness. In this moment in time, their issues aren’t totally systemic — even though their institution does have a few flaws baked into its code. The tragedy on Brendok is largely the result of human error: Sol gives into the instincts Jedi are taught to suppress and even criminalize. He’s moved to solve a problem out of his attachment to Osha, but ends up leaving a total mess in his wake. Surprisingly, it’s the level-headed Indara that warns Sol of every potential mistake. But sentiment wins out over logic, and Sol’s savior complex results in a tragic loss of life.

It’s not his kindness that’s a weakness, but his own self interest. That’s the case for every fallen Jedi we’ve encountered throughout the saga, but it’s great to see that explored in a series that seemed so preoccupied with the institution. How this will fit into the growing conflict between the Sith Qimir (Manny Jacinto) and Mae’s path for revenge remains to be seen. But with only one episode remaining in its season, The Acolyte should be gearing up for a finale full of revelations.

The Acolyte is streaming on Disney+.

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