The Acolyte Where Time Has No Meaning

I’ve had a lot of problems with “The Acolyte” and generally don’t like it. There have been some good parts; the lightsaber battles in Episode 5, “Night,” but that’s about it. So last night I did a re-watch of the first five episodes to see if it was just me, did I get a bad impression that carried over, or is the show as bad as I think it is.

It’s a little of both.

Episode 3, “Destiny,” which included a flashback to a young Osha and Mae on their home planet where we were introduced to Mother Aniseya and the witches, was a solid episode. It showed us the origins of the twins and how one, Osha, ended up with the Jedi and the other, Mae, was abandoned, left for dead. I didn’t take any notes during that episode and if the other four had been as well done we wouldn’t be here.

Episode 1, “Lost/Found”

Episode 1 introduces us to Mae as she kills Jedi Indara which leads the Jedi to search for her killer. Based on the description, they’re led to Osha, who is working as a mechanic on a Neimoidian ship. In one of the first scenes with her, she’s on a spacewalk to fix an issue with the ship when a fire breaks out. Even during my first watch, as soon as the flames started shooting out of the ship my mind disconnected from the show because fire doesn’t work that way in the vacuum of space. That’s sloppy. With as much sci-fi as I watch, if I can’t watch that without it standing out you’re doing a bad job. But that’s just the first, and arguably the least, bit of sloppiness.

Where it really goes sideways, and this re-occurs again (we’ll get to that), is the terrible in-universe time management. I know, I know. But it’s so bad it really pissed me off. Osha is confronted by the Jedi on the ship where she’s working and they identify her as the killer of Indara. They arrest her and turn her over to a transport ship crewed by droids to be taken back to Coruscant. The Jedi leave. The transport ship leaves.

The Jedi apparently almost instantly return to Coruscant while the transport takes enough time for the other prisoners on board to start a prison break, succeed, and abandon ship in the escape pods. They cause the ship to drop out of hyperspace where it immediately crashes into an asteroid field. With the ship going down, Osha releases the last prisoner, who has been immobilized, and he runs for the final escape pod and leaves Osha behind. With the ship going down on a nearby planet, Osha has just enough time to strap into a cargo bench before the crash. She’s knocked out in the crash, has a dream where she encounters her thought-to-be-dead sister, and then wakes up on the crashed ship. In the time it took her to strap in, the ship to crash, her to have the dream, and wake up do you know what else happened?

The prisoners that escaped were found, transported to Coruscant, interrogated by the Jedi, the Jedi sent probe droids to look for Osha, and Yord, who arrested Osha, had time to steam clean his robes. The Jedi interrogated the prisoner Osha freed, found the location of the planet she would have crashed on, and then jumped to it to arrive just as Osha was waking up. Did I mention the planet where Osha crashed was a frozen world, possibly like Hoth? It was. How long was she knocked out because we saw that the time from the escape to her crash was only a few minutes. Was she there for hours? Days? How long was she really knocked out for and why didn’t she freeze if it was hours? It makes no sense. Sloppy. So sloppy that I watched live and then again last night and just stared blankly at the TV while my mind tried to make sense of it. I didn’t make sense of it because there is none. There’s nothing about any of it that makes sense.

The episode does end with a teaser, Mae is working with what appears to be a Sith, red lightsaber and all, and it’s her goal to get revenge but also please this master who has apparently been training her.

Episode 2, “Revenge/Justice”

Episode 2 didn’t fare much better. Mae goes to the planet Olega to kill Jedi Torbin, who is in deep meditation in the Force. She fails on her first try but the Jedi are now tipped off that Indara is not the first Jedi on the assassin’s hit list. With Osha in tow, they jump to Olega to warn him. Mae is one step ahead and while her first attempt to kill him fails, she turns to a friend, Qimir, to give her a poison. On her second attempt, she succeeds. Just as the Jedi arrive. Here comes the slop.

When Osha and the Jedi arrive at the temple, they walk down a hall before Osha hears her sister call to her in the Force. She takes a side hall to follow the voice while the rest of the Jedi continue down what one would assume is the main hall to Torbin’s room. Jedi Sol senses something is off and the Jedi begin to run yet, somehow, Osha just wanders into Torbin’s room, ahead of them, from some super-secret alternate path to create the fake drama of Torbin being dead and Osha already being there to be discovered by the Jedi. But wait! There is no drama because immediately after being discovered over Torbin’s body, Osha is exonerated by Yord who had secretly followed her and saw that she couldn’t have done it.

And the pigs reveled in the slop.

The rest of the episode is kind of boring even though there is a short fight between Sol and Mae and Osha see’s her sister for the first time since thinking her dead.

Episode 3, “Destiny”

As I said, I had no notes on Episode 3 as I thought it worked well and it did give us the backstory for the twins.

Episode 4, “Day”

After finding out that Mae was still alive and she had killed Indara and Torbin, the Jedi knew she was targeting four Jedi who had first encountered Mae and Osha as kids on their home planet: Indara, Torbin, Kelnacca the Wookiee, and Sol. Guessing that Mae wasn’t going to come to Coruscant for Sol, the Jedi leave for Khofar, where Kelnacca was known to be living. Khofar has a large, dense forest on it, much like Kashyyyk, the Wookiee home world, making it the perfect place for him. A much larger contingent of Jedi leave for the planet to bring Kelnacca home.

And here’s where time goes wonky again. Mae and Qimir, apparently after leaving Olega, jump to Khofar to go after Kelnacca. Qimir, we find out, has tracked down Kelnacca, knows where he is, and will take Mae there so she can kill him. They arrive on planet, ditch their ship, and start walking and, at times, running through the forest to get to Kelnacca. In the meantime, the Jedi have returned to Coruscant, figured out which Jedi are being targeted, put together a team, leave for Khofar, land at a small port, and start walking through the forest using their tracker, Bazil, to find Kelnacca because, unlike Qimir, they don’t know where on the planet he is.

Suddenly Mae and Qimir are close to where Kelnacca lives, and wanting to kill him by herself, Mae uses a snare to trap Qimir so she can run ahead. But, when she gets there, Kelnacca is already dead by apparent lightsaber blow (he’s still smoking). Who could have done it? “He’s here.” Her master did it.

But just then, the Jedi arrive! Because, somehow, even not knowing where Kelnacca was while Mae and Qimir did, they somehow are able to get there just about on time.

Then the master, aka The Stranger, makes himself known to the Jedi by floating down out of a tree, tossing Osha aside and blinding the Jedi by tossing a bunch of dirt, dust, and pollen at them.


Because that’s the end of the episode. The wonky timeframe for everything was just so weird that my brain couldn’t stop thinking about both on the first watch and again last night. They’re not even trying to have things make sense anymore.

Episode 5, “Night”

I should note here that there were eight Jedi on Khofar; five nameless “red shirts,” Sol, Yord, and Padawan Jecki. Osha, of course, is along for the trip and then the tracker Bazil. I point this out because at the end of Episode 4 the Jedi all charge the Stranger which is when he tosses them back with the Force, scattering them a little. But not all of them.

When Episode 5 starts, Osha wakes up from being tossed (how long was she out? Minutes? Hours? Six months? Nobody knows because time doesn’t exist in “The Acolyte”) by the Stranger to find that multiple Jedi are already engaged in a lightsaber battle with him. All of them except Sol and Jecki because reasons. The Stranger makes short work of most of them, including Yord who is wounded, and then turns his attention to Osha after she tries to stun him to save Yord. She runs yet somehow Sol is out ahead of her, some unknown distance from the battle all the others are taking part in, and The Stranger catches up.

Jecki also reappears back at Kelnacca’s place so she can encounter Mae. Sol and the Stranger battle as a wounded Yord still somehow catches up to them and then leaves with Osha. The Stranger knocks Sol down but rather than go after Osha he goes back to Kelnacca’s to find Jecki where he kills her in battle just after Sol shows up. Somehow Yord and Osha make it back even though they’ve been running away for some amount of time just so there can be another battle where Yord bites it.

But we do find out that The Stranger was Qimir all along (and he is kind of a badass). Now knowing this, how did he get out of the trap set by Mae, make a costume change, and get ahead of her to kill Kelnacca and then get behind the Jedi before they show up? How was he ahead of people that were ahead of him but then also behind people that were behind him but also ahead of people that were running away but were also then nearly ahead of him after being behind him… Make it make sense!

Osha and Mae talk, Mae knocks her out and takes her place, it’s now suddenly morning, Sol leaves all the dead Jedi just laying in the forest and somehow gets back to his ship seemingly much faster than it took to get to Kelnacca’s. Qimir has Osha, Bazil has Osha’s droid Pip, I have a headache.

And the pigs keep enjoying the slop.

What’s next

I don’t hate-watch Star Wars shows and movies. I watch because I want to like it. I want to like the characters. I want to see new worlds and events and have fun. “The Acolyte” is mostly not fun. The fun bits were so damaged by the rest of it that I don’t like any of it. I didn’t like “The Book of Boba Fett.” I disliked much of “Obi-Wan Kenobi.” Season 3 of “The Mandalorian” had a lot of issues but the first two were great. “Ahsoka” was all build, no drop. “The Bad Batch” figured it out and ended well but it didn’t add anything important, in my opinion.

The standout show is “Andor.” “Andor” is fucking excellent from front to back, top to bottom. It’s perfectly paced and written, the plot moves forward, and the drama occurs naturally during the storyline. Luthen Rael’s speech to his ISB spy is one of the best monologues in the entirety of Star Wars. “One way out!” “I can’t swim.” The absolute heartbreak of watching Kino Loy come to realize what he believes in isn’t what’s real under the Empire only to be trapped, in the end, because he can’t swim is *chef’s kiss*! I can’t wait for season 2 of “Andor” even knowing that we’re only ever going to have 24 episodes to enjoy.

“Andor,” “Rogue One,” the first two seasons of “The Manalorian,” and “Rebels” all prove that great storytelling is possible in the Star Wars Universe. “Solo” wasn’t great but it was fun. The Sequel Trilogy pissed away a story that had potential, and the new live-action stories are just meh.

I’ll watch the last three episodes of “The Acolyte,” reluctantly. I’m five episodes in so I need to see the end but I don’t hold much hope that it’ll come through in the end.