The Acolyte Episode 6 – Darker Days Ahead

Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, season one, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Coming after the intense action of last week’s episode, The Acolyte returns with a slower pace that still manages to drive the tension forward. Let’s break it down!

The stunning, action-packed fifth episode of The Acolyte left the door wide open for just about anything to happen in the remainder of the season. As such, no one knew quite what to expect out of this week’s episode, “Teach/Corrupt,” directed by Hanelle Culpepper. What we got was a bit slower in pacing, but excellently sets the stage for what’s to come.

As always, I’ll be diving headfirst into spoilers during this recap, so if you haven’t had a chance to watch the episode, come back later. In the meantime, get caught up with my previous recaps here: Episode 1 & 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5.

The ‘Ol Switcheroo

As I mentioned, “Teach/Corrupt” slows things down, and largely focuses on Osha and Mae getting adjusted to their new circumstances. Mae, pretending to be her twin sister, uses the opportunity to steal aboard the Jedi vessel alongside Sol. Meanwhile, Osha awakens on the Unknown Planet where Qimir’s been hiding out.

Where Mae seemingly debates over killing Sol (she has plenty of opportunity), Osha discovers Qimir isn’t exactly what she was expecting. The result is some intriguing dialog between both sets of people, that hint at some bigger details about what happened in the past, and what may come next.

The result is a slower episode, that’s mostly talking, but manages to ratchet up the tension considerably. As expected, we see Qimir doing his best to “seduce” Osha to the dark side, in order to take her on as a new apprentice. But even as he frankly says she shouldn’t trust him, we can’t help but see some of the truth behind the things he’s saying. We know Osha’s full story hasn’t been told, with Master Sol all but confirming he’s been lying to her about stuff.

Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae) in Lucasfilm’s THE ACOLYTE, season one, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Along those same lines, we get to see a different side to Sol in this episode. A scary one, if we’re being honest, revealing the “darker side” Qimir hinted at in the previous episode. As he leaves the trailing Vernestra behind, it seems clear Sol is now more intent on tracking down Qimir and “ending the threat.” The way he goes about it sure seems like a slippery slope into revenge territory.

Combine that with the revelations we know are coming, and the episode leaves things surprisingly tense. We can see the confrontation that’s looming on the horizon; one which may end up costing Sol more than his life and leave a deeper scar within the Jedi overall.

Ups and Downs

I normally don’t talk about this stuff first, but I want to get it out of the way, so I can focus on some of the cool things brought up in the episode. While I overall enjoyed this week’s episode, there’s no denying the pacing feels a bit all over the place.

The quieter moments were definitely expected—necessary—after the explosive events of “Night.” Moreso, it gave a chance for the characters to truly shine and deliver some impressive moments. Seriously, there are numerous lines of dialog that I’m going to be ruminating on for a while (e.g. Qimir’s “Why do you love people who can only go so far?”)

Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae) in Lucasfilm’s THE ACOLYTE, season one, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Sol’s breakdown in the empty quarters of the ship is an excellent showcase of Lee Jung-jae’s talent. In less than a minute, we’re treated to the all too real expression of grief that’s often denied to the Jedi characters in these stories. And within the same episode, we see a tonal shift as Sol’s desperation turns menacing; threatening even.

Manny Jacinto’s Qimir, now fully in his element, also remains a highlight. As he plays at being flippant, his words cut deep into Osha; hooking her even as she actively fights against his corruption. Speaking of, I was also impressed with how Amandla Stenberg made her performances to distinct. Despite the fact she does play both characters, she still managed to make Mae feel like Mae pretending to be Osha. The moments are subtle, but absolutely sells audiences on the idea these are two entirely different characters/people.

When Are They Going To Get To The Fireworks Factory Milhouse Van Houten GIF  - When Are They Going To Get To The Fireworks Factory Milhouse Van Houten  Crying - Discover & Share GIFs

All that said, there are plenty of times where the episode meandered. The stuff with Vernestra, while important to the larger story (clearly setting things up for the finale), just felt weird when they popped up. It’s like when you’re reading a book and the next chapter shifts focus right as things were getting interesting with the main characters. And it stays on the side story just long enough to feel like the story is stalling for time.

I felt the same when it came to Mae’s handling of the Pip droid. All that setup, presumably to expose her, and it’s handled in a blink as she factory resets the droid (RIP). It’s handled so casually as to make me wonder why it was important at all, especially as we’re so close to Sol doling out answers.

I get the story is still holding onto certain revelations; and much of the setup between the characters in this episode is absolutely necessary to get us to the point of getting those answers in an emotionally impactful way. Even so, I can’t help but feel like certain moments were in there just to keep drawing things out.

The Stranger (Manny Jacinto) in Lucasfilm’s THE ACOLYTE, season one, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Qimir’s Jedi Past

One of the revelations we get during “Teach/Corrupt” is that Qimir has his own past with the Jedi Order. That he was once a youngling/Padawan learner as Osha once was. This certainly explains his familiarity with Master Sol and the more personal element to his threats. Moreso, it teases at something we don’t get much of in Star Wars stories: what happens to Jedi who can’t “cut it?”

It’s something I found interesting in the very first episode, as we saw Osha was left to, largely, lead a normal life. Surely there’s more to it than that. We’ve already seen the Jedi of this period of time being more…vigilant in keeping up with who gets training in the Force. In the third episode Mother Aniseya tells Osha that with Jedi, “This is about power, and who is allowed to use it.” Furthermore, Indara mentions how the Jedi have a legal right to know if children are being trained.

The Stranger (Manny Jacinto) in Lucasfilm’s THE ACOLYTE, season one, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

As such, it’s hard to imagine them letting padawans with a significant amount of training go to casually. Qimir mentions how the Jedi teach people if they aren’t trained in “their” way, they lose that connection to the Force….Something we know is demonstrably false. So the question presented is, do the Jedi use this teaching just as propaganda, or are they doing something to ensure it happens?

There’ve been a lot of hints the Jedi have been mind-wiping Osha to some degree. Something which could explain her faulty memory of the night on Brendok and her disconnection with the Force. It’s a pretty dark implication; and perhaps another indicator at how far the Jedi have fallen…

Scars of the Past

Along these same lines, we gotta talk about the winding scar along Qimir’s back. We first see it early on when he takes a quick dip. Later on Osha asks him directly about it,  saying it looks like someone “stabbed him in the back.” To which Qimir replies, “Someone who threw me away.”

That doesn’t really answer the question, but considering it’s the exact same phrasing he used when talking about the Jedi “throwing out” Osha. The implication then, is that a JEDI, presumably his former master is the one who gave him the scar.

Again, this could tie into the idea that Jedi don’t necessarily let people just leave. I’m not saying they’re outright slaughtering kids who don’t make it, but there’s definitely more to the story behind Qimir leaving the Order. Maybe fearing some sort of “mind-wiping,” he lashed out and his master, who then had to defend themselves? Or something along those lines. Either way, it definitely goes a long way toward explaining his personal hatred of the Jedi.

Vernestra Rwoh (Rebecca Henderson) in Lucasfilm’s THE ACOLYTE, season one, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

And let’s talk about the shape of that scar. That doesn’t look like something a regular Lightsaber would inflict. It looks more, curvy; even whip-like. It’s not lost on me the scene which immediately follows is when Vernestra (on Khofar) reveals her light-whip in action. Could Vernestra have been his Jedi Master at one point? Is that why she’s been acting a bit shady throughout the season?

Not to mention her whispered words after dismissing the idea that Sol was behind the attack, “Something to tip the scales.” There’s no context here for us to pull from, which makes it seem like something from her past. Could this be something Qimir had once said to her? If so, does that imply he’s purposefully dragging her into the conflict as well?

There is much to ponder here.

A Legendary Planet?

“Teach/Corrupt” opens up on the planet we previously saw Mae visit to speak with her master. The text that pops up on screen merely says “Unknown Planet.” Considering the series hasn’t been shy in naming planets before, it seems like it could end up being of some importance.

Pretty much since the first trailers, fans online have pointed out the similarities the planet shares with Ahch-To, where Luke Skywalker was hiding during the Sequel Trilogy. Serving as the site (or at least one of them) of the first Jedi Temple, it’s a sacred place. As such, it would make a kind of perverse sense that the Sith would be hiding out there as well.

That said, I don’t think we’re looking at Ahch-To here. Aside from the lack of porgs (instead we get some crazy looking elephant birds), there are some hints this could be another important world from Star Wars Legends material; specifically something that plays into Darth Plagueis’ history.

Bal’demnic. The planet was first introduced in Genndy Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars microseries as a focal point for the war. Both sides wanted control of it for a simple reason: rich deposits of cortosis ore. Yeah, the same material Qimir confirms his armor/helmet is made of which can shortcircuit lightsaber blades. And it sure looks like Osha looks at a cortosis ore vein on the wall as she inspects Qimir’s helmet.

Furthermore, the Darth Plagueis novel opens with Plagueis and Palpatine visiting the planet. Bal’demnic is also the site where Plagueis killed his master, Darth Tenebrous. So yeah, the planet has a whole lot of history built into it from Legends material, and Leslye Headland’s interviews have made it abundantly clear she’s just enough of a lore nerd to be dropping such references.

What’s Next

“Teach/Corrupt” ends with Osha donning the helmet. It’s a chilling moment as we all wait for something to happen when she does. I imagine this is what’s going to lead us to the next flashback. As Qimir points out, the helmet works as a “deprivation” tool; leaving the user alone in the Force. Maybe it’s the key to Osha unlocking her memories of that night, as they’re seemingly blocked by the Force.

Beyond that, we have Sol acting real suspicious. From turning off the transponder, directly ignoring the fact Jedi are on the way to assist him, and flying out just before they show up. These are strange behaviors, and his menacing discussion with Mae makes it clear he wants to track down Qimir and “end” the threat to the Jedi. While that may prove necessary, Sol’s actions feel more in line with revenge than righteous justice.

(L-R): Mother Aniseya (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Koril (Margarita Levieva) in Lucasfilm’s THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

I suspect what’s coming is we’ll get another flashback to the events of Brendok, fully revealing what happened that night. Meanwhile, Sol will get the location of the planet from Mae which will lead to a bigger/final confrontation between them. Vernestra might be tossed into the mix there as well, making for an epic final battle that will ultimately decide the fate for both Mae and Osha along the way.

In short, it feels like we can see where the endgame of the season is headed (only two episode left!). Despite that, there’s still no telling how it’s all going to shake out, and that’s pretty damn exciting to think.

Easter Eggs

I already discussed the biggest Easter egg (the planet potentially being Bal’demnic), but there were a few other small references/call backs that I noticed in “Teach/Corrupt.”

Emergency Code Zero – When Master Sol first tries to reach the Jedi Temple, he uses “Emergency Code Zero.” This stems from the Empire at War game, and essentially used to tell anyone who hears it to drop their current tasks and go help.

Change of Outfits – Pretty hard to ignore that Osha’s new garb, with the open cut shoulders, feels very reminiscent of Rey’s outfit when she travels to train with Luke Skywalker.

Hyperspace Trouble – Mog (what a funny little Jedi), makes reference to Vernestra having “issues” while traveling through Hyperspace. This is something from her backstory in The High Republic novels, as she frequently endures unprovoked visions on longer voyages.

Only What You Bring With You – When Qimir is talking to Osha about his helmet’s abilities, he says “it’s just you and the Force…and what you bring with you.” The line echoes how Yoda describe the dark cave on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back.

Power of Two – Qimir mentions that his main goal is “the power of two.” This could be a reference to the Sith’s adherence to Bane’s Rule of Two. But it’s also a phrase we’ve heard before in regards to the Witches on Brendok. Maybe he specifically wants the twins’ unique powers.

Jedi Shuttle – The ship Vernestra and her team uses when heading to Khofar sure looks like an early predecessor to the T-6 Jedi shuttle we’ve seen in the Clone Wars, and more recently as Ahsoka’s vessel.

A Familiar Name – Speaking of Vernestra’s Jedi shuttle…the official Star Wars site has confirmed she’s named the ship, Cantaros, after her former Padawan Imri Cantaros who features in The High Republic novels.

I’m sure there are others I’ve missed, but these were the ones that stood out to me most.

“Teach/Corrupt” does some important character work, and delivers some of the show’s best performances yet. Which goes a long way toward smoothing out the uneven pacing we had to deal with. Even so, there’s lots to enjoy and think about, as the stakes continue to rise as we head into the final two episodes.

Previous articleKinds of Kindness | Review
Next articleBattlefield 2024 x DEAD SPACE Event Announced, Jump Into Horror July 9th
Jordan Maison
Editor-in-Chief: Writer and cartoonist who went to college for post-production, he now applies his love of drawing, movie analysis, filmmaking, video games, and martial arts into writing.