Friday, June 28, 2024

Recap: The Acolyte Episode 5 — Night

The master is finally unmasked in this week's brutal and action-packed episode filled with jaw-dropping surprises and kick-ass lightsaber dueling. 

Last week's cliffhanger of an episode left us at the precipice of an epic battle between a team of Jedi and and the mysterious, be-masked master who wields a red lightsaber. When it starts, it's intense, and made me realize how much I'd been missing wild, colorful, lightsabers-akimbo battles à la the arena fight scene in Attack of the Clones.

The master takes care of nearly all of them with ease, and we haven't seen this many Jedi deaths in Star Wars since Order 66. The way the master fights is unlike anything I've seen in Star Wars, and even Yord comments on this —"He doesn't fight like us." 

He wields his saber with such brute force that he's completely outmuscling the Jedi, who tend to use their weapons in more fanciful, artistic ways. If the Jedi are gymnastics, the master is Crossfit. 

Midway through the battle, Sol orders Yord to take Osha back to the ship. They retreat reluctantly as the Jedi battle wages on. Watching Sol fight the master is pure Star Wars, and its a pleasure to watch.

Meanwhile, Padawan Jecki is battling Mae, despite the fact that in the last episode she decided she was done with following the master now that she knows her sister is still alive. 

Despite these good intentions, though, it is still true that Mae has killed at least two Jedi in cold blood, and Jecki is a space cop that's been tasked with bringing her in. Mae may not want to continue doing evil acts of vengeance, but she definitely doesn't want to go to Republic jail, either. She manages to handcuff Mae but is interrupted by the master.

Now, we get to watch a young, green padawan hold her on against a possible Sith lord, and the ensuing lightsaber battle is stellar. Watching Jecki wield two smaller blades presages Ahsoka, and it's great to see live. Sol rejoins her duel and it's hard to watch them still not continue to get the upper hand — this master is strong.

Finally, they succeed in damaging his mask so that it falls off — and it turns out the master is Qimir (Manny Jacinto). We love a surprise reveal! And then seconds later, he kills Jecki (RIP you were too good for this world, girl). 

Sol demands to know who this dude is and what he's doing with the Force. He says, "Jedi like you might call me...Sith." He wants the freedom to wield his power the way that he wants — apart from the Jedi. He wants an acolyte to train, but Mae betrayed him. And now that Sol and the others have seen him maskless, he has to kill them all. 

This show has expanded on the lore of the Jedi in one key way for me — as quasi-fascist guardians of who can wield the Force. In earlier movies, this idea was glossed over. Younglings were selected and they showed up at the Temple, end of story.  

But there's more to it than that. With Mother Aniseya and her coven, we got a glimpse of other non-Jedi Force users that were persecuted and forced to live in hiding. Now, the master shows another side. He says that he'd be called Sith, but that may not be what he considers himself. Maybe he just wants to do passionate, angry Force wielding but stop one foot short of pure evil like the Darths. 

Is this fair? Who are the Jedi to say that they are the only ones to be trusted with the Force? It's an interesting questions that I'll be thinking about for a while.

The battle resumes, and Yord is also killed. This episode has been an absolute blood bath for the Jedi!

Osha stuns Mae as she runs aways, and Sol continues to fight the master sans lightsabers with some brutal MMA moves. Osha then sticks a lit-up Pip (her beloved handheld droid) onto the master's back to attract the man-attacking moths that live in the trees, and he gets dragged into the sky.

Mae returns and knocks out Osha and Sol this time, and Mae cuts her hair (first ever coif performed with a lightsaber) and steals Osha's clothes to masquerade as her. This is some serious soap-stuff twin shenanigans. 

Mae-as-Osha and Sol return to the ship, but Bezil, everyone's favorite little bear guy, finds Pip and recognizes Osha's scent — but notices something's off. 

Also we learn that the master wasn't killed off so easily by killer moths. He's fine and most likely going to keep looking for Mae.

That's all we get for this week! It'll be interesting to find out where the story goes from here. This almost seems like it could have been a much later episode. 

Damn, was it entertaining though.


The Math

Baseline score: 9

Bonuses: This episode is 75% epic lightsaber battles; Jecki and Yord paid the ultimate price but will ride shiny and chrome in Valhalla; an extremely buff Manny Jacinto

POSTED BY: Haley Zapal, new NoaF contributor and lawyer-turned-copywriter living in Atlanta, Georgia. A co-host of Hugo Award-winning podcast Hugo, Girl!, she posts on Instagram as @cestlahaley. She loves nautical fiction, Vidalia onions, and growing corn and giving them pun names like Anacorn Skywalker.