The Acolyte episode 4 review: What we survive

"We're defined by what we survive."
Mae Aniseya (Amandla Stenberg) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, season one, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Mae Aniseya (Amandla Stenberg) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, season one, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Warning: This article contains spoilers from episode 4 of The Acolyte, "Day."

Despite being the shortest episode yet of Star Wars: The Acolyte, "Day" elicits a full range of emotions. Much of the episode had me chuckling at remarks made by Qimir and Osha, nodding in satisfaction at the wise words spoken by Jedi Master Sol and his Padawan Jecki Lon, and feeling delighted by Bazil and the abundance of other alien characters.

Seeing the symbol of the witches' coven in the Wookiee Jedi Kelnacca's hut immediately intrigued me, as did Qimir and Mae's conversations, which revealed new details about her mysterious master, who is likely a Sith Lord. Then, the ending had me yelling expletives at my television screen and feeling terrified for Osha and the other Jedi on Khofar.

This episode proves that Manny Jacinto was the perfect casting choice for Qimir, especially when he says to Mae, "I'm just curious how you're gonna do it this time. You've failed so much." Jacinto nails the comedic timing and blunt, sincere curiosity in the delivery of this line. In general, the character walks a fascinating line between being sinister and goofy.

Amandla Stenberg continues to shine in her dual roles as Mae and Osha, and she had me chuckling as Osha asked Jecki about Bazil. Osha is a stand-in voice for the audience as she asks who or what Bazil is and what's going on with him, asking the same questions the audience is having at that moment. There's something wonderful about suddenly introducing weird characters in a Star Wars story and having both the characters and the audience just needing to roll with it.

As the Jedi followed Bazil's tracking on Khofar and raced to reach Kelnacca, I was moved by Jecki telling Osha, "We're not defined by what we lose. We're defined by what we survive." This is an empowering mindset for Osha. Jecki is teaching Osha an important lesson and showing her that she is more resilient than she realizes.

This, along with the scene early in the episode where Osha goes out of her way to say goodbye to Jecki and thank her, demonstrates their mutual respect for each other. As the current and former Padawans of Sol, it would've been easy for them to be distrustful and jealous of each other. Instead, the show explores a more substantive and rewarding dynamic and overall relationship.

(Center to right): Jedi Padawan Jecki Lon (Dafne Keen) and Master Lakshay (Paul Bullion) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Meanwhile, Sol's words about there still being good in Mae and that she still loves Osha seem to be on point, given Mae's actions later in the episode and her betrayal of Qimir. With Mae now caring more about reuniting with her sister than getting revenge, and Osha seemingly unable to let go of the past and the pain Mae inflicted, there may be a role reversal down the line, with Mae going back to the light and Osha being the one to embrace the dark side.

The dark side is certainly at work on Khofar as Mae discovers that Kelnacca is dead. This is the moment that had me screaming expletives, shocked and upset that the first Wookiee Jedi in live-action is killed so soon after being introduced. I was also so happy for Joonas Suotamo to be playing his own original Wookiee character. I know Kelnacca will be in more flashbacks revealing what happened on Brendok sixteen years ago, but it's still disappointing to lose him so soon.

It is an effective way to further raise the stakes, though. With Indara, Torbin, and now Kelnacca all dead, Sol is in more danger than ever before, and the series has proven that no character, not even the Jedi, is safe. That point was further driven home by the entrance of Mae's master. I was genuinely terrified for Osha when he came face-to-face with her, but given the potential role reversal mentioned above, I could see her eventually replacing Mae as the new acolyte.

Even though the trailers showed shots of the Sith Lord igniting the red lightsaber and sweeping the Jedi aside, it was still chilling to watch, especially since none of these characters, not even Sol, Jecki, or Yord Fandar, are guaranteed to survive, given what's happened to other prominent Jedi characters.

The theories about Yord being the Sith Lord can be discarded given this episode's ending, but Qimir being the Sith Lord is very much still in play. He was last seen on Khofar being strung up by Mae, but his whereabouts at the end are unknown.

Although Mae has never seen her master's face, Qimir's knowledge and mysterious connection to the Sith Lord, as well as his investment in Mae's mission, make him a viable possibility. His goofy persona could potentially be a ruse. In fact, he may have killed Kelnacca before Mae got to the Wookiee as retaliation for Mae's betrayal and for abandoning the deal she made.

The truth is likely far more complex and intriguing, but "Day" does plenty in its limited runtime to maintain the intrigue, build character relationships, make us laugh, and leave us devastated and wanting more.

Next. The Acolyte episode 3 review: Destiny. The Acolyte episode 3 review: Destiny. dark