The Acolyte episode 6 review: The seduction of the dark side

The dark side is more tempting than ever in this episode.
The Stranger (Manny Jacinto) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, season one, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
The Stranger (Manny Jacinto) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, season one, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Warning: This article contains spoilers from Star Wars: The Acolyte Season 1, episode 6, "Teach/Corrupt."

After the overwhelming intensity and heartbreak of last week's action-packed episode, "Night," we needed a bit of a breather in the next episode. "Teach/Corrupt" offers that with a more contemplative installment that deals with the fallout from last week, all while pushing the story forward for the final two episodes.

When Osha first stepped outside on the planet where Qimir/The Stranger had taken her, I immediately thought it looked like Ahch-To from The Last Jedi. I appreciated that the series very clearly communicates that it's not Ahch-To, instead presenting the title card of "UNKNOWN PLANET." While a part of me wants to know the planet's name for canon lore's sake, I also appreciate not knowing, as it ties in well with Osha not knowing where she is or how she should now proceed.

So far, Qimir has mostly been goofy or terrifyingly sinister. In this episode, however, He presents himself as just a regular guy going about his daily routines, speaking to Osha matter-of-factly and as an equal. This is disarming for Osha and for the audience, especially after the events of the previous episode.

This grounded approach makes everything he says sound logical and appealing. Everything Qimir says sounds great, including what he says about attaining freedom, about the unfairness of the Jedi's one-sided relationships, and how he seemingly empowers Osha to believe in herself and her power more than Sol and other Jedi.

There is genuine truth in everything he says, making it easy to see how almost anyone, and Osha specifically, can be seduced by the dark side of the Force. The problem is what Qimir wants to do with that freedom and what he wants Osha to do with the untapped power inside of her. The promises of the dark side are incredibly tempting and can be initially rooted in truth and noble aims, but they ultimately just become a hollow justification for committing selfish and destructive deeds.

Nevertheless, Qimir's temptations are strong enough to get Osha to ignite his red lightsaber and hold it at his throat, along with earning the final moment of Osha putting on his mask and taking a step closer to embracing the dark side. Osha's potential for darkness has been hinted at since the first episode when she freed the prisoner, who ran from her, screaming hysterically. He shouted that he sensed darkness in her before Sol quieted his mind.

Amandla Stenberg and Lee Jung-jae's performances in this episode are just as impressive as well as Manny Jacinto. Stenberg plays a conflicted Osha, along with Mae struggling and pretending to be Osha, with both performances feeling distinct. Meanwhile, Lee's despair after losing his Padawan Jecki Lon and the other Jedi on his team is palpable, and regardless of what happened on Brendok sixteen years ago, my heart still breaks for him in almost every scene of this episode.

Given everything that has happened and his decision to leave with a captive Mae before Vernestra Rwoh and the other Jedi could reach him, I'm concerned about what Sol will do next. He admitted his regret at Qimir being able to push him to such a dark place. I'm worried Sol will be pushed to an even darker place before this season ends, especially since Vernestra and fellow Jedi Mog discussed their theory that Sol might be responsible for the Jedi murders on Khofar.

The Vernestra scenes in this episode were compelling in the context of this show and in terms of wider lore and canon connections. Vernestra's personal investment in what is happening makes it seem like she may have secrets of her own. With Qimir revealing to Osha that he was a Jedi long ago, it's possible that he was trained by Vernestra, as she has been in the Jedi Order for over a hundred years, and she suspects her former Padawan is at the heart of all this. Perhaps Vernestra even did something to push Qimir to the dark side.

As for canon and lore connections, there is, of course, the thrill of seeing Vernestra's light whip in live-action. Another one I appreciated is ever since episode 1 when Vernestra and Sol talked about not letting Indara's murder be used against them by their political enemies, I've been wondering about who those political enemies are at this point toward the end of the High Republic era.

We get a little more insight in this episode with the mention of a Senator Rayencourt, who dislikes the Jedi, is gaining support and is leading a vote for an external review of the Jedi Order. There is a discussion of the Jedi Order's transparency with the Senate as well, a double-edged sword that will later lead to their downfall with Chancellor Palpatine weaponizing that transparency

Another cool connection is a mention of Vernestra finding hyperspace travel unsettling. In The High Republic books, Vernestra experiences hyperspace visions and is given a hyperspace route that has been set up to be important to the story's endgame. The fact she still finds hyperspace travel unsettling a century later in the timeline is a great connection to The High Republic and raises more questions about how Vernestra's arc and her relationship with hyperspace will pan out in the remaining books and episodes.

I expect episode 7 will primarily or entirely be flashbacks to Brendok, finally revealing what really happened there, only this time from the perspectives of Sol, Indara, Kelnacca, and Torbin. Then, in episode 8, everything will collide in the present-day timeline with Osha, Qimir, Sol, Mae, and Vernestra.

With nearly every episode feeling intriguingly different from the previous week while still adding to the overall story and its direction, The Acolyte continues to be a refreshing and enjoyable series to watch.

Next. The Acolyte episode 5 review: Night. The Acolyte episode 5 review: Night. dark