The Acolyte episode 7 "Choice" review: What happens when no one is right

"The road to Hell is paved with good intentions"
(L-R): Torbin (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Sol (Lee Jung-jae) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, season one, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Torbin (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Sol (Lee Jung-jae) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, season one, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Star Wars: The Acolyte episode 7, "Choice," was the other side of the story that started in episode 3, "Destiny." We see what happened on Brendok 16 years prior, but this time from the point of view of the Jedi. What unfolded was a messy scenario in the best way possible.

"Choice" is fascinating because it's a story in which no one is really right. The old saying goes, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." Everyone in the episode wants the exact same thing: They want Osha and Mae to be safe. However, lives are destroyed thanks to biases, perceptions, and simply wrong choices.

Both sides of this conflict come in with their own perception of the other group. The coven on Brendok fears the Jedi taking their children; the Jedi, Sol in particular, sees some spooky-looking witches who look like they're hurting and keeping two young girls captive. It's a lack of understanding and communication that makes everything fall apart. The only real adults in the room are Indara and Aniseya, who, if given a few hours just to sit and actually talk, probably would have resolved this entire thing peacefully. Everyone else around them ignores them, though. Even then, Indara and Aniseya aren't entirely innocent in this either.

Mother Koril is justified in protecting her daughters. To her, these Jedi people are here to steal her children. The issue is she's not communicating with her partner, Aniseya, and vice versa. She is the one who takes Mae and riles her up to fight back. She's the one who pits the twins against each other. Koril is so trigger-happy that she's looking for an excuse to fight the Jedi. As we see in her one-on-one fight with Sol, she wants this to happen. Repeatedly, she fails to goad him into fighting her as he only defends himself. She actively ignores Aniseya and chooses her own and her coven's wishes over Osha's wishes to leave.

Torbin doesn't help as he is a teenager who is desperate to get the heck out of this place. Aniseya, protecting her daughters, prays on his fears, escalating his desire to flee Brendok. We don't know why she does this; maybe she hoped Torbin would convince the other Jedi to leave them alone. Regardless, teenagers often make rash choices even without the witch's push. He saw an opportunity to leave this place and wrongly tried to take matters into his own hands. Throw a heaping helping of getting mind controlled, it's no wonder that Torbin is just as lightsaber trigger happy as Koril, if only to defend himself.

Mae is a child stuck in the middle of all of this mess. Her mother, Koril, gave her orders to protect her sister. Her mom commanded her to use any means necessary. While the "I'll kill you" from episode 3 that came out of Mae's mouth to Osha might seem extreme, I remember saying some dumb and mean stuff like that to my own siblings growing up when we were mad at each other. Mae is, again, a child having some really big emotions in the middle of a frightening situation. The only thing she did wrong was burn her sister's journal out of anger. And remember, anger is a secondary emotion that hides the deeper, primary emotion.

Mae is actually scared. She's scared that her family is breaking apart. She's scared that these strangers are taking her sister away. She's a scared little girl when she realizes the journal is burning too fast. She's a scared child dropping the lamp with oil, which splashes on the wall and catches the electricals on fire. Mae is frightened when she runs outside for her mothers' help because her world is literally burning down around her.

Then there is Sol, making his own self-fulfilling prophecy. I think he was looking for a noble mission to make himself worth something. Aniseya says as much, noting the so-called noble mission of the Jedi will be their downfall. In the early scenes, before meeting the girls, Sol seems frustrated. He steps on Indara's toes with training her padawan. Sol speaks highly of finding these vergences to give their moss collecting some sort of purpose. There is something more that Sol wants from his life.

Finding the girls gives him this purpose to the point of hyperfocusing on Osha in particular. From his point of view, he sees a mean lady in the woods taking the children back to a place with creepy-looking witches. Watching the girls' training session from episode 3, to him, it looks like they're being attacked. He repeatedly pushes back against Indara's warning to slow down and leave it, because he truly thinks the girls are in trouble. When Aniseya began a spell to protect her kid, Sol saw a spooky witch turn into smoke and start changing a little girl into the same smoke. He made a split-second choice to protect a child, realizing too late that it was the wrong one.

Sol's fatal flaw here is caring too much. His intentions are good, but he is the one who sets off these events. He's the one who coaxes Osha into her test and gets her excited about lightsabers and another path. Yes, all of this is, in his mind, for her best life. What Jedi wouldn't want to help children in trouble? However, it's based on trying to heal this void inside himself, leading to his all-important choice.

Before ever being faced with trying to save the twins on the bridge, Sol had always chosen Osha. There was never an interest in Mae, which is where his guilt more than likely lies now in the present. Sol picked Osha or nothing at all. These actions left Mae emotionally traumatized, seeing from her point of view these strangers come into her home to take her sister and murder her mother. It primed her for being a target of Qimir.

It's not that Indara and Aniseya are innocent of all of this, either. Aniseya says in her dying breath that she is going to let Osha go with Sol. But what were Osha's options before? Before the Jedi ever arrived, Osha did not want to do the Ascension ceremony. She didn't have any interest in being a witch. What were Osha's choices before? Because Aniseya definitely tried to talk Osha into the ceremony in episode 3.

Then, with Indara, did she lie to the Jedi Council? Some fans have already pointed out that earlier in the season, there was no record of Osha having a twin in her Jedi file. But Indara insisted on talking to the Council herself to explain that Mae had started the fire. So what happened here? Indara seemed like the voice of reason the entire episode, but evidence points out that something more must have happened along the way.

Honestly, Kelnacca is pretty much the only person who did nothing wrong. Poor guy was just using his metal detector, minding his own business, cooking for his friends, and then everyone around him decided to do their own thing. He was the one who was possessed by a coven of witches and attacked his friends. Still, his battle with Torbin and Sol was excellent, reminding viewers how truly horrifying Wookiees can be with their full strength on display. That reveal that he was the one posessed, not Torbin, jacked the danger level so much higher, leading to one of the best fight scenes of the series.

"Choice" is a fantastic exploration of what happens when biases are brought to a room where no one communicates. Everyone in the episode was wrong in one way or another. The writing is complicated, leading to a hollow, bitter feeling in the best way possible.

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