The Acolyte: Destiny
June 12, 2024 7:38 AM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

On a mysterious planet, the tragic journey of two sisters begins.
posted by TheophileEscargot (28 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
So. I liked the stylish fortress design. The witches were interesting. But I'm disappointed it wasn't a bit more morally ambiguous. The Jedi were a bit pushy but didn't do anything bad enough to make a revenge plot sympathetic.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:43 AM on June 12


The Jedi were a bit pushy but didn't do anything bad enough to make a revenge plot sympathetic.

I suspect we are going to learn that not all of those dead witches were killed by the fire. And Mae went surprisingly quickly from "I want you to stay" to "then I'll kill you" -- what happened in that gap in the narrative?

It's also worth noting that when Indara said it wasn't legal to train children as Force users in the Republic except through the Jedi, Mother Aniseya said they weren't in the Republic. So what gave the Jedi jurisdiction to do anything there?

The showrunner has explicitly referenced Rashomon; so there are several more reveals coming, I suspect.
posted by suelac at 8:47 AM on June 12 [5 favorites]


Absolutely, what we saw last night was definitely not the definitive story to what happened on Brendock (sp?). The death of the coven members is going to be a crucial piece of the mystery as we go forward. We know that Mae and Osha's other mother (I can't remember her name, sorry!) was quite ready to rock and roll with the Jedi, but for Mother Aniseya's decision not to engage in violence.

Speaking of the coven, BIG Dathomir witches vibe, right down to the few Zabraks (including Mom #2). I really enjoyed the lesson on "threads" by Mother Aniseya and I hope we get to learn more about the coven prior to its destruction. The Dathomir Witches, if I remember correctly, drew upon the Dark Side for their magic, but this did not feel very Dark Side - though their magic, like the Nightsisters, did take on a physical appearance (greenish/blue smoke?). So I don't know how this shakes out in that regard. Their chant, "The power of one, the power of two, the power of many," has got to come back around in a symbolic sense at some point. I don't know how I would have done it, but maybe it was the use of the Volume or something, but the scene visually did not look that great on the tv.

It's also worth noting that when Indara said it wasn't legal to train children as Force users in the Republic except through the Jedi, Mother Aniseya said they weren't in the Republic. So what gave the Jedi jurisdiction to do anything there?


I don't think the Jedi had jurisdiction, but Mother Aniseya was concerned that the Jedi might push if shoved and felt that complying with the out of jurisdiction action would remedy the situation with the fewest number of bodies. I guess she thought the twins would both lie and the Jedi would leave.

What we have to figure at the moment is Mae's revenge with Torban's "We thought what we were doing was right" comment and then this back flash.
posted by Atreides at 11:21 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]


Don't pick up the phallus, kid! Stick with your lesbian coded coven and fight these phallologocentric neoliberal thugs!
posted by eustatic at 12:04 PM on June 12 [14 favorites]


I really don't want this coven to be collapsed into Dathomir, I hope they don't do that, at least the "vibes" weren't green

I forget which it show it was, but even Ellsbeth could have fallen into a 'light' coven of Dathomir witches.

Please just let these be multiple churches and covens of the Whills/Threads/Force, and let the universe breathe, and allow the story to be about religious persecution under a state religion.

The Jedi just want these Diggers and Quakers and Baptists to all be Church of England, when they explicitly ran from that.

Let there be many heads to this hydra, as the covens Scatter from England and Europe, and their "Hammer of Witches" to form islands of freedom in the Atlantic world
posted by eustatic at 12:39 PM on June 12 [11 favorites]


Also, were Osha and Mae germinated by the Force, or was it just IVF?
posted by eustatic at 12:49 PM on June 12 [3 favorites]


my main takeaway from this episode is

Fuck
The
Jedi

goddamn childsnatching prickshits

they deserve everything that’s coming their way down the line
posted by Kattullus at 4:08 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm team Mae now. The Jedi rock up on a planet outside their jurisdiction, interrupt a sacred ceremony with oblique threats, and try to seduce some kids. Fuck em all.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:41 PM on June 12 [2 favorites]


Okay, I’ve calmed down some. I’ve even entertained a counter-reading to the reading of the Jedi as Child Catchers, that the Jedi are queer-coded, and that the force-sensitive children are analogous to queer kids stuck in families that make them hide their true selves. This may be something the show develops, but if it’s the way the viewer is supposed to understand them, it’s still underdeveloped.

Which I kinda don’t except, because the show, for good or ill, seems to have very clear axioms it’s working from, and a clear idea how it will relay its story. I really like how this episode went out of its way to wrongfoot expectations. Having a tight focus on Osha allowed the show to avoid answering questions, while still giving the viewers clues.

The one part of the episode I thought was a bit thudding was the end, when it cuts to Mae at the bunta tree. Yes, the witches were poisoned with bunta, there’s no need to absolutely hammer the point home. That’s a rare misstep, though, mostly it was very good about giving the viewer just enough to feel that there was a lot more to the world off-screen, in the finest tradition of Star Wars.

Oh, and that ceremony was absolute fire. What a Star War!
posted by Kattullus at 4:52 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]


From this ep alone, I kept thinking of American/Canadian Indian residential schools and the Stolen Generations.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure the coven didn't go the way of Heaven's Gate, at least I hope not, and it's hard to believe there was no sprinkler system there. There were some electrical(?) issues in the fortress right after the training session.. Too bad Kelnacca didn't take a look at it because he seems like a licensed electrician.
Also, we hear it, but we don't really see Mae say, "I'll kill you". The shot cuts away just as she starts to say the phrase, which was a little weird.

I'm guessing this is Osha's traumatized recall of the events. Feels like that X-Files episode with Luke Wilson, "Bad Blood". As suelac mentioned Rashomon, we might see contradicting stories.
posted by dogstoevski at 4:56 PM on June 12 [6 favorites]


Anyway, I'm pretty sure the coven didn't go the way of Heaven's Gate, at least I hope not, and it's hard to believe there was no sprinkler system there. There were some electrical(?) issues in the fortress right after the training session.

There's no workplace safety laws in the Star Wars universe. Stands to reason there are no building standards also.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:14 PM on June 12 [7 favorites]


There's no workplace safety laws in the Star Wars universe. Stands to reason there are no building standards also.

It's just occurred to me that the character named OSHA is the only one who survived the terrible accident in her place of work.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:15 PM on June 12 [24 favorites]


Maybe this show is censored on some platforms? Mae says, "I'll kill you" as she snatches the diary from Osha.
posted by abraxasaxarba at 6:20 PM on June 12 [2 favorites]


Mae: "As above the sky, below the sea,
I give you, you"

Osha: "And you give me, me."

Seems like Mae is doing all the giving and Osha all the taking.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:17 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Okay, I’ve calmed down some. I’ve even entertained a counter-reading to the reading of the Jedi as Child Catchers, that the Jedi are queer-coded, and that the force-sensitive children are analogous to queer kids stuck in families that make them hide their true selves. This may be something the show develops, but if it’s the way the viewer is supposed to understand them, it’s still underdeveloped.

This is a pretty cool reading, and definitely feels applicable to Osha's circumstances.

The current setup of Jedi "recruitment" did remind me of a High Republic storyline from it's second phase.

Spoilers for Phase 2 of the High Republic - Scroll if You Intend to Read it!

A major antagonist in Phase 2 is the "Mother" who sort of sweeps in and takes over this peaceful religious group, shifting it from pacifists to gun toting cultists. The group's central tenet is that the Force should not be used because using the Force, for example, to lift flower petals in the air will somehow have a negative ripple effect that will result in harm elsewhere. As it becomes more violent in nature, it obviously becomes extremely anti-Jedi. In the end, you learn that the Mother was actually the sister to a Force sensitive child who was taken by the Jedi to become a padawan. Now, why miss the chance to make the Mother be, you know, an aggrieved mother who's child was taken by the Jedi is beyond me, but there are reflections in the Acolyte story. Mind you, the sister was not angry, either, so much that her sister was taken, as much she was not taken, too. So there's part of where the similarities end.

End of spoilers for Phase 2 of the High Republic

I bring this up because I like how Acolyte is touching upon this subject and more so from the perspective of a family not wanting to give up their child to the Jedi. I think ever since this idea that the Jedi remove/invite/recruit/whatever you want to call it children at a very early age became part of the Jedi canon, it really hasn't been explored from the negative perspective. Usually, it's examined in the sense of "this is the best thing for the child" or "this is an honor for our family!"

Which is not to say, it makes some sense for a child young enough not to form attachments to go with the Jedi, but I think this really stresses upon the idea that an untrained child can unknowingly draw upon the Dark Side of the Force because of attachments they never lose. If I recall, I think part of the current SW Force theology is that if someone is not trained to become a Force user, their ability to use the Force essentially atrophies and/or goes dormant (which, if true, again, takes off the edge of "we must get this child trained!"). This is also kind of reflected in the law cited in this episode, "Only the Jedi can train a child in the Force." So the law is not mandating a Force sensitive child must go to the Jedi, but just who can train a Force sensitive child. As Mother Aniseya noted, it is a story about Power and who gets to use it.

The Jedi, in their blind faith that their approach to the Force is the right and benevolent one, cannot fathom a use of the Force outside their own that benefits the user, much less a child with the potential to "do good" in the galaxy. This may be the big part of what Acolyte is trying to tell us, as it was advertised as indicating how the Jedi Order eased into the form it was when it got wiped out at the end of the Clone Wars. On reflection, we know Yoda regretted the Jedi involvement in the Clone Wars, as it blinded them to the Dark Side. The Jedi believed what they were doing was right, protecting the Republic, protecting democracy, though we know that by the time the Clone Wars occur, there were serious grievances held by members of the Republic (see Clone Wars tv show), and arguably, democracy had really withered on the vine given how easily Palpatine was able to guide the votes into putting him into permanent power as Emperor.

So in a way, this Jedi doctrine that the best way for a child to grow with the Force was under their tutelage may be viewed as a seed that flourishes into the errors that ultimately undo the Jedi years later.

Last Thoughts, I swear!

I was thinking about how Mae and Osha have been presented as children in this episode. When they were conceived, however they were conceived, I would wager that twins were not the goal of the witches. That for the purpose of driving character, the twins might be viewed as two parts of a whole. Their shared rhyme:

“You are with me. I am with you.
Always one but born as two.
As above sits the stars and below lies the sea,
I give you you and you give me me.”

One, born as two, and that together, their personal attributes make each other whole. This appeared to be represented in different ways: Mae appears to be stronger in the Force, is more controlling (how she held the bunta frozen in the air long enough for Osha to express concern), is confident in who she is, what she wants. She was ready to defend against her mother, where as Osha hid behind Mae. Osha is almost the opposite of all of this, a bit more of a follower than a leader with regard to Mae, is willing to make her subordinate to the wishes of others (by lying initially to the Jedi). That doesn't mean Osha is less strong, but just not as dominant. I think Mae's extreme reaction to Osha wanting to leave is her personality exerting itself, "I'd rather you die than lose you because you chose to leave me." And in a way, Mae probably feels like it's a part of her own identity betraying her. When the twins are apart, they are incomplete, and cannot reach their full potential, which may also be why Osha could not complete her Jedi training.
posted by Atreides at 7:10 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


Ok, so like now I feel like I'm somehow being, er, forced into a role as the fire realism police for this show, and obviously nobody cares but me. But those were some mighty flammable rock walls they decided to build their coven in.

As someone who is not up on the non-TV/movie lore for this era of the universe, can someone tell me whether the sort of witch-coded coven from this episode is related to the witch-coded bad guys from the end of Ashoka, who existed a long time in the future in a galaxy far far away from the Star Wars Prime galaxy? Were those the Dathomir that eustatic mentioned?
posted by whir at 6:57 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


The Dathomirian Nightsisters from Ahsoka are also from The Clone Wars and came out of one of the Legends novels back in the 1990s. So far as I can tell, these folks don't have any relationship to them: they don't have the weird face markings, their magic isn't green and glowing, and they seem not to be completely batshit misandrists.

There are Dathomirian witches who are not Nightsisters, and who seem to be less batshit, and I suppose it's possible these ladies are related to them?
posted by suelac at 7:16 PM on June 13


But those were some mighty flammable rock walls

maybe they had a unfortunate religious calling to inhabit abandoned Oil Shale mines without proper ventilation
posted by eustatic at 7:58 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


There are Dathomirian witches who are not Nightsisters, and who seem to be less batshit, and I suppose it's possible these ladies are related to them?

This seems the most likely option, to my mind - especially as those non-Nightsister Witches were recently featured in Tales of the Empire. It's too neat to be coincidence.

I have to admit to audibly crying "BULLSHIT" (simultaneous with my 12 yo) when the jedi said "Jedi don't steal children". Lies? Delusion?
posted by coriolisdave at 10:03 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


The Dathomirians from Tales of the Empire were light-side adjacent, these witches are dark-sided.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 1:38 AM on June 14


SW.com shared an article that expressly notes these witches are not affiliated with the Dathomir witches. I think it is better to think of them as similar, but not the same, as the Mountain Clan witches (or whatever they're called). I noticed their elder was dressed in an out fit similar to elders in the Mountain Clan (if my memory serves me right?).

Over the past 24 hrs, I had two thoughts, based on this episode representing Osha's memory of what happened. One, that Osha's memory is flawed/altered and she actually set the fire and killed her family (intentionally or not is up in the air). It may also be that this truth is the barrier that kept her from going further down the path of becoming a Jedi.

Second, the unknown Sith Master has not set out to train or raise up Mae, but is using Mae to get to Osha. Osha would have worked anonymously for Nemoideans (sp?) for ever, but with Mae's killing of Indara, this lead to the Jedi finding and pulling her out of this obscurity. Mae's additional attempts on the remaining Jedi then brings Osha even closer to her own memories and manipulation potentially by the Master, as the Master may have correctly deduced that the Jedi would keep Osha around once they realized Mae was alive.
posted by Atreides at 7:32 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


these witches are dark-sided.

The witches are explicitly not dark sided, and practically quote Yoda

I just saw ir as an analogy to misogyny
posted by eustatic at 7:04 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


The witches are explicitly not dark sided, and practically quote Yoda
Came here to say.
The only arguable dark siding they show is mind-controlling Padawan Floatypants, everything else is neutral- to good-aligned.
posted by coriolisdave at 3:56 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]


The Jedi have many crimes to pay for, not the least of which is shaving a wookie's head into a kind of braided mohawk and obliging them to wear a vest but no pants.

I'm cool with furries and all, but this seems different and wrong. It's borderline abusive deviant behavior. You just shouldn't be allowed to go 'round tearing a sentient being away from their garment-eschewing culture of birth and forcing them into a work uniform that makes them look like Humphrey B. Bear joined the A-Team.
posted by MarchHare at 7:05 PM on June 18 [3 favorites]


The only arguable dark siding they show is mind-controlling Padawan Floatypants, everything else is neutral- to good-aligned.
posted by coriolisdave at 3:56 PM


The Jedi don't even call them dark sided, although i haven't seen the new one. the only ones that mention the dark side by this episode is the mother, who says "some say we are dark-sided", like an internalized "darkness"
posted by eustatic at 12:39 PM on June 19 [3 favorites]


Not sure what to make of this. There is definitely some partial reveals to fiddle with the viewer.

I have to admit to audibly crying "BULLSHIT" (simultaneous with my 12 yo) when the jedi said "Jedi don't steal children". Lies? Delusion?

Especially when it was immediately followed by an insistence on testing the children. If they are trying to insert moral ambiguity that is some weirdly non-ambiguous child stealing going on.

The only arguable dark siding they show is mind-controlling Padawan Floatypants, everything else is neutral- to good-aligned.

But Mae, the child who seems to have embraced the witches' teachings the most, is making some odd choices--down to torturing the cute little flying thing in the episode's first scene.

I haven't watched further yet, but with this setup I'm hoping we get layers peeled back. And that whatever is revealed is not just "The witches are evil" or "The Jedi are evil."
posted by mark k at 10:01 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


Darth Maul Mom!
posted by ActingTheGoat at 2:07 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


Well, THAT was the most interesting episode so far. I'm fascinated by the uh, creation of the twins (IVF or force, indeed) and why they're created and the only kids around. Are the two moms A Couple romantically or no and one just incubated for the other? (And if so, how come the girls look like non-birth mom rather than whatever species the birth mom is?) The leader mom is fascinatingly gorgeous and charismatic and I'm like, more of her please, oops, she's dead.

The Jedi seem awkwardly well meaning...albeit yeah, Jedi cops stealing kids away probably doesn't go over so well. Reminds me of the Checquy books.

I get the feeling Mae was always a little divey and creepy, and then murdering everyone...hooooo boy, that was not an accident. Osha's the non-dominant rebel twin who wants to leave, Mae embraces the witch life and then destroys it...damn, girl.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:40 PM on July 19


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