The Acolyte: Teach/Corrupt
July 3, 2024 3:19 AM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

On a distant island, unsettling questions about identity and destiny arise.
posted by TheophileEscargot (19 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Returns to a slower burn this episode. Glad they're not stringing out the twin-impersonation plot. I'm impatient to see more, especially after Chekhov's Lightwhip...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:26 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]

This is a show with a Sith point of view and I loved getting more Qimer commentary and I also appreciated that Sol caught on fairly quick enough (or did Bazil just tell him? Both?). Mae is slightly better playing Osha, than Osha playing Mae.

I think next episode we are going to get the full dish with the final episode kind of wrapping everything up. In this case, I have a feeling that Sol is going to admit to altering Osha's memories, perhaps so far as to cover up the fact it was Osha who killed everyone (maybe not intentionally) and set the fire, not Mae. This is going to coincide with Osha's memories coming to the forefront as she put on Qimer's helmet.

Like anything a Sith/Dark Side user might say, Qimer's comment about his master throwing him away is likely heavily wrapped in a certain point of view. Perhaps the Jedi had a tendency with their younglings or padawans, when realizing there was too much darkness within them, they set them loose and alter their memories to help keep them from having the Force and tapping into the Dark Side?

I see Osha learning the truth and in the process, tapping back into that darkness within her, and based on her insistence a Jedi doesn't strike down an unarmed opponent, she's going to kill Sol in that very fashion. Whatever happens, Vern is going to report back to Ki-Adi-Mundi that it was our Wookiee or Mae/Osha who turned, etc...This all because of the repeated touching upon of optics, basically, regarding the Order and the Republic.

Let's hope that Pip has a back up memory that isn't wiped during a factory reset!

ALSO: lingering shots of our two dead favorite Jedi WAS NOT APPRECIATED. Argh. the pain.

There's some additional information out there, such as the "unknown planet" and what have you, but I've not the time to touch upon 'em.
posted by Atreides at 6:32 AM on July 3 [5 favorites]

I'm impatient to see more, especially after Chekhov's Lightwhip...

Gee what sort of wepon could have caused Qmir’s scars?
posted by nathan_teske at 6:43 AM on July 3 [5 favorites]

This is Surf Dracula, right? Is this whole season about how Osha becomes Qimir’s Acolyte, and then the REAL story begins in Season 2?
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:29 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]

In retrospect, I feel like we got a 'Luke threatens Kylo' visual callback from the Sol and Qimir scene last episode.

That, or star wars has not been filming sabers as a light source until the sequels / cartoons
posted by eustatic at 7:30 AM on July 3

I mean, if the whole plot is driven by the evils different mentors bring when searching for students (See also lesbionic super witches)

then, people becoming other people's Acolytes is the theme of the show's character arcs, oddly represented by the name of said show.
posted by eustatic at 7:49 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]

Which would be a valuable theme in a time when priests and cops are on trial for child abuse, and social conservatives are deflecting blame for men's behavior on women, gays, and trans people

Do you recruit?
posted by eustatic at 8:11 AM on July 3

In retrospect, I feel like we got a 'Luke threatens Kylo' visual callback from the Sol and Qimir scene last episode.

Other viewers have pointed out there have been some very clear callbacks and references to The Last Jedi and even Rise of Skywalker, be it the specific use of Kylo Ren's theme with Qimer (particularly when he's healing Osha), as well as the clear decision to choose a planet for his base of operations that is reflective of Ahch-to. Sort of a mirror to Luke's chosen hermitage. In an interview with Headland, she talked a lot about the attempted seduction of Rey by Kylo Ren, going so far as to state she felt that the movie should have ended with Kylo's plea to Rey to join him (as a cliffhanger I suppose?).

This is definitely a story about Sith seduction. Qimer miscalculated with Mae, as he shared in this episode, he thought she wanted "more than revenge," the more likely being the power that comes with a Master and Apprentice. The power of two.

Going back to the Last Jedi, just like Empire, it was an attempt by a Dark Side user to convince someone to join them. But I think this nails the season:

Is this whole season about how Osha becomes Qimir’s Acolyte, and then the REAL story begins in Season 2? -1970s Antihero

What I'm really curious, if this how it goes, will it cover the cycle of Apprentice and Master, with Osha ultimately dethroning Qimer and taking on her own acolyte?

I actually started to like the much older Vernestra in this episode. I still am not sure if she actively participated in the cover up of what happened on Brentok, so much had a passive role in "don't tell me, just don't tell anyone." I think Vernestra is operating from the perspective of the greater good, which is dangerous. I also find the padawan helping her kind of annoying with a bad haircut. THE WRONG PADAWAN DIED.

(I'm still upset, k.)
posted by Atreides at 8:24 AM on July 3 [7 favorites]

I was willing to give Mae the benefit of the doubt until all was revealed, but factory resetting Pip put her in clearly irredeemable evil territory. Like, worse than aiding in the destruction of the Hosnian system kind of territory.
posted by Molesome at 10:11 AM on July 3 [15 favorites]

I realized something during this episode I hadn’t quite grasped yet, which is that I’ve started to care about what happens to the characters. The point for me was when Mae reset Pip to factory settings. Just good goddamn how could she!

Often, when I’m watching a Star War, I’m mostly invested in the world and the stories. So often the characters have a fairly clear foreordained outcome, and so I’m appreciating their stories on an intellectual level. For instance, I don’t really care what happens to Anakin in the Clone Wars series, because I know where his story is headed. Struggling against fate is all very Greek tragedy, but it’s not my particular bag. But sometimes characters break through and get to me on an emotional level, whether it’s because they’re in a great show (e.g. everyone in Andor) or because of something that I connect with (e.g. Ventress, Fives or Rose Tico).

I’m not sure why I’m connecting with certain characters on this show, but I’ve really started to care what happens to Sol and Pip and maybe also the twins and Qimir. Even Vernestra has started to grow on me, even though I think the laser whip thing looks way too silly.

I still don’t think it’s a great show, but clearly it’s doing something right. I’ve started to think of it, in a way, not as a stand-alone show, but as one arc in the larger anthology series that is Disney era live action Star Wars television. It’s not perfect, but I think that when I look back at this period of Star Wars, certain moments of this show will have stayed with me, while others will be hazy memories.
posted by Kattullus at 12:07 PM on July 3 [7 favorites]

Maggie Lovitt of the Collider interviewed Leslye Headland at length. Excerpt:
Aside from the obvious allusions to other ships, are there any other enemies-to-lovers dynamics that informed the decisions you were making as you were playing with these two characters?

HEADLAND: Oh, that's a good question.

There are so many.

HEADLAND: There are so many, but I am going to say no because I was really working from muscle memory. I didn't want it to quote something else. I wanted to just click into the kind of stuff that I wrote when I was in high school. I love these characters. Nobody wants to ship these characters more than I do. I love them so much. I love The Stranger. There's always a character that's an avatar for me that I really, really love. In Russian Doll, it was Charlie [Barnett’s] character, Alan.

The Stranger is obviously a badass, but I just mean much more than his character. I'm not going around doing fantastic lightsaber battles and murdering people and being an all-around badass, but I would say that what he talks about in this episode and what he talked about in [Episode] 5 is something I really dug down. Then Osha's inner conflict fits with his ideology, and yet they're on opposite ends of the spectrum just like she and her sister started at the beginning of the show. I wanted to stay true to my characters. I tried my best to just stick to the tropes and the stuff that I loved and tried not to think about, especially [with] the classics. I think it would have been a little too quotes-around-it if that were the case.

That being said, the relationship between Lo and Jen in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was an influence in the writer's room. We referenced that relationship over and over again. The intentional parallel is that they are equals and their relationship is earned through mutual vulnerability, not intimidation or manipulation.

You mentioned something there that is one of the reasons why I love The Acolyte so much, which is the way that Qimir has really picked apart who the Jedi are. It's such a fun response because the High Republic already kind of laid the groundwork for getting people prepared for thinking of the Jedi as not always the good guys. For you, as a fan of Star Wars, how much fun has it been to get to pick apart these ideas that have been baked into the franchise for so long and then flip the narrative a little bit and make people look at things from a very different point of view?

HEADLAND: I hope it's making people look at it from a different point of view. I can understand that fans — especially people who don't know the High Republic — may feel like I'm criticizing the Jedi as they exist in George Lucas' oeuvre, meaning the prequels and Episodes 5 through 6, but that's not the case. We're so much further back from that. We're in that era that Obi-Wan is talking about in A New Hope. We're in that period where the proliferation of power is so huge and far-reaching. Actually, in the next episode, you're gonna see how far-flung particular missions with Jedi are and the lack of oversight.
posted by Kattullus at 5:46 PM on July 3 [4 favorites]

I liked the production design on the inside of the Jedi ship, which is pretty different from the rest of Star Wars. Also, Sol was interrupted again! At least this time it was non-diegetic.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 6:43 PM on July 3

Sith Lord Fight Club vs. Corrupt Sclerotic Jedi Council
posted by hototogisu at 11:32 PM on July 3

Andor set a high-water mark for Star Wars TV—even Star Wars overall—but this is pretty darn good so far. I'd slot it under seasons one and two of Mando (themselves second to Andor) for overall entertainment and for making me want to come back each week. The contrast with Ahsoka, which wahs okay but didn't do nearly as much with the master-apprentice dynamic, is striking.
posted by rory at 12:15 AM on July 4 [3 favorites]

I'm really enjoying it. (For "the plot" as of this episode, but also, you know, actually for the plot.) I'm a semi-invested Star Wars fan -- I've watched all (most?) of the live action stuff, but haven't read any of the tie-in comics or extended universe books or watched any of the animated series (although I have occasionally skimmed through the lore on Wookieepedia).

Andor is definitely a cut above all the other live action series (I consider it to be a good science fiction series, which you can enjoy knowing absolutely nothing about the setting except "there's a space empire, and it's Bad").

Out of the others, I agree that The Acolyte is above-average -- while I have broad and extensive problems with the storytelling bottleneck that all of these prequels are headed for, I think The Acolyte works well enough as a standalone to be engaging. I like the characters, I was sad when some of them died, and I'm interested in finding out the rest of the story.

In contrast, Ahsoka (which I watched recently, having skipped it when it came out), relies heavily on familiarity with / investment in the animated series canon, and mostly left me cold.

(I'm getting the impression that enraged fanboys have had some success in spreading the perception that this series is terrible, which is... something. Some time ago I just 100% checked out of "mainstream" Star Wars fandom, which I believe has turned into a radioactive dumpster fire. It's got to the point where I will absolutely not click on a video on YouTube which is some random person reviewing a Star Wars episode, unless it's a specific recommendation, because statistically it's likely to be an edgelord complaining about "woke". Which I find kind of sad.)
posted by confluency at 1:12 AM on July 4 [9 favorites]

I'm getting the impression that enraged fanboys have had some success in spreading the perception that this series is terrible, which is... something. Some time ago I just 100% checked out of "mainstream" Star Wars fandom, which I believe has turned into a radioactive dumpster fire.

You're not wrong. For me it was the reception to The Last Jedi, which was instantly top-3 Star Wars movies for me, along with IV and V.

I'm not surprised they all turned on this after the first episode, with its focus on powerful women. But if they'd stuck around they'd have encountered a complicated Sith Lord with, like, feelings, who just wants to find the right woman to have by his side, but who he can treat like an underling and mansplain to—which should be right up their street.
posted by rory at 1:32 AM on July 4 [9 favorites]

At a certain point, internet outrage from "fans" of any particular piece of media is a pretty strong indicator that said piece of media actually rules. Scare quotes, because obviously these people aren't actually fans of Star Wars, or whatever. They are just fans of racism and misogyny, and when they say that X movie or tv show sucks, that's really just their way of saying "it has a Black woman in it".
posted by mrjohnmuller at 7:50 AM on July 4 [4 favorites]

For me it was the reception to The Last Jedi...
Oh, same. And I'm still salty that studio execs decided to pander to the backlash, Colin Trevorrow was fired, and we got The Rise of Skywalker, a movie which utterly failed to engage with The Last Jedi in any way, and which pretty much instantly extinguished my interest in the franchise (until Pedro Pascal's expressive helmet, and "baby Yoda", won me back over years later).

Like, seriously, I walked out of the cinema, thought "welp, now that's over", and didn't think about Star Wars again until The Mandalorian came out (and regarded it with extreme scepticism).

It's been a mixed bag since then; I'm glad that this show has been good.
posted by confluency at 10:34 AM on July 4 [6 favorites]

Like, seriously, I walked out of the cinema, thought "welp, now that's over", and didn't think about Star Wars again until The Mandalorian came out (and regarded it with extreme scepticism).

You aren't alone, even Lucasfilm hasn't wanted to engage with the post-Rise of Skywalker build up. There haven't been any comic books, no EU books, and the only thing, the only thing where you have any continuance of that storyline has been....Lego Star Wars, in their Holiday Special and summer vacation special. But we digress!

I need to go back and read the Maggie Lovitt interview because I understand there's a lot of great information in it. Thanks for linking! She actually acknowledges the review bombing by angry people and pretty much says, "Does anyone even think that matters anymore? I don't."

Small tidbit from the trivia guide (not a lot there, tbh), is that Vernestra named her personal ship "Cantaros" after her first padawan, Imri Cantaros, who you can read about in the High Republic phase 1 and phase 2 books.

If you aren't aware of it, I really enjoy listening to the House of R podcast's deep dives into the episodes (we're talking 90+ minutes of discussion) with hosts Joanna Robinson and Mallory Rubin.
posted by Atreides at 6:46 AM on July 5 [5 favorites]

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