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Recap and Review: ‘The Acolyte’ Episode 7 – Woo-Hoo Witchy Woman

Tuesday night’s episode of The Acolyte arguably reached new heights, with an extended runtime that allowed for richer storytelling and better pacing than earlier episodes. Though the action-packed Episode 5 was enjoyable, the latest installment offered much more in terms of depth and narrative.

However, one can’t help but think that the series has faltered in its overall storytelling approach and season structure. The episode ‘Choice’ finally revealed the backstory of what occurred on Brendok years ago, shedding light on Mae’s quest for vengeance and the guilt felt by Sol and Torbin. Why prolong this crucial information instead of presenting it earlier?

Here’s an alternative way to structure The Acolyte, adhering to the core story beats crafted by Leslye Headland but excluding the twin subplot. This version would streamline the narrative for greater impact.

In Episode 1, a body is discovered, revealed to be a murdered Jedi. Jedi Masters Sol and Indara are sent to investigate. Despite underlying tension from past events, they are determined to uncover the truth. As the investigation unfolds, they discover the body is that of Indara’s former padawan, Torbin. Another Jedi, Master Kelnacca, also turns up dead, hinting at a connection to past events on Brendok two decades ago. Indara suspects the involvement of Osha, Sol’s former padawan who mysteriously left the Jedi Order.

In the subsequent episode, the detectives hunt for Osha, delving into the galaxy’s darker corners. Their pursuit leads them through nefarious locales, depicting Osha’s dubious life choices. Eventually, they find her, only to be ambushed by a masked stranger who facilitates Osha’s escape.

Episode 3 shifts to a flashback of the events on Brendok. Rather than juvenile chants and child-focused scenes, the narrative would directly portray the Jedi’s quest for a powerful vergence—a potent Force nexus. During this mission, Aniseya and Koril’s coven create Osha and her twin sister (who dies along with the coven in the flashback).

Tightly woven into this backstory, Torbin’s motivation would be far more compelling. Instead of rashly wanting to return to Coruscant, his desperate actions stem from nightmares and negative effects linked to the vergence. This added psychological element would heighten the stakes when Aniseya manipulates him through mind control.

Changes also extend to the incident involving the fire. Instead of Mae’s involvement, Koril should sabotage the power unit, prompting an explosion and falsely accusing the Jedi, thus swaying the coven against Aniseya’s peaceful stance.

The escalation led by Koril, transforming the conflict and the witches’ ability to morph into black smoke and possess people (including a dramatic fight scene with Kelnacca) adds a gripping twist. Perhaps Koril’s spirit survives, eventually corrupting Qimir and turning him into a Sith. Qimir could then become her apprentice, tasked with bringing Osha to the Dark Side, driven by a legitimate quest for vengeance.

Various intriguing routes exist for the story to unfold, but these changes would offer a more coherent and engaging series. Following this restructuring, the show could evolve into a thrilling cat-and-mouse chase where Sol and Indira pursue the Sith, connecting the dots from the Brendok disaster.

The current narrative squandered much of its potential. With better structure, it could have mirrored the dark tension of Seven with scary and impactful Sith encounters from the onset. Imagine the chilling intensity akin to the first encounter between Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman’s characters and Kevin Spacey in Seven.

While this recent episode wasn’t without merit, it’s hard to be fully invested in the story and characters at this stage. The mystery’s resolution holds interest, but the narrative pace has been frustratingly slow.

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Source: Lucasfilm