TV Recap / Review – We Get the Jedi’s Version of Events Via Another Flashback in “Star Wars: The Acolyte” Episode 7

This evening saw the debut of the seventh and penultimate episode of Lucasfilm’s live-action Disney+ series Star Wars: The Acolyte, entitled “Choice,” and below are my brief recap and thoughts on this installment.

“Choice” begins as another flashback to 16 years prior to the “current-day” events of the series, and we learn more about why the four Jedi were stationed on the planet Brendok to begin with. It seems that Master Indara (played by Carrie-Anne Moss), Sol (Lee Jung-jae), Kelnacca (Joonas Suotamo), and Torbin (Dean-Charles Chapman) were searching for a Vergence in the Force, which may have been related to the Great Hyperspace Disaster of 100 years earlier– see the publishing side of the Star Wars: The High Republic storytelling initiative for much more on that incident. It seems that Brendok was originally classified as lifeless, but as Indara puts it, it is now “thriving” and the Jedi want to figure out why, exactly. But Torbin has become restless on this mission and wishes only to return home to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Sol and Indara have some disagreements about how the boy should be instructed, but their squabbles are interrupted when Sol stumbles upon young Mae (Leah Brady) and Osha (Lauren Brady) while exploring in the woods.

Here’s where the episode starts to overlap with what we saw a few weeks ago in “Destiny,” the other flashback chapter, but this time everything is told from the Jedi’s perspective rather than Osha’s. We watch Sol as he observes some other familiar scenes take place, and then we see the four Jedi hack their way into the witches’ fortress, only for poor Torbin to become trapped within his own mind thanks to Mother Aniseya’s (Jodie Turner-Smith) powers. Then we get the other side of the “testing” sequence, even getting to see Mae’s turn this time, and the debate that envelops the Jedi afterward– mostly about whether to bring the twins back to Coruscant for training. Indara is concerned that Sol is letting his emotions cloud his judgment in wanting what’s best for Osha, and despite the two girls’ high Midi-chlorian counts, the Jedi Council sends word not to interfere in their upbringing. But when Torbin discovers via the blood tests he took that Mae and Osha might actually be the Force Vergence they are looking for, he takes matters into his own hands and races toward the fortress on his speeder bike.

Sol goes after him, and when he and Torbin find that the elevator into the base has been deactivated, they opt to scale the wall instead. A conflict breaks out between these two Jedi and the witches– most notably Mother Koril (Margarita Levieva), who steadfastly refuses to let her children leave the planet with these strangers. Sol assures the witches that the Jedi’s intentions are noble, but also demands to know how the twins were created. When Mae, who has been proven to be the one who actually started the fire– though somewhat accidentally– enters begging for help, the tense moment erupts into chaos, with Aniseya taking smoke-like form and Sol impaling her with his lightsaber defensively. She dies saying that she would have let Osha go with the Jedi since that was Osha’s wish. Then the real fight erupts between Sol, Torbin, Koril, and the other witches, until the latter reveal their secret weapon: a corrupted Kelnacca, who had jumped into the fortress from the Jedi ship above, being piloted by Indara. Kelnacca lashes out at his friends with his saber, under the black-eyed control of these mysterious Force users.

This fight was the best and most exciting part of the episode for me, and it doesn’t let up until Indara finds her way into the base as well, and uses her own Force powers on Kelnacca’s mind, which is what seems to kill the rest of the coven. Then we get Sol’s perspective on the scene where Mae falls to her apparent death, and following that we hear how Indara concocts the half-truth story that the returning Jedi plan on telling the Council upon their return to Coruscant. That’s when Osha wakes up in the ship, and the episode concludes with Sol placing the blame for the tragedy on Mae’s fire. I liked this episode and I’m glad to now know the full truth (as far as we know) about what happened on Brendok, but at the same time I can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by the solution. Maybe that’s just a factor of the mystery-box format, but the fact that this was filling in the gaps of “Destiny” also left the narrative’s structure, staging, and editing feeling rather awkward in parts throughout. I understand the desire to emulate Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon (again), but some of the choices– hey, that’s the title– came across as a bit odd and clunky, as though the entire thing might have worked better if the two flashback episodes had just been cut together as one. But that’s been the case with The Acolyte on the whole so far, hasn’t it? It works more satisfyingly in the big picture than in parts, so maybe this episode will play better on a rewatch once the full season is complete. Luckily, that happens to be coming up just next week.

The finale of Star Wars: The Acolyte will be released on the evening of next Tuesday, July 16th, exclusively via Disney+.

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Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.