In Episode 3, ‘The Acolyte’ Pulls on the Thread of “Destiny”

The tragic origin of the twins is revealed, but are we getting the whole story?

Last week, we were introduced to twin sisters Mae and Osha. Osha is a Jedi Academy dropout who likes to repair the hulls of spaceships in outer space. Mae, who she presumed dead, was hellbent on getting revenge on the four Jedi she blames for destroying her life. This week, we get a return to their childhoods and see the events that set them on their current paths.

Sixteen years ago, on the planet Brendok, we meet Osha and Mae. They are extremely close, likely because they are the only two children in their colony, which is entirely made up of women. Osha is more pensive, yet still yearns to see the worlds outside of their highly protective compound. Mae is the boisterous one, who likes to run and use her nascent Force abilities to torture the translucent insects around the bunta tree. They are supposed to be preparing for something called “Ascension.” Mae is excited for it, but Osha isn’t, which is why she disobeyed her mother and left the colony to come to her favorite spot to think and draw.

They get caught by Mother Koril (Margarita Levieva), who drags them back to the compound. Mother Koril has the horned ridges of a Dathomirian (like Darth Maul). It’s not safe outside, she tells them, and as they leave the camera pans over to someone spying on them from behind the trees. It’s a younger Sol.

On their return, their other caretaker, Mother Aniseya (Jodie Turner-Smith), tells them to go get ready for the Ascension ceremony. After the children leave, Aniseya asks if there was any sign of the visiting Jedi. Koril says no, the scouts think they have moved inland. (Should’ve looked harder. Sol was pretty conspicuous.) You see, says Aniseya, I told you this was a safe place for our coven.

Image: Disney+

Which explains a lot. They are witches, who can use the Force. And if Mother Koril is a Darhomirian, then these are likely the foremothers of the Witches of Dathomir we met in the Ahsoka series (which was a very cool concept that Ahsoka really didn’t do a whole lot with). And as Mother Aniseya explains in a demonstration for the twins, their magic comes from The Thread.

The Thread binds all life together and connects it, and witches can pull the Thread to effect changes (which sounds an awful lot like how Yoda and Obi-Wan explained the Force to young Luke). So the witches have their own method of using the Force, which is separate from Jedi training, and apparently, the Jedi aren’t all that thrilled about it.

At the ceremony, where the children will Ascend into becoming full witches (a Bat Witch-vah, if you will), Mae is super excited and eagerly promises to carry on the legacy of the witches. Osha is hesitant and hems and haws until the Jedi show up and interrupt. Aniseya tells the children to hide while the witches deal with them.

Into the compound come the four Jedi: Indara, her Padawan, Torbin, Wookiee Kelnacca, and Sol. Indara says she thought the planet was uninhabited, which Aniseya scoffs at. “The all-knowing Jedi are ignorant of their surroundings?” Indara tells her that they have no quarrel with the coven but are concerned that they are training children, which is against Republic law. Aniseya reminds her that Brendok is not part of the Republic, and besides, there are no children here. Kelnacca sniffs the air and knows that to be a lie. Osha and Mae have crept close to the front, mainly because Osha was entranced by the lightsabers. (Can’t blame her for that! I’m way older than her and still entranced by them.) Indara calls for them to come forward, which Osha does. Once out, she beckons Mae to come with her. Indara asks where their father is; Aniseya replies that they don’t have one. Indara asks to test the children as potential Padawans, which they have the right to do.

Image: Disney+

The witches are shown to be quite powerful. When the Jedi get too pushy, Aniseya possesses young Padawan Torbin, causing his eyes to go all black. No wonder the Jedi are wary of them.

Mother Aniseya tells the twins to fail the test on purpose, so the Jedi won’t take them away, and Mae happily complies. Osha doesn’t want to lie, especially to the nice Jedi who listen to her and showed her his lightsaber, but she tries to tank the test by guessing the wrong images on Sol’s pad. Sol tricks her into revealing that she knew the right answer. (“It’s a mountain.” “Correct!” “What? No, it wasn’t!”) Sol thinks she’d be a great Jedi, but only if she is brave enough to speak her truth. And when he tells her about all the other children at the Jedi Academy, she instantly perks up.

Mae is furious that Osha passed the test and is now leaving for the Jedi Academy. When Osha says that she couldn’t lie to them, Mae retorts that Osha lied to her. Osha said she would fail the test and they would stay together, and she didn’t. Mae is so enraged at losing her sister that she starts to hit her until Mother Koril has to drag her away. Aniseya isn’t happy to lose Osha, but she knows that she has to follow her own path and pull her Thread. Destiny isn’t prewritten. She has to choose her way.

After Osha leaves to pack, Aniseya and Koril have an enlightening discussion. It is revealed that Koril carried the twins to term, but they were “created” by Aniseya. So there really wasn’t a father, and that wasn’t just something they said to get the Jedi off their backs. (Hey, you know who else didn’t have a father? Remember, in The Phantom Menace, how Shmi Skywalker said Anakin just happened through some kind of miracle? Do you suppose they’re insinuating that Anakin was the result of the Witches of Dathomir?)

While Osha is packing, Mae appears in her doorway, still angry and intense. She isn’t going to let Osha leave, and she will keep Osha in her room. Even if she has to kill her.

This… kinda comes out of nowhere. Mae is obviously distraught, but it seems like a little bit of stretch to go from “I don’t want you to leave” to “murder by death.” (Editor’s Note: You know what else this sounds like? Anakin going from “must save Padmé” to “let’s kill kids” in, like, 60 seconds!) Mae locks Osha in her room and smashes a bottle of some sort of kerosene against the door to set it on fire. Trying to stay as calm as possible, Osha unscrews the cover of an access hatch and crawls through into a tunnel.

As she makes her way out, she hears screams and loud bangs from above. She makes her way into a power generator room, where she sees Mae. The twins end up on opposite sides of a broken metal bridge, going across the room over a chasm. Each one is urging the other to jump to them, to no avail. The bridge starts to creak and give way, but Sol bursts in at the last moment and grabs Osha, while Mae falls. He leads Osha out of the compound, through a pile of dead witches, and past the corpse of her mother. When Osha wakes up on the ship on the way back to Coruscant, she wants to head back. Sol tells her that everyone is dead, including her sister. They can’t return.

This episode fills in a lot of backstory for the twins, but it all feels like Act One of Rashomon. This story is told in a way that clearly favors Osha and the Jedi, but there are still so many questions left unanswered. Why were the Jedi on Brendok in the first place? Like Mom suggested, the Jedi really couldn’t have thought the planet was uninhabited, right? And why did Sol show up in the nick of time to save Osha? Was he merely coming to pick her up for the Jedi Academy, or was there something else? And how did all the witches die? Surely it wasn’t from the fire. Could that have spread so far, so fast? Or were the Jedi somehow responsible? And surely a full-grown Jedi Knight could have saved both girls with the Force, without having to go all Sophie’s Choice. (Sol-phie’s Choice? Is that anything?) Or was Sol pulling the Thread and choosing a destiny for Osha without Mae? Did Mae really turn into a psychopath at the thought of losing her sister, or are these merely the subjective memories of Osha trying to make sense of a tragedy?

The episode ends with Mae looking for her sister at her special place under the bunta tree. Does Mae think Osha’s dead? That she killed her? Or does she still blame the Jedi? Did Sol see her survive her fall? (Jedi really should know that merely dropping someone from a great height is not enough to kill them. See: Palpatine, Darth Maul, Luke Skywalker, etc.) Was he lying to Osha?

It’s a mystery, and it certainly is making me eager to see more. I like what The Acolyte is doing with the characters. Motivations are being revealed and questioned. And now that we have seen the “official” version of the events on Brendok, I hope we see Mae’s version.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Victor Catano
Victor Catano
Victor Catano lives in New York City with his adorable pughuaua, Danerys. When not writing, he works in live theater as a stage manager, production manager, and chaos coordinator. His hobbies include coffee, Broadway musicals, and complaining about the NY Mets and Philadelphia Eagles. Follow him on BlueSky and Instagram at @vgcatano and find his books on Amazon

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Last week, we were introduced to twin sisters Mae and Osha. Osha is a Jedi Academy dropout who likes to repair the hulls of spaceships in outer space. Mae, who she presumed dead, was hellbent on getting revenge on the four Jedi she blames...In Episode 3, 'The Acolyte' Pulls on the Thread of "Destiny"