Star Wars: The Acolyte ‘Day’ Review – Episode 4

Four episodes into The Acolyte and it has attracted the worst kinds of hate for all the wrong reasons. Stupid nitpicking comments about fire in space, an ongoing series that hasn’t revealed its mystery, and now we have a flying Sith lord that people are mad about – if anything, it shows that media literacy, especially in the Star Wars fandom and openness and acceptance is increasingly at an all-time low. These people, and they’re people, not fans – don’t deserve Star Wars. The AcolyteI’d wager, is the best the franchise has given us since Andor – and with this twenty-odd minute episode runtime being the shortest of them all, Day is still a fairly solid entry.

[There are spoilers for The Acolyte ahead.]

Day – Episode 4 of Star Wars: The Acolyte

We get to see more information about Jedi Kelnacca and whilst it’s a shame we don’t get to spend much time with the instantly loveable Wookie, we know there was something off about his decision to hide away from the rest of the world and refuse to answer Jedi calls placing him in danger. The Witches’ coven symbol being present gave us yet another question, which the show is very much presenting us with.

I really like the bond between Qimir and Mae – the comic relief of Manny Jacinto is superb, and he brings the same energy that he brought to The Good Place here with gusto and energy – bluntness as ever, reacting to Mae’s betrayal now that she learns that Osha is alive with gusto. It’s a testament to Amandla Stenberg that she gets the best out of both Osha and Mae – both feel uniquely distinctive. Mae’s got more of an edge because she doesn’t need to be the audience stand-in that Osha is, but there are clear moments of development for Osha here even in the short runtime, a close-knit connection between her and Jecki is on the verge of forming in the only way that Star Wars could give us.

Osha needs to be told to move on from the past and being defined by what we survive is a big mindset for her to adopt rather than looking back, she’s reluctant to say goodbye to Solbut Star Wars subverting the jealous padawan trope and turning them into friends gives them a nice and welcome twist on what has come in the franchise before.

Mae (Amandla Stenberg) in Lucasfilm's THE ACOLYTE, exclusively on Disney+. ©2024 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Mae (Amandla Stenberg) in Star Wars: The Acolyte. Image courtesy of Lucasfilm.

Mae is still good, in there, somewhere, meanwhile – as we learnt with her betrayal of Qimir. It’s a pretty devastating moment as she now doesn’t have the need to honor her master’s challenge now that she knows that Osha is alive, and it’s a fascinating twist of fate here – Osha is the one not able to let go, but Mae can, quite easily. There is good in Mae after all, Sol believes, but maybe he should be looking a bit closer at Osha. And after Kelnacca is now dead – he should equally be more worried about himself.

Indara, Torbin, and Kelnacca are dead, and we’ve reached the natural end-point of what, on the surface, was Mae’s revenge. But I do like that the show is being able to twist our expectations of what would’ve been an ordinary revenge-driven mission and turn it on its head this close to the end – Mae walking in on an already-dead Kelnacca; and the Sith igniting the red lightsaber showcases just how one-sided this fight is about to be; as they’re clearly more powerful than the rest of the Jedi. It was chilling to watch, and we could be in for a bloodbath next episode, especially as we still don’t know the identity of who the Sith Lord character is (maybe Qimir? It feels potentially like the chances are very high indeed).

Star Wars: The Acolyte – Big screens and the release schedule

I’m impressed as to how much The Acolyte was able to cram into such a short time frame, but I will admit it is losing its magic a tad when watched outside of the cinema; I’d love to experience it on the big screen a tad. The finale did feel a tad rushed and to end it on a character reveal feels like a twist right out of the final pages of superhero comics, usually X-Men, usually teasing a Magneto reveal, to get you back for the next issue. And it works – it’s such a grand entrance and the sweeping force power adds real stakes and jeopardy. It’s quite something.  

I can’t help but feel torn about the release schedule of this series. It’s refreshing to watch Star Wars on a weekly release again, especially so close to the new series of Doctor Who and Star Trekbut I can’t help but ponder whether the whole thing should’ve been released as a movie, or rather, as an all-at-once binge model. It does give us the time to ponder and speculate, and all the better for that – it’s a triumph at teasing us with where we’re headed. But flashback-heavy episodes like episode three tend to sag momentum a tad, which is a shame, especially in a series so limited.

We’re seeing new ground broken into The Acolyte here; and whilst it’s not uneven, it’s decidedly ambitious to tell this approach in such a short time frame and you can’t help but stand up and applaud Star Wars for at least daring to try again.

The Acolyte Episode 4 is now streaming on Disney+.

Learn more about the latest Star Wars television series from the official website for the title.

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