Jedi Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae) raises his blue lightsaber for battle in episode 5 of 'The Acolyte'

Are Things Finally Turning Around for ‘The Acolyte’? “Best Star Wars Action We’ve Ever Seen”

Cue lightsaber noises.

Whether you like it or not, the latest Star Wars show to hit Disney+, The Acolyte, just proved that it’s more than capable of handling lightsaber combat. And dare I say … the action sequences featured in episode 5 may be among the best we’ve seen since the George Lucas era.

Recommended Videos

So far, it’s been a bumpy road for The Acolyte, which stars Amandla Stenberg as Force-sensitive twins Mae and Osha. The show takes place during the High Republic era, and sees Osha, a former Jedi, reuniting with her fallen sister after she’s framed for the murder of Jedi Master Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss). Similarly to pretty much any of the Disney-helmed Star Wars endeavors, toxic fanboys have crawled out of the woodwork and onto X to bash The Acolyte for a number of ridiculous reasons, whether that be its diverse cast, LGBTQ+ representation, or Stenberg’s 2018 comment about wanting to “make white people cry”—which was taken wildly out of context, mind you.

All this is why The Acolyte is currently sitting at a truly staggering 13% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Look, I can admit that The Acolyte has struggled with its pacing and dialog, but its production quality and compelling performances—especially from Lee Jung-jae (Master Sol), Charlie Barnett (Yord), and Dafne Keen (Jecki)—kind of make up for it. The whole unreliable narrator thing, slow-burn mystery, and high stakes make it a one-of-a-kind show, especially for Star Wars. Now, however, The Acolyte might finally be converting even the most staunch haters at the mid-way point with episode 5, “Night.”

Spoilers ahead!

The Acolyte is at its best when action is involved 

The Acolyte showrunner Leslye Headland once described her new Star Wars show The Acolyte as “Kill Bill meets Frozen,” and the latest episode, titled “Night,” absolutely delivers on that promise with a shockingly violent gorefest that legitimately made me gasp. Director Alex Garcia Lopez maintains a sense of tension throughout all 30 minutes, making for a seriously stressful watch. The story picks up immediately after last week’s cliffhanger ending, and makes some bold decisions about the fates of two of its most interesting characters almost right off the bat. Did I mention this thing is violent?!

Surprise: Mae’s shadowy dark side Master—we’ll call him a Sith—is Qimir, played by Manny Jacinto. Okay, so it wasn’t exactly the twist of the century to see the former smuggler end up being the man behind the mask, but still. His introduction here is great, especially as he goes toe-to-toe with the Jedi on Khofar. The speed of their strokes doesn’t quite reach “Duel of the Fates” intensity, but it’s still fun to see the frenetic movements of all these sabers working in tandem against a common enemy … even if Quimir immediately plows them down. RIP to all those unnamed Jedi.

Jecki starts bar-brawling with Qimir, and we have no choice but to stan. She even goes full Jar’Kai during her battle with Qimir (Ahsoka-style), but sadly, it’s not enough. The Sith Lord stabs her three times with his lightsaber, which is absolutely brutal to see play out onscreen. Sol’s reaction to his Padawan’s death (“she was a child”) is equally as heartbreaking, and yeah … is this still considered TV-14? Qimir then proceeds to literally snap Yord’s neck—juicy sound effects included—proving that this show isn’t messing around when it comes to killing off its heroes. Plot armor, who?! And that chilling line from Sol to Qimir: “What kind of Master hides his face?” Ouch!

Story-wise, it’s a smart move from the writing team, as we, the audience, don’t really fear the Sith until we see them take away someone or something we care about. We’ve become somewhat emotionally attached to Yord and Jecki, having seen snippets of their backstories and personalities. The #YordHorde lives on in our hearts. And yeah, given that The Acolyte acts as a critique of the Jedi Order, this incident might finally be the thing that wakes them up.

It raises the stakes to see Qimir so effortlessly slaughter Jecki and Yord, who, let’s be real, are the most likable characters of the entire shebang so far. For those b*tching and moaning about The Acolyte, THIS is how the Sith are supposed to be portrayed! This is why we hate them! So, even though social media is collectively mourning the loss of these two Jedi, their deaths have seriously upped the ante for the show moving forward, as viewers are praising the episode’s impressive fight choreography.

Look, you can’t one-up the Duel of the Fates. Point, blank, period. But you’ve got to give credit where credit is due because I would argue that what we just watched in The Acolyte was a hell of a lot better than what we’ve seen in Ahsoka and even the Obi-Wan Kenobi show. The action sequences in The Acolyte flow exceptionally well and are almost reminiscent of Nick Gillard’s in the prequels. Almost.

So yeah, while the series still has a lot of loose ends to tie up before its finale, particularly regarding the Jedi’s role in the Brendok incident and Mae and Osha’s mix-up (à la Parent Trap) at the end of episode 5, I’m going to go ahead and give it a big shiny participation trophy, because at least it’s trying to make lightsaber combat cool again. But only time will tell if the fandom as a whole is equally on board.

The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Amanda Landwehr
Amanda Landwehr
Amanda is a Los Angeles-based entertainment writer who lives and breathes Star Wars, Marvel, and all things pop culture. She has worked in digital media since 2021, covering the latest movie/TV releases, casting updates, fan theories, and so, so much more. When she's not rotting away behind her laptop screen, you can typically catch Amanda maxing out her AMC Stubs membership.