Lee Jung-jae as Sol in The Acolyte

‘The Acolyte’: What the Jedi Did on Brendok Was Not ‘Self-Defense,’ Despite Some Fans’ Claims

The Acolyte episode 7, “Choice,” finally reveals what happened on Brendok and, in doing so, offers insight into the complexity of the Jedi Order. However, many viewers are missing the point and arguing that the Jedi are faultless in the incident.

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Early in The Acolyte, Osha and Mae’s (Amandla Stenberg) backstory is revealed, though it’s clear that some major pieces of the story are missing. The twin girls lived peacefully on Brendok among a coven of witches until the Jedi arrived and demanded to test the girls to see if they could fit within the Jedi Order. Allegedly, Mae, angered at the thought of being separated from Osha, started a fire that killed the entire coven. Given the missing pieces of the story, the show seemed to be hinting that four Jedi—Sol (Lee Jung-jae), Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss), Kelnacca (Joonas Suotamo), and Torbin (Dean-Charles Chapman)—actually killed the witches so they could gain access to the twins.

In reality, the truth is somewhere in the middle. The Jedi didn’t intend to kill the witches initially, but their interference and sense of nobility made the coven feel threatened. Additionally, Mother Koril (Margarita Levieva) seems intent on fighting the Jedi whether they come peacefully or not. During a tense standoff, Sol kills Mother Aniseya (Jodie Turner-Smith) without reason, leading to a battle in which the witches combine their powers to possess Kelnacca’s mind. When Indara uses the Force to force the witches out of his mind, the effort and energy kills the remaining witches. Meanwhile, the coven begins to crumble due to the fire that Mae accidentally started. When Sol realizes he can’t save both girls, he chooses to save Osha.

Somehow, though, viewers are getting the wrong idea from the latest episode.

Viewers are missing the point of The Acolyte’s story

It’s fortunate that The Acolyte ultimately chose to go with the more muddled version of events, which reiterates the complexity of the concept of good and evil. However, it has also led to some viewers badly misinterpreting the sequence of events as clearing the Jedi of any wrongdoing.

The scene that has been most hotly debated is that of Mother Aniseya’s death. During the standoff, Mae interrupts the confrontation, calling for help to put out the fire she started. Mother Aniseya begins using a Force power never seen in the Star Wars universe before. She begins to turn into black smoke, as does Mae. It appears that she’s simply trying to transport herself and her daughter elsewhere, just as others disappear later.

However, Sol doesn’t understand what she’s doing, so he immediately activates his lightsaber, stabbing Mother Aniseya in the stomach and killing her. According to some internet users, Mother Aniseya utilizing her powers was threatening, and Sol’s act was excused as an act of self-defense. Additionally, they chalk the whole sequence of events up to some poor decisions rather than malice. Some also say that Sol’s fear of the witches was valid and that he and the Jedi kept the girls from harm.

However, the major problem with the self-defense argument is that the Jedi were never supposed to be there in the first place. The Jedi Council explicitly told the Jedi to stand down and that they had no right to interfere with the coven on Brendok. It also recognized how Sol tried to influence Osha to join them and that it wasn’t really the child’s choice. Sol refused to accept this order, though, infiltrating the coven in a threatening manner and demanding access to the children. Meanwhile, there was no reason to do this. The Jedi never confirmed that the children were in danger. They just assumed that the customs and rituals would hurt the girls because they didn’t take the time to understand them or have someone other than an eight-year-old child explain them.

Similarly, during the standoff, Sol automatically assumes that something he doesn’t understand is dangerous when he kills Mother Aniseya. Perhaps if he hadn’t already been so biased that the witches were evil, he wouldn’t have reacted impulsively. Also, he immediately chose deadly force instead of trying to run or simply drawing his lightsaber. Most of his actions can be attributed to arrogance and a sense of superiority. Sol believes that just because he’s a Jedi, he’s entitled to any Padawan that he wants and that anyone who doesn’t use the Force exactly how the Jedi use it is evil and dangerous.

Ultimately, his biases and sense of nobility lead to him defying the Jedi Council, threatening the witches, and resorting to deadly force for no reason other than that he thought he was superior to a coven of witches and entitled to their children. To excuse his actions as self-defense completely erases the analogy to xenophobia and police brutality that the latest episode of The Acolyte is trying to convey through its tale of Brendok, and ignores that even Sol himself clearly immediately regrets his actions.

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.