Jodie Turner-Smith as Mother Aniseya in The Acolyte

Did the Jedi Really Do What We Think They Did in ‘The Acolyte’?

The Acolyte recently introduced viewers to a new coven of Force-sensitive witches. However, Osha’s (Amandla Stenberg) backstory raises more questions than answers about the witches’ ultimate fate.

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Star Wars has introduced witches before, such as with the Nightsisters of Dathomir, who were revealed to have extra-galactic ties in Ahsoka. Although one of the witches in The Acolyte, Mother Koril (Margarita Levieva), is Zabrak like Darth Maul and some of the Nightsisters, the witches in The Acolyte appear to be an entirely separate group of witches. It’s unclear how they ended up on the isolated planet of Brendok or how they utilized the Force. What is known is that they appeared to live a relatively peaceful and quiet existence, practicing their rituals on a far-off planet. However, that peace was shattered after four Jedi arrived on the planet. By the end of The Acolyte episode 3, “Destiny,” things take a deadly turn, and the circumstances of the incident are suspicious, to say the least.

What really happened on Brendok?

Prior to The Acolyte episode 3, it was explained that Osha’s twin, Mae, allegedly started a fire that killed her entire family, except for Osha. It was believed Mae had also perished in the fire, but Osha learns she’s still alive when her twin begins hunting several Jedi Masters. As a result, “Destiny” is a flashback episode that explores the events leading up to the fire.

It appears the witches may be dabbling in an unconventional side of the Force, given that Mother Koril and Mother Aniseya (Jodie Turner-Smith) seemingly created Osha and Mae through the Force or dark magic. However, they don’t appear to be an active threat to the galaxy or Jedi. In fact, it almost seems as if they are hiding from the Jedi for fear the Order will forcefully take Osha and Mae from them. Sure enough, the Jedi eventually arrive on Brendok and demand to see and test Osha and Mae to gauge their abilities. Even though Jedi recruitment requires parental consent, the Jedi are oddly persistent in demanding access to the twins despite their mothers’ resistance.

When Osha expresses a desire to take the test and go with the Jedi, the Jedi and the coven seemingly reach an agreement for them to take the girl. However, before Osha can depart with the Order, Mae, desperate not to be separated from her twin, starts a fire. The blaze soon engulfs the entire coven, but Osha is narrowly saved from death by Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae), who catches her before she tumbles into a cavern. Unfortunately, he was seemingly too late to save Mae. As he and Osha flee the burning settlement, she sees all the witches, including Mother Aniseya, lying dead. There are a few things about the fire and deaths that don’t quite add up, though.

Who killed the witches?

First of all, the fire itself is quite suspicious. In “Destiny,” Mae is only shown lighting a book on fire before the scene cuts away. The next thing viewers see is the entire settlement engulfed in flames and crashing down around the girls. It’s possible that the blaze spread incredibly fast, but one can’t help but wonder if her burning book really caused that level of devastation in such a short time. Given that the camera cuts away, viewers don’t even see her attempt to spread the fire or leave the book burning on the ground. The odd setup means that there is a possibility Mae didn’t even start the major fire that took out the coven.

On top of that, when Osha and Sol are fleeing the coven, they see all of the witches lying dead on the ground before the blaze has even reached them or their underground habitat caved in. If Osha was still alive, they couldn’t have died from smoke inhalation that quickly, and their bodies didn’t appear to be burned or crushed. So, what or who actually killed them?

Sadly, the evidence appears to be pointing at the four Jedi. They were the only other ones at the coven when the disaster broke out. Meanwhile, back on the ship, while fleeing Brendock with Osha, viewers can spot Padawan Torbin (Dean-Charles Chapman) in the background with a fresh wound across his face. How did he get that apparent knife wound when seemingly only Sol went into the coven to try to rescue the girls? What were the Jedi doing when the entire coven began burning? It was also revealed in the previous episode that Torbin took a Barash Vow after the incident, which is usually done as a form of penance.

Of course, if the Jedi did commit this horrific act, it’s unclear why. Perhaps they sensed some kind of danger or were just desperate to secure Osha as a recruit. The apparent lack of a motive means viewers should also consider other suspects. It’s unlikely Mae was powerful enough to kill all the witches, but her actions and threats suggest she was willing to go to desperate measures to keep the coven together. What if other witches felt the same way? Mother Koril and Mother Aniseya appeared deeply devoted to the girls; what if they chose to sacrifice the whole coven rather than lose their child?

Another candidate is Mae’s mysterious master. In the first episode of The Acolyte, Mae speaks to her master from a distance. Only the figure’s silhouette can be seen, but it soon activates a lightsaber, which glows red—a telltale sign of a Sith. Perhaps this mysterious Sith killed the coven in an attempt to frame the Jedi or get a hold of Mae. Ultimately, it’s beginning to look less and less like Mae killed the witches in The Acolyte, raising the question of who really did and why.

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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.