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The Acolyte

Teach / Corrupt (The Acolyte - S01E06) - Live Action Series

Series: The Acolyte

Title: Teach /Corrupt

Season: One

Episode: 5

Original Air Date: July 2nd, 2024

Runtime: 34 minutes

Credits: Review & Text: Thomas; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

Discuss the latest Chapter! (Discussion)

That's the path to the dark side! Semantics! SPOILERS.

Let me guess, this planet is called "Ahch-Chooo!"?

Teach / Corrupt is yet another very short episode, excluding the overly long 2 minute recap and the excessively long credits this episode has a runtime of barely 30 minutes. And nothing really happens. The end.

What on Earth have they done to the porgs?????????????

Ok, yes, there are things on screen, characters talk, and in theory it could have been interesting, but literally nothing of import happens, most of the things we see here are a waste of time, this should never have been a 30 minute episode, The Acolyte is at best a 4 part mini series with each episode having a one hour runtime, they fade to black here just when Sol is finally about to reveal the terrible crime the Jedi committed 16 years ago ... everything before then is either setup or talk, talk, talk... Now talking can be very interesting, Andor is a perfect example here where a dinner scene with Mon Mothma is rife with tension and the people there... just talk. But the thing is: Andor had good dialogue and excellent actors. The Acolyte has maybe two decent actors, Manny Jacinto and Lee Jung-Jae... the lead, Amandla Stenberg, continues to be the weakest link here and sadly much of the episode requires some heavy lifting of her, she has lots of dialogue with both Not Ezra Miller (Qimir) as Osha and as Fosha (fake Osha) with Sol. And her delivery is flat, monotonous, lacking expression. And both twins only have one facial expression: what has lovingly come to be known in recent years as "resting bitch face".

Yet another male topless scene... where is our female representation?

The tragedy of The Acolyte is that the very, very basic premise and some of the ingredients are very interesting. A story that is also told from the point of view of the Sith, where the Sith do not just deliver one liners and then get cut in half and fall down reactor shafts. Some more insight into their philosophy. And Manny Jacinto is actually pretty good here. The episode begins with Osha waking up on Not Ahch-To, she heads out and sees not porgs and peeps on Not Ezra Miller taking a bath in the ocean. And the dialogue between Not Ezra Miller and Osha could have been interesting... but it is actually just the usual Sith recruitment talk... Osha gets told that there are other ways to access the Force... fear, anger, the usual... she protests that this is the path to the dark side... but Not Ezra Miller says what a Sith would say, that this is just semantics.

Most clueless Jedi ever?

Not Ezra Miller dares Osha to kill him who has picked up his lightsaber while he was washing off all the grime and dirt in the ocean, but Osha would not do it, because Jedi do not kill the unarmed... anyway, Not Ezra Miller insists that Osha tells him why she is no longer a Jedi, wonders why the Jedi didn't want her any more... Osha says she left of her own volition and Not Ezra Miller keeps the pressure on and insists she tells him why she is no longer a Jedi and eventually Osha gets angry (woohoo, recruitment step 1) and she admits very angrily that she failed, she holds the lightsaber against Not Ezra Miller's throat and then scriptwriter Headland quotes Fight Club when Not Ezra Miller explains that he has lost everything (like Osha) but that only when you lose everything you are finally free.

Not so clueless after all

Not Ezra Miller also reveals that he was a Jedi once. And the episode strongly suggests that Vernestra Rwoh could have been his master. The scar on his back looks like a lightsaber whip might have caused it.. and as we later see in this episode Vernestra has exactly such a weapon. So now we know (or have a good idea about) who initially trained Not Ezra Miller. The question is... who is his Sith master? He tells Osha that what he really wants is "the power of two", which apparently tries to link the space witches to the Bane Sith. Not Ezra Miller offers Osha some dinner, he then talks about his cortosis helmet and how it also doubles as a sensory deprivation device, it's only you and the force underneath the helmet and he tells Osha that she should try it... When Osha is alone she cannot resist the lure and puts on the helmet (wohooo... recruitment step no 2!).

Meet redhead clueless Jedi

The b plot is all about Mae aka Fosha and Sol. Sol tries to contact the temple but oh... the communications are fried and he has a very unstable connection, but he manages to tell some random Jedi that his entire team was killed... what he does not say (for plot reasons) is that a freaking Sith murdered everyone... and before he can elaborate communications break down. The entire Sol and Fosha plot is then about Sol allegedly not realizing he is with Mae, she tries to fix the ship, only she has no idea how. Sol tries the old "cut the power and reboot trick" then they lose power completey, but Fosha gets the Pip droid head back from that weird tracker creature which for some unknown reason has several scenes here, just waddling around... pointless. But Pip protests - apparently - so Fosha promptly restores him to factory settings. With the help of the droid Mae can restore the ship's power. She hurries to the cockpit to contact someone... when Sol sneaks up on her and stuns her. Turns out Sol is not THAT clueless after all. He knew all along that he's with Mae. He handcuffs her to a table (the one Osha woke up on 16 years ago after the slaughter) and is all stricken with guilt or so and promises Osha that he will tell her all now and that he means her no harm, he also lays out his plan, that they must try and find Osha, he jumps to hyperspace to some unknown destination  ... and we cut to black.

This looks genuinely funny

In the very short c plot we follow Vernestra. Clueless redhead Jedi tells her about Sol's call and that everyone is dead. So Vernestra, the redhead Jedi and two redshirts promptly fly to the jungle planet and the natives tell them about the space moths which have hatched and could have killed everyone. But when Vernestra reaches the site of the slaughter Vernestra senses what happened and then asks the clueless redhead Jedi what he thinks happened... and he promptly wonders why Sol might have done such a thing... and I sat here and said... HUH? Who in their right mind would jump to this conclusion? Then the Jedi wonders who else would have had the power to kill all the Jedi if not Sol? This person apparently slept through "Jedi History 101" and never heard about the Sith. Yes, the Jedi truly are all clueless morons. Vernestra however knows better at least. If the theory that Not Ezra Miller once was her padawan is true she may sense something. And of course tells no one about it. Because Headland Jedi keep secrets and are all hush hush.

And that is it. As I said, in theory this could have been interesting. An insight into the inner workings and motivations of a Sith. But what we got was the same old same old "fear, anger etc" and some vague hints about Not Ezra Miller's past. As I said earlier these scenes would have required two equally gifted actors, but either all the various directors this show uses told Stenberg to have one facial expression (two really) throughout... resting bitch face and ANGRY and deliver her dialogue lifelessly, without emotion or expression, or she really can't act... Jacinto however was your usual seductive and even outright nice Sith, think Palpatine casually telling Anakin Sith folk tales about trying to create life. Jacinto is really good here. Sadly, the dialogue was often pedestrian, just fortune cookie versions of dialogue we have heard so many times before.

By far the weakest part of the episode was the Sol and Fosha part... literally nothing happens as they try to repair ship malfunctions, which handily keep Sol from telling people what happened. There is some woeful attempt at humor with Mae, the droid and that weird tracker creature... the only thing worth talking about is Sol stunning Mae, and then going all serious and emo on her and telling her she will listen to his story... which we will see next week. There was literally no reason not to include the second half of this episode as well. As is this feels very incomplete, it's mere setup. There are various pointless scenes with Osha waking up (takes much too long), of Mae wandering around the ship and Bazil waddling from A to B for no reason and kind of hissing at Mae (he can certainly smell she's not Osha).

The Vernestra scenes are also mostly pointless, we only learn that young Jedi in those days must have been complete morons. Why anyone would even think Sol suddenly fell to the dark side and killed everyone is beyond me.

There are hints here and there that are interesting... like Not Ezra Miller's scar and how it looks to be the wound a lightsaber whip might make, the revelation that he once was a Jedi... a long, long, very long time ago, as Not Ezra Miller reveals, which may hint at Not Ezra Miller being able to prolong his life, is he already meddling with midichlorians in his spare time? He can only be Plagueis if they entirely ignore the EU and make him human.

Another thing is that this episode looked more cinematic than most other episodes... I looked at the credits and an Academy Award winning cameraman, James Friend, shot this episode, the previous two were not. Friend also shot the space witch episode. I supppose he won an Oscar for a reason.That being said one scene at the Temple spacedocks looked woefully fake, they spent 180 million US dollars on this and then make such a phony, super obvious fake looking CGI background with actors just pasted in so that you can literally tell it's all just CGI and greenscreen? That was amateurish and cheap. Not the fault of the cameraman, but of the VFX people, but even more likely the showrunner's. Bad CGI is often a result of extreme crunch and VFX people having no time. Because a showrunner / director demands last minute changes.

So what is my final verdict? In theory interesting, in practice mostly boring and uneventful. I would have liked to see a Sith who doesn't just offer his usual sales pitch. It is now strongly hinted at that Osha will turn to the dark side, Not Ezra Miller evidently REALLY wants an apprentice and he admits that Mae was a mistake, she doesn't have what it takes.

On the positive side this episode was not outright terrible. It was just mostly boring with occasional somewhat interesting hints. If this show had better dialogue a much better lead actor and was overall much better written it could have been really interesting. As is it only offers glimpses of what could have been if only Headland was a better writer and better showrunner.

With only two more episodes to go the path becomes clearer. Sol will die. He must die for The Phantom Menace to make any sense at all. Vernestra may die as well and if she survives she tries to save her own skin and will never tell anyone about the super evil Sith she encountered, just so The Phantom Menace makes some sense. We will learn how the Jedi did a terrible thing on the space witch planet. The only thing I am not sure about is if Mae and Osha survive, overthrow Not Ezra Miller and found their own power of two emo Sith club... or if Mae dies and Not Ezra Miller will teach Osha the ways of the dark side.

There's not much else to say. This episode was painfully mediocre, the Osha / Qimir aka Not Ezra Miller part had promise... but wasted time on Osha waking up, peeping on Manny Jacinto taking a bath in the nude and much of the dialogue is standard Sith playbook. There is little new here. The Sol and Mae story was utterly forgettable and once it finally gets interesting the episode ends. Vernestra and the clueless idiot Jedi are in this episode so Vernestra learns that a Sith is about (she must have an idea). So we can possibly get the former padawan vs old master confrontation in episode 8. I guess episode 7 will finally feature the flashback that tells us how all the space witches suddenly dropped dead. We still have not seen all the scenes from the trailers. Which is crazy that they included things from these late season episodes.

Some random musings... I truly wonder why neither Sol nor Vernestra never even bothered to look for the Wookiee... they cannot know he's dead really, because no one ever checked up on him or went inside his hut. Also, letting dead Jedi rot in the forest seems to be totally ok with these High Republic Jedi. I suppose they are happy they are one with the Force now which is a great honor and all... so why bother with burial rites or time for mourning and grief... Dafne Keen had the easiest acting job ever in this... just look very, very dead... I like Dafne... too bad her character was entirely unimpressive. Amandla Stenberg is really, really terrible in this. She makes young Hayden Christensen look like Laurence Olivier. And this ultimately keeps the show at a low level, because the main character is not just badly written, but badly acted. It is blatantly funny how they copy paste The Last Jedi in the opening scenes. Only with ugly porgs this time. Hasbro, PLEASE make an ugly porg plushie. For our amusement!
Another thing... the weird flip flopping of characters is still really weird. Why would Osha even be remotely tempted by the person who just murdered a bunch of innocent (even if stupid) people? This is literally the inane Rey / Kylo dynamic from The Last Jedi all over again where Rey is sympathetic towards someone who literally is responsible for the deaths of billions mere hours earlier and killed his own father in cold blood. Headland really learned from the worst. The episode even visually references the Rian Johnson movie. What a strange decision.

If Tony Gilroy or anyone with actual talent would haven written and showrun the series and cast actors who can actually act it could have actually been a compelling backstory of the early Sith. As is this is mostly a major disappointment. Also, never again should anyone be allowed to write a show for someone just "because". Headland wrote this series literally for Stenberg, as she readily admitted in interviews, she always wanted Stenberg to be the lead for unknown reasons... we need proper casting calls again so merit is the deciding factor. Not weird girl crushes or plain old nepotism. File this episode under "missed opportunity", hints of greatness... undermined by a lousy lead actress, mostly pedestrian dialogue and a b plot that was painful and boring and ends just when it promises to be finally a little bit more interesting. 2 holocrons. Almost average. Almost.

Added: July 3, 2024
Category: The Acolyte
Reviewer: Thomas
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