After last week’s episode of The Acolyte took us into the past for a fascinating story of the Force and perspective alike, things get back to the bigger mysteries of the season in “Day”. But the gift of last week’s context allows the show to re-examine its central figures in new light… just in time for that light to be plunged into darkness.

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After “Destiny” gave us a twisting exploration of Mae and Osha’s upbringing on Brendok that asked us to question everything we thought we knew—even what our eyes were seeing—on the surface “Day”, the fourth episode of The Acolyte, seems relatively simple in comparison. With the Jedi and the agents of the Dark Side both converging on the jungle planet Khofar—where the next target on Mae’s hitlist of Brendok Jedi, the wookiee master Kelnacca, resides in exile—Mae and Osha alike find themselves questioning their place at the heart of this mystery, just in time for an outside factor to upend everything again (but more on that later).

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It’s a brisk episode—arguably too brisk at times, making its climactic shock cliffhanger all the more of a tease to sit with for the week. But in that brisk simplicity The Acolyte still finds a lot to lay out for its central sisters… and as has been the case so far, mirroring their perspectives allows the series to draw comparisons and twist little moments that have the potential to upend this balance of light and dark at play. “Day” more than any episode so far of the show really leverages that this is the story of twin sisters, rather than one told from the perspective of one particular half of that relationship, and in doing so, it provides us moments of introspection and comparison points between Mae and Osha that paint a surprising future ahead of either of them.

One through line throughout both Mae and Osha’s stories in “Day” is that these sisters are both being used by the forces around them. With the Jedi—still content to play politics and try and keep as much of Sol’s investigation out of sight, for appearance’s as much as any particular fear of a resurgence of the Dark side—Sol has to make the difficult sacrifice to use Osha as a tool, leverage with Vernestra to keep him involved in the investigation, in order to make the case there’s a way to bring Mae in and get the Jedi to find out who trained her in the dark arts. Even then, she is forced to tag along to Khofar less as an ally, and more like a bargaining chip—othered, forced to wear “civilian robes” that explicitly present her as not one of them among the Jedi, the same utility and status as Bazil, the Tynnan tracker likewise clad in those white robes, a creature the Jedi who’ve hired him use like a tool as well, one they complain about when he runs off for half the episode.

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Even Sol, Osha’s strongest advocate, begins to treat her as being there as a test, a lesson for her to still learn—as he inches so closely to telling her that what she recalls of that night on Brendok isn’t the full picture, and that she has to be ready for the truth, no matter what it is. It’s only really Jecki who treats Osha this episode like an ally, like a whole person in and of herself—when, in a moment of doubt about her past as a Jedi padawan and her childhood, Jecki reminds her that people are defined by what they survive, rather than what they survived. And what has Osha survived up to now, other than the Jedi themselves: taking her, training her, letting her go, now using her as a tool against a family they told her had been wiped out?

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All that is contrasted meanwhile with Qimir, tagging along with Mae as she prepares to assassinate Kelnacca, constantly poking and prodding at his travelling companion with all the subtlety of a brick to the face—one that feels a little too much like The Acolyte, a show that has made the case for us not trusting what it says in a literal sense, screaming “hey, this guy might have a particular interest in creepy masks and red lightsabers!”—to remind her that she is failing their master, that her part in his plan is dependent on her being wielded as his weapon, rather than making any decision herself. Every time Mae tries to take initiative, Qimir is there to needle her, that that is not what their master wants—no questions, no thought, just a blade to be shaped into darkness. And just as Sol tries to prepare Osha for the truth, a truth that might shake her off this feeling that Mae cannot be worthy of redemption, that her vengeance is misguided… Mae herself begins to see that learning her sister is alive frees her from all this hate and anger she has felt for sixteen year. She doesn’t need Qimir and the master, if she has her sister—there’s still a chance she can change.

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There in lies the tragedy of “Day”. Everything is beginning to change—Mae flickering towards light, Osha flickering towards darkness—the twins’ mirrored paths begin mirroring in another way. Just as Mae takes the initiative, tricking Qimir into a rope trap so she can go make amends with Kelnacca and give herself up to the arriving Jedi, and likewise as Osha steels herself, all to eagerly palming the blaster she’s brought to face down a sister she’s begun to want vengeance on, their paths barrelling towards convergence… a fork in the road appears. Mae finds Kelnacca already dead, a burning gash rent across his chest. Sol feels a chill in the air as the Jedi encircle Kelnacca’s home, and turns to find a figure in black floating through the air like a whisper, down right to Osha. A masked figure, who roars to life not in word or deed, but with the snap-hiss ignition, sudden and sharp, of a red lightsaber.

Regardless of whether you immediately spun into trying to figure out if the Master was a hastily-freed Qimir or otherwise, their arrival on the scene as “Day” comes to an abrupt end is remarkably effective. It’s a slasher villain showing up at the climax of a police procedural—everything twists sharply with a flick of the Master’s wrist, as Jedi and Osha alike go flying into the credits. And the moment for Mae and Osha’s paths to come together, a chance for these reflections to find something in each other once more, is lost in the chaos.

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Sooner rather than later, the truth of what happened on Brendok will come out. As will how that changes the paths Osha and Mae are hurtling along now—one shrouded by pain and mistrust, the other emboldened by a chance to break free from that pain—neither of which are the paths we were led to expect for each of them, and now have the chance to change the course of everything we thought we knew about The Acolyte in its first half. But in order for that truth to come out, protagonists and antagonists alike have to survive the revenge of a Sith… or some of them do, at least.

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