The Acolyte: Everything May Be Happening According To Mother Aniseya’s Plan

With just a single episode of Season 1 of Star Wars: The Acolyte remaining, it feels as though this series has been prompting lots of questions without ever really answering any of them in full. The show is full of mysteries, and it’s offered only partial answers to go with them. We know a lot about what is going on but very little about why. And without the why, we don’t really know anything, even after our second flashback of the season in this week’s episode.

Warning: This article discusses many spoilers for Star Wars: The Acolyte through Episode 7, “Choice.”

The cause of this knowledge gap comes courtesy of The Acolyte’s strange plot structure. Of the seven episodes that have dropped so far, five of them were focused entirely on the present narrative, and two (Episodes 3 and 7) of them were focused entirely on one flashback but from different perspectives. It’s mysteriously convoluted, with both flashbacks omitting the most important details–there are more secrets to be revealed about the coven of witches that Mae and Osha came from. And, I suspect, about Mother Aniseya specifically.

We had hints at Aniseya’s incredible power in the previous flashback episode, particularly with the insinuation that Aniseya had literally conceived Mae and Osha using the Force. But this week we actually saw some of that power in action–and it was kind of scary. While we don’t yet know what all Aniseya is capable of, it seems to be a lot. And I’m starting to believe that she may have actually caused this showdown with the Jedi to go poorly on purpose.

But I don’t believe that just because she has immense power–there’s a specific line about it when the Jedi are doing their cute little tests on Mae. Mae says that she and Osha are supposed to become the leaders of the coven, but they don’t know why or how. And then Mae quotes Aniseya. “Everyone must walk through fear. Everyone must be sacrificed to fulfill their destiny.” The Jedi think this sounds pretty messed up, and it freaks them out, but what it foreshadows is fascinating–Aniseya literally sacrifices herself not long after this, in order to help Mae and Osha fulfill their destinies.

Indeed, all the witches are dead at the end of this, even though we still don’t know why. But everyone was sacrificed, and in the process both Mae and Osha were set on their respective paths–it was the intervention by Jedi at that exact moment that left Osha without the forehead mark after Mae had received hers, which is difficult to see as just coincidence. With Aniseya serving as an immensely powerful sorcerer, doing things no one else ever has like intentionally creating Mae and Osha through the Force, it’s impossible to overestimate her abilities.

So while she tries to play the nice cop on the surface when the Jedi show up, her move to dominate Torbin’s mind is ultimately what inspired him to lash out later. The fight with the Jedi might not have happened at all if Aniseya hadn’t pulled such an aggressive move right at the start. It’s a clear provocation, even while she’s trying to play the peacemaker between the Jedi and Mother Koril.

On top of that, we’ve got Aniseya’s apparent disagreements with the rest of the coven over how to handle Mae and Osha. The other witches are intractable, and want to control the twins, but Aniseya wants to let them find their own paths–but I don’t think that’s a new conflict, since we saw these cracks between Aniseya and Koril in Episode 3. It feels very much like Aniseya is on her own side throughout this episode, manipulating everyone toward an outcome she desires.

So clearly Aniseya has her own designs, and I don’t think Mae and Osha exist to lead the coven or serve it in any way–the coven is, instead, there to start Mae and Osha on their journeys and now, through the deaths of every adult member of the coven, force them to walk through their fear as they live new lives without the witches or each other. I think Aniseya knew, when the Jedi first appeared, that this was the moment, and she did what she did and said what she said during this encounter to allow them the chance to be free of the limitations imposed by life with the coven.

To what end, it’s impossible to say right now, because we’ve still got a ton of huge holes in the story–apparently, two entire episodes dedicated to this one flashback weren’t enough to tell us the whole story. So we still don’t actually know why Koril and the entire rest of the coven is dead, and we don’t know how Mae survived her fall, or how Qimir got involved with any of it. And throughout this episode, Indara keeps making these faces like she’s able to sense a lot more about the situation than she’s saying, and she’s conspicuously missing from the final showdown with the coven until the very end of Sol and Torbin’s fight against a possessed Kelnacca–plenty of time for her to have been up to something offscreen. And after playing things straight, Indara is the one who wants to cover up what had happened. Suspicious.

With how short each episode of The Acolyte has been, it’s hard to see anything really being wrapped up with next week’s season finale–a half-hour just isn’t enough time to reach any conclusions with the pace this show has been moving. The best we can probably hope for is probably instead to just be completely caught up on this key piece of Mae and Osha’s backstory with, finally, a reveal for what part the Sith played and how Mae ended up with them. Cross your fingers.

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