The Latest Acolyte Episode Is Pure Sexy, Deadly Star Wars

Star Wars is a lot of things, but it is rarely sexy. A few things spring to mind: Anakin Skywalker’s bare chest after a nightmare, Padme’s midriff in the fighting pit, or a sidelong glance from Han Solo, but in recent history the franchise has been somewhat devoid of sex and death. Kylo Ren and Rey Skywalker had some chemistry, sure, but it was akin to two teenagers first discovering horniness: clumsy, awkward, and at times, downright weird. And too many modern characters have been protected by plot armor, be it Boba Fett in his shitty Disney Plus series or side characters in The Mandalorian.

The latest episode of The Acolyte, titled The Master, is tailor-made for Star Wars’ adult audiences, giving us a sexy villain and a body count usually reserved for House of the Dragon—and it just so happened to be one of the strongest episodes of the franchise yet.


The first thing I notice about the strange, helmeted baddie that shows up to fight the Jedi in this episode are his arms. They’re bare, something we almost never see for Star Wars bad guys, and they are rippling with sweat-glistened muscles. As he takes on the small army of Jedi trying to protect Wookiee master Kelnocca, his biceps and triceps and forearms are on full display, moving with incredible, dangerous speed, like a cobra repeatedly coiling and striking.

The lightsaber battle he takes part in is one of the coolest I’ve ever seen in Star Wars. It’s masterfully choreographed, with Dafne Keen’s Jecki and Lee-Jung Jae’s Sol showing off some impressive skills as they face off against someone who doesn’t follow the typical rules of engagement. We watch as they struggle to adapt to the stranger’s tactics, which include him using his helm to block and temporarily disable lightsabers. We see their faces change as they realize this is something the Jedi have never encountered, could not even fathom.

Jecki looks at her disabled lightsaber.

Image: Disney / Lucasfilm

The Acolyte showrunners said they wanted to give us a lightsaber battle that would rival The Phantom Menace’s Duel of the Fates, and boy, did they. Jecki is light on her feet and fast, leapfrogging off of objects to execute a stronger strike, while Sol’s anger at the loss of so many of his kind slowly overtakes him, manifesting in the way he fights. By the time the opening half of the episode is over, there are cauterized holes gently emitting steam in almost all of the Jedi, including Keen’s Jecki, who dies quite terribly after knocking the helmet off the mystery man.

We watch him punch three holes through her with his newly split dual sabers, and as her body falls to the ground we get our big reveal: It’s Manny Jacinto’s Qimir, his hair dripping with sweat and falling in pointed slices across his face, arms on full display, eyes full of rage. Evil has never looked this good.

And in case you weren’t sure that Qimir, who has been secretly pretending to be a bumbling idiot and not the master controlling Mae (one of two roles for Amandla Stenberg), is evil, he soon after kills Yord (Charlie Barnett) in quite possibly the most gruesome manner ever seen in Star Wars. With Yord kneeling down in front of him, Qimir brutally snaps his neck. Yeah, he bad bad.

I watched nearly the entire episode with my mouth hanging open in shock—shock that The Acolyte would kill off two characters we were just getting to know, shock at how good the fights were, shock at the holes through bodies, the snapped neck, and the unparalleled, unapologetic sexiness of Jacinto. The Dark Side should tempt you, and there’s no easier way to do that than by being hot as shit.

That the episode ends with what appears to be a few notes of Kylo Ren’s theme as Qimir tenderly covers Osha’s unconscious body with a shawl tells me two things: The Acolyte showrunners know that we yearn for sexy, murderous bad boys, and this series may tie into the movies more so than we expected. Is Qimir the first ever Knight of Ren, the acolytes of the Dark Side who rose to power when the Sith were considered extinct, whose name Kylo took as his own? It sure seems like it.

The next episode of The Acolyte airs on Tuesday July 2 on Disney Plus. I hope your air conditioning is working, because I’m sure it’s gonna be another hot one.


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