Star Wars: The Acolyte episode 5 review: "Mounting tensions come to a head in an explosive confrontation"

The Acolyte
(Image: © Disney/Lucasfilm)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

The Acolyte episode 5 brings excellent action in an edge-of-your-seat confrontation, with one major mystery finally unmasked.

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The following contains spoilers for The Acolyte episode 5. Turn back now if you're not up to date with the Star Wars show! 

It's the biggest moment yet for The Acolyte. After four episodes of build-up, mounting tensions, past conflicts, and present day mysteries come to a head in an explosive confrontation that wipes out more than one major character – and sets the board for a fascinating next installment. 

To begin with, it's not long before we finally find out the identity of that mysterious Sith Lord. Yes, many of us had already guessed that none other than Qimir would be the man behind the mask, but it still works as a satisfying reveal; after all, sometimes the anticipation of an expected unmasking is better than a complete shock. 

Manny Jacinto is excellent at switching from playing Qimir as a sleazy-but-harmless little guy to a deadly, stone cold killer, shown most effectively when he greets Mae in an imitation of his old voice. He looks terrifyingly intimidating throughout the entire episode, mask or no mask, and his battle prowess is fearsome indeed – he cuts down the nameless Jedi like they're nothing, and, heartbreakingly, easily takes out two fan favorites, too. 

RIP Yord Hord

The Acolyte

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Charlie Barnett's Yord gathered something of a cult following on social media, dubbed the Yord Hord, who will surely be sobbing through the end-credits today. Tragically, Yord is no match for Qimir's Sith Lord, and he is brutally taken out with a snap of his neck. RIP Yord Hord. 

Another crushing death is young Jecki (Dafne Keen). She's been a standout so far and she shines in this episode, too, which makes her abrupt death all the more upsetting. She's stabbed a swift three times in the chest, so sadly no miraculous survival is on the cards for her. Still, she went out like a hero, taking on Qimir alone. He just proved too much of a match for the Padawan. 

The action in this episode is excellent, with slickly choreographed lightsaber fights scenes – which seem to incorporate cortosis, a metal that can deactivate lightsabers – and even some hand-to-hand grappling. Thanks to those major deaths, it's truly edge-of-your-seat stuff. It seems anyone could die in The Acolyte, and, after Lee Jung-jae's Master Sol promised Osha answers in episode 4, many (including me) thought he was a goner. It's a relief that he survived this installment. 

Deepening mysteries

The Acolyte

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

In fact, it seems Sol still has a major part left to play in the story. There's another hint that he's hiding some dark secrets, which he doesn't have time to tell Osha about in the episode. Thanks to Mae pulling a switcheroo and disguising herself as her twin sister with a Mulan-style hair chop, it might be a little while longer until Osha discovers the truth, whatever it may be. It surely has something to do with the mystery of Brendok, and what exactly happened that night the witches' coven burned. For now, we just have to wait. 

Speaking of that case of swapped identity, there's a sign that Bazil will soon figure out what happened, thanks to that powerful sense of smell. Plus, Osha's droid Pip is also safe and sound, so it might be able to detect the difference between the twins – and Sol noticed Osha's tattoo a few episodes ago, and Mae won't have a matching one. 

Osha, meanwhile, is left in the care of Qimir after her confrontation with Mae doesn't go the way Mae hoped. Qimir, intriguingly, appears to be capable of Force healing, like Rey and Grogu. He also has some pretty interesting ideas on the "rules," which, from his point of view, are imposed by the Jedi. It looks like The Acolyte could be set to explore the nature of the Sith in more depth in its remaining episodes, which could open up some fascinating new avenues for Star Wars. I said in my review of the first four episodes that I found The Acolyte's major ideas to be too similar to the prequels', so this is an opportunity for the show to really strike out on its own path. 

The Acolyte episode 5 plays for 30 minutes or so, which makes it pretty remarkable that it's able to accomplish so much in such a tight runtime. Now that it's passed the halfway point, it's more than clear that The Acolyte is a Star Wars show worthy of standing alongside the rest of the saga. Where the story goes from here is anyone's guess, but I'll be watching with bated breath. 

The Acolyte continues weekly on Disney Plus. For more on the show, check out our deep dives on: 

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.