Star Wars: The Acolyte Episode 3 Recap (Spoilers)

The Acolyte Episode 3 had some big, surprising reveals for the Star Wars franchise and some new mysteries. Read our recap to find out!

The Acolyte Episode 3 had some exciting momentum to build upon, after the two-episode premiere established a surprising story of twin sisters, Jedi-hunting assassins, a mysterious tragedy of the past, and a Sith Lord hiding in the shadows. 

That's why it's likely going to be jarring to many viewers to find out that The Acolyte Episode 3 is a bottle episode, which takes us into the past of Osha and Mae (Amandla Stenberg) and what happened between them, their family, and the Jedi who came to their planet, Brendok, sixteen years earlier. 

The Acolyte Episode 3 Recap (SPOILERS) 

Two Sisters, One Force – The Episode opens with Osha sitting under a tree, looking at some luminescent butterfly creatures fluttering around it. Osha has one of the creatures land on her hand, and gently lifts it back into the air to fly away – only to have Mae suddenly appear, trapping the creature with a Force hold. Osha asks how Mae knew to find her under the Bunta tree, while Mae chastises her sister that the "Bunta tree" is dangerous (but only if eaten)  – a callback to the poison Mae makes from the flowers of the tree in Episode 2. Mae once again tries to Force-grab the butterfly creature, but Osha scolds her. Mae scolds Osha for always running off, but Osha admits to being scared of "The Ascension" ceremony they're about to go through. Mae makes Osha return home with her; on the way through the woods, they recite the nursery rhyme about being part of one another, as previously heard during Osha's horrific visions of those woods burning in Episode 1. The girls are found by "Mother Koril" (Margarita Levieva), a Dathomirian witch, who chastises them for leaving their coven's fortress. Mother Koril is wise, as the shot pulls back to reveal a younger Sol Lee Jung-jae tracking them. 

Spice Cream Girls – Osha and Mae return to their coven's village, hoping to get some of the spice cream treats being offered. Koril wants to punish the girls, but Mother Aniseya (Jodie Turner-Smith) arrives and allows her "sweet girls" to have "sweet treats." Aniseya and Koril speak privately, revealing their clear affection as a romantic couple. Koril is concerned that the twins are leaving the fortress and thinks Aniseya is being too lenient. It's hinted that the twins are not "normal girls." 

The Thread of Life – Mother Aniseya gives a sermon to the coven about the "thread of life" that connects all living things (the Thread = the Force). Aniseya makes a piece of fruit levitate before handing it off to Mae; she rebukes the idea of the Force as a power to be welded; instead, Aniseya describes the "Thread" as a line of destiny that can be "pulled," changing fate(s) dramatically, as well as the deep bond between people. Aniseya and several witches demonstrate a Force-push exercise in which Aniseya tries to outpower one, then two opponents pushing against her. The twins get into a childish squabble and Aniseya pushes them down to show them how enemies will have no mercy. When she attacks again, Osha cowers but Mae counters her mother's Force power, earning praise, while Koril chastises Osha for her cowardice. The training is interrupted when both Aniseya and Koril sense the presence of an intruder – but don't spot the infiltrator. 

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Acension Anxiety – Mae, Osha and Aniseya are in private quarters, where Aniseya sense something is amiss with Osha. Osha confesses to having doubts about becoming a witch, but Mae insists it's their dream – while Osha clarifies it's Mae's dream. Aniseya makes the girls hold hands, explaining the Thread bound them together before they were born, and makes them reaffirms their love for one another. Aniseya explains that the twins are special; the Acension is about overcoming fear, and that it's necessary in a galaxy that does not accept women with access to power. As the coven prepares for the Acension, Mae and Osha are having their hair done, and the argument about their differing hopes for the future begins again. Osha reveals that they are the only children in the coven, and she dreams of the world outside it; Mae thinks everything they need is in their coven. 

Let's Get Ceremonial – That night, The Witch Coven gathers by a well and does dramatic posing and chanting until Mother Aniseya arrives. Aniseya gives a sermon (backstory) that the coven was hunted and nearly extinct, until they were given "the gift of life" in the twins. Osha and Mae arrive in gold-laden ceremonial robes, as Aniseya declares that their bond in the Thread can never be broken. The coven chants "The power of one; the power of two; the power of many!" as Osha and Mae kneel. Mae is asked if she accepts the Ascension and says yes, receiving the white spiral mark on her forehead. Osha's answer is less certain; before Aniseya could complete Osha's Ascension, the Jedi arrive at their doors. 

The Infamous Four – Jedi's Indara, Sol, Kelnacca, and Padawan Torbin all arrive in the courtyard of the coven. Aniseya prevents her coven from attacking, denouncing violence, while Koril demands to know why the Jedi are trespassing. Indara tries to claim they thought the planet was uninhabited, but Aniseya knows the Jedi are too cunning for that. Osha is fascinated by the Jedi; Indara brings up The Republic's law against training children in the Force, and Koril lies that they have none. Kelnacca can sense them, and Inadara calls Osha forward to speak with Sol. Indara asks Osha to bring Mae forward as well, and Aniseya permits it with a nod. When asked about a father, Aniseya states they didn't have one; Sol notices the new marking on Mae's head, sparking tensions in the coven that the Jedi want to abduct the children. It looks like Sol is going for his lightsaber – but instead, he hands his weapon to Osha and asks if she wants to take the test to join the Jedi Order. Osha wants to, but Aniseya lashes out with her power, possessing Torbin's mind and making him a hostage. Osha begs her mother to let her take the test and Indara says it's only fair to honor it. Aniseya releases Torbin and acquiesces, but Sol demands that Mae come in to take the test as well. 

*Take the Test – The Coven has a conference about what to do. Aniseya stands against Koril and much of the coven, saying they have to let the girls be tested or risk further invasion of their home. Koril won't give her daughters to "deranged monks," reminding Aniseya angrily about who raised them; Aniseya quietly reminds Koril who birthed the girls. Koril twists those words, hinting at the danger if the Jedi learn how Aniseya achieved that miraculous feat. An elder sums it up by coming up with a third idea: let the girls take the test, but have them fail it. Mae is on board with the plan, but Osha thinks the Jedi are good and wants to join them. Aniseya calmly explains that good and evil are a young girl's concepts and that the real issue is who has power and gets to use it. She tells Osha her perspective will shift like their hunting methods do with the seasons; Osha counters that the hunt itself never changes, as they head to the Jedi ship to take the test.

Pass, Fail – Mae goes into the ship first to take her test, while Osha waits outside, and has a brief exchange with Kelnacca. Mae returns from her test smiling, knowing she carried out her mother's wishes and failed on purpose. Osha goes in and is fascinated with Torbin's lightsaber as he takes a sample of her blood. Osha tests with Sol and Indara, being asked to convey what picture they are looking at on their screen. Osha gets every answer wrong, but when Sol keeps claiming she's correct Osha gets frustrated and admits that she's not, betraying her Force sensitive talent. Sol and Indara call out the fact that Mae and Aniseya don't want her to leave them, but Sol tells the story of being recruited to the Jedi Order at just 4 years old, knowing he was different from his family. Sol hooks her by describing how he found many other children like him in the Order, and challenges Osha to tell the truth and seize the destiny she wants. When Osha returns from the test, Mae instantly knows her sister didn't stick to the plan. 

Witch or Jedi – Mae snitches on Osha to Mother Aniseya and Mother Koril, but Osha sticks to her convictions and proclaims that she doesn't want to be a witch. Mae starts fighting her sister and is removed by Koril; Aniseya talks to Osha and tells her there is no Force that controls the thread of her destiny – she must choose. Osha chooses to be a Jedi, and Aniseya agrees to bring her wish to the rest of the coven. Osha professes her love for her mother and goes to back her bag to leave. 

Fire! – Mae appears at Osha's door, stealing her invitation to the Jedi Order and locking her sister in her room. Mae burns the invitation and spreads the fire to the doorway. Osha uses a splicer to open a side hatch door and escape from her room. As she's walking through the catacombs of the coven, Osha passes a grate overhead and many screams are briefly heard as the ground shakes violently and dust rains down. Osha emerges at the cavern containing the coven's power core, which promptly explodes into a ball of fire. Osha spots Mae running away up a stairwell and meets her sister on a mangled catwalk that is breaking apart. Mae informs Osha that their mother is dead, causing each girl to blame the other for it. Mae's side of the catwalk collapses, and the young girl disappears into the depths of smoke and flame. Sol manages to catch Osha's arm mid-fall and pull her back up. The two flee the coven, with Osha spotting the corpse of Mother Koril lying dead amidst a gruesome pile of witches' bodies. Outside in the courtyard, Osha's heartbreak continues when she spots Mother Aniseya also lying dead on the ground, but Sol pulls her away from the inferno, as the coven and their fortress burn to ash. 

New Life, Who Dis? – Osha awakens on the Jedi ship asking for her mother. Sol helps her up and explains that Mae's fire destroyed the coven and Osha is heartbroken. Sol stops her from going back and promises her Coruscant will be a new home for her – and he will make her his Padawan. 

Through the Fire – Back on Brendok, Mae is seen covered in ash and soot, waiting by the Bunta tree for Osha. When her sister isn't there, Mae looks like her sanity breaks slightly, at the thought she killed her sister. 

The Acolyte is streaming on Disney+