The Acolyte Episode 3 Just Gave Us the Best Clue Yet About the Mysterious Sith Lord

Is Mother Koril secretly the Sith Lord behind The Acolyte? Here's the evidence...

Sith Lord in Star Wars: The Acolyte
Photo: Lucasfilm

This Star Wars: The Acolyte article contains spoilers.

Although we’re officially three episodes into The Acolyte’s eight-episode run, we’re no closer to figuring out who Mae’s (Amandla Stenberg) Sith master is. Still, that hasn’t stopped the theories from running wild about who’s under the black helmet, including a few fingers already pointed at Charlie Barnett’s Yord as well as Qimir (Manny Jacinto). Yet, the third episode introduces another potential suspect who might be pulling the strings from the shadows while appearing as a benevolent figure when not in Sith guise.

Set entirely in flashback, episode 3 takes the story back to Brendok 16 years before the sisters were reunited in episode 2. We knew from the beginning that something tragic happened to the coven of witches, with both Mae and Osha (played in a dual role by Stenberg) assuming the other had perished. But we learn much more about the tragedy this week and Mae’s hand in the destruction of the coven, which included the presumed deaths of their mothers, Mother Aniseya (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Mother Koril (Margarita Levieva). The episode ends with the twins left as orphans—or at least that’s what the show leads you to believe…

Adding some LGBTQ+ representation to the galaxy far, far away after The Rise of Skywalker’s botched same-sex kiss, we learn that Koril and Aniseya raised the twins as their own daughters. As Aniseya tells Jedi Master Indara (Carrie-Anne Moss) and the rest of her party, there is no father. Throughout the episode, we see Koril and Aniseya butt heads as parents, with Koril saying she carried the twins and Aniseya saying she “created” them while arguing about what to do about Osha’s inclination toward the Jedi Order.

Ad – content continues below

“Create” is the key word here, as it suggests that Osha and Mae were born from immaculate conception, similar to Anakin Skywalker. While the mystery of Anakin’s birth was never addressed in the Prequel Trilogy, Marvel’s Darth Vader comics revealed that Emperor Palpatine used the dark side of the Force to create Anakin. So is some form of Sith magic also behind the birth of Osha and Mae, and if so, is this another clue pointing toward the identity of the Sith Lord now mentoring Mae?

Some fans have been very quick to point out that, while we saw Mother Aniseya perish during the destruction of the coven, we never actually see Mother Koril’s body, suggesting she could have survived—or even been responsible for the incident in the first place. Aside from the fact that Mother Koril already looks like a bad guy because she’s the same horned Zabrak species as the villainous Darth Maul, fans have picked up on her unusual behavior throughout the introduction. When we first meet Mother Koril, she scolds the children for straying too far from the coven, while she later chastises Mother Aniseya for being too lenient on the pair. For her, it seems the survival of the coven and steering away from the Jedi is all that matters, which certainly sounds in line with Sith beliefs.

Later, although Mae takes the fall for starting a fire and killing the coven, the bodies of the witches look like they’re arranged in a circle and bear no marks of being burned to death. While some think Master Sol (Lee Jung-Jae) or one of the other Jedi Knights cut them down in cold blood off-screen, others are convinced Koril clashed with her sisters or set the whole thing up. The last time we saw Mother Aniseya alive she said she was going to convene the coven to discuss letting Osha leave with the Jedi. Did Mother Koril use the opportunity to kill her sisters during the confrontation and take Mae for herself?

Despite Mae clearly being resentful that her sister was about to leave, it also seemed of character for her to start a deadly fire that nearly killed Osha. We know Palpatine led Anakin down a similar path to the dark side by manipulating the Jedi Knight’s obsession with Padmé, so what if Koril used her bewitching ways to physically influence Mae? Episode 3 showed Aniseya using her powers to control Torbin (Dean-Charles Chapman), and back in episode 1, a young Mae was sporting the same mind-controlled eyes when she appeared in a vision to Osha.

In other words, there’s something sinister about Mother Koril, with one theorist writing on Twitter: “My crackpot theory is Mother Koril is behind the whole thing (and is possibly the masked Sith master). After inciting a fight and the fire via mind-control as a way to prevent Mae from ever leaving the coven. Mae is the apprentice, and Osha is the eventual acolyte.” Someone else added, “I’m just gonna say that my current running theory is that Mother Koril is under the mask,” and a third concluded, “Finished the episode and hmmm…Mother Koril, something feels off with her also I don’t see her dead body.” 

Although Master Sol quickly drags the young Osha away from Mother Aniseya’s corpse, there is no sign of Mother Koril’s signature spikes among the bodies scattered in the temple. The last time we saw her in the episode, she was taking a young Mae away shortly before she started the fire. In fact, it was Koril’s idea to remove Mae from the room.

Ad – content continues below

The Acolyte is steeped in duality, and just like Osha is the yin to Mae’s yang, their mothers appear to be on opposite sides of the spectrum. Remember how Mother Koril warned she’d do anything to keep the twins away from the Jedi, saying, “I did not bring the girls into this world so we could lose them to a bunch of deranged monks.” With so many parallels between the Prequel Trilogy, is Mother Koril The Acolyte’s very own Phantom Menace, or is she just another red herring? At this point, it would be easier to list who’s not a suspect.

Star Wars: The Acolyte is streaming now on Disney+.