SPOILER ALERT: Warning, this article contains spoilers from both Battlefront II and The Force Awakens. Proceed at your own risk.
When Kylo Ren grips people in his Forcey McGrabhold and asks a question, they tend to answer. But what exactly goes on when he raids someone’s mind for information? It looks painful. It looks as though a series of mental barriers are being hammered down by Ren’s trained force talents.
The truth is a lot more involved.
Insights are given at the end of Battlefront II, when Kylo Ren raids Del Meeko’s mind to find out where the map to Luke Skywalker is. After encountering Skywalker in the main campaign, Meeko has become somewhat of a convert to the Jedi religion. He’s spent time with Lor San Tekka.
But he’s still the Star Wars equivalent of a Muggle, and therefor defenceless against Kylo Ren’s force abilities.
In the video above, you can witness the standoff between these two minds. Although since Meeko was unprepared for this kind of battle, it’s less a standoff and more a case of him running to different places of safety in his mind.
Kylo Ren follows him and leaves a path of destruction through Meeko’s memories. He witnesses important moments and places in Meeko’s life. He hears quotes from people special to Meeko, such as Iden Versio. And all throughout, he wrenches free tidbits about the map to Skywalker.
It’s a little disappointing that what Kylo Ren sees in Del Meeko’s mind doesn’t actually have much to do with the history of the map. It doesn’t reveal much about Meeko’s introduction to people like Lor San Tekka, or how the map came to be. But it does show a much more fleshed out manifestation of the mental battle taking place. The whole thing goes for almost nine minutes, which suggests time passes slower in these cerebral struggles.
It doesn’t matter how hardened you are, Kylo Ren will be able to extract what he needs. We first see Poe Dameron give up vital information about the map. The only one who is able to resist is Rey, via her raw, untamed force sensitivity. So it’s consistent that Del Meeko, a hard special forces operative for decades, would also give in.
It also suggests that this kind of interrogation isn’t just about pain. There does seem to be pain, mind you — after having Ren ransack his mind, Meeko appears so feeble he can’t even move his body. But physical torture would be something you’d expect the galaxy’s most highly trained operatives to be able to deal with. This is something else.