The first two episodes of Ahsoka premiered last week, and the best way to describe them is that they were a couple of branches of “member berries” being dangled in front of Star Wars fans. Not all Star Wars fans, though; only those who have religiously watched Rebels and, like every individual who disrespects animation, have wanted to see the characters of that show appear in live-action. Anyway, those two episodes established the fact that this mini-series is going to be about the return of Grand Admiral Thrawn. And since he was the villain in Rebels, he is expected to wreak havoc once again in this show. Ahsoka, Hera, Sabine, and Huyang intend to stop the villains, Baylan Skoll, Shin Hati, Marrok, and Morgan Elsbeth, from bringing Thrawn out of his exile. Episode 2 concluded with the reveal that Elsbeth and her team have made a gigantic hyperspace ring called the Eye of Sion, and Ahsoka, Sabine, and Huyang are tracking it down.
Hera’s Proposal Gets Rejected By The Senate
Episode 3 of Ahsoka opens with Sabine’s Jedi training session with Huyang and Ahsoka. Ahsoka name-drops a technique called “Zatochi.” I think the writers meant to say Zatoichi, i.e., the fictional blind swordsman who has appeared in multiple films and is the inspiration for Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Îmwe (Rogue One) and Caine (John Wick 4). But yes, the fact that characters say “Zatochi” instead of “Zatoichi” says everything that needs to be said about this mini-series. The “Zatochi” training program is essentially a version of the blind Jedi training that Luke Skywalker and every other Jedi in existence have undergone, where they’ve had to put on a visor that obstructs their vision so that they can use the Force to learn about the enemy’s presence. The surprising thing about its portrayal in this show is that it’s boring. Don’t get me wrong, Steph Green and his team want you to think that it’s exciting and tense, but the choice of shots and the editing keep you from feeling those emotions.
Thankfully, we are spared from enduring any more of that as the narrative cuts to Hera’s meeting with the New Republic Senate, which features Mon Mothma. The conversation boils down to this: Hera wants the Senate to prepare for the arrival of Thrawn; the Senate thinks that it’s just Hera’s way of searching for Ezra Bridger; Hera gets angry; and the Senate refuses to listen to Hera’s request because they’re so confident they’ve destroyed everything synonymous with the Empire. Amazing writing by the great Dave Filoni. I can totally see why his fans love him. By the way, do you remember how amazingly Mon Mothma was written in Andor? As in, you could totally see how layered she was as a person and how she was doing a balancing act between being a mother, aiding the rebellion, and working under the Empire’s nose. Aren’t you glad to see her serve as nothing more than a cameo again? Additionally, Hera has a son called Jacen Syndulla, whose father was Kanan Jarrus. Riveting piece of trivia.
Ahsoka And Sabine Enter Enemy Airspace
Ahsoka and Sabine talk about learning how to become Jedi by moving a cup. The interesting thing about the great Dave Filoni’s writing is that he doesn’t understand emotion. Two people are sitting together. They have a history. They apparently have spent a long time apart. And they are trying to reconnect through this Jedi training session. And yet every line of dialogue that they are made to utter sounds like a Jedi FAQ. It seems like Filoni is playing mind games with the plot-loving audience, who will tag him on Twitter, Instagram, or Tik Tok and accuse him of not making Ahsoka or Sabine ask a hyperspecific Star Wars question. That’s why he’s afraid to let his characters’ conversations be governed by the laws of feelings, and you can see the negative effects of this kind of writing on the performances of the actors, who sound robotic as hell.
Who cares about all that, right? Let’s hear Hera reiterate something that we all know already: the Senate doesn’t want to support the heroes’ mission to stop Thrawn because they believe he’s dead. Before Sabine, Ahsoka, and Hera can discuss this in detail, the plot interrupts the conversation as the ship enters the Denab system and they discover the existence of the giant hyperspace ring being constructed by Elsbeth. Huyang begins to scan the thing, but he is unable to do that peacefully as the ship is attacked by Shin Hati, Marrok, and a couple of other Imperial fighters. This leads to one of the most boring space dogfights. You know, this used to be major highlight of the franchise? Even when George Lucas and his team were limited by the technology of their time, they came up with these amazing chase sequences, filled with pitch perfect banter, sound design, and visual effects. Regardless of your thoughts on the sequel trilogy, you’ve got to admit that it nailed that aspect of Star Wars too. I still remember the Falcon’s first flight, the chase through Crait, and the hyperspace jumping chase. What the hell is going on here in Ahsoka? The dialogue, the cuts, the sound design—it’s all so inert. Is it bad by design because that is what Rebels fans are used to? Will they combust if they sense even a hint of personality, style, or flair?
What Did Sabine And Ahsoka Discover?
There’s a moment during the space dogfight where Ahsoka has to step out of her ship, which is momentarily nonfunctional and is being fixed by Sabine, and face off against the Imperial ships in zero gravity with her lightsabers while wearing a cool-looking spacesuit. It is supposed to be the high point of this episode. But Steph Green and his team think it’s better to just not make it the most brilliant thing you’ve ever seen. They show a lot of restraint and refuse to let this show be cool for a second. If there’s an award for that, the team behind Ahsoka should definitely get it. Anyway, Sabine gets the ship running, and they dive into Seatos and are welcomed by a bunch of Purrgils. Sabine uses them as a cover and manages to get Shin Hati and Marrok off her back. By the way, in case you don’t know that Ahsoka and Sabine have encountered the Purrgils in Star Wars Rebels, the great Dave Filoni has a line of dialogue to ensure that you know that Ahsoka and Sabine have encountered the Purrgils in Star Wars Rebels. See, this is what I’m talking about. Ahsoka is for fans of Rebels, but Filoni treats them like kids. Isn’t it obvious that this show’s target audience already knows the aforementioned piece of information? So, why is it being underscored in the most uninteresting way possible? Isn’t the reaction of the actors enough? It’s baffling that the show refuses to let these characters interact in a meaningful way, but they also refuse to let the audience point and scream at the screen after spotting a reference or an Easter Egg. They do that for them too!
Do you want to know what happens next? At the end of Ahsoka, episode 3, Ahsoka, Sabine, and Huyang set the ship down in the forests of Seatos to avoid detection. Huyang reveals the power of the hyperspace ring and Baylon Skoll tells one of his minions to sweep the forest because he knows that Ahsoka and her team are hiding there. Now, hear me out. Wouldn’t it have been great if we had found out about the existence of this hyperspace ring along with Ahsoka, Sabine, and Huyang? We all remember the “That’s no moon, that’s a space station” bit from A New Hope because we could relate to Kenobi and Solo’s shock. Ahsoka, Sabine, and Huyang finding out something that we already know because it was shown to us in last week’s episode doesn’t have the same effect. It just feels repetitive. What’s the point of repeating this information? I don’t know. I said last week that there was going to be a fight in the forests of Seatos, and the ending of this week’s episode confirms that that is about to happen. I expect it to be better than everything that we’ve seen so far, but that’s a tall order. It’s better to keep your expectations low when it comes to Ahsoka.