Ahsoka has been a middling affair so far. The villains have talked about the re-emergence of one of the most infamous villains in Star Wars history, Thrawn. The heroes have talked about preventing it, thereby avoiding a war. And all of this has to do with utilizing a map and a massive circular structure to travel between galaxies because wherever Thrawn is, it can’t be reached with a simple hyperspace jump. All of this led to a fight between Baylan Skoll, Shin Hati, Sabine Wren, Marrok, and Ahsoka Tano. Ahsoka managed to “kill” Marrok, but she was defeated by Baylan and banished (I suppose) into the World Between Worlds, which was where she met Anakin Skywalker again. In the hopes of meeting Ezra, Sabine joined the villains and blasted off into hyperspace through the Eye of Sion.
Ahsoka finds herself in the middle of the Clone Wars.
Episode 5 of Ahsoka opens with Hera, Jacen, and Chopper reaching Seatos, only to learn from Huyang that Sabine and Ahsoka have vanished into thin air. Then, the episode enters the Force-based realm to show Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka having a conversation about their age, Ahsoka’s altercation with Baylan, and Ahsoka’s final lesson. When asked about the nature of this lesson, Anakin basically boils it down to living or dying. Anakin ignites his lightsaber, and even though Ahsoka doesn’t want to fight him, she has to. This leads to yet another dull lightsaber battle between two characters, and it’s sad to witness that because these characters have been in some expertly choreographed fight sequences in both live-action and animated mediums. I genuinely don’t understand what’s going on with the fight sequences in Ahsoka. Do they look dull because Filoni wants to show the faces of the actors, but the actors aren’t all that good when it comes to swinging their lightsabers? Is that why they have to speed up their moves in order to make them look quick? But that makes it all look so janky and amateur. What are they thinking?
Anyway, the episode cuts back to Hera, Jacen, Chopper, and Huyang, as they have no idea what to do or how to find Ahsoka and Sabine. Jacen uses his Jedi powers to access the World Between Worlds and tells Hera that the waves of the oceans in Seatos are masking the sound of Anakin and Ahsoka’s lightsaber battle. Based on that information, Hera orders Captain Carson Teva to do a sweep of the oceans again for any signs of Ahsoka. Talking about the lightsaber battle, Ahsoka manages to get the better of Anakin, but Anakin cuts off the pathway underneath their feet to send Ahsoka into a flashback of the Clone Wars. Now, this could’ve just been a cool throwback, but for a change, Filoni decides to not only create some haunting visuals of the war but also question a Jedi’s position in all this.
Ahsoka and Anakin actually talk about how the Jedi started off as flag bearers of peace and how they’ve been turned into superpowered soldiers. Since Anakin has that violent streak in him (that eventually turned him into Darth Vader), he is okay with it. However, Ahsoka isn’t okay with the death and the violence, and she doesn’t want her padawan to do something similar. That means Ahsoka is having second thoughts about teaching Sabine, and she’s afraid that Sabine will become just like her while Ahsoka will probably become like Anakin. By the way, there’s this amazing shot where Anakin morphs into Darth Vader and back again between explosions on the battlefield while Ahsoka stares in horror.
Ahsoka and Anakin Walk Through The Siege of Mandalore
Huyang and Hera have a conversation about conducting this unsanctioned mission to get Ahsoka. It’s sweet how Huyang assures Hera that she’s not wrong for doing what she’s doing because it shows that she cares about Ahsoka. I like that the show focuses on Hera’s reaction instead of jumping to her response. You see her processing the compliment and then wondering how a droid is capable of empathy. And then, they proceed to get closer to the ocean waves and look for signs of Ahsoka. We enter yet another memory of Ahsoka’s, and it’s about the Siege of Mandalore. Anakin (or his Force ghost) isn’t aware of this part of Ahsoka’s life because they had parted ways by then, but he applauds Ahsoka’s growth or for doing such a great job of waging war. Ahsoka is clearly ashamed of it, but every time she wants to disassociate from it or be apologetic about it, Anakin seems to normalize her actions. He isn’t helping her grow. He is making her regress into something she doesn’t want to be. When Ahsoka confronts Anakin about this, he turns into the Sith version of himself and battles Ahsoka.
One of Anakin’s strikes knocks Ahsoka out of her flashbacks and back into the World Between Worlds. When Anakin enters it, too, there’s another amazing shot where he alternates between his pre-Darth Vader look and his Darth Vader look. Even his voice sounds like a mixture of Hayden Christensen and James Earl Jones’ voices. Ahsoka pushes back against Anakin’s violence and says that she wants to live. Yes, she’s literally talking about not dying due to drowning. But I think she’s also talking about not dying without rectifying her part in the long legacy that has been shaped by Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Anakin Skywalker. All of those men have made horribly wrong decisions, and the galaxy has faced their consequences. Ahsoka is in this unique position to do something significantly different by teaching Sabine how to use her powers for the good of the galaxy instead of feigning neutrality or simply giving into the Dark Side for the sake of “true power.” I think this is the closest that a Star Wars property has come to echoing the values of The Last Jedi, which spent a lot of time critiquing the ways of the Jedi and how they can learn from the past to create a better future.
How Does Ahsoka Intend to Reach Sabine?
As Ahsoka regains consciousness in the ocean, we get this beautiful shot of her floating in the water as a first responder rescues her. Now, for a moment, it seems like Filoni is going to rush into the plot because the period of introspection is over. Surprisingly enough, he doesn’t do that. He takes his time to let Ahsoka process everything that has happened, and he lets us come to terms with the fact that this Ahsoka isn’t the same Ahsoka that had fallen into the abyss. She is slightly more enlightened than she was a few hours ago, which is why we get this arc shot of Ahsoka as she tries to piece together everything that has happened since she was knocked out. Given that Hera is on an unauthorized mission, she is forced to deal with Mon Mothma, who tells Hera to return to base or face permanent suspension. Hera doesn’t have any proof of Imperial activity or the threat of Thrawn’s reemergence, but since she believes in Ahsoka, she doesn’t want to abandon her during a time when she’s desperately searching for Sabine. So, Mon Mothma warns her about the consequences and hangs up. Ahsoka evidently hears all this. She seems glad that someone is concerned about the fact that she is concerned about a larger problem that is taking shape.
At the end of Ahsoka episode 5, the titular Jedi reveals her audacious plan to use the Purrgils roaming around Seatos to take them to the location where the villains have potentially gone, and then rescue Sabine. Carson prevents the New Republic forces from interfering in Ahsoka’s plan. Hera, Jacen, and Chopper witness all this from a distance so that they are in a position to do something if Ahsoka’s plan goes wrong. And Ahsoka nonverbally convinces one of the biggest Purrgils in existence to make the jump into hyperspace and take her to Sabine. Miraculously, it works, and Ahsoka and Huyang travel into the unknown while the rest stare in awe. I like the lack of dialogue during this whole sequence. It’s just visuals, and no one is in a hurry to get through it. Filoni and his team take their time to establish what’s going on, which in turn allows the audience to absorb it all. Nobody makes a stupid joke about the absurdity of Ahsoka’s plans because this is a sci-fi universe, and absurd plans should be the norm.
The show manages to present the grandness of the moment really well, too. In doing so, it creates something memorable. Ahsoka episode 5 is so unconcerned with moving the plot forward. It moves the titular character forward, who has so far seemed like a supporting character in her own show. It has been about maps and Thrawn. It has felt like another season of Star Wars Rebels. But finally, Filoni has managed to put all that to the side and focus on Ahsoka Tano and everything that’s actually going on inside her head. I want to know why she is the way she is. I want to learn more about her internal conflicts and how she externalizes them during her fights, moments of solitude, and training sessions. I don’t want to be forced to care about the plot. The show has three more episodes left in its tank. I wish to see more of what I have seen in the 5th episode, but I highly doubt I will. So, kudos to Dave Filoni and his team for finally making something, even though it’s just one episode, that I like.