Warning: This article contains spoilers. Seriously. I don’t tell you everything but there will be spoilers. You have been warned.
The third installment of the live-action Star Wars series following the former Padawan, Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) and her current Padawan Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) who are mutually investigating the disappearances of their friend Ezra Bridger and their greatest enemy, Grand Admiral Thrawn.
After the investigation led them to a former imperial shipyard where a prototype hyperspace engine was being developed by hidden Empire sympathizers, General Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) returns to the fleet to request help from the Republic senators to send resources to investigate their suspicion of Imperial activity on Deneb.
Ahsoka has a Dress Code
While Chancellor Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) appeared sympathetic and concerned about Hera and her son Jacen (child of the late Jedi Kanan Jarrus (voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr.) who died protecting the Rebels crew from capture, she was unable to move her fellow senators to support General Hera’s cause.
The exchange between Mon Mothma and General Hera is a good one. It humanizes Hera who has always been a good leader through being an inspiring leader who cares about her crew. It’s appears the Chancellor learned at the same school of leadership.
At least one of the senators acts as if he is in league with the Imperial sympathizers and seems to barely hide his disgust of the General. The rest of them act as if it is an inconvenience to check to see if their deadliest military enemy — is actually dead.
I give Hera her props for not taking his drubbing lying down. She calls him out as a person who avoided the war and taking any losses, riding out and waiting to see who came out on top. My esteem of this version of the character rose. She hasn’t been given much to do but I hold out hope she and her son will get their Moment of Awesome before this series ends (or dare I hope Season 2!)
The third installment of Ahsoka smooths out some of the uneven pacing of the first two episodes. Conversational scenes go on, just long enough to relay the information we need to know what is going on. There is a bit of emotional resonance between Mothma and Hera and if you were a Rebels fan you appreciate their history.
We get a great training sequence between Hayang and Sabine and we learn more about his role as a tester and assessor of the physical training of a Padawan. I find this development of Sabine’s training interesting because we rarely get to see much of the early training of Padawans and how droids assist in this training.
Ahsoka and Sabine: The Blast Helmet Tango
The real treat of the episode is the training sequence between Ahsoka and Sabine, which includes my favorite training sequence, the blast helmet special.
It appears Sabine has very little connection to the Force, if we are to believe Hayang, training droid to the stars, but it must be sufficient to be able to use a lightsaber, so it’s enough. She must be at least a Force-sensitive individual to be able to be trained at all. Ahsoka tells her that her fighting skills are primarily due to her having been trained as a Mandalorian but to be a Jedi, she will have to be better — hence their blast helmet tango.
The scene is well-choreographed, showcasing Sabine’s fighting prowess but refusal or inability to engage the force. Ahsoka reminds me so much of Anakin’s training technique, I wonder if the writers worked on her mimicking his cool demeanor and minimalist movement. I get flashbacks to their training sequences in the Clone Wars.
Ahsoka and Sabine are Stone Cold
The space flight chase scene was well done, with no unforced errors on anyone’s part. Hayang earns his MVP for both his calm under fire, his insistence on protocol, and his ability to crack wise while pretending to be the straight man.
I have to give it to Team Ahsoka. They remained calm under pressure. Ahsoka even pulled out some Anakin wildness. “You’re going where?” “Out there. With them.” I miss the complete unpredictability of Anakin Skywalker in his prime. Ahsoka was magnificent.
After a few minutes of interaction between Team Ahsoka and Shin Hati’s (Ivanna Sakhno) flight squadron, it is Hayang who triggers Ahsoka’s revelation and her need to change her tactics, giving the lead role to Sabine, and improving the fight which started at six to one, against. You can see the growth happening, right there.
With Sabine calling the plays and Ahsoka flying in response they did better and were able to stay alive to investigate the unknown technology ahead of them. Again, Hayang keeps them on task, getting the information they needed and even taking a hit for the team.
Upon waking up, he and the crew have this exchange which made me laugh, until I thought about it and realized he was being serious.
Hayang: “What did I miss?”
Ahsoka: “We almost died.”
Sabine: “Multiple times.”
Hayang: “Ah yes, standard operating procedure.”
This episode gave me more of what I was hoping for. Ahsoka shows off her training technique, her dynamic use of the Force and doing things only the Padawan of Anakin Skywalker would do.
And looked good doing it. This was a team effort. Team Ahsoka for the win. The look and feel of this show remains top-notch with the sets and costumes looking believable, of particular note was the costumes of the Republic Senators which were all very lovely and I hope we might get to see them in color, not just on a holo-display. The music of this series is understated but on point, it never detracts from the show and it guides without leading. I know something’s happening, but it never overpowers the scene or drowns out the sound of the character speaking.
Ahsoka remains a pleasurable and well-manicured experience, with each episode getting better than the last. Space Whales — one hell of a flight sequence!
Speaking of the Future
I am in need of some Nightsister action. (Oy. Not that.) The Nightsisters of Dathomir were powerful force users, rumored to be capable of using the dark side of the force in their witchcraft and were feared across the galaxy. While their fate remains unknown, I am hoping we get to see Morgan Elspeth unleash some Nightsister magic against Ahsoka very soon. It is liable to be the battle to remember.
What I like most about this series is the calm and steady pace. It feels like the story is thought out and I can follow and yet not be able to predict quite what will happen next. This is the sign of good writing to me.
- Season 1, Episode 3
- Story: 7
- Pacing: 8
- Characterizations: 9
- Overall Acting: 8
- Cinematography/FX: 9
- Fight Choreography: 9
- Settings/Props: 9
- Costumes: 9
- Episode MVP: Hayang
- Overall Rating: 8.5
Thaddeus Howze is an award-winning writer, editor, podcaster and activist creating speculative fiction, scientific, political and cultural commentary from his office in Hayward, California.
Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals. He has published two books, ‘Hayward’s Reach’ (2011), a collection of short stories and ‘Broken Glass’ (2013) an urban fantasy novella starring his favorite paranormal investigator, Clifford Engram.