Friday, September 8, 2023

Recap — Ahsoka Chapter 4: Fallen Jedi

The tension ramps up as we get closer and closer to Thrawn's appearance — and an old friend appears in the final moments.

The latest episode opens with our heroes hiding in the red-leafed forest of Seatos (I love the idea of a planet with just one season instead of one clime — autumn forever!). Huyang is busy at work tinkering with the ship to get it back online. David Tenant continues to be absolutely charming as Ahsoka's co-pilot/servant/friend. 

A Difficult Choice

Ahsoka and Sabine discuss their predicament — if they can't retrieve the map from Elsbeth, they may have to destroy it. And with it, their last chance of finding Ezra. Sabine is crestfallen at this thought, despite Ahsoka's admission that it may be necessary to prevent Thrawn's return and becoming...HEIR TO THE EMPIRE. 

That's right. She said it. The title of Timothy Zahn's 1991 novel Heir to the Empire, the very first entry in the Expanded Universe of Star Wars novels. While Disney chose to scrap the majority of the plots of the 150+ novels in the EU, Thrawn was salvaged — thank the maker. 

Huyang Works Out

The enemies close in and launch a surprise attack as Huyang is outside the ship doing yet more repairs. As he's ambushed, he holds his own in a droid fight absolutely for the ages. Is Huyang the ur-droid of Star Wars? He's as powerful and sassy as K2SO, as diplomatic as Threepio, and as useful as R2-D2. 

Sabine and Ahsoka rush to help, charging off after Marrok and Shin.

Hera Comes The Calvary

Denied backup, Hera leaves Home One without authorization. She's a rebel, after all, and won't sit idly by while her friends are in danger. And she's not alone — she's got a squad of X-Wing pilots who believe in her enough to join in going AWOL. Including everyone's favorite space cop, Carson!

Calculating The Path to Thrawn

Elsbeth and Skoll insert the map into the stone remains and witchy astral projections shoot out into the sky, immersing them in a 3-D depiction of the galaxy. 

With that, the internal clock of the episode starts ticking. As soon as the calculations are complete, the Eye of Sion can make the ulti-mega-hyperspace jump to Thrawn — and Ezra. 

Two Against Two

Despite Huyang's advice to not separate, Sabine heads off to battle Shin Hati while Ahsoka takes on the mysterious Marrok. Both duels take place in the same autumnal forest locale, and it's giving dark and foreboding Starkiller vibes from The Force Awakens.

We get the rematch between Sabine and Shin that ended with Sabine in the hospital last time — but I could watch these two fight forever. The intensity is unmatched, and I fear I will never tire of two female characters engaged in epic lightsaber duels. Ahsoka makes quick work of Marrok, and runs after the map, leaving Sabine to continue with Shin. 

Two Former Jedi Meet

Ahsoka gets to the map, only to find Baylan. Here we see two former Jedi meeting, both representing the light(ish) and dark(ish) sides of the Force. Baylan admits that Thrawn's return will spark another war, but speaks cryptically about how it will create something greater. 

Ahsoka will not have it. They raise lightsabers and fight — again, I remain so enthralled by the stolid, old-timey way both Baylan and Shin wield their weapons, as if they're swinging broad swords in medieval England. Ahsoka grabs the map but it sears her hand, and she drops it. 

Sabine Nooooo

Meanwhile, Sabine and Shin are going at it, but Shin manages to throw a dirty smoke bomb to distract her and skirts away. Both run up on the Ahsoka/Baylan duel, and Ahsoka, distracted by Sabine, uses the force to push Shin into a plinth. 

This results in her being flung off the cliff, her fate unknown.

Sabine is left holding the map, and Baylan expertly manipulates her. One would say he even plays her like a fiddle. She's too afraid of destroying it for fear of losing Ezra forever — even if it means Thrawn may return. Sabine capitulates as she turns it back to Baylan. He then swiftly destroys it, ensuring that no one can follow them as they head to Thrawn. He takes her prisoner, but promises to reunite her with Ezra. 

Too Little, Too Late

Hera and company roar into the system and attempt to disable the Eye of Sion, but it's no use. In an absolutely brutal scene, the Ghost and the 5 starfighters get absolutely wrecked by the enormous engines as the Eye of Sion makes the jump to hyperspace — two pilots even die. Sabine is aboard the Sion, alone without friends headed to an entire different galaxy.

It's done then. The bad guys are on the way to Thrawn.

The World Between Worlds

The camera pans down to the crashing waves, and we expect to see Ahsoka clinging to a craggy cliff face or treading water trying not to drown. But instead, she's in a dark space, ethereal and luminous. This is no ordinary place. It's not even reality as we know it. 

Fans of Rebels will recognize the Word Between Worlds, a sort of mystical Force plane where all of time and space converges. It's not clear how Ahsoka ends up here, as the portal to it is found on Lothal. There must be another way, or perhaps Ahsoka is nearly dead, her spirit somehow occupying this mystical space. 

She hears "Hello, Snips"— Anakin's nickname for her — and she turns around and sees age-appropriate force ghost Anakin. Not Vader. This is redeemed Anakin Skywalker, as the show takes place after Return of the Jedi

And the best part? It's Hayden Christiansen. In the flesh. He smiles. She's in disbelief. The last time they met was during the Empire, when she battled a loathsome Darth Vader. Seeing him like this means that's how she realizes he was redeemed. 

It's so good. 

The Math

Baseline score: 8

Bonuses: +2 Incredible lightsaber duels in the episode

Penalties: -1 I'm a pretty big Star Wars nerd and had to Google some things to understand every part of this episode.

Nerd coefficient: +5 Hayden Christiansen as REDEEMED ANAKIN IN THE WORLD BETWEEN WORLDS ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!

Gonk droid count: 2 moving, at least 3 without legs

POSTED BY: Haley Zapal, NoaF contributor and lawyer-turned-copywriter living in Atlanta, Georgia. A co-host of Hugo-nominated podcast Hugo, Girl!, she posts on Instagram as @cestlahaley. She loves nautical fiction, Vidalia onions, and growing corn and giving them pun names like Anacorn Skywalker.