Sorry for the delay in the recap this week. My dog, Danerys, wanted to go to Lady and the Tramp Con this week, and how could I say no? She’d been practicing her spaghetti moves all year.
On this lovely bella notte…
So I did my best to stay spoiler-free until I got back last night. I heard there was a cameo of some note? Let’s check it out!
Ahsoka, Sabine, and Huyang have landed on Seatos. They have no power and no radio, so they can’t communicate back to Hera and they can’t take off. They’ll have to try and stop them from activating the ring from the planet’s surface.
Baylan has sent the guards and droids out to track down their ship. He knows they won’t last long against Ahsoka, so he tells Marrok and Shin to finish them off. Morgan needles him. “Do I detect a not of fear in your voice?” Baylan has a one word response: “Experience.”
Baylan is fast becoming my favorite character in this show. His affect is entirely dispassionate. He’s no zealot. He’s completely clear eyed about everything. Morgan turns on the map, illuminating her Stonehenge locale with star maps pointing the way to Thrawn’s location. She returns to the ring to calculate the precise coordinates while Baylan stands guard. Baylan notes that if the coordinates are even slightly off, they could be lost in the void of space forever. Morgan tells him to have a little faith. “Faith? I lost that a long time ago.”
Meanwhile, General Hera Syndulla is disobeying her orders to go off and help her friends stop Thrawn. Okay, I understand that building a new government is hard and unsexy work, and the council is full of feckless and fickle people, but dammit, that’s exactly why you can’t be blowing off staff meetings to go galivanting about the galaxy! You’ve got to put in the work to make sure a proto-fascist “New Order” doesn’t goose step to power in 20 years or so! We as viewers know that of course Thrawn is coming. They’ve teased it in trailers! But there is exactly no reason why the council should think that. Perhaps if there was some proof of a giant hyperspace ring that Ahsoka could transmit to them…
Anyway, she gets a handful of X-Wings to join her, led by… Captain Carson Teva! Yes, it’s Paul Sun-Hyung Lee returning as his X-Wing pilot from The Mandalorian. This is the big cameo, right? Cool! I love Captain Appa!
Back on Seatos, Ahsoka and Sabine quickly dispatch the droids and guards that Baylan sent after them. They then find themselves facing off against Shin and Marrok. Sabine, eager for a rematch, fires on Shin and chases her into the woods, leaving Ahsoka to fight Marrok and his whirly-blades.
Now, there was ever so much speculation online about who Marrok was under the mask. Was it Ezra? Was it someone from the other galaxy? Well, Dave Feloni answered that speculation with a big ol’ raspberry. Ahsoka slices open Marrok’s armor and a black mist flies out. So… was that a Sith ghost? A swarm of gnats? Dunno! Ahsoka turns to help Sabine, but she tells her to go ahead and let her handle Shin.
Sabine handles herself pretty well, her blasters keeping Shin off balance, at least until Shin remembers Oh yeah, I can use the Force. She Force tosses Sabine against a tree and she drops her guns, so Sabine turns to her lightsaber.
Sabine has improved, but Shin is still the better fighter. After she gets knocked down, Sabine desperately tries to use the Force. This stops Shin, but then she quickly realizes that Sabine has no Force powers. Which is fine, since that was just a ruse to let Sabine use her wrist blaster. Shin retreats, and Sabine runs off to help Ahsoka.
Ahsoka sees the star charts around Force witch Stonehenge, and also sees Baylan. They fight, with Sabine trying to grab the map off of the pedestal. Unfortunately, she does NOT remember that she has Force powers and does not think to use the Force to draw it to her. When she finally does grab it, it burns her hand. (Perhaps Morgan put some kind of Force spell on it? Is that why Ahsoka couldn’t Force-pull it to her? Again, never really addressed.) Injured, Baylan is able to force Ahsoka to the edge of the cliff, and as Sabine enters the field, Baylan knocks her over, presumably to her death.
Now, if you have seen more than a few seconds of Star Wars in your life, you know full well that you can’t kill a Jedi simply by dropping them from a great height. (Just ask Luke Skywalker and Palpatine and Darth Maul and…) So, I am 99.99% sure we will see Ahsoka again; it’s just a matter of when it creates the most dramatic tension.
Sabine grabs the ball and threatens to shoot it. Baylan tells her she should. It’s what her master would’ve done. But, if you do that, you won’t see Ezra again. And Baylan knows that he’s the closest thing to family she has left. They both want the same thing! So give him the ball, they will all journey to the far away galaxy together, and she might be able to find her friend. Sabine wavers, and then gives Baylan the map so the calculations for the jump can be completed.
So, here is the main problem I have with Sabine’s betrayal: As I have previously said, I have seen about 1.5 episodes of Rebels. I understand it’s a well-regarded show, but I just couldn’t get into it. So I really don’t know very much about Ezra Bridger, and everything this show has communicated about him has been told and not shown. We are told that Ezra was like family to Sabine. We are told about their close bond. But, aside from a video recording of Ezra and Sabine touching his face on the memorial mural, we haven’t been shown why he’s worth betraying Ahsoka and risking Thrawn’s return. So what should be a crucial character moment for Sabine in the series just becomes, eh, whatever.
Similarly, we get told by Baylan that — unlike Sabine’s former master — he keeps his word. In the series, I haven’t seen Ahsoka lie or trick Sabine, so this is obviously referring to something in their past. But, this hasn’t been shown so far. There are hints as to why Ahsoka and Sabine are cool and often standoffish, but nothing has even been hinted at. Was this something from Rebels? Again, I don’t know, and I’m not watching 75 episodes of an animated series to find out. (And Baylan does keep his word! He stops an angry Shin from Force-choking her.) Once Morgan has locked in the co-ordinates, he destroys the map so they can’t be followed, and then the three of them return to the ring ship.
As Hera and her small fleet arrive, Morgan starts the hyperdrive ring, and they Holdo Maneuver their way off to a distant galaxy. Even though the X-wings are blocking the path, the much larger ship just blows through them and destroys three X-wings. Don’t worry, plot armor has protected Hera and her son (who she brought along on a dangerous mission for some reason) and Captain Teva. Oh, and Chopper, thank goodness! Why were they left unharmed? Dunno. I guess they passed through the middle of the ring?
Meanwhile, Ahsoka wakes up, unsure of where she is. She appears to be on a pathway in some sort of starfield. She hears a voice behind her, calling her “Snips.” She turns around and sees…
Uh, someone who I think is supposed to be Anakin Skywalker?
I know some people get really uptight about special effects, especially in the Disney+ shows. Frankly, it’s never bothered me. I was completely fine with Luke’s appearance in his CGI-de-aged cameos in The Mandalorian. I usually don’t care about the effects unless it’s extremely egregious (like Jaws 3D level egregious.)
This was pretty egregious. This doesn’t look at all like Anakin from the movies or even from last year’s Obi-Wan Kenobi show. If I didn’t know it was supposed to be Anakin, based on his being Ahsoka’s master, I don’t know if I would’ve guessed. And Hayden Christiansen is credited with the role, so I assume it is him, just run through The Irishman de-ager a few too many times.
So we are now halfway through the series, and it’s…fine. I enjoy this for the most part, but none of the leads are really speaking to me. I am quickly realizing that I am not the fan who is going to be serviced by this show. And that’s OK! Star Wars is a big, sprawling franchise. If you don’t like this particular section, there’s Andor. There’s The Mandalorian. There are the movies. There are dozens of comics series. (Hey, when is Doctor Aphra getting her show?) And there are plenty of fans of Rebels who are loving Ahsoka. All the episodes are highly rated on IMDB, so it is clearly finding an audience.
That audience is just not necessarily me. And I still think it’s fine.
Rating: 3 out of 5