Well, it seems like we have at least another week to go before we finally get to see Ezra Bridger and Grand Admiral Thrawn make their long-awaited comeback. The fifth episode of Ahsoka’s season, “Shadow Warrior,” may be particularly disturbing for some viewers because it takes place nearly exclusively on Seatos and provides no hint of where Sabine and Morgan’s crew zoomed off to.
In addition to adding to the nerve-wracking suspense of waiting to see what lies beyond “the jump,” this episode is also one of the most artistic, cinematic, and polished in the series. Subtle details, such as a slouched posture or a knowing grin, transmit some of the most powerful meanings. The story concludes on a hopeful note that harkens back to the qualities that made the Original Trilogy so fantastic.
The current plot does not have much interest, but it does make sense why Hera and Captain Teva would be involved. Paul Sun-Hyung Lee’s Carson continues to grow as a more likeable side character with each appearance, and their resistance to the Republic’s involvement throughout the episode adds a little of suspense to Ahsoka’s Purrgil whispers in the episode’s third act.
Hera, though, cannot help but feel as though she is a removed from the story’s core. Thankfully, Hera and Jacen’s (Evan Whitten) relationship is given more screen time, and the two make a charming pair. Ahsoka is rescued from her watery tomb thanks to Jacen’s persistent trust and connection to the Force, and his future development into a young Jedi is one of the show’s most thrilling prospects.
It would be good to have him presented as more of a secondary protagonist than a mere supporting character, but perhaps it is too soon for that. Huyang clutches Sabine’s helmet, his head down, and says with a broken tone, “I told them to stay together.” This is one of the episode’s most powerful moments, despite its relative lack of size.
As usual, they don’t pay attention.They’re hopeless at listening. Also, he reminds Hera, “You do things your way because you care,” which is a great reminder of the importance of following one’s own path. Because of this, he is now firmly established as the show’s unsuspecting emotional center. Showrunner Filoni’s work with Huyang on Dave has been nothing short of brilliant.
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The poetic nature of Ahsoka and Anakin’s final lesson is what makes it so memorable. He gives her a fatal decision to make: stay alive or perish. The majority of what they say to one another is enigmatic. But isn’t that appropriately Star Wars-y? This is familiar territory, as both Yoda and Old Luke frequently use riddles in their conversations.
Although the scene in which Ahsoka is plunged into a traumatic recollection of the Clone Wars is thematically appropriate (Anakin is teaching her “how to be a soldier”), the giant lavender fog that envelops it visually only serves to highlight the fact that the actors are running around a dirt-covered sound stage.
Despite this, the story’s ultimate message is powerful: Ahsoka may have been born into a family of devastation, but she need not be defined by it. She has the option of giving up the fight and living her life. Much of Anakin’s message is left for the listener to infer, which is always better to constant explanation.
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If it’s throwbacks to the siege of Mandalore in season 7 of The Clone Wars that you’re after, you’ll be pleased to know that Temuera Morrison reprises his role as Commander Rex. Ariana Greenblatt’s outstanding performance as a young Ahsoka in a flashback to the Battle of Ryloth shows her fighting beside an armored Anakin.
For fans who had hoped to see the Clone Wars’ aesthetic translated to the big screen, seeing Hayden Christensen dressed in the full uniform is a dream come true. Let us not forget that Ahsoka’s last outfit in Rebels was influenced by the robes worn by Gandalf the White, and that this lesson ultimately led to her donning these garments. Filoni, obviously, is reveling in this situation.
It’s not especially interesting to see Ahsoka and Anakin spar in the World Between Worlds (?) or to see Christensen do his lightsaber maneuvers from the Prequels in live action, but it is nice to see the two characters communicate with one another. Ahsoka’s remark that Christensen “looks the same” only serves to draw attention to the obvious de-aging effects in play.
On the other side, one of the coolest pictures the program has generated thus far is the close-up view of Ahsoka being immersed before she awakens in the depths of the Seatos ocean. After Ahsoka hears the reverberation of Sabine’s talk with Baylan, there is a touching little scene. A view of her examining Sabine’s helmet suggests that Anakin’s earlier comments about the nuances of teaching are still echoing in her mind.
She’ll do anything, even if it’s as crazy as talking to a pod of Purrgil, to save her Padawan. Majestic best describes the sight of mother Purrgil coming from the sky to meet Ahsoka face to face. The content is just stunning. This is a great illustration of high-quality CGI that contributes to the narrative. Ahsoka’s decision to hitch a ride to who-knows-where inside one of these beasts’ huge maws is sci-fi fantasy at its finest.
Even though there wasn’t much action in this episode, there were plenty of subtle touches that ultimately enriched the tale. There isn’t a hint of fear or worry on Ahsoka’s face as she prepares to take the biggest risk of her life and go to a distant galaxy to save her comrades. Instead, she’s sporting a kind grin.
]Just like Obi-Wan’s smile in “A New Hope,” Anakin’s to her when he told her, “There’s hope for you yet.” Now that she knows who she is again, she can trust that everything will turn out fine. The Original Trilogy was fascinating and conceptually complex in large part because of its allusions to faith and spiritualism, and it is astonishing to watch Filoni use those themes in such a comparable fashion all these years later.