This evening saw the debut of the fourth installment of Lucasfilm’s live-action Disney+ series Star Wars: Ahsoka, created by Dave Filoni and starring Rosario Dawson as the title character Ahsoka Tano, entitled “Fallen Jedi.” Below are my recap and thoughts on the episode.
Since we first met the new villains introduced in the premiere episode of Ahsoka, we haven’t really been told what to call them– are they Sith, are they “Dark Jedi” (a term that’s been stricken from the Star Wars canon since the old Expanded Universe– now Legends– days), or something else? The title of this week’s new episode finally clues us in, so from now on I’ll be referring to Baylan Skoll (played by Ray Stevenson) and his apprentice Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) as “Fallen Jedi.” And of course they factor in fairly heavily in the installment that shares that term as its title, though it begins with Ahsoka and her own apprentice Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) frantically trying to repair their ship so they can send a message back to New Republic space and make a desperate call for help from Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). And while Huyang (voiced by David Tennant) is outside making some final adjustments, he’s attacked by the villains’ minions and HK-series assassin droids. This leads Sabine and Hera to go on the offensive, though Huyang offers the advice for them to stick together during the mission, as it always tends to work out better for them that way. But before they leave, Ahsoka makes Sabine promise her that if it seems like the bad guys are going to win, it’s better to destroy the information they’re seeking than to let them have it.
As Ahsoka and Sabine are racing through the woods on the planet Seatos toward the ancient shrine that is providing Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) with a hyperspace route to find the missing Grand Admiral Thrawn, they are attacked by Hati and the Inquisitor-like Marrok (Paul Darnell). One two-on-two lightsaber duel later and Marrok has turned to Sith dust or something like that at Ahsoka’s hands– so much for all those theories floating around– and Shin is eventually taken off-guard by Sabine’s Mandalorian armor and wrist-rockets. Next it’s time for Ahsoka to go one-on-one with Skoll, and there’s some good dialogue between the two debating the true nature of the Jedi Order. During the fight, Ahsoka manages to remove the orb containing the map from the device, interrupting transmission of the coordinates to Elsbeth’s hyperspace ring, but when Shin and Sabine both show up later things take a turn, with Baylan knocking Ahsoka off a cliff and Sabine rather shockingly betraying herself and her master by handing over the orb to Skoll. This action is performed in exchange for the promise that she won’t be harmed as they go off in search of Thrawn and Ezra Bridger together. Meanwhile back at Home One, Hera takes the Ghost, Phoenix Squadron (including Paul Sun-Hyung Lee’s character Captain Carson Teva from The Mandalorian), her son Jacen (Evan Whitten), and their droid Chopper (voiced by Filoni) without New Republic permission to go help her friends.
By the time Phoenix Squadron arrives at Seatos, Baylan has destroyed the orb and boarded the hyperspace ring with both Shin and Sabine, and with Morgan at the helm they all travel into hyperspace, directly through the path of the incoming X–wings– several of which get destroyed in the ensuing chaos. Then, in one final scene, we see Ahsoka wake up in a plane of existence that looks an awful lot like the fabled World Between Worlds from Star Wars Rebels. There she encounters the Force ghost of Anakin Skywalker (very special guest star Hayden Christensen), who says he didn’t expect to see her so soon. At this point it’s pretty clear that Star Wars: Ahsoka is not a plot-heavy show, and that Filoni is less interested in moving the story forward than he is in character beats and drawing out emotions. That said, the stuff that does happen in “Fallen Jedi” feels very weighty and impactful, even though we still haven’t arrived at the promised appearance of Grand Admiral Thrawn. I’m guessing (hoping) that next week’s episode will, at long last, mark Thrawn’s first appearance in the show, and then we’ll get to spend a few short hours with him in live-action before the season wraps up. In the meantime, this is all good stuff, and the fight choreography on display here especially feels very well put-together. Will we get some big mythological downloading from Ahsoka’s long-awaited conversation with her old master? We’ll have to fire up Disney+ again next Tuesday night to find out.
Episodes 1-4 of Star Wars: Ahsoka are now available to stream, exclusively via Disney+.