Now this is more like it. After a mediocre blip on the radar last week, Ahsoka returns with another action intensive episode with lots of lightsaber duels, near-death encounters, and awesome displays of the Force. What was great about the first two episodes is that they felt like pieces of a much larger story, or a really long movie. This episode, titled “Fallen Jedi” recaptures that feeling, while also finally clarifying some things about the villains.
The episode begins with Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), and the droid Huyang (David Tennant) attempting to fix their downed ship. Ahsoka is desperate to get communications back up so they get a message for help out to General Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto), Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson), and his apprentice Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) are in possession of the map that will lead them to the location of Grand Admiral Thrawn, and possibly the lost Ezra Bridger. Ahsoka suggests strongly to Sabine that if they can’t retrieve the map, they would be wise to destroy it so that nobody can use it. Sabine, who doesn’t want to risk losing Ezra forever, doesn’t think it’ll come to that. Ahsoka says it may already have.
A battle erupts when Huyang is attacked by one of Morgan’s HK assassin droids. Ahsoka and Sabine enter the fray and decide to go on the offensive. They are soon confronted by Shin and the mysterious Marrok, breaking off into one-on-one engagements. As Sabine and Shin duel fairly evenly, with the Mandalorian using her twin blasters and lightsaber skills effectively, Ahsoka quickly gets the upper hand on Marrok and turns him into…a puff of Jedi smoke? Seriously, she slashes him wide open and a burst of green air erupts out of him. So I guess he wasn’t anyone important, after all? Shin seems pretty upset by Marrok’s demise, suggesting they might’ve had a personal connection. Ahsoka and Sabine then split up, with the former going off to get the map and the latter continuing her fight with Shin.
Now, this goes explicitly against what Huyang had said to them. Before they left, he warned Ahsoka and Sabine to stay together, because they tend to do better that way. And that was true all the way through the fight. Huyang proves prophetic, because once divided things go all to Hell. Ahsoka comes face-to-face with Baylan, and they have a crucial chat about Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and the true nature of the Jedi Order. It’s clear from his words, and the title of this episode, that he is truly a fallen Jedi who has turned to the Dark Side. He questions why Ahsoka quit as Anakin’s padewan, but she’s not into a walk down memory lane. Their fight is a contrast in styles. Ahsoka with elegant aggression and Baylan using brute force and power. She manages to wrest the map, disrupting the process that will reveal Thrawn’s location to Morgan and her hyperspace ring.
Meanwhile, Hera has acted in true “Rebels” form and bucked orders. Rather than sitting around and dealing with more politics, she wrangles up Phoenix Squadron led by the welcome presence of Captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), hops in the Ghost with her son Jacen (Evan Whitten), and of course Chopper, and heads to Seatos to the rescue.
The situation continues to go to Hell for Ahsoka and Sabine. In the battle with Shin, it’s very clear that Sabine can’t measure up to her lightsaber skills. But Sabine’s Mandalorian tricks are pretty clever, and she gets the drop on her. Shin manages to escape and return to Baylan’s side, which causes Ahsoka to believe that Sabine has been killed. Fighting desperately with a badly damaged hand, Ahsoka is backed to a cliff’s edge overlooking a deadly drop. Deadly even for a Jedi. Sabine arrives and gets ahold of the map, threatening to destroy it unless Baylan lets Ahsoka go. He does, after a fashion. He overpowers Ahsoka and knocks her over the edge to her apparent death.
An interesting turn here, as Baylan then brings up Ezra as a means of convincing Sabine to let him go through with the plan. Surprisingly, Sabine accepts this notion, but is nearly killed by Shin, anyway. Baylan stops his bloodthirsty ward, then completes transmission of the location to Morgan. Morgan then powers up her hyperspace ring and blasts straight through the path of Hera and the Phoenix Squadron, destroying many of their ships and nearly killing them all. There’s a moment where Hera seems to come to grips with the thought that she almost got her son killed. Baylan, Shin, and a captive Sabine escape with Morgan, while Huyang tries to communicate with his friends to no avail.
Finally, we see that Ahsoka is not dead. She wakes up in what is clearly the World Between Worlds, a place that Star Wars Rebels fans will recognize immediately. There she’s encountered by Clone Wars-era Anakin Skywalker, who says that he was not expecting to see her so soon.
So, what is the World Between Worlds? Without going too far into it, it’s basically a nexus point for the Force, existing outside of time and space. Introduced in Star Wars Rebels season 1 episode 10, it was a place that Ahsoka was accidentally drawn into while battling Darth Vader, who of course is the older Anakin. There, she saw many crucial moments in her life and the wider Star Wars universe, learning more about herself and Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side.
Ahsoka has a link to the World Between Worlds so it’s no surprise she ended up there. In a Star Wars Rebels season 4 episode, Ezra Bridger entered into it and saved Ahsoka Tano from death at the hands of Darth Vader. Realizing what he could do with it, Ezra wanted to go back and change the fates of others, but it was Ahsoka who helped him see that the entrance to the World Between Worlds was best closed, although she did manage to find another pathway.
What I’m loving about Ahsoka is that it’s not overly burdened by plot. The episodes are lean and to the point. There’s a singular destination and it’s not going to take a lot of story mechanics to see it through to the end. The teasing of Thrawn and Ezra’s arrival only gets tiresome when things are dragging, as they were in episode 3.
Dave Filoni is doing what he does best, which is focusing on meaningful character interactions and adherence to continuity. We get a slight advancement in the growing connection between Ahsoka and Sabine, acknowledging they work best together, while at the same time sticking true to their roots and defying expectations. I was also happy to see some clarification of Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati. No need to keep us in suspense when it comes to those two. And I guess the whole Marrok thing was a big ol’ waste of time? I guess he’s not Barris Offee or Ezra in disguise as some speculated? I have a feeling this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Marrok, though.
Filoni also got to introduce one of his favorite pet ideas, the World Between Worlds, which he borrowed from C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia books. I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of it anymore even if I was during the Star Wars Rebels episodes. The difference is that there weren’t a deluge of multiverse-heavy projects at the time, but now they are everywhere and Disney in particular seems obsessed with them. I hope Filoni doesn’t jigger with time and alternate universes too much. Star Wars is best when kept simple, and we don’t need a bunch of time travel stories complicating things just as Ahsoka Tano is being established as the centerpiece of this franchise.