Baylan Skoll’s description of the brutal planet Peridea from last week’s episode of Ahsoka gives us the title of this week’s, “Dreams and Madness”. The latter is an apt description of the idiot New Republic government, which continues to persecute Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) rather than, say, prepare for an attack by Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) and Morgan Elsbeth (Diane Lee Inosanto). But that’s how the episode begins, with Hera defending her insubordinate actions and one particular New Republic stooge being a butthole about it in pushing for her court-martial, and Chancellor Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) willing to let it go.
This has been, for me, one of the weaker subplots. Yes, we get it, the Republic sucks and they continue to turn a blind eye to an obvious threat (kinda feels like our own government right now, actually), but they’ve been hammering home that point for a while now. It feels like a way to give Hera something to do. On the plus side, there was a bit of fun fan service here, as Hera is saved at the 11th hour by C-3PO, who is treated with the reverence he deserves as a hero of the war against the Empire. He comes bearing a message from Senator Leia Organa, who says she authorized Hera’s mission to Seatos. This gets the council off of Hera’s back, and she quietly confesses to Mon Mothma that they need to “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” when it comes to Thrawn. Basically the same stuff she’s been saying. One thing I liked about this scene is that Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) gets called out being just another guy who failed to unite all of the Imperial remnants. My hope is that Thrawn doesn’t turn out to be an equally disappointing antagonist, but that depends on how this series ends.
Hey, and there’s that Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) person! Y’know, the one the show is named for? After being gone most of last week, Ahsoka is back and still flying Star Whale Airlines alongside the chronicler droid, Huyang (David Tennant). There’s a lot more banter between the two of them in this episode, and I like how it brings out Ahsoka’s mischievous side. She’s also seen training with a lightsaber of her former master, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen, grabbing another check), who made 20 such recordings for her before he decided to join the Dark Side and slaughter millions. It’s clear that Ahsoka will always have a blind spot when it comes to Anakin. When the Purgill drop out of hyperspace, the shuttle is immediately under attack by Thrawn’s forces. They navigate a minefield after being abandoned by the fleeing Purgill, and hide in a debris field.
We get a pretty cool reveal here, too. When Thrawn learns that Ahsoka’s mentor was Anakin Skywalker, he admits to remembering fondly the time they spent together. This is a reference to their time during the Clone Wars, captured in Timothy Zahn’s canon Star Wars: Thrawn books, the second of them if I remember correctly. The novels and film/TV side don’t always gel perfectly, but this was a nice way to give a nod to fans who do take in all of the available Star Wars media.
Elsewhere on Peridea, the reunited Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) and Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi) are riding in a caravan of sorts alongside the turtle-esque Noti. It’s a happy reunion, but Ezra is focused on getting home,and Sabine is noticeably avoiding that conversation. She also isn’t saying a lot about Ahsoka, who she thinks is dead. It’s fortunate that moments later Ahsoka reaches out to her using the Force, so everything’s cool, right?
Well, not exactly. Because Sabine and Ezra spot Baylan and his apprentice, Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) in the distance. It’s another cool Baylan scene, as the veteran warrior tells his ward that he is splitting off from her, as her path of ambition is much different than his. He’s clearly going off to chase whatever this higher power is that he’s been speaking of. He does leave her with some sage advice about impatience for victory leading to defeat. Shin leads an attack, joined by scavengers, that is very cartoonish in execution. But of course it is, because the Noti are cute little buggers traveling around in pods and they use slingshots for weapons. By all rights, they should’ve been slaughtered but the bad guys are conveniently incompetent beyond all measure.
Sabine and Ezra finally get their showdown with Shin, and the cool thing about this is being able to see the latter fight again. It’s been too long! Another cool aspect is that he refuses Sabine when she tries to return his lightsaber. Ezra has learned to fight without it, trusting in the Force. Sabine takes a lot of damage to her beskar metal armor, which again makes it seem like a crutch. When two battalions of Night Troopers arrive as reinforcements, all seems lost.
Eventually, they get the upper hand on Shin when Ahsoka arrives right on time. She had been battling Baylan in a mediocre fight that neither of them seem to be all that interested in. Seriously, it’s an extremely bland fight that finds both of them trying to get to more pressing business, and it ends with Huyang causing enough of a distraction for Ahsoka to flee early. Ahsoka confronts Shin, offering her guidance and support, but the villain decides to hightail it outta there to fight another day. I feel like this was an error in judgement by Ahsoka. It’s all hugs and smiles and ice cream as Sabine, Ahsoka, and Ezra are finally reunited. It only took seven episodes!
The penultimate chapter ends with Morgan concerned over the apparent defeat, but Thrawn doesn’t see it that way. Master strategist that he is, he sees the upside in that Ahsoka has lost the only thing she couldn’t afford to: time. The cargo is all but loaded now, and he is ready to get off of Peridea once and for all. The galaxy should be trembling.
It’s another Ahsoka episode where it doesn’t seem like a lot happens until you really break it all down. I was really happy at the reunion we had all been waiting for, and even more pleased at the advancements with Ezra who has learned to be a Jedi who doesn’t need a lightsaber. Perhaps he’ll stick with that for a while? Could be an interesting way to separate him from the others.
With one final episode to go, there’s a lot to ponder about what’s next. Will Thrawn actually make good on his escape? There’s a chance he actually gets stuck on Peridea if Ahsoka and Co. can stop him. There are much bigger, possibly trilogy-worthy stories to tell if he does escape, though. What is Baylan Skoll’s ultimate design, and will there be enough time for that major plot thread to be resolved? I hope it doesn’t get the short shrift because to me it’s the thing I’m most invested in learning about as Ahsoka draws to a close.