‘Ahsoka’ Season One Finale Recap & Review: “The Jedi, The Witch And The Warlord”

Well, the season finale of Ahsoka is finally here, ending on a more than satisfying note full of lightsaber action, some cool Force stuff, mysteries new and old, and a bittersweet finale reminiscient of The Empire Strikes Back. We also saw more of the touching character interactions that fans loved about Star Wars Rebels, as well as the pieces being put into place for an inevitable season 2. We didn’t get all of the answers we were looking for, but it’s undoubtedly true that this opening season of Ahsoka was a success, and Lucasfilm would be wise to make this point in time the centerpiece of the franchise for now.

Dave Filoni’s admiration of author C.S. Lewis comes through in the episode’s title, “The Jedi, the Witch, and the Warlord”. Things pick up right where they left off last week, with Thrawn’s (Lars Mikkelsen) mysterious cargo all loaded up and ready for him to depart Peridea to return and claim his stake as leader of the Imperial remnant. Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) is confident that Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi), and Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) cannot stop their plans at this late stage. But Thrawn knows better, and warns her of the heroic deeds of a single Jedi, and it’s best not to underestimate them. So even though Morgan is clearly overconfident, the Great Sisters decide now is a good time to reward her loyalty by making her one of their dark order. They grant her power, alter her face so she looks like them (minus the white face powder, I’m guessing no beauty shops are nearby), and also give Morgan the lethal Blade of Talzin. The flaming green sword was last seen in battle during the Clone Wars against Mace Windu.

There’s a cool moment next as Ezra attempts to forge his own lightsaber, apparently deciding that simply using Force Push wasn’t going to be enough for this fight. Huyang (David Tennant) doesn’t like the methods Ezra is using to piece this saber together, and asks where he learned it. When Sabine tells him it was his deceased Master Kanan Jarrus, Huyang informs him that he taught Kanan at the Jedi Academy. The two share a bonding moment, and it serves to show the last legacy of Kanan left behind. Huyang then gives Ezra the lightsaber hilt he had been keeping for Kanan, rather conveniently, so as to complete the glowing blue lightsaber once and for all. Makes you wonder how many old Jedi trinkets Huyang is keeping in his miscellaneous drawer.

All of this talk about Masters and Padewans is a bit too much for Sabine, who flees it only to run into her own Master, Ahsoka, who she REALLY needs to have a heart-to-heart with. Ahsoka tells her that her own Master, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) always had her back no matter what, even when others failed to understand. Ahsoka promises Sabine that no matter what follows, she will support her. Hmmm…are they teasing a potential turn to the Dark Side for Sabine, just like the road Anakin eventually traveled?

Before this can get too much further, a pair of TIE Fighters intrude on the conversation, blasting their ship and slowing them down even further. Fortunately, Sabine has the bright idea of boosting the ship’s engines so that it slices the incompetently-piloted Fighters in half. With no means of flying to catch up with Thrawn, they decide to mount a pair of Howlers and track him down on the ground.

Here’s the problem with a character like Thrawn, who is supposedly an unbeatable mastermind and strategist: he has to be made to look foolish and beatable…repeatedly. In this case, his attempt to “rain hellfire” on the trio goes awry, so he sends out a battalion of Night Troopers to finish the job. They, of course, get their asses whipped in a cool lightsaber battle that sees Sabine combining her Jedi and Mandalorian skills. However, in something ripped out of a horror show, the Night Sisters use their black magic to reanimate the soldiers’ corpses. They…ummm, still get beat. It’s like being undead doesn’t actually make you a better fighter or something.

With the trio progressing faster than his plans can handle, Thrawn tells Morgan to do what needs to be done to slow them down. She arrives to stand in their way, facing Ahsoka in one-on-one combat. This might actually be the best fight of the season, with Morgan and her Blade of Talzin more than an equal, even slicing one of Ahsoka’s sabers in half. Meanwhile, Sabine and Ezra are getting pummeled by a pair of powerhouse troopers, ultimately winning with a familiar lightsaber shot to the head if you’ve seen The Last Jedi.

One of Filoni’s strengths is advancing his characters’ trajectory through action, rather than words. As Sabine shows her increased connection with the Force to hurl Ezra across a chasm and onto Thrawn’s ship, she also makes the fateful decision to stay behind and help Ahsoka, her Master with whom she has had such a strained relationship, in her fight against Morgan and a squad of Night Troopers.  As Huyang said in the very first episode, Ahsoka and Sabine were always stronger together. Their combined might is enough to slay Morgan and defeat the Night Troopers, but the duo are now stuck on the planet with no way of getting off of it. They instead go to hang out with the turtle-like Noti, which to me seems like a fate worse than death. Their predicament brings a bit of symmetry as they are stuck just like Ezra was in the beginning. And he finds himself in a similar situation to the conclusion of Star Wars Rebels, only now it’s on a journey back home. Smartly, he steals a suit of armor and a ship and escapes to a Republic ship to be reunited with Hera (Mary Elizabeth Wintead). Honestly, it doesn’t really live up to what the moment should’ve been considering the long wait. She practically raised Ezra and saw his growth from an urchin boy into a man gifted with incredible Force powers. Filoni rushed it rather than giving it the deserved time, but perhaps he felt there had been enough happy reunions already.

So where are Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) in all of this? They had gone their separate ways last week, with Baylan seeking a higher power and Shin…well, who knows? We get one last look at them, and Baylan’s is by far the most interesting. Shin seeks out the red-armored scavengers she previously fought beside, perhaps suggesting a new leadership role for her?

But Baylan? We see him standing on a cliff’s edge, overlooking the Peridean valley. As the camera pans out, we see that he’s standing among three crucial statues of The Father, the Son, and the Daughter. The three are Force gods in the mysterious land of Mortis, and representing the Dark Side, the Light Side, and Balance. They were introduced in a Clone Wars story which saw the Father wanting Anakin to take his place. Anakin refused, a fight erupts, all three gods die, and so does Ahsoka Tano. However, Anakin revived her with the life force of the dying Daughter. Ever since, Ahsoka occasionally sees the Daughter’s familiar, in the form of a convor owl. And at the conclusion of this episode, Ahsoka sees such a bird flying off into the distance, where the shimmering spirit of Anakin Skywalker watches with a proud smile.

The season concludes with Thrawn escaping, so Ahsoka and crew failed in one major aspect of their mission while accomplishing another. We were probably dumb to expect a decisive conclusion, anyway, and this leaves the door open to a lot more stories going forward.

So, it looks like we can expect Ahsoka season two to deal heavily with the World Between Worlds, Mortis, and what this mean for Ahsoka Tano who has the life force of the gods flowing in her veins. Overall, this opening season was tremendously entertaining, with only one subpar episode to speak of and it came fairly early on. For fans of Star Wars Rebels this is the continuation of that story that we’ve all been hoping for, with significant developments for everyone, even Hera who got the smallest amount of screen time. We at least got to meet her son, Jacen, who is likely to play a major role in Star Wars at some point. But the best thing about the show is that it had a purpose in mind and a clear destination. While some episodes took incremental steps, they were forward steps nonetheless.

I’m curious to see what happens with Baylan Skoll next season, though. Obviously, the tragic death of Ray Stevenson leaves a gaping void to be filled. Do they recast the role? That seems like the most obvious choice. Or does Filoni come up with a way to pass Baylan’s quest to another character, possibly Shin?

As a huge fan of Ahsoka Tano, part of me also thinks we’re barreling to the truth behind her apparent demise, since she’s heard as a Force spirit at the conclusion of Revenge of the Sith. Something happens to her along the way, and if anybody is going to tell that story, it’s going to be Dave Filoni. Will it happen in season two? Or in the movie Filoni is eventually directing?

Nostalgic fan service and incredible, cinematic action are what drove Ahsoka‘s first season, and it was definitely a succesful one. As I’ve said before, Lucasfilm would be smart to keep the focus on this era that has captured the imagination of new and old fans alike.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Ahsoka Episode 8
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.
ahsoka-season-one-finale-recap-review-the-jedi-the-witch-and-the-warlordWell, the season finale of Ahsoka is finally here, ending on a more than satisfying note full of lightsaber action, some cool Force stuff, mysteries new and old, and a bittersweet finale reminiscient of The Empire Strikes Back. We also saw more of the touching character interactions...