The HoloFiles

REVIEW: Ahsoka – Part Four

By Josh Bate & George Bate

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Ahsoka – Part Four

When George Lucas began developing The Clone Wars animated series in the mid 2000s, he recruited Dave Filoni to work with him on the project. As the story goes, Lucas and Filoni formed an impressive partnership to create the series, with the latter often dubbed as the successor to the Star Wars franchise. 

Fast forward to the year 2023 and that sentiment holds truer than ever. Filoni’s first live action solo series, Ahsoka, is currently airing on Disney+ and is a continuation of stories from The Clone Wars and Rebels. As noted in previous reviews, Filoni has given the franchise a fresh direction and newfound identity with his series, which hones in on the impending threat of Grand Admiral Thrawn’s return. In the years since Lucas parted ways with the series he created, Star Wars has benefited greatly from new, unique voices to tell stories in a galaxy far, far away. Filoni has risen to become arguably the most prominent of those voices; he is now a creative influence overseeing various shows and, soon enough, a feature film. Judging by this week’s Ahsoka, titled “Fallen Jedi,” the potential that Lucas saw in Filoni has never been clearer.

Despite “Fallen Jedi” serving as the halfway point for the season, it in many ways feels like a climax of the plot threats so far. The Jedi master and apprentice go face to face with their dark side equivalents, and the villains finally make their jump into hyperspace to locate the missing Thrawn. A confrontation between Ahsoka and Baylan Skoll, played brilliantly by the late Ray Stevenson, takes place towards the end of the episode, and Sabine and Shin Hati continue their rivalry with another intense duel. There is also, of course, a moment at the end of the episode that fans will surely be discussing until the release of part five next week (more on that later on). 

The strength of this episode comes primarily from a few of the core characters of the show. Sabine Wren once again thrives in her padawan learner role, and this episode makes her more of a nuanced hero than ever before. Towards the end of the episode, Sabine makes the decision to gift the villains the map to Thrawn in exchange for finding Ezra, who is now the only family she has left. Some of her relatives shown in Rebels were revealed in this episode to have died during the Night of a Thousand Tears, aka the purge of Mandalore. In many ways, Sabine’s choice is like a deal with the devil, which is exactly how George Lucas described Anakin’s pact with Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith. Anakin quickly fell to the dark side after that choice, and that path is now more open than ever for Sabine. This then presents an interesting opportunity for Ahsoka to redeem herself and overcome some of the guilt she has over Anakin’s turn, and possibly help save Sabine from the dark side in a way she didn’t for her former master. All in all, Filoni’s strength as a writer has never been more apparent than in this episode, in which he carefully pushes the story forward while also creating some incredibly interesting character arcs for all of the main players.

Baylan Skoll is another one of those that becomes more and more interesting with each episode, and while a lot of that has to do with the development and writing of the character, Ray Stevenson also plays a massive role in this. Stevenson, who tragically passed away in May of this year, plays a villain that is evil yet honorable, and fear inducing yet somehow trustworthy (to a certain extent). Skoll is one of the more nuanced villains in Star Wars, and a lot of that is because of the work Stevenson does in his portrayal. Thrawn is likely to be the overarching villain here, but one-upping Skoll and his villainy seems like an incredibly difficult task at this point. For Ray Stevenson, it feels right that one of his final roles is sure to go down as one of his most memorable and beloved.

Peter Ramsey directed this episode, having previously helmed an outing of The Mandalorian Season 3 as well as Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse. There’s a lot of action in this episode once again, but a very different type than what took place last week. There’s a lot more hand-to-hand, close quarters combat in this installment, which presents a unique challenge that Ramsey handles it well. Some of the Skoll vs Ahsoka duel has been shown in various trailers and tv spots, but there’s still a grandness and epic feeling that exists prominently throughout the sequence. That being said, there are some moments early on in the episode that display the limitations of the volume, aka the innovative new technology that helps bring a galaxy far, far away to the small screen. 

There’s so much packed into this episode, yet the primary talking point is bound to be the reappearance of Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker. The Jedi Knight shows up at the very end of the episode in the World Between Worlds, where Ahsoka finds herself after a grave injury inflicted by Baylan. Christensen’s main role in this series will likely come next week (which, not surprisingly, is being released in select theaters as part of a mid-season fan event). Anakin plays a huge role in the history of Ahsoka as a character, and given that Filoni developed these two together during The Clone Wars, it seemed inevitable he’d bring that relationship over to live action. However, this appearance in no way feels forced; in fact, Anakin visiting Ahsoka seems natural given where this character is at the time of their most recent meeting. All eyes are on next week to see what these two will be up to in the World Between Worlds.

VERDICT: 9/10

A riveting cameo appearance is sure to define this episode of Ahsoka, but the outing is packed full of drama, lore, and lightsaber battles. The stage is set for the rest of the season, and the stage also appears to be set for series creator Dave Filoni to continue to take an even greater role in the development of future Star Wars stories for years to come.

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