By Josh Reilly B. & George Bate
The first season of Ahsoka is nearly complete, with Part Seven of eight airing this week. The new episode, titled “Dreams and Madness,” sees the title character finally arrive on Peridea as she tries to stop Grand Admiral Thrawn from leaving the planet and heading back to the known galaxy to restartt the Empire. Meanwhile, Sabine and Ezra continue to familiarize themselves with each other once again after many years apart, and the action ramps up as the conclusion draws closer and closer.
Last week’s episode was noticeably light on Ahsoka, who appeared only in the opening scene before the attention turned exclusively to Thrawn and Ezra, but Rosario Dawson’s Jedi takes center stage once again in Part Seven. Her arrival was predicted by Thrawn, who appeared concerned upon realizing that her master was none other than Anakin Skywalker (a scene that is sure to be enjoyed greatly by fans of the prequels and the added tie in materials). Ahsoka has been pursuing Thrawn since The Mandalorian Season 2, but the duo still haven’t come face to face with each other, but that scene is almost certain to come in the highly anticipated finale.
In many ways, Ahsoka’s absence wasn’t felt in any significant way in Part Six. The story seemed to natural drift away from her and head towards Sabine, Thrawn, and Ezra, so the decision to leave her on the sidelines seemed to be the right one from creator Dave Filoni. In this episode, however, Ahsoka’s return is welcomed as she serves as a savior to Ezra and Sabine, who were cornered by Imperial forces before the experienced Jedi arrived to save the day. In many ways, despite the title of the series implying a singular focus, Ahsoka is more of an ensemble with Dawson as the centerpiece than anything else, and this episode shows that once again. That’s not a bad thing, though, as it gives other characters a chance to shine.
Sabine Wren has been a highlight this whole season, and is a compelling and engaging hero once again in Part Seven. Natasha Liu Bordizzo does an excellent job of displaying the rebellious nature of her character, and she also has great chemistry with Eman Esfandi’s Ezra in this new episode. The two interact with each other just as they did in animation, and the transition for both of these characters and their relationship with one another seemingly could not have been handled any better.
Another interesting character that stood out this week is the mysterious Baylan Skoll, who appears to no longer be focused on the Thrawn conflict. Instead, Skoll says that something else calls to him, and that he must pursue that on Peridea instead. It’s unclear what Skoll is referring to, and fan theories have been rampant as to what awaits him in the finale, but one thing is for certain: actor Ray Stevenson has been the standout performer in the season so far, and his tragic death earlier this year means he will be badly missed in a galaxy far, far away. Stevenson has been a member of the Star Wars family for a number of years now, having voiced Gar Saxon in animation, but his role in live action has added an extra dimension to the story of Ahsoka.
If there is a criticism to be had of Part Seven, it’s the relatively abrupt ending. The story comes to an abrupt halt, forcing viewers to wait until next week in order to see the conclusion of this story, but in making this creative decision, Filoni makes it so that Part Seven doesn’t stand on its own as much as some of the other episodes. “Dreams and Madness” is not necessarily as complete of an episode as Far, Far Away, the previous installment, and this holds it back from being even more satisfying from an audience standpoint.
The conflict ramps up in Ahsoka Part Seven, titled “Dreams and Madness,” as Thrawn is nearly ready to return to the known galaxy. The tension is palpable and the stakes are extremely high, a testament to the quality of writing at hand. Despite an abrupt ending, this episode largely succeeds because of the excellent characters that have proven to be compelling and interesting all season long.