By Josh Reilly B. & George Bate
The pathway to Peridea is no longer a children’s story, as the villainous Baylan Skoll described it earlier this season of Ahsoka. Traveling to another galaxy is now a reality in the Star Wars universe, marking a huge expansion of the franchise’s lore and history.
Ahsoka – Part Six, titled “Far, Far Away”, sees the inevitable returns of Grand Admiral Thrawn and Ezra Bridger, and gives the season the huge payoff that showrunner Dave Filoni has been building towards for a number of episodes now. The villains arrive on Peridea, greeted menacingly by the Great Mothers of Dathomir, who then summon the long-awaited reappearance of Thrawn. The Imperial Grand Admiral still has his Star Destroyer and an army of unique looking stormtroopers (who, depending on the fan theories one could believe, may or may not be undead soldiers conjured up by the witches).
The payoff of Thrawn’s return works brilliantly. The impact that his inevitable departure to the known galaxy will have can be felt greatly by audiences, and this emphasizes one of the strengths of the first season of Ahsoka. This show works excellently to establish incredibly high stakes amidst a lot of known events in the galaxy. For example, audiences are aware that, at some point, the First Order rises alongside Kylo Ren, the New Republic are destroyed, and Emperor Palpatine makes a triumphant comeback. Characters such as Ahsoka, Ezra, Sabine, and Thrawn are nowhere to be seen in those stories, and not much is known as to if they live to see those monumental events, but the fact that Ahsoka as a series is able to make this story feel so grand and impactful is a testament to the writing on display.
Dave Filoni has shown his maturity as a writer in Ahsoka, often opting for a relatively slow pace that allows for the story to breathe amidst all of the different moving parts throughout. That growth as a storyteller is evident once again in Part Six, as Filoni expands the idea of what Star Wars can be without pushing the franchise too far in a direction that could potentially make it lose sight of its most important roots. The balance of old to new has always been crucial in telling a Star Wars story, and Filoni gets that right once again in this episode.
As stated, Far, Far Away also shows the return of Ezra Bridger in what is ultimately a quieter, more emotional reunion. Ezra is not with Thrawn or the Imperials, and is instead located elsewhere on the planet with a group of unique creatures. Although Ezra appears only briefly in this episode, it’s a testament to the writing and the incredible work of actor Eman Esfandi that he makes such a huge impact on the episode.
Esfandi embodies the spirit of Ezra as a character from the moment he appears on screen, making the hero’s transition from animation to live action appear almost effortless. He even sounds like Ezra did in Star Wars Rebels, and based on this relatively brief appearance, seems to perhaps be the best cast member of the Ghost Crew in live action.
Particular praise must go to the direction and cinematography of the episode. Almost the entire story takes place on Peridea, and anticipation has been high amongst fans who have been eagerly awaiting to see what another galaxy would look like. Peridea captures the darkness of the villains of Star Wars in a way that Exegol did in The Rise of Skywalker, for example. The planet is desolate, almost completely deserted, and has an eery atmosphere that conveys to the audience that this is a place that the heroes don’t want to get stuck on.
Part Six is Ahsoka is the best episode of the season so far. Thrawn and Ezra’s returns are executed well, providing a satisfying payoff for audiences waiting for their reappearances for a number of weeks now (and for fans of Rebels, a number of years). The stakes are high, and the writing and directing stands tall, providing an emotional, compelling, and engaging chapter in the Star Wars galaxy (or galaxies?).