(SPOILER WARNING: plot points from the Ahsoka series are discussed below.)
The last few minutes of Ahsoka – Part Two – Toil and Trouble promised us two amazing futures. – First – Ahsoka and Sabine will be going on a heck of an adventure. Second – Baylan Skoll has a cloudy and complicated path ahead of him. Let’s see where these paths lead in Part Three – Time to Fly.
Slipping in at 37 minutes, Part Three barely clears a half-hour, after chopping out the credits. The episode could have simply been titled “Are We There Yet?” because that’s about all there was to the episode. That may sound a bit harsh, but my expectations were high coming into Part Three. I got a little nervous when I saw the short run time, and talked myself into thinking this episode may be a flashback/rewind, or some sort of supporting side story. Nope – it’s just a whole lot of very little (with quite a fun reveal near the end). Let’s get into it.
Part Three begins with Ahsoka and Sabine (along with increasingly favorite droid Huyang) traveling through hyperspace on their way to the Denab system – location of the planet Seatos. It is here that Hera’s astromech droid Chopper plotted the location of Morgan Elsbeth and her dark Jedi entourage near the end of Part Two. Sabine is performing some Jedi training exercises with Huyang as Ahsoka looks on. Sabine admits her faint Jedi combat skills are a little rusty, to which Huyang wholeheartedly agrees.
A quick note on Huyang – this centuries-old Jedi academy droid is both brutally honest (like K-2SO in Rogue One) yet prim and proper (like C-3PO). He tells it like it is, in humorous fashion, pulling no punches, especially when it comes to Sabine’s shortcomings. On her end, Sabine is repeatedly annoyed with Huyang, and the dynamic between the two characters has become one of my favorite tidbits from the series. I can always count on a chuckle when they interact.
I need to make an appeal here to Ahsoka (the character). Enough of the stubborn, pensive, arms-folded grouching around. The Ahsoka I grew to love in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels was boiling with personality, even as she grew and matured. Rosario Dawson’s live-action portrayal of the character is far more reversed and emotionless than her animated counterpart, and I feel it does a disservice to an otherwise much more interesting character. This isn’t necessarily a criticism of Dawson – it may be that she is directed to perform the character this way. But Ahsoka needs to loosen up, and let the personality out!
Sabine continues to struggle with her training when Ahsoka pulls the ultimate Obi-Wan Kenobi trick – suggesting she train with a blast-shield helmet – to which Sabine predictably replies “I can’t see, how am I supposed to fight?” Serious Luke Skywalker vibes going on. Sabine fails the exercise miserably, but thus far she is keeping an open, positive attitude to her training. Moments later, when Huyang privately challenges Ahsoka on whether Sabine is even fit to become a Jedi, Ahsoka responds “I don’t need her to be a Jedi. I need her to be herself.” I feel like this is a very telling indication of where Ahsoka wants Sabine’s destiny to take her – and it’s not likely to be on a path to become a Jedi. Serious character building ahead – stay tuned on this front.
Next we revisit Hera back on her home ship, where she arranged a meeting with a small holo audience of New Republic Senators. Included in the group is the dignified ally Mon Mothma – now a Chancellor – played again by Genevieve O’Reilly, who has previously played the character in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Rogue One, and Andor). A bit of pre-Zoom small talk acknowledges Hera’s son Jacen Syndulla, who was shown very briefly in the epilogue of Star Wars: Rebels. We see him after the meeting singing the praises of his “Aunt Sabine”, wanting to train as a Jedi like she has restarted with Ahsoka.
The topic of the call is a briefing by Hera about the jailbreak attack on the New Republic ship, followed by her request for additional fleet firepower to assist in a search for Grand Admiral Thrawn. The discussion is not well received by most of the senators, in particular Senator Xiono, who is skeptical of her motivations. Xiono accuses Hera of using a threat of Thrawn as an excuse to beef up her own firepower. The conversation reaches an emotional tipping point when Hera loses her cool after Xiono insists her friend Ezra is dead, along with Thrawn. Ultimately, the senators refuse Hera’s plea, and she has to break the news to Ahsoka and Sabine that she won’t be accompanying them on their journey to find Thrawn and Ezra.
Ahsoka and Sabine lose their connection with Hera when they enter the Denab system, and determine that their transmissions were jammed – a sign of Morgan being up to no good. Sure enough, moments later, a half-dozen star fighters approach Ahsoka’s T-6 shuttle, led by the dark Jedi Shin. A dogfight ensues, and exposes Sabine’s rusted star fighting skills, as she was only able to destroy one of the six incoming fighters before their shuttle was scuttled by a blast from Morgan’s hyperspace ring contraption – lovingly named the “Eye of Scion.”
It’s worth noting here that there seems to be a bit of edginess between Shin and Morgan, as the two traded thinly-veiled insults at each other while communicating during the targeting of Ahsoka’s shuttle. There are definite uncertainties – if not full-on fractures – developing between Morgan and her dark Jedi mercenaries.
Ahsoka tasks Sabine with using her mechanical expertise to troubleshoot the stalled shuttle, while she performs something of a shark-jumping maneuver. Ahsoka dons a blue and white spacewalking jumpsuit and heads outside the shuttle to continue the combat.
Let’s stop and talk about this moment. First off, Ahsoka’s suit absolutely smells of toy product opportunity. I have no doubt this exact Funko Pop will be available before long – and I have no doubt I will buy it! The suit is striking, and lots of fun, even if the whole notion of Ahsoka fighting incoming ships on the ship’s hull in outer space is more than a bit ridiculous. Nonetheless, Ahsoka takes out one more fighter while Sabine gets the ship back up and running.
Once Ahsoka returns inside, Sabine does a bit of nifty flying from space down into the atmosphere of Seatos. Here is where we get the big reveal of the episode. With Shin and the others hot on their tail, Sabine flies the shuttle right into an unexpected pod of space whales called purrgil. To fans of Star Wars: Rebels, this reveal isn’t surprising at all. To everyone else – ta da! As Huyang points out to the audience shortly thereafter, purrgil are creatures that travel through hyperspace lanes, and they are the creatures Ezra called upon to carry Thrawn away from Lothal – along with himself – some ten-ish years ago.
Sabine manages to lose Shin’s forces in the sea of purrgil, and nestles the ship into a red-treed forest on the planet surface below. While taking a moment to think – Sabine and Ahsoka are encouraged by the encounter with the purrgil, recognizing they must be on the right track to finding Ezra (and Thrawn).
Part Three ends with the only appearance of Baylan, pensively standing at the ancient ruins seen in Part Two. Realizing Ahsoka is creeping ever closer to their operation to find Thrawn, Baylan sends a contingent of goons and assassin droids to hunt them down. Have I said how much I like this guy? He’s a complete wild card to me, and I’m here for whatever he brings.
For as much as Part Two quickened the pace of the series, Part Three slowed it back down again. I found myself wanting much more out of this third episode, and hope Part Four accelerates the pace next week. The thrill of the hunt is fun to a certain degree, but let’s get there already! Nobody wants a repeat of the Episode VII: The Force Awakens-like moment, where we literally got to see Luke Skywalker for about twenty seconds. Let’s get to Thrawn (and hopefully Ezra too)!
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