(SPOILER WARNING: plot points from the Ahsoka series are discussed below.)
We are back in the hyperspace lane! For as much as Parts One and Two of Ahsoka primed us for an epic adventure, Part Three slowed the pace considerably. Here in Part Four – “Fallen Jedi,” the action progresses quickly, with meaningful moments seamlessly woven in between.
Coming in at 41 minutes, the episode is a few minutes longer than Part Three – stopping a troubling season-long trend of decreasing episode lengths. While 35-ish minutes (after cutting out the credits) isn’t a ton of time to progress the story, episode director Peter Ramsey made the most of those minutes. The halfway episode in the series felt a lot more like a half-hour of finale-level energy than I was expecting.
Grab onto your Purrgil and let’s dive in.
Part Four begins right where the previous episode finished, with Ahsoka, Sabine, and Huyang parked in the middle of a red forest on the planet Seatos. While Huyang is busy troubleshooting and making repairs to the ship, Ahsoka and Sabine discuss next steps outside. Realizing their enemies (Morgan Elsbeth, with her “Dark Jedi” mercenaries Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati) have just about completed construction of their hyperspace ring, Ahsoka challenges Sabine to come to grips with the potentially bleak outlook of their situation. In particular, Ahsoka warns Sabine that if they cannot get to Ezra and Thrawn, then no one should, for the betterment of the galaxy. More directly, Ahsoka is recommending that – if it comes down to it – they should be prepared to destroy the map to Peridia. Sabine seems to bristle at this notion, not wanting to give up on finding her friend. Ahsoka presses further, asking Sabine if she can count on her. Sabine rather wryly responds “you know you can.” This feels like a harbinger of trouble to come.
Mere minutes later, Huyang – now working on the outside of the ship – is attacked by one of several assassin droids sent by Baylan to hunt Ahsoka and Sabine. Huyang surprisingly proves to be a pretty good fighter, although he’s no match for an assassin. The pair come to Huyang’s defense and quickly dispatch of the attackers. Realizing it’s now or never, the pair set out into the forest to find the ancient ruins where the orb map is being used, hoping to get the map before the hyperspace path is plotted. Huyang is tasked with prioritizing the ship’s communication system to reach out to Hera for assistance.
Back on her star cruiser Home One, Hera is seen briskly preparing to go rogue, taking an “unauthorized” trip to go assist her friends. Several pilots choose to accompany her on the trip, including Carson Teva, who we last saw in The Mandalorian Season Three (and who – fans of Star Wars: Rebels will remember – recently shared cocktails with Rebels favorite purple Lasat, Zeb Orrelios). In a scene eliciting shrieks of excitement from OG trilogy fans and Rebels fans alike, Hera is seen piloting the Ghost starfighter, while her company gathers around in the iconic X-wing fighters.
Ahsoka and Sabine don’t have far to go in order to reach the ruins (about “twelve klicks” according to Shin). Sure enough, the pair come face to face with Shin and Marrok while en route. This sets up our first major duel sequence. The pair split up, with Ahsoka taking on Marrok and Sabine accepting a rematch with Shin, who struck her down on Lothal at the end of Part One.
Ahsoka’s battle with Marrok rages brightly, yet ends swiftly, with Ahsoka slicing the Inquisitor down rather quickly. SFor several weeks now, the Star Wars web has been buzzing about who may be the hidden identity under Marrok’s mask. Wild theories ranged from former Sith assassin Galen Marek (aka Starkiller) to Sabine’s close friend Ezra Bridger. In the end, Marrok proved to be full of hot air – quite literally. The Inquisitor falls in disbelief before puffing out in a cloud of green smoke. This was not a complete bust, however. The green smoke is indicative of a Nightbrother – a group of males who share heritage with Morgan’s ancestral witches, the Nightsisters. We’ve seen Morgan, as well as other Nightsisters, use green flames in their magic, and deceased Nightbrother Savage Opress emitted a similar green smoke when he perished in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Marrok may not have been the flashy reveal many fans were expecting, but his heritage as a Nightbrother made perfect sense and served the story best.
Sabine’s clash with Shin proved far more competitive than Ahsoka’s with Marrok. Sabine holds her own with Shin, showing much more composure than she did in their first encounter. Mid-battle, when seeing Ahsoka defeat Marrok, Sabine tells her master to continue on to the ruins, claiming “I’ve got this.” Just when Shin has Sabine on the ropes, Sabine tricks her with a sign of surrender, then strategically releases a series of wrist rockets from her outstretched hand – catching Shin by surprise and causing her to lose her lightsaber. Shocked (and rather annoyed), Shin tosses a smoke bomb at Sabine and flees back toward the ruins.
Back at the ruins, Morgan has once again reignited the starmap, floating the orb above her signature green flame. Once the map is properly displayed, Morgan’s programming droid aboard the hyperspace ring commences the calculations for plotting the course to Peridia (and Thrawn). With the countdown to takeoff in progress, Morgan hustles aboard a shuttle back up to the hyperspace ring.
The biggest showdown of the episode comes next – the Ahsoka-Baylan matchup we’ve been waiting to see. Prior to any actual fighting, the two former Jedi banter a bit about Anakin. After an insult by Baylan, Ahsoka declares “I’m not here to discuss my past.” Baylan responds saying “The only reason I’m here is to secure the future”, later adding “One must destroy in order to create.” The pair clearly share a deeper understanding of the Force and Jedi heritage. They also share a common bond of having both renounced the Jedi Order, though each have their own reasons. The separate paths they have each taken could be the content of a college psychology class term paper (but I’ll leave that to the scholars).
After a prolonged moment of posturing (which I quite enjoyed) the two finally engage in combat. Baylan demonstrates immense physical strength during the encounter, using his brute force to overpower Ahsoka more than once. But Ahsoka’s agility gives her the advantage. After several intense minutes, Ahsoka is able to knock Baylan off balance long enough to grab the orb map off the pedestal flame and stop Morgan’s hyperspace path download. In the series’ second callback to Indiana Jones (with the first being Ahsoka’s spelunking in the premiere), Ahsoka’s hand burns to the touch of the orb, much like Major Arnold Ernst Toht when he grabs Marion’s burning-hot medallion in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Ahsoka’s injury leaves her fighting Baylan one-handed. When Baylan pushes her back against the outskirts of the ruins, Ahsoka is perilously close to falling off the edge of a cliff. Shin reaches the ruins, followed by Sabine, at which point Baylan strikes a final blow to Ahsoka, which she blocks with her saber, falling off the cliff in the process.
Sabine is horrified to see Ahsoka fall, and threatens to destroy the orb (which she now holds) with her blaster. However, Sabine is unable to withstand Baylan’s charisma and persuasiveness. In a surprising turn of fate, Baylan convinces her to give him the orb, promising in return that he will take her along on the journey to find Ezra, and that he will not harm her. Mixed emotions wash over Sabine’s face, realizing that she just gave away the only leverage she had, and has essentially surrendered, yet maintaining a glimmer of hope that Baylan may actually help her find her friend.
Baylan reinstalls the orb, and Morgan is able to complete the calculations for the hyperspace jump. Baylan, Shin, and Sabine depart via shuttle to Morgan’s command center aboard the hyperspace ring to plan for departure.
I’m on record as being a big Baylan Skoll fan. I love his uncertain motivations, his seeming honesty, and what I think will prove to be just enough of a conscience to ultimately do what is right to help our heroes (and maybe become a hero himself). Plus, he’s so graceful for such a big guy. Unsurprisingly, I’m still rooting for Baylan, even though he did our girl Sabine wrong.
Prior to Morgan and company making the hyperspace jump, Hera and her team arrive in an attempt to assist. However, the squadron is too late, and the ring makes the jump to lightspeed, passing right around the squadron. In a moment of shocking electrical charge and panic, several of Sabine’s squadron sustain damage and are ultimately destroyed, leaving Hera’s Ghost and a couple X-wings remaining in an unstable state. By the way – is anyone else concerned about Hera’s campaign for “parent of the year?” She took her son Jacen on this treacherous chase mission, and has now put him in extreme danger (along with the rest of her crew – though at least they willingly signed up for the task). I think it’s safe to say Hera will not be featured in Parents Magazine anytime soon.
The last scene in the episode is one which will be long-discussed over the next week (and beyond). Initially panning over the waters of Seatos, the scene transforms to find Ahsoka awakening in a dark place. She stands on something of a lighted pathway, surrounded by darkness and other dim pathways.
For folks unfamiliar with Star Wars: Rebels, this may appear as a ripoff of Stranger Things, which periodically features scenes where Eleven psychologically visits another similar looking realm. But Rebels fans will recognize this place as the “World Between Worlds” – defined in Wookiepedia as “a mystical plane within the Force that serves as a collection of doors and pathways existing between time and space, linking all moments in time together.” In other words, it’s a place where accomplished Force users can interface with other Force users, and also travel through time and space. It’s a little too similar to Marvel’s “Multiverse” for my liking, but so long as the concept is not abused and overused, I’ll be a good sport about it.
What make’s Ahsoka’s visit to the World Between Worlds special is not where she goes, but who she meets. Sharp-eared viewers (or those who like to watch with subtitles) first hear the unmistakable voice of Anakin Skywalker calling “Hello Snips” (his pet name for Ahsoka). When Ahsoka responds “Master?” the voice responds with “I didn’t expect to see you so soon.” Ahsoka then turns to see Anakin, with visible surprise and excitement. A zoom in on Anakin reveals (what appears to be a de-aged) Hayden Christensen reprising his role from the Star Wars prequel films. A warmer melody of reunion transitions to Darth Vader’s Imperial March theme as the episode ends.
What does this encounter mean for the story? One possibility is that Ahsoka actually died when she fell off that cliff, and now dwells in the World Between Worlds. Perhaps the magic of the ancient ruins on Seatos somehow opened a gateway to the dimension (similar to how Ezra accessed the dimension through a Jedi temple on Lothal in Rebels), allowing Ahsoka to stumble in. And why exactly is Anakin there? Will there be a moment of reconciliation, seeing as this point in the Star Wars timeline is after Darth Vader’s death and final reconciliation with his son Luke? If not for reconciliation, could Anakin be there to help Ahsoka in some way, now that he has finally turned back away from the Dark Side? Perhaps this is a trick of Emperor Palpatine, who at this point in the timeline has been defeated by Luke, but proves later to have not actually died, per Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker. Let the theories fly!
Before we finish, let’s revisit the title of this episode – “Fallen Jedi.” Upon the outset of the episode, the title could refer to Baylan Skoll, who was once a promising student at the Jedi Academy in the days before Order 66. The title could equally refer to Ahsoka, who renounced the Jedi Order after becoming disillusioned with their ways.
But let’s think a little more about this. The title could refer to Sabine, who has bowed out of Jedi training once before, and now has failed again by disobeying Ahsoka’s guidance to destroy the orb map, opting instead to enable their enemies by giving the map to Baylan. Lastly, the title could now refer to Anakin, one of the most powerful Jedi in history who turned to the Dark Side to become one of the most powerful Sith in history. Time and a bit of hindsight will tell who was actually the focus of the title.
These are the possibilities which lead to discussions that make Star Wars so memorable. A galaxy of possibilities that keep us coming back for more. With the table being set, Part Five is sure to be epic!
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