What’s the lesson here? Well, in many ways, it’s exactly what Huyang was saying from the beginning: Stick together.
Thrawn and the Great Mothers prepare to leave the galaxy using the Eye of Sion. The Grand Admiral prepares for a ground assault to keep the Jedi off their backs, and the Great Mothers gift Morgan Elsbeth with shadow powers and the Blade of Talzin to fight off their enemies. Elsbeth agrees to this for Dathomir and her sisters. Back on the ship, Ezra is constructing a new lightsaber (and insulting Huyang’s storage system), and learns that this was the exact way that Kanan built his own saber, back when he was still Caleb Dume. Huyang gives Ezra an emitter shroud that’s the same as Kanan’s to complete the saber.
Huyang then explains to Ezra what weakened the relationship between Ahsoka and Sabine; Ahsoka was worried that Sabine was becoming a Jedi out of a desire for revenge against what the Empire did to Mandalore in the Purge. Sabine and Ahsoka talk, and Ahsoka tells her apprentice that Anakin always believed in her, and so she will do the same for Sabine going forward. Their ship is assaulted by Thrawn’s forces and grounded. While Huyang makes repairs, Ahsoka, Sabine, and Ezra decide to go to Thrawn. They (somehow) survive a Star Destroyer barrage on their way to the temple entrance, and then a group of stormtroopers—but the Nightsisters revive the group, forcing trio to fight a small legion of the undead. Elsbeth arrives and Ahsoka tells Ezra and Sabine to keep going, that she’ll try to catch up.
Sabine and Ezra have to fight off more troopers, resulting in Sabine successfully using the Force to retrieve her lightsaber. The Chimaera is already getting further away, so she tells Ezra that she’ll throw him to it using the Force and he can pull her onto the ship after him. She manages to get him onto the ship, but sees that Ahsoka is in danger of losing her battle with Elsbeth; Sabine stays to help Ahsoka fight, and Ahsoka kills Elsbeth in their duel. They flee the zombie stormtroopers, jumping onto their restored ship.
Ahsoka, Sabine, and Huyang follow the Eye of Sion, and Thrawn opens a channel to tell Ahsoka that she’s too late and likely has many of the same foibles as her old master. The ship makes it into hyperspace, leaving Ahsoka and Sabine stranded. They head back to Peridea’s surface and make home with the Noti. The Chimaera arrives over Dathomir and Thrawn sets his plans into motion. Ezra escapes and returns to the New Republic fleet, and finds Hera and Chopper.
On Peridea, Shin Hati finds the bandits again and joins them, while Baylan Skoll discovers a set of statues featuring the Father and the Son, pointing to a mountain in the distance. At the Noti camp, Ahsoka assures Sabine that they are where they need to be. Sabine sees something in the distance—Ahsoka looks closer and sees Anakin’s ghost.
Did I shriek when that title flashed across the screen? Obviously, because the sheer audacity of giving us a Narnia shoutout for your final episode is pretty great.
Weird dialogue aside, this absolutely stuck the landing terms of Ahsoka’s character arc and what she’s learned in all this. After her confrontation with Anakin’s spirit, his insistence that she is more because he is, that she’s part of a legacy, Ahsoka finally realizes what that legacy is:
It’s just being there.
Ugh, I’m so mad because this is genuinely it, this is the thing that runs across all of Filoni’s Star Wars stories and makes them so much better than the weird dogma we wind up getting from the Jedi Order side of things. Anakin was a great master to Ahsoka because he supported her, because he placed his trust in her every step of the way, and she knew that trust was unconditional. When Ahsoka leaves the Jedi Order, Anakin is heartbroken, but that support is never rescinded. He’s the one who gives her back her lightsabers; he’s the one who sends Rex and an entire clone battalion to help her on Mandalore because he can’t stay with her; he’s the one making two dozens recordings full of affirmations and instructions in case he can’t be there in a crucial moment.
Huyang tells Ezra that the problems between Ahsoka and Sabine surfaced because Ahsoka worried that Sabine was becoming a Jedi for the wrong reasons following the Purge of Mandalore and the loss of her family. A lack of trust is what drives the wedge between them. Hey, what hastens Anakin’s fall to the dark side in Revenge of the Sith? The Jedi’s Order’s refusal to trust him, and decision to rope his own master into that plot? Oh, by the way, Ezra briefly turns to the dark side in Rebels. Guess what prevents him from going down that road permanently… Hmm, looks like Kanan’s complete trust in him to make the right choices!
Oh no, what could possibly beat back the darkness in this, our hour of need—oh, look, what’s that? It-it’s love, trust, and support with a steel chair!
The point where Ahsoka tells Sabine, in no uncertain terms, that she’s in her corner is what changes everything in this story. Ahsoka was going to die in that fight with Elsbeth, but Sabine has her trust and so she can only return it. She can only be there for her master (refuse to separate, as Huyang begged them to do), and take care of her in reply. There is nothing remotely subtle about it, but it’s perfect.
I would also like to take a moment for Sabine’s lightsaber-blaster double-wield because she is flawless, and of course Ahsoka’s Padawan would want to be as wonderfully extra as her.
The fight choreography throughout this show has been so smart, and this episode really builds it to a proper crescendo in all the right places. Ahsoka’s near laziness when it comes to deflecting blaster bolts because she’s been doing this most of her life and barely has to engage on a conscious level for this sort of thing, then compared against the fight with Elsbeth, which is frantic, and full of precision and power, and also so beautiful. I’m sorry that this was Elsbeth’s fate—she was here for her people, never the Empire—but at least she got to go out in a blaze that was worthy of her, fighting one of the greatest masters in history.
On the other hand, we’re not gonna touch our heroes surviving a Star Destroyer bombardment on the back of two howlers because there’s nothing we can do about it, and I guess we should be prepared to hand Star Wars one outrageous gimme per episode…
The question of where this all leads for the story going forward is very much up in the air—I’m still pretty sure that the cargo Thrawn brought to Dathomir is an army of Nightsisters, and now Ezra can tell Hera what he knows about Thrawn’s plans. (Why no hug? That is Hera’s other son, let her hug her son!) It’s unclear on the if/when of people resurfacing: Will Ahsoka and Sabine show up heroically to defeat Thrawn before the events of the sequel trilogy, or are they being left on this planet to be resources to future generations much further down the line? Rey hears Ahsoka’s voice in the mishmash of advice and support she gets during the Rise of Skywalker, and it was assumed that meant Ashoka was dead at this point… but it’s also possible that she’s just phoning in from another galaxy to shore the kid up.
All I’m saying is, you better keep Huyang in pristine condition while you’re here.
Speaking of which, Ezra’s lightsaber assemblage scene was everything I was waiting for and also never knew I wanted: Huyang’s lightsaber parts library is still intact? Ezra hates how said library is organized because he never met a system he didn’t want to mess with and repurpose? Huyang is irritated by all this until he learns that Ezra is Kanan’s kid, and then is promptly like “oh, I got this,” and hands him an identical weird emitter shroud that he had reserved in case Kanan needed another one?? I can only feel so many emotions at once, come on.
So… so Ezra was building a lightsaber that deliberately homaged his master, either consciously or subconsciously. And it’s blue. Which is a thing in Jedi lore, or at least a theory that’s been around for ages within the fandom: blue blades tend to indicate stability of character, whereas green is about flux and the bringing of change. (Was it strange and somehow pointed that Anakin’s blades were always blue? It sure was.) Ezra’s first blade was blue and kinda wonky (it had a blaster feature! it shorted out all the time!), and he created a new saber with the green blade while his own future was a great big question mark. Passing it to Sabine and insisting that she keep it is as much a symbolic gestures as it is a practical one: the green blade is more appropriate to Sabine’s character, and Ezra’s new saber is far more suited to man he’s become and the history he carries.
Also, so much of Ezra’s training was marked by Kanan’s time with the Jedi Order and his own awareness over getting none of the same experiential hallmarks that the previous generation did—so getting the chance to build a lightsaber in the same manner that his master did is incredibly special. And that Force-throw that Sabine pulls off to get Ezra on the ship was pure Kanan Jarrus. I love Ezra getting all these reminders of where he came from, even if I hate that it gets ripped away again in one go. (He also gets extra points for being one of the few characters in Star Wars who understands how to effectively stand in for a trooper you’ve knocked unconscious without giving the whole game away in two seconds. *stares in “We’re fine, we’re all fine here now, thank you… how are you?”*)
I will again argue that Thrawn feels underwritten and superfluous in this episode, but here’s hoping that they get some writing help on his appearances going forward. If they manage it, we’re sure to have a great time with whatever this era of Star Wars storytelling brings on next. Just, you know, keep Ezra and Jacen away from Luke’s Jedi Academy.
Bits and Asides
- The Blade of Talzin first shows up in The Clone Wars, so it was really fun to see it return here. Mother Talzin was the one in charge of the Nightsisters on Dathomir; she gives her physical being over to the spirit realm in order to restore Darth Maul, but despite being basically dead, she still manages to battle Mace Windu with that sword, a fact that definitely freaks the Jedi Master out because, you know, she was a spirit five seconds ago and her weapon is something she basically manifests with her mind that can take a lightsaber strike? Nightsisters are the real deal, is the point.
- They really brought in the zombie stormtroopers; I have to give them credit for going there. For the record, the Nightsisters have always had zombie-fying abilities that they frequently used on their own people (and the Geonosians can do it too, FYI)—but zombie stormtroopers were a thing in the Legends novel Death Troopers by Joe Schreiber (and its prequel Red Harvest), and fans have been vying for their appearance ever since.
- Okay, so, yes, it looks like Amon Hen from Lord of the Rings, but those statues that Baylan Skoll finds on Peridea are depicting figures known as the Father and the Son (and you can see the Daughter on the other side, either eroded or destroyed), who are often referred to as the “Mortis Gods.” They showed up first in The Clones Wars on the disappearing/reappearing planet of Mortis (it’s like Brigadoon mixed with the Phantom Zone, don’t worry about it) to test out Anakin. Obi-Wan and Ahsoka are there with him at the time, and witness a strange dynamic—the Son seems to embody the dark side of the Force, while his sister the Daughter embodies the light, and their Father stands between them. Of course, the Daughter and Father are both killed by the Son, but the Daughter uses her last bit of life force to bring Ahsoka back from the brink on death… which effectively makes Ahsoka the avatar of light.
- That bird Ahsoka spots on Peridea is Morai, a convor who is tied to the Daughter and now shows up as a sort of guardian to Ahsoka. So the point is that this planet is steeped in deep Force lore, and who knows what Baylan is meant to turn up there.
- Speaking of Baylan… the fact that Ray Stevenson is gone means that they either need to recast the role, or they’ll pull one of those arcs where we learn that he died on his quest and Shin has to take it up in his stead. Either way, she’s well-poised for a turn away from the dark side.
- Chopper recognizing Ezra under the stormtrooper armor is both tear-inducing and right on—Kanan and Ezra frequently donned Imperial armor and uniforms in their various ops against the Empire while he tagged along opening doors and stealing information, so I fully buy that Chopper can spot Ezra Bridger in that getup on sight. Still crying about it, though.
And that’s the end. Will we get another season? Does this launch straight into the promised films? Only time will tell….