*Warning: The following article contains spoilers for episode six of Ahsoka.*
Hey, did you know that Star Wars was set in “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away”? You didn’t? Well, here’s Huyang (David Tennant) randomly starting his story he wants to tell Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) by…A long time ago, in a galaxy, far, far away — only for the episode to abruptly cut to the title card, where we see the episode’s title: “Far, Far Away.”
This, of course, is a reference to the fact that Ahsoka is traveling far, far away to retrieve Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) and Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi), and also winking at the audience on the sentence that started it all. I get the excitement, but it was wholly unnecessary and left a rather bad taste in my mouth throughout the rest of the episode, which improved itself as it progressed but was still another underwhelming entry into what was otherwise a fairly good show up until its fifth episode.
After the cold open, Ahsoka does not appear in the episode, with “Far, Far Away” instead diverting its focus to the return of Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) and Ezra Bridger. I will say that Ezra’s reunion with Sabine was the episode’s highlight and was perfectly handled by director Jennifer Getzinger and writer Dave Filoni.
I doubt there was a world where this return would be extremely underwhelming, as the basis of the entire series led to this very moment. Esfandi is excellent as Bridger and perfectly captures the spirit of the character that audiences (hopefully) know and love from Star Wars: Rebels. Although his appearance was fleeting and teased many lingering questions he does not yet know (such as, how exactly did Sabine travel here), I’m sure he will be a massive highlight during its two remaining episodes.
The relationship between Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) and Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) also developed more this time and remains a massive highlight. In this episode, Stevenson explains why he departed the Jedi order but still seems strangely attached to it (albeit at a distance). One of the most chilling lines of the episode is when he tells Hati that he trained her to become “something more” than a Jedi, though I don’t believe they will stay antagonists for very long. Grand Admiral Thrawn has given Sabine what she wanted: provisions and an animal to Ezra’s location, but did not say Hati and Skoll would hunt both down. However, he plans to leave them all stranded (or dead, depending on how their confrontation goes) as the prospect of a years-long plan finally set in motion waits for no one.
Thrawn’s return is the most underwhelming aspect of the episode and one of the worst translations from live-action to animation. Mikkelsen’s portrayal is fine if you go past his blue makeup, which makes him look like Elon Musk than anything else. But his return didn’t feel as urgent as the series makes you think it will be. When he was introduced in Rebels, you could feel a sense of dread permeating every ounce of the frame. Here, it feels more like a bad fan film instead of a major Star Wars production.
Still, there should be room for growth within Thrawn’s arc, who will inevitably be the “Thanos” of Filoni’s Mando-verse, so the jury will still be on that front. However, it doesn’t seem like there will be enough meat around the bone to at least establish Thrawn as a proper antagonist. Let’s hope it’ll stick to the landing next week with its penultimate episodes, but my expectations have dwindled more than they’ve been exceeded. With Ezra now in the picture, we should get a finale for the ages, but I’m also increasingly worried that it won’t stick to the landing. Time will indeed tell…
The sixth episode of Ahsoka is now streaming on Disney+.