Ahsoka S1E6: Far, Far Away
“Far, Far Away" offers plenty in the way of mystery and perfectly sets the stage for an epic conclusion.
Fans expecting to feel a letdown after last week's Anakin-packed, Clone Wars-packed episode of "Ahsoka" can take a deep breath and relax. While we don't have The Chosen One in this week's episode, we get the return of two highly anticipated characters in live-action in an aptly titled "Far, Far Away."
Now, I'm not gonna lie. This week's episode is a breather episode with minimal action but designed to allow viewers to catch their breath. We have just a single conflict and the rest is payoff after payoff and, better yet, more questions raised that will keep fans buzzing for at least another week.
The episode begins with a beautiful hyperspace shot of the Purrgils, and it's not like any hyperspace jump I can remember. The colors are vibrant and stunning. Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) and the droid Huyang (David Tennant) are hitching a ride inside one of the star whales, and we get an excellent back-and-forth exchange. The droid talks about the hyperspace lanes and the stories he told to padawans at the Jedi Temple. He offers to tell her a story to help pass the time, but she refuses.
When Huyang challenges Ahsoka's stance on Sabine's (Natasha Liu Brodizzo) choice to willingly go with the enemy, she changes her mind. She allows the droid to pick any of the old tales he would like to recite and he then begins the story with "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…" What an awesome moment and the first time we’ve heard that familiar phrase spoken in any form of Star Wars I believe.
Ahoska and Huyang aren’t the only ones making the trek. Also on their way through hyperspace are Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto), Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson), Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno), and Sabine. They arrive at Peridea, the ancient world of the Dathomiri, home of the Nightsisters and what Baylan calls a graveyard. The wasteland planet offers little in looks but tons in the way of mystery, especially as the story unfolds.
Once the quad is on the planet, they encounter a trio of Nightsisters, referred to as The Great Mothers, who have helped guide Morgan there via dreams, but the only one they are seemingly threatened by is Sabine. "It reeks of Jedi. It is dangerous." Is she dangerous because of her capabilities, or is she dangerous because she is the beacon that is leading Ahsoka to them? I think we'll see Sabine's ability flourish as the season comes to a close and I can't wait for it.
We get a great scene between Baylan and Shin as they talk about the Jedi Temple and the nature of the Jedi and the Empire, with Baylan telling her it's all a cycle - rise and fall. Sabine is tossed into a holding cell and tries to use the Force to open the door. The walls start shaking, but it's not the Force; Thrawn's (Lars Mikkelsen) Star Destroyer, The Chimaera, is looming outside.
We now get our first look at Thrawn in live-action, and it's terrific. Mikkelsen commands the screen, and it's hard to imagine anyone else playing the character. Equally as wonderful is the legion of Night Troopers that chant his name. They've obviously seen better days with cracked and broken armor with some donning red stripes or bands to hold things together. I have theories about these troopers, but we'll get to that later. They're led by Captain Enoch (Wes Chatham), who incorporates gold into his armor and has replaced the front of his Stormtrooper helmet with a gold faceplate.
Thrawn's been working with the Nightsisters for rescue, and it seems he will be offloading coffins from the catacombs of Peridea on his journey back. It's not clear what power they hold, but it's apparent that it's all part of the plan. He's also familiar with one of Morgan's mercenaries, as we learn that Baylan was a General during the Clone Wars.
Sabine and Thrawn finally meet face to face and he tells her he will uphold Baylan's agreement and allow her to go free in search of Ezra (Eman Esfandi) because she helped him attain his goal. Given her weapons, food and a Howler to ride, she heads out into the wastelands of Peridea, hoping to find her friend.
But Thrawn's charity isn't what it seems as he instructs Baylan and Shin to follow, and once Ezra is found, he kills them both. Along her way to find Ezra, she battles bandits and encounters the Noti, small turtle-like creatures that give off Ewok vibes and will serve as her guides after noticing the Jedi insignia on her shoulder armor.
The episode features another great scene with Baylan and Shin, with Baylan talking more about the Temple and telling his apprentice that Ezra is a Bokken Jedi - force-users trained in the wild after the fall of the Temple. Shin notes, "Like me." with Baylan saying, "No. He was trained to be a Jedi. You, I trained to be something more."
Their exchange continues, and Shin asks her master if he misses the Jedi Order. He responds that he misses the idea of it, but not the truth." He says he sees no future in it, with Shin asking if he sees it in the wastelands of the planet, to which he responds something is calling to him. This episode is the first time I feel we see Shin question her master's ideas and decisions and it's great.
Sabine finally arrives at the Hoti's nomadic camp and hears a voice behind her call out, "I knew I could count on you." She turns to find Ezra leaning against one of the shelters, and the banter between the two is excellent. Sabine never reveals how she found him and keeps mum when Ezra says he can't wait to go home. The reunion is nice, and it sets up the conflict between the two when Ezra finds out that his sacrifice to rid his galaxy of Thrawn was for nothing, as Sabine's decision will allow him to return.
The episode concludes with the Nightsisters sensing the approach of Ahsoka and Thrawn, calling on them to use their dark magic to help him once more. "The thread of destiny demands it, Grand Admiral."
This was a banger of an episode. Series creator and writer Dave Filoni continues crafting the best story so far for the Disney+ Star Wars era. It's perfectly paced, in my opinion, and gives hardcore fans all the easter eggs they can handle while making it accessible for new fans to enjoy.
Mikkelsen is perfect as Thrawn, and I didn't expect any less. The only concern for me was the character's look, but having seen it beyond a single screenshot, I can confidently say they did him justice. Mikkelsen's calculating patience with his delivery is so damn good. Esfandi is as good as Ezra, but it's a tiny sample size, so I'm looking forward to more in the upcoming episodes. Having been in exile so long, Ezra is rocking a beard and longer hair, which looks great.
The two big mysteries of this episode for me were - who are the Night Troopers and what does Baylan sense in the Force that could make the others flee.
As for the Night Troopers, I think we're going to get zombies! We've already seen Nightsister magick with Marrock earlier in the series, and I think that's what we have going on here. My first thought when I initially saw the banged-up troopers was the cover of the book "Death Troopers" by Joe Schreiber. The Cliff Notes version of the story is about a ship that is infected by a virus that turns those infected into zombies. It's actually an entertaining read.
While I don't think it's a virus causing the problem, I do think the Nightsisters are using their magick to create an army of mindless souls for Thrawn to lead. I also want to know what they encountered that ravaged their armor like it is.
The other mystery is what Baylan calling to him through the Force? I think it has to be something powerful like the Bendu we saw during "Star Wars Rebels." A sensitive being that dwells in the center of the Force, existing between the Light and the Dark. That force guided Kanan Jarrus during Rebels to gain new insights and could be the key to unlocking Sabine's abilities.
The most powerful moment for me personally was hearing Huyang begin his story with, 'A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.' I'll admit, I got a little misty-eyed. It wasn't because of the scene itself, but rather the realization that George Lucas has been telling us a fairy tale for more than 46 years to teach us about good and evil, as well as about living, loving, and letting go. And let's be clear, Star Wars will always be George Lucas's story and his alone.
“Far, Far Away" is another superb episode in the "Ahsoka" series. With plenty of mystery, it perfectly sets the stage for an epic conflict that will reach its climax as we approach the season’s finale.