Ahsoka: S1E8: The Jedi, The Witch and The Warlord
Our heroes are scattered, the villains succeed and Filoni opens up a universe of possibilities.
Dave Filoni should be in charge of anything and everything Star Wars-related. I’ve said that in just about every review I’ve done for “Ahsoka,” but I forgot to say that in last week's review. After watching the season finale of the "Ahsoka" series, I'm going to scream it at everyone I can like a madman proclaiming the end in nigh. But regarding Star Wars, the "Ahsoka" finale could be an end that beings something great and has me more excited about Star Wars than I've been in a long time.
"Ahsoka" exceeded every expectation I had for the series from the first episode, with creator and lead writer Filoni paving the way for a new era of Star Wars. And when I say new, I mean going back to a method of storytelling that is steeping in myth and making this already expansive universe seem even bigger. It will be nice for new fans to finally get a taste of that.
"The Jedi, The Witch and The Warlord" begins with Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) and Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) prepping to leave the wasteland of Peridea after the cargo loading is complete. Morgan is rewarded by the Great Mothers by becoming a Nightsister and being given the Blade of Talzin, a glowing blade infused with the Nightsister's magic. For fans of "The Clone Wars," the Blade of Talzin is instantly recognizable, having first seen it used by Mother Talzin in her duel with Mace Windu. It's the first of many nods to "The Clone Wars" and "Rebels" that will have fans losing their minds.
We meet back up with our heroes, with Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi) constructing a new lightsaber alongside Huyang (David Tennant). Both of them learn they have a connection through Kanan Jarrus, Ezra’s master, as Huyang reveals he helped young Kanan create his first lightsaber and even gives Ezra an emitter that was a spare from Kanan's lightsaber. We also learn what drove Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) and Sabine (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) apart and that Ahsoka worried that her apprentice was training for the wrong reasons and may follow a similar path to her former master.
There's more Anakin (Hayden Christensen) love in this episode, with Ahsoka saying that her master was the only person who stood by her when no one else would and that she'll do the same for Sabine after revealing she knows how her apprentice found her way to Peridea.
Two Tie Fighters attack our heroes and the gentle Noti they're traveling. The blaster fire takes out the stabilizers on their ship and Ahsoka and Ezra spring into action and use the force to keep the ship from crushing the Noti. As the tie fighters close in for the kill shot, Sabine uses the ship itself to take out both fighters, but the move leaves the ship grounded.
With their ship disabled, Ahsoka, Sabine and Ezra decide to take the battle to Thrawn on the backs of Howlers and make their way where the warlord is. Stopping on a ridge before Thrawn's ship, The Chimaera, they begin forming their method of attack, and Ahsoka suggests they just try the front door. Thrawn instructs the gunners to unload their guns as they grow nearer, declaring, "There will be no negotiating with the apprentice of Anakin Skywalker." Wizard.
Arriving at the base of the fortress, our heroes gain entrance but are quickly intercepted by a group of night troopers. The trio ignite their lightsaber, which looks terrific and begins to make their way through the trooper and before too long, they are on the other side of the room with the floor littered with troopers.
And then we get zombie stormtroopers! I was hoping Filoni would make this happen and I'm glad he did because the normally mundane troopers scurrying around are transformed into something creepy and unrelenting. It's a very cool visual, and I couldn't get enough of it.
Then it's time for Ahsoka and Morgan to face off; it was my favorite lightsaber action of the series. It was quick and stylish and made me wonder why they didn't do the same with the Ahsoka/Anakin fight in "Far, Far Away." We know Christensen can still handle a saber with the best of them, so it seems like a missed opportunity.
While Ahsoka and Morgan are facing off, Sabine and Ezra are taking on more troopers, and we finally get to see Sabine harness the power of the force, which she uses later to help Ezra gain access to The Chimaera. I won't ruin the moment, but it's pretty killer.
With Morgan advancing on Ahsoka while Night Trooper surrounds them, Sabine joins the fray and what's become standard in the Star Wars universe, our baddie is quickly dispatched, but at least Ahsoka does it in style. Usually, I would have something to say about a foe going down so fast, but I've always felt Morgan was merely a means to an end and that's exactly what she's revealed to be.
Huyang swoops in to pick up our heroes in a barely functioning ship and as Thrawn locks The Chimaera into the hyperspace ring, they must race to catch him. As it appears they won't catch the Star Destroyer, Thrawn comes over the coms and commends Ahsoka being a worthy opponent, ultimately referring to her as a ronin, which I loved. A ronin in Japanese culture is a masterless samurai who is constantly on the move, which perfectly sums up Ahsoka's life.
As Ezra speeds home aboard The Chimaera, Ahsoka and Sabine, make their way back to the Noti. They are welcomed back, and over Ahsoka's shoulder, we see a Morai (an owl) perched on a rock and then flying off. Ahsoka and the Morai have a strong connection stemming back to "The Clone Wars" series when it became her guardian after the Mortis god, The Daughter, gave her life essence to Ahsoka after she was killed by The Son.
We'll talk more about the Mortis gods in a bit, so hopefully, all of this will make a little more sense. (I still recommend going and watching the Mortis arc of the “The Clone Wars” in season 3).
Where are our Dark Jedi during the episode? Shin (Ivanna Sakhno) gets about 20 seconds of screen time as she rides up to an encampment of bandits and raises her lightsaber - and that's it for her.
On the other hand, Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) has much more going on but only a bit more screen time. When we see Baylan, he's walking along the outstretched arm of a monument of the Mortis god, The Father.
In "The Clone Wars," Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka encounter The Ones, aka The Mortis gods - The Daughter (Light), The Son (Dark) and the Father (Balance). The Father wants Anakin to take his place due to his status as The Chosen One. The Son has different plans, leading to Ahsoka's death and resurrection, the death of The Daughter and The Father sacrificing himself to not allow his Son to unleash his darkness upon the galaxy. That's a quick summary, but again, if you want to know more, watch the Mortis arc in season 3 of "The Clone Wars.
When Baylan reaches the end of the monument's outstretched arm, he sees a light at the top of a mountain in the distance. Will it be a monastery like in The Clone Wars episode "Overlords," where Anakin sees the same thing? Or will it be something else? We know The Ones all are dead at this point, but what about The Mother? Could Filoni be prepping to bring her back into canon? In the “Legends” material, The Mother is also known as Abeloth, and let's just say that she's not a loving mother and could wreak havoc on the galaxy. Is it her power that is calling to Baylan to release her?
Ezra finally gets the homecoming he's been yearning for and deserves and I love that it's Chopper (voiced by Filoni) who first recognizes him beneath the trooper armor. There's so much relief in his eyes when he tells Hera (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), "Hi Hera, I'm home," but the other quickly realizes he's traveled alone.
Ahsoka and Sabine are with the Noti, and Sabine notices her master looking out to the horizon. When Sabine questions her master on everything that's happened, Ahsoka reassures her, "Ezra's where he needs to be and so are we." As well as offering up, "It's time to move on." Sabine now senses something where Ahsoka had been looking, and when Ahsoka asks her what she's feeling, she simply says, "Nothing. Just shadows in the starlight." Ahsoka takes one last look before returning to the group, and as the camera pulls back, it's revealed that Anakin's force ghost is looking down on them. It's a beautiful moment.
"The Jedi, The Witch and the Warlock" is an excellent conclusion to the first season of Ahsoka. Filoni crafted a story that hearkens back to the original trilogy and the animated series he helmed and showed us once again what Star Wars can be. Some viewers might not get all the references, but this felt like a show he wanted to make to put his arm around the true fans and let us know that the best of Star Wars isn't in the past.
As far as performances, every actor knocked it out of the park in the series, and I can't imagine anyone else playing their roles. I've praised each of them at some point, but I was impressed with Esfandi as Ezra. I thought he captured the character perfectly, and it might have been the performance I felt was closest to capturing the essence of the animated character.
We got to see Christensen back as Anakin Skywalker, and I am so proud of these filmmakers for bringing him back into the fold. Christensen is a fantastic actor who's not been given a chance to shine beyond what he did early in his career, and it's wonderful to see a seasonal actor revisit a role and make it something so special. We're lucky to have Christensen back, and everyone should be grateful. He is Anakin Skywalker.
And how can I not just gush over Ray Stevenson's performance as Baylan Skoll? The character is one of the most intriguing villains we've had in a long time, and Stevenson's performance is flawless. It will be hard to watch something take over the role if and when we get a season two of "Ahsoka," but I don't see any way around it. The character's arc is pivotal to the overall story, just him in the wilderness.
Thank you, Ray, for a fantastic performance, and you will always be part of the Star Wars family.
"The Jedi, The Witch and The Warlord" is an epic conclusion for the first season of "Ahsoka” and proves that in the right hands, Star Wars has many more tales left to tell.