Episode 5 of Ahsoka has finally found its footing, offering a deeper look into Ahsoka’s past in live-action. Having Anakin Skywalker alongside us for this nostalgic journey is not only satisfying from a storytelling perspective but also a lot of fun. Once you get past the initial surprise of the de-aging technology used, it’s easy to become fully engrossed in the reunion of these two beloved characters. However, the excitement is short-lived, as we find ourselves already halfway through the episode when this monumental and revelatory event takes place. Ahsoka and Anakin deserved more than just half an episode.
‘Ahsoka’ Episode 5: A Mixed Bag of Emotions
The episode isn’t devoid of good moments. We are treated to flashbacks of Ahsoka’s earliest battles, bringing the Snips we knew from animation into the live-action realm. We witness a familiar Ahsoka – strong-willed, inquisitive, and deeply compassionate, much like Anakin. These flashbacks offer a glimpse into how Ahsoka’s doubts about the Jedi order and Anakin’s ideology began to take root. The memories of war are portrayed vividly, with the Clone Wars depicted as a nightmarish, unending battlefield.
The narrative then jumps forward to a more mature Ahsoka, sporting her iconic look from The Clone Wars series. Anakin is absent from this battle, as their paths have already diverged. In this sequence, we see a confident and formidable Ahsoka, fighting alongside Captain Rex and the clones, a crucial aspect of her character often underrepresented in live-action. This is the Battle of Mandalore, a defining moment for Ahsoka and a significant event in the Star Wars universe. Despite the grimness of war, we briefly glimpse the characters as they were. Following these flashbacks, Anakin reveals that his true purpose in the World Between Worlds is to test Ahsoka’s determination.
A Short-Lived Duel
In these flashbacks, we catch glimpses of Vader, and in their confrontation, Anakin adopts the appearance he had on Mustafar. He attacks Ahsoka, and she defends herself. The duel ends with Ahsoka holding Anakin’s lightsaber to his throat before sparing him, turning him back to the “good” Anakin. While the fight is decent, it’s far from extraordinary. This monumental moment, previously depicted only in animation, concludes swiftly. This duel could have been an opportunity to showcase Ahsoka’s growth, explore any lingering resentment towards Anakin, and highlight their distinct fighting styles. Unfortunately, it’s a rather conventional swordfight, lacking the emotional depth it could have had.
Missed Opportunities in ‘Ahsoka’ Episode 5
The lackluster fight isn’t the only issue. Restricting the Anakin reunion to just half of the episode means we only get two brief flashbacks from Ahsoka’s past: one from her early Jedi career and another after her departure. This overlooks a significant period in Ahsoka’s relationship with Anakin. Turning this into a full episode could have provided a comprehensive overview of Ahsoka’s backstory, offering a glimpse into her evolution over the years.
There are numerous compelling story beats that could have been explored. Both flashbacks we have could serve as bookends, showcasing Ahsoka’s growth through the years. We could witness her evolving lightsabers, highlighting her unique dual-wielding technique. The show could have delved into her epic battles against formidable foes like Ventress, Grievous, or Maul – adversaries she held her own against. It could have shown her camaraderie with the clones before their tragic fates on Mandalore. We could have witnessed her transition from following Anakin to becoming her own Jedi. A more extensive exploration of these scenes could have shed light on why Ahsoka left the Jedi order and why it continues to haunt her. There’s so much more to Ahsoka’s origin than what we’ve seen, and it feels like a missed opportunity to use these flashbacks solely as a tool for testing her resolve, rather than a deeper exploration of her feelings towards the Jedi and Anakin.
Pacing Problems Reflect a Broader Issue
The episode’s pacing also affects the other half of the plot. While convincing the purrgils to cooperate isn’t as thrilling as a showdown with a fallen tyrant, it offers its own intrigue. This was a full episode in Rebels, exploring the Force’s nuances and how different creatures interact with it. Discussing the Force beyond the traditional light side and dark side dichotomy aligns with Ahsoka’s unique position. Despite the exposition, it’s enjoyable to see Ahsoka’s playful side as she takes daring risks, like landing her ship in a space whale’s mouth with uncertain outcomes. She feels true to herself and adds a fun element to these scenes, which wasn’t always consistent in previous episodes. Nevertheless, this storyline can’t help but feel underwhelming in the wake of the all-too-brief Anakin cameo.
This pacing issue underscores a recurring problem in Ahsoka. Some episodes drag scenes out unnecessarily, while others rush through important story beats. Here, we transition from Darth Vader to lighthearted space adventures too abruptly. Ahsoka and Anakin’s relationship is layered, and exploring Ahsoka’s past was something fans eagerly anticipated. Reducing this reunion to just half an episode diminishes the impact on both the characters and the overall show.
While Ahsoka has its moments, Episode 5 falls short of its potential. The reunion between Ahsoka and Anakin deserved more time and depth. The episode’s pacing issues are indicative of a larger problem in the series, where certain story elements are either overextended or rushed. We hope that future episodes of Ahsoka strike a better balance and provide the in-depth exploration of characters and relationships that fans crave.
New episodes of Ahsoka premiere on Disney+ every Tuesday.