clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What are the key takeaways from the fifth episode of Ahsoka?

Andy Silva goes over what happened in the fifth episode of the Ahsoka series on Disney Plus.

Star Wars Celebration Events 2022 Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

One is never too old to learn, Snips.

Yes, Anakin Skywalker arrived and had one last lesson to impart to his former apprentice in “Shadow Warrior,” the fifth episode of Ahsoka. With George Lucas’ apprentice Dave Filoni at the helm, how did that lesson take shape and how did it flashback to The Clone Wars?

Key Takeaways

Completing Ahsoka’s training

As I predicted last week. “Shadow Warrior” focuses almost entirely on Ahsoka, with a few brief breaks to catch up with her allies on Seatos searching for her and Sabine. Nary a ne’er-do-well to be found.

To start let me say this — the de-aging on Hayden Christensen, for the most part, looked MUCH better this week. Now, I don’t know if that meant we needed Ahsoka telling Anakin he looked the same while he said she looked old, but what can you do? Initially, she wonders what happened, but after being prodded by Anakin with the declaration that she lost a fight, she remembers her duel with Baylan Skoll. He says that’s good because that means she has a chance. A chance for what? A chance to live.

That brings us to the final lesson — live ... or die. And Anakin ignites his blue lightsaber. She notes that she won’t fight him, which he quips he’s heard before (referencing Luke telling him as Vader that he would not fight in Return of the Jedi). A duel ensues, with Ahsoka gaining the upper hand and joking that perhaps he doesn’t have much left to offer, which leads him to declare he hasn’t taught her everything yet. He then proceeds to destroy the bridge she’s standing on, sending her falling out of the World Between Worlds and right into The Clone Wars.

Young Ahsoka is confused and asks why she’s back to one of her first missions with her former master, and like all good flashbacks Anakin, in full Clone Wars animated series costuming (!), says that’s her problem and she needs to tell him why they’re there. Take note kids, ghosts from your past will never make it easy to learn your existential lesson. What happened to her training he referenced before? THIS is her training!

The many fans who were hoping to see a live-action Clone Wars flashback got their wish, and eventually we see Ahsoka with injured clones and telling her Master that so many have been lost and he tells her there’s always a price to be paid (perhaps a dark omen that Ahsoka may have to make the ultimate sacrifice for real at some point). After lamenting that she got the clones killed, Anakin notes that as Jedi it is their job to lead, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes.

She says this isn’t what she trained for, and Anakin says that you have to adapt to the times (a useful reminder to one training a headstrong and difficult apprentice, herself). He notes that when Obi-Wan trained him they were peacekeepers, but he has to train her to be a soldier. Anakin tries to make a joke about teaching not being all it’s cracked up to be, and she gets upset wanting him to be more serious. He gets real with her and tells her that he’s teaching her how to lead, how to survive. And to do that, she’s going to have to fight and if she doesn’t want to fight she will die. Ahsoka noted earlier in this series that she has walked away several times — from the Jedi Order, away from Anakin, away from Sabine. It seems Anakin is telling her that at some point she can’t walk away anymore, that she’s going to have to stand and FIGHT.

We next see her in a live-action rendition of the Siege of Mandalore from season seven of Clone Wars. Anakin tells her that she is a warrior now, as he trained her to be. Similar to Rey having all of the Jedi within her in Rise of Skywalker (despite all that film’s faults), Anakin tells Ahsoka that within her is everything he is, similar to how he is filled with what he learned from Obi-Wan and Obi-Wan had everything that was Qui-Gon. Harkening back to Baylan’s taunt from their duel last week, Anakin tells her that she’s part of a legacy.

She brings back Baylan’s words directly, noting that her legacy is one of death and war. Anakin tells her that she is more than that because he is more than that, but she, full of recrimination, harshly tells him that he was more than that — more powerful and dangerous than anyone realized. Here is the real problem — Ahsoka has been carrying around her survivor’s guilt for leaving him and what he became as well as her anger toward him for falling to the Dark Side for decades. She hasn’t been fully LIVING. Anakin sees he is not reaching her and rips the band off completely, telling her it’s back to the beginning and that he gave her a choice ... live or die. He ignites his lightsaber — Vader’s red lightsaber — and turns around with Sith eyes and they begin to duel again and he overpowers her and kicks her back into the World Between Worlds.

Back in the World Between Worlds, adult Ahsoka and Sith Anakin duel, with Anakin once again gaining the upper hand to the point where he disarms her and tells her it’s time to die. But she outmaneuvers him and steals his lightsaber putting the blade to his neck. After a brief moment of anger, in which her grimacing face is lit by the red blade and almost gives a Sith-like shadow to her eyes in the blade’s reflection, she finally learns the lesson and disengages the lightsaber and declares that she wants to live. Anakin steps back, closes his eves, and with the traces of the Sith gone, is satisfied that now she is ready. He tells her that there may be hope for her yet, and is gone.

Choosing to live

So, finally, Ahsoka is ready to live and move on her from her hurt and guilt from Anakin’s fall. Similar to Vader releasing Obi-Wan from his guilt during their final duel in the Kenobi finale last year, Anakin has released Ahsoka. She, like Obi-Wan before her, is now free.

Some people have complained that Rosario Dawson’s performance thus far has been too emotionless and not reminiscent of Ahsoka from the animated series. However, this episode’s turn of events would suggest that perhaps that was a very intentional choice. At the beginning of the series she was scarred and still full of resentment, eager to deflect anytime anyone brought up her past, refusing to talk about it. In order to reach her full potential, both for herself and Sabine, she had to let go.

Perhaps being surrounded by the water again on Seatos after the World Between World collapses and being engulfed and pulled out of the water serves as a kind of rebirth for Ahsoka. Following her recovery, she is noticeably more buoyant and is now wearing lighter colors. And rather than focusing on the negative, even if it is necessary when fearing Thrawn’s return, she now is willing to have faith, even if she doesn’t know where the purrgil will eventually take her. As she tells Huyang, not knowing where they’re going is better than going nowhere at all, which was emblematic of how she had been stuck in place since leaving the Jedi Order. It will be interesting to see how these developments affect Ahsoka’s hero’s journey for the rest of the series.

May the Force be with you

The reason Ahsoka is eventually found is young Jacen Syndulla.

Even as his mother and Carson Teva’s X-wing pilots conduct their search and find no traces of Ahsoka, Jacen can FEEL something. He eventually hears the clashing of lightsabers — Ahsoka and Anakin — amid the crashing waves and convinces his mother as a brief swell of the Force is heard underneath.

Jacen truly is his father’s son, leading to a funny moment where Huyang tells a confused Teva about Jacen’s “abilities” and Teva just blindly accepts that he is about to follow the “feelings” of a child because he has a connection to the Force.

Later, Jacen is eager to tour a Jedi starship and asks Huyang about training him and teaching him how to build a lightsaber. Some of the commercials for the series talked about a new Jedi rising. It’s easy to read that as the return of Ezra Bridger or the continued training of Sabine. But I continue to wonder if the series is leaving a trail of breadcrumbs toward Jacen eventually training with Ezra and perhaps having some role in either Filoni’s upcoming movie or the next movie featuring Rey’s new Jedi Order.

Losing by any score

The other noteworthy development is the continued ineptitude of the New Republic.

Sure Hera broke ranks and went on an unauthorized mission, but does it really make sense to chase after her like they do? At this point, she’s cost them a few pilots yes, but did it warrant the response she’s received?

It’s good to note that not all New Republic leaders are so blind, as Carson notes that Senator Organa can only cover for them so long. While I’m glad to get the Leia name drop, it does continue to beg the question of how NONE of our Original Trilogy heroes are involved in this story at all with such an incredible threat potentially at hand.

Mon Mothma eventually gets in contact and tells Hera that she and Ahsoka have to come back to Coruscant and testify before the Senate because they are considering permanently suspending her command. With Ahsoka taken away by the pod of purrgil at the end of this episode after a brief standoff with the New Republic fleet, one wonders how much longer Hera will have a high rank to take advantage of and what the fallout of that could be.

Other takeaways

  • Nodding to the episode’s key cameos and long-desired live-action Clone Wars flashback, this episode was screened at select theaters across the country. The pod of purrgil passing through the New Republic fleet certainly was cinematic. However, all of this served to make the flashback scenes, although still powerful and something I enjoyed and went back and rewatched multiple times, a little disappointing in their lack of detail when it came to the physical sets. The flashback scenes were mostly hazy set in nondescript settings which stood in for battlefields and Mandalore. Perhaps one could argue that was an intentional choice to represent the haziness of the World Between Worlds and focus on the lesson, but it definitely stuck out to me and reminded me this show is being made on the budget of a TV series, not a feature film. If you’re going to show this episode on a big screen, it feels as though they should have increased the budget a bit to have better sets for the flashbacks.
  • Fun Rebels easter egg — Jacen is wearing the same style shoulder pauldron that his father Kanan Jarrus wore.
  • As I noted above, the de-aging on Hayden Christensen was MUCH better this week, especially in the flashback scenes. And it was glorious seeing Christensen in Anakin’s Clone Wars costume. Luckily for me, my latest additions to my Star Wars collections arrived late last week.
  • Perhaps it’s just me, but it felt like Ahsoka looked too young in the Siege of Mandalore flashback scene. Now, it should be noted that the actress playing young Ahsoka, Ariana Greenblatt, is 16, so perhaps the age is right. But she just looked younger than the animated Ahsoka did in season seven of Clone Wars, at least to me.
  • It was cool to see a live-action Captain Rex, voiced by Temura Morrison. It would have been nice to have Dee Bradley Baker voice the character as he did in the Clone Wars, especially since we never saw Rex’s face, but still a fun little cameo.

Well, that’s it. Was the long-awaited live-action meeting between Anakin and Ahsoka everything you hoped it would be? Hit me up on X at @ByAndySilva to let me know what you thought of “Shadow Warrior” and where you think the series might go from here.