The sixth episode of ‘Ahsoka’ finally takes audiences to the new galaxy, and while it isn’t full of a lot of new, it is present with familiar faces that fans will love. Grand Admiral Thrawn returns, and fans also witness the reunion between Sabine and Ezra that’s been five years in the making.
Before breaking down the stellar performances, the major aspect that holds this aspect back is the new galaxy. While it provides a fascinating bit of lore that recontextualizes what fans might have previously thought about a prior species in ‘Star Wars’, this is the only thing it does. Perida, for all its hype, brings the same barren wastelands, marauders, and aliens fans are familiar with from the old galaxy. There is nothing new or weird about it. That’s especially damning as Dave Filoni can get weird and wonderful in ‘Star Wars’, but he’s chosen not to here.
Nitpick aside, this episode is fantastic. It quickly introduces Thrawn, on his flagship the Chimaera no less, and Lars Mikkelsen, who plays Thrawn here and voices him in ‘Star Wars: Rebels’ steals the show. His slow, softly spoken voice, and the precise delivery of dialogue, it’s everything fans remember from ‘Rebels’. Of course, this is all possible because of Dave Filoni’s excellent writing, with dialogue that proves he understands Thrawn’s character.
While there aren’t revelations about the new galaxy, Thrawn has some big ones. He has a new type of stormtrooper, the Night Trooper. Their armor is crudely built, clearly a consequence of the violent space travel and a reference to the Japanese practice of kintsugi. There is a possibility that none of these stormtroopers are actually alive, just reanimated by Nightsister magic. Audiences will have to wait and see if this is the case, but it could be an adaption of the Legends novel ‘Death Troopers’. The return of the Nightsisters is also welcome and surprising.
This episode has the feeling of a high fantasy tale. It’s a refreshing difference from the Western adventures of ‘The Mandalorian’ or the political thriller of ‘Andor’. Witches, a journey to a distant land, the wolf-like creature that Sabine rides to find Erza, and the rock creatures that lead her to him. The episode taps into the weirder side of the universe and is all the better for it. It shows how varied the ‘Star Wars’ world can be.
Speaking of Ezra, or, Jabba the Hutt as he’s better known, he returns triumphantly. Eman Esfandi brings the character to life, with all the charm and banter audiences know and love. His reunion with Sabine is quiet and understated. But it’s unsurprising considering the bittersweet conditions Sabine finds herself in. She’s about to unleash evil onto the galaxy because of her selfish desires. Hopefully, that’s something that she grapples with in the future.
While this episode has a much slower pace than prior episodes, it has a sense of purpose. There isn’t a lot of action, and Ahsoka herself barely features in the episode. But this is what makes it great. The past two weeks have featured many fast-paced lightsaber duels, this week helped to reset the board. It sets up at least two future fights and is a palette cleanser. It addresses the key concern of the main villain being absent and gives some backstory to Baylan and Shin. With Thrawn’s appearance, fans of the show now have something to fear.