This Star Wars: Ahsoka article contains spoilers.
Ahsoka Episode 6
It’s been five long years since we saw Ezra Bridger and Grand Admiral Thrawn, zapped into hyperspace seemingly beyond reach in the series finale of Rebels. Bu in Ahsoka’s sixth episode, the nostalgically titled “Far Far Away,” fans finally get to feast their eyes on the reunions they’ve been dreaming about for so long. There was a lot riding on this long-awaited moment in showrunner Dave Filoni’s epic saga, and in most respects it delivers, though one big moment doesn’t feel as, well, big as it should have.
We get to spend a little time with Ahsoka and Huyang to open the episode, and it’s a sweet, fun way to transition from the end of the last episode into this one. As they careen across the galaxy at lightspeed thanks to their Purrgil pals, they share a meaningful conversation that provides further context into where Ahsoka’s head is at the moment. She’s disappointed in Sabine for aiding the enemy in finding Thrawn, risking starting a war that could potentially cost the lives of billions. But she’s more disappointed in herself for not having enough time to help Sabine make the right choice.
“The force provides you with insight, but it does not give one all the answers. Perhaps, for Sabine, it was the only choice,” Huyang interjects, proving once again that he’s the wisest droid in the galaxy. Their wink-wink banter about the first entry in Huyang’s historical “trilogy” of stories being the best is cute, and ending the scene with “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away,” could have been ultra cringe, but it actually feels warm and sincere here.
From this point forward, the episode takes on an unexpectedly off-center vibe. The setting of Peridea is as remote as any we’ve seen in Star Wars, and the imagery feels aptly alien, from the grimness of the floating Purrgil graveyard, to the bronzed ancient architecture, to the eerie, pulsating, programmed beat that plays as the characters descend into the planet’s atmosphere. The artists did a great job of making the planet look and sound far removed from what we typically see in Star Wars, which underscores the seclusion and inaccessibility of the setting.
Okay, so here it is: Thrawn is presented pretty much perfectly in his live-action debut. Tapping Lars Mikkelsen to reprise the role in the flesh was always the logical choice, but seeing him embody Thrawn completely is really something else. The Grand Admiral is intellectually imposing, and watching him manipulate Sabine with his words and adapt his strategy when he learns that Ahsoka may be joining the fray felt like it was taken right out of his classic appearances in the books. “We shall consider Ahsoka Tano alive until we know otherwise,” he says, emotionless and unwaveringly focused. He’s sharper than your typical Star Wars villain, and it’s established quite effectively here that absolutely no one in the galaxy is going to out-think or out-maneuver him strategically. They really nailed it with Thrawn, and it’s clear the complexion of the show will be dramatically altered moving forward.
One of the more unexpected elements of this episode is how much depth is added to Baylan and Shin as characters. There has definitely been a soulfulness to how Baylan has been presented so far, but we really get to delve into his psyche here. He loved the Jedi Order on a philosophical level but found it to be too “weak” to be sustainable. He senses Peridea might be the key to breaking the cycle of the inevitable, literal star wars that we’ve seen play out onscreen for decades. If for no other reason, Baylan is a unique Star Wars character in that he has a sobering bird’s eye view of the eternal power struggles that play out before him. There’s a glimmer of hesitancy in Shin as she takes in her master’s words, which could lead to some friction down the line.
The late Ray Stevenson is tremendous in this episode. Watch the two scenes between Baylan and Shin back and notice how unafraid he is of letting the dialogue hang in the air, using silence as an opportunity to let the scene breathe. It’s a treat getting to watch him ply his craft so effortlessly and effectively.
Natasha Liu Bordizzo’s performance is impressive as well, for different reasons. For much of the episode, she acts alongside CG creatures and puppets. It takes a lot of skill to make scenes like this compelling and believable as opposed to hokey and disposable, and she kills it in “Far, Far Away.” The bickering between her and the howler is particularly entertaining and lightens up the episode amid the gloominess of Thrawn’s ominous plotting.
The great thing about Sabine’s reunion with Ezra is that it feels like a seamless continuation of the characters’ relationship from Rebels. Bordizzo and Eman Esfandi work well together and it is nice to see the characters reunited under generally peaceful circumstances. But something about the scene just feels a bit too…casual. There’s more of an “Oh, hey” energy to the scene, when it clearly calls for a more “HOLY SHIT I NEVER THOUGHT I’D EVER SEE YOU AGAIN” energy. The entire series so far has been teasing and building up to this moment, and while the scene doesn’t fall flat and is actually quite heartwarming, it also doesn’t feel nearly as momentous as it should.
Overall, “Far Far Away” is yet another rock-solid episode. Every scene feels vital and urgent, and Ezra and Thrawn look to be fantastic additions to the already robust cast of characters. And sneakily, the most compelling thing about the episode is how it establishes what seems to be the series’ primary underlying idea. Baylan and Thrawn are fueled by pragmatism and dominance; Ahsoka and Sabine are fueled by hope and compassion. It’s the classic struggle of the head vs. the heart, and Ahsoka is exploring these ideas beautifully.