Friday, October 6, 2023

Ahsoka - The Jedi, the Witch, and the Warlord

Zombie Troopers! With the final episode in the books, the question lingers about Ahsoka. Was it a success? Presented as a contained mini-series, not as a chapter to a larger narrative, the results are mixed. But the ending did have Zombie Troopers! After dicking around for half its run, the show finally started developing the plot in its final three episode leaving far too little time to deal with Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) and his return.

As a contained narrative, its hard not to view Ahsoka as a failure. It relies entirely on previous Star Wars entries and offers no real ending for any aspect of the multiple plot threads it begins spinning (some of which appear as if they might die with this series). The series works to provide fans with an Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) and Anakin (Hayden Christensen) reunion, introduce live versions of Star Wars Rebels characters, and provide mostly filler content while setting up the more important story yet to come. Any thought of a complete, coherent, and engaging story came far too down the list to make it on to screen.

All that's not to say there isn't fun to be had along the way. The finale offers of big heroic moments, master and apprentice getting back on the same page, a huge moment for Sabine (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) finally connecting to the Force - albeit one the show has no time to properly recognize or celebrate, and a homecoming for a character who didn't get nearly enough screentime in this series given how much time was wasted on the other side of the galaxy. Oh, and there was crazy witch magic and Zombie Troopers. Did I mention that? Also of note, the show makes an obvious faux pas while attempting a bit of fan service with Huyang (David Tennant) bonding with Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi) over his master (who unfortunately none of the writers remembered didn't start going by the name Kanan Jarrus until long after the fall of the Jedi, and long after the droid would have known him). Whoops!

This final episode feels extremely rushed as Thrawn drags his feet with leaving the planet (his ship is ready to go at the beginning but he hangs around just long enough to give the Jedi a chance to reach him right at the climax of the episode) and throw various roadblocks at our heroes which include undead Stormtroopers brought back to life by the Great Mothers (Claudia Black, Jeryl Prescott, and Jane Edwina Seymour). The episode certainly goes full boar into the idea of using the Force for witchcraft in ways that we haven't seen explored before. Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) earns her reward for her service and is notable as really the only character who gets a full arc on the show. Some might argue Sabine does as well (although I'd argue without a proper end to that part of the story, it still feels incomplete).

The series shifts into ludicrous speed with its epilogues aplenty allowing Ezra to escape Thrawn's ship (somehow, off-camera) and make it back to the Rebellion (somehow, off-camera) and reveal himself to Hera (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in the blink of an eye. Don't get me wrong, the scene of Chopper recognizing Ezra is a very nice bit of fan service for Rebels fans (which I'll admit to being a total mark for), but its also an example of at least an entire episode of plot boiled down into little more than an afterthought and left unreferenced and unexplained. Given how little happens in the first four episodes of this series, you can't tell me that this wouldn't have been better use of its time.

Back in that other half of the galaxy the abandoned Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) apparently has decided to become a warlord, and Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson), who the series really does a disservice to in the final episodes of the series as it suddenly remembers a suggested subplot it completely abandoned concerning his own quest, is finally referenced again. We catch up to him one last time as he looks out from Gates of Argonath towards Mount Doom where he apparently plans to find the one ring to rule them all. I joke, but that's a pretty accurate description of the half-baked plot thread with strong Lord of the Rings stylings that never got properly started. Well at least the show kept around two important characters to also get shelved along with him. The show finds itself in the same quandary Christopher Nolan did with several characters wrapped up in storyline that can't properly be concluded given the unfortunate death of the actor needed to conclude the story. What might have been had the show pushed forward with this story and didn't waste so much time.

  • Title: Ahsoka - Part Eight: The Jedi, the Witch, and the Warlord
  • wiki: link

No comments: