Terribly De-Aged Hayden Christensen Arrives

“I told them to stay together, but they never listen. They never listen.”

These are the unapproving words uttered by frustrated droid Huyang (David Tennant) at the beginning of this week’s episode of Ahsoka, though at this point, this quote could be from any episode, couldn’t it? Such is the everlasting theme of Ahsoka—a master and their apprentice never see eye-to-eye, even though an alliance would benefit everyone in the end.

This week, though, Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) is not the master and Sabine (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) is not her apprentice. Instead, Ahsoka is retracing her steps, to when she was the apprentice. You may recognize her master. He was in the last episode. He’s a smaller character named “Anakin Skywalker,” also known for his brief stint as the little known “Darth Vader.” Heard of him?

Yes, Hayden Christensen is back for another round of Ahsoka. Snips and Skyguy are back in action. The pair reunite in the World Between Worlds, a place so fortunately dim that the messy de-aging of Christensen isn’t lit well enough to be a total eye sore. For those who don’t know, the World Between Worlds is basically a spot where all times converge into one. So, when Anakin tells Ahsoka she’s going to have to fight for her life, that basically means she’s going to have to travel back in time into her memories, where she’ll go head-to-head with her old demons.

The battle is, to put it frankly, boring. We don’t see any of the Big Bad, Baylan (Ray Stevenson), or his devilish apprentice, Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno), who are the real bone-chilling villains of Ahsoka—all underscored by the impending doom reared by Grand Admiral Thrawn. Ahsoka’s sparring with Anakin is shockingly dull in comparison. The Star Wars franchise needn’t busy itself treading back through the old memories of Rebels and Clone Wars; alas, once de-aging was introduced, Lucasfilm never looked back. (Or, rather, the company couldn’t stop looking back.)

We get to see young Ahsoka learning from Anakin, who advises his Padawan that the Jedi’s role is to lead through times of warfare. Ahsoka doesn’t want to partake in war. She’s a bit of a pacifist, that feisty Snips, and Anakin is having none of it. The Jedi can’t simply prevent war from happening altogether. But Ahsoka empathizes with all the dead Clones, even though they were evil, because their death was ultimately caused by her.

This whole sequence feels less Star Wars and more Marvel, like Black Panther’s neon-lit final subway station battle was made for television instead of the big screen—or one of the grayish orange fights against Thanos, with plenty of emotional dilemmas. We end on Ahsoka defeating Anakin, who has started to flash into the form of Darth Vader. She has conquered her innermost demons. Anakin and Vader are gone.

But Ahsoka is still a mile under the sea. Thankfully, Hera’s (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) son Jacen (Evan Whitten) has a bit of Jedi in him on his paternal side, so he senses the lightsaber smacks of Ahsoka’s underwater fight. Although the New Republic is advising Hera to retreat and quit her search for Thrawn, Hera sends her fleet (or what’s left of it) out to sea to find Ahsoka. While they search, Jacen prods Huyang for information about Ahsoka’s master. What was Anakin like?

“Intense,” Huyang says. Sounds about right.

Photo still of Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Jacen Syndulla (Evan Whitten) in 'Ahsoka.'

Hera locates Ahsoka, revives her, and allows her to rest for a few hours while the team musters up the courage to send an update to Chancellor Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly). When Ahsoka wakes, sporting the coziest sweater I’ve seen on TV all year, she thanks Jacen and sets out to find Sabine. Using her force, Ahsoka replays the night on Seatos following her fall into the World Between Worlds. She hears that Sabine likely went with Shin Hati and Baylan to find Ezra and Thrawn.

The map is destroyed. There’s no way to get to them. Unless…Ahsoka looks to the sky, inspired by the flying space whales. Those creatures—called purrgil—have migration patterns that Ezra followed to isolate Thrawn years ago. If they follow the purrgil, they’ll have the best shot at finding Thrawn, Ezra, Sabine, Shin, and Baylan.

Mon Mothma shoots Hera a call, demanding she and her team return to Coruscant. The answer, of course, is a hard “no.” They’re starting a new mission, whether the New Republic is in or not. Everyone on Mon Mothma’s team demands that Hera stick to the side of the good guys, but it’s starting to feel like the “good guys” are a little ignorant. Does that make them bad guys? No. Mediocre guys, yes.

But even Hera is a bit hesitant about Ahsoka’s plan. There’s no way to really know if the creatures will actually take the team to Sabine and Ezra. “They could go anywhere,” Huyang says, terrified of the purrgil.

“I know,” Ahsoka admits. “But it’s better than going nowhere.”

Photo still of Captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), Chopper, Chancellor Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly) and Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in 'Ahsoka'

Ahsoka and Huyang jet into the sky, surrounded by fluffy clouds and gorgeous purrgil. They’re magnificent creatures, really—like a blue whale had a baby with the creature from Nope. But that doesn’t make it any less terrifying when Ahsoka uses the force to communicate with one, make it open its mouth, and command Huyang to fly in. With nothing left to lose, Ahsoka soars into the belly of the beast.

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