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Ahsoka Episode 7 Review: Very Much A Star Wars Show

The latest episode of the Ahsoka Disney Plus series felt like it was moving all the important chess pieces around the board. And for good reason—the next episode is its last, so showrunner Dave Filoni had to make sure Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), and the newly rediscovered Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi) were all in the same place, so they could take on Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen).

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The result of all these pieces moving around is a solid, though mostly unremarkable episode.

Read More: Ahsoka Episode 6 Review: The Threads Of DestinyStream Ahsoka now: Disney+

It may have been titled “Dreams and Madness,” but there’s nothing mad here—just your typical Star Wars fare: a cameo, a collection of lightsaber fights, funny little creatures throwing rocks at bad guys, and Thrawn playing 4D chess. Let’s get into Ahsoka episode seven.

Trials and tribulations

The episode begins with something of a cold open: Hera is getting dressed down by Senator Hamato Xiono, who’s angry that she ignored direct orders and brought her fleet to Seatos to help Ahsoka. Here is the only real nod to the episode’s title, as Xiono suggests Hera’s story of Jedi, false Jedi, and star whales, “reads like a child’s fairy tale.” Thankfully they’ve put Mary Elizabeth Winstead in an outfit that doesn’t look like it’s from Spirit Halloween, with much softer colors and tones, so I can watch Hera cop an attitude without wincing too much at how overly saturated she is from head to toe.

Xiono loudly denounces everything Hera says, and suggests she “abuses her authority for personal gain” and should be court-martialed. If you didn’t hate Xiono before this, you certainly do now. But luckily, we’ve got a cameo sweeping in to save her at the last moment: C3P0, here on behalf of Senator Leia Organa. We are, gratefully, spared any sort of digital resurrection of Carrie Fisher, as 3P0 acts as Leia’s mouthpiece, saying that she had personally okayed Hera’s mission to Seatos. Xiono calls C3P0 a “mere droid,” which riles Chopper up (remember, Chopper *will* kill you).

3P0’s presence settles all this drama, and Xiono has to tuck his tail between his legs and drop his accusations. Mon Mothma pulls Hera aside and tells her she knows this was all a ruse, which gives us yet another little moment to appreciate how good Winstead is in this role, and how she manages to shine under so much makeup, prosthetics, and uncanny contacts. Hera assures her that, despite definitely maybe not getting approval from Leia before going to Seatos, the mission was necessary—all of their worst fears could come true if Thrawn returns. However, Hera’s final line is a stark reminder that Filoni struggles to write dialogue, as “prepare for the worst, and hope for the best” falls flat.

With the cold open done, we pick back up with the purrgil, who are still on their migratory trip with Ahsoka and Huyang in tow. Ahsoka is running lightsaber drills, and we are blessed with another look at Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker—she’s watching one of his training holograms as she practices. “As your Master, it’s my responsibility to prepare you, so practice these forms often…or at least more than I do,” he says, with a smirk. We’ve rarely gotten a chance to see this side of Anakin in live action, and Christensen plays it so very well. As an Anakin apologist, I was delighted to see him again, and when Ahsoka bows her before his hologram and he does so in return, it feels like a well-earned second cameo, not just a typical Star Wars reveal shoe-horned into an episode.

When Anakin’s hologram flickers away, Ahsoka tells Huyang that he made twenty of these training recordings for her, and that was his last one. Huyang is somewhat shocked by his thoughtfulness, acting as a conduit for those Star Wars fans who didn’t watch The Clone Wars, and never saw the depth of Anakin’s character.

Huyang lets Ahsoka know that the purrgil have slowed down, which leads him to believe they’re reaching their destination. The two enter the cockpit and discuss how they’ll find Sabine, with Ahsoka assuring Huyang that if she finds the enemy—who Sabine came with—she’ll find her apprentice. Huyang is skeptical, noting that the odds of that happening are “terrible, astronomically terrible.” Ahsoka jokes with him, asking why he didn’t tell her sooner, with a sly grin on her face—Dawson has brilliantly shifted how she plays the character, imbuing her with a lightness that is reminiscent of her younger self. It’s lovely to see, and a testament to her talent as an actor that she can make this shift without it feeling forced.

But before we can get more Ahsoka razzing Huyang content, we discover that the poor purrgil have flown directly into a massive minefield surrounding the planet Thrawn and company are on. We get a fun little space action sequence here, with Ahsoka winding through the mines to avoid getting taken out. They descend into the creepy debris field (it’s purrgil bones, remember), and hunker down to hide.

Thrawn, ever the analyst, has now learned that Ahsoka’s master was Anakin Skywalker, a man with whom he worked closely during a Clone Wars mission (fans of the Thrawn: Alliance novel, which brings the two together, were certainly pleased at this nod). You can tell he’s ready to leverage this against her, and understand why he decides to call off the ships chasing her to see what she does next.

But Filoni’s dialogue problems are glaring in this moment, as Thrawn says in one breath that Ahsoka will be unpredictable like her master, and in the other that he’ll let her go down her own path so that they can stay one step ahead of her. Girl, what? How is she unpredictable but able to be predicted by you? Thrawn’s good, but not that good.

Sabine and Ezra

If you didn’t watch Rebels, you might not know that Sabine and Ezra have historically acted like bratty siblings with each other. When we see the two of them riding in a caravan with all the cute little crab guys from the last episode, chatting and verbally jabbing at each other, it could very well be a scene pulled straight from the animated series. Bordizzo and Esfandi have effortless chemistry together, and their banter feels real and well-established. Sabine and Ezra grew up together, after all, and you can easily fall back into your old dynamic with someone you grew up with even if you haven’t seen them in a decade.

But Sabine won’t give Ezra all the details on what’s going on, because she knows he’s going to get pissed at her. So instead, she goes back over everything he’s missed, implying that the two spent the time between episodes catching him up. “The Emperor died?” he asks. “That’s what people say,” Sabine says, a nod to the very unfortunate “somehow Palpatine returned” bit from The Rise of Skywalker.

As Sabine and Ezra chat, Ahsoka reaches out to her from her ship orbiting the planet. Huyang is skeptical that their bond is strong enough, but Ahsoka proves him wrong once again, and we get a brief scene that echoes the ones between Rey and Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi—Sabine can see Ahsoka, Ahsoka can see Sabine, and now she knows just where to find her apprentice. But at the same time, the Nightsisters have, at Thrawn’s request, also discovered the location of Ahsoka, and therefore Ezra and Sabine. And remember, Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati are looking for the newly reunited besties as well, so Ahsoka is truly funneling every major character to the exact same point.

Baylan and Shin’s relationship is surprising, however, and a reminder that these two are neither Jedi nor Sith, but something far less concrete. Whereas, historically, Sith masters and their apprentices have betrayed and/or killed each other in a ceaseless quest for more power (Count Dooku and Asajj Ventress, Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, Kylo Ren and Snoke), Baylan simply releases Shin from her apprenticeship, suggesting that she go take on Ezra and Sabine solo while he forges ahead on his own, still unclear quest. The look on her face is one of utter confusion—what has she been following this man for? Baylan doesn’t even want a “place in the coming Empire,” he wants something completely different, and Shin is clearly at a loss. But he leaves her with one parting lesson: “Impatience for victory will guarantee defeat.” And once again, the late Ray Stevenson shines in his role, adding layers of meaning to a man who so often speaks in motivational posters. What is he cooking up there? We’ll certainly find out, though not in this episode.

Shin and the planet’s bandits go after Sabine and Ezra, who literally circle the wagons of their armored caravan (designed to look like the shells the Noti wear on their backs) to protect themselves. Star Wars is a space western, remember, and Dave Filoni wants to ensure you don’t ever forget that. This entire scene feels so utterly and completely true to the franchise, with danger and death punctuated by funny little quips from Ezra and physical comedy from the Noti, who chuck rocks at their attackers while emitting funny little squeaks. Even the lack of stakes is inherently old-school Star Wars—it never really seems like anyone is in danger, even when Shin descends on a weaponless Ezra and Sabine, but then again, did you ever really feel like Luke, Han, and Leia were gonna die in the trash compactor?

The gang’s all here

The fight between Ezra, Sabine, and Shin is solid, especially when Ezra initially refuses to grab a weapon and just uses the Force to push enemies away and stop an incoming lightsaber swing. But “Dreams and Madness” is something of a ceaseless swap between quips and action, and by the time it reaches the halfway point I’m almost tired of it.

Even Ahsoka fighting Baylan, which takes place as she’s en route to Sabine, feels like it’s thrown in there just to get some more laser swords in the mix. They don’t fight for long, nor do they ever really seem like they’re going to kill each other, and Ahsoka uses the coverfire from her ship to escape on the back of his Howler in a cloud of smoke. Baylan, bemused, simply turns away from her and forges onward, destination unknown.

Back with the Noti caravan, Shin is closing in on Sabine and Ezra, the latter of whom is still quipping away like he spent his time in exile watching holovids of Han Solo standup. Of course, they aren’t going to die, as Ashoka slides in on the Howler to save the day.

As they fight, Thrawn watches over his digital battlefield, and proves once again that he is the most galaxy-brained person in the, well, galaxy. He doesn’t understand why Baylan is absent from the fight, but he’s okay with these losses in the face of that absence, and considers this first standoff against Ahsoka Tano a win for the baddies. “Ahsoka Tano has lost the one thing she couldn’t afford to lose today. Time.” Thrawn notes that all of this fighting has given him enough time to load the ship with all his precious cargo, and decides to withdraw his troops so that they can escape.

Poor Shin Hati. In the span of thirty minutes, the little feral thing is abandoned not once, but twice. All of Thrawn’s troops retreat, leaving her confused and alone. “Surrender your weapon. I can help you,” Ahsoka says, as Shin looks at her with the same look my youngest cat had when I first found him living in an abandoned building. She’s got nowhere to go, but is clearly confused about a Jedi offering peace, considering all that she’s heard of them. So, looking like she’s about to burst into tears, she turns on her heel and sprints away. Ahsoka stops Sabine from pursuing her (the shippers get a crumb more fodder), and the three have a proper reunion.

The stilted dialogue returns yet again (“Ahsoka, I thought you were dead.” “And miss this reunion?” gave me hives), but I can try to overlook it when the acting is on point, and it is here. Once again, Dawson plays Ahsoka with a perpetual wry smile, and her genuine laugh after she hugs Ezra is a delight. As the three smile at each other, Huyang sweeps in with Ahsoka’s ship, and the Noti emerge from their armored caravans to adorably coo and gesticulate.

“Guys, I’m getting a feeling. I think I might be going home after all,” Ezra says as the music swells. I wouldn’t be so sure about that, dude.

Next week, we’ll see if Ahsoka and company can catch Thrawn before he jets back to their galaxy. The final episode of Ahsoka season one airs October 3 at 9 p.m. EST on Disney Plus.

Stream Ahsoka now: Disney+

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