Ahsoka season 1 episode 1 recap: Welcome back, Rebels

Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) in Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) in Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Warning: This recap contains full spoilers for Ahsoka season 1, episode 1 “Master and Apprentice.”

Ahsoka opens with a crawl, which is a first for the live-action series, catching up the audience on who Grand Admiral Thrawn is. If he is found, it could start another war.

The scene shifts to a New Republic ship led by Captain Hayle. They are transporting prisoner Morgan Elsbeth, the Magistrate in the season two episode of The Mandalorian “The Jedi,” where Ahsoka made her first appearance in live-action.

They’re waiting to meet up with another ship called Home One when an unknown vessel emerges from hyperspace. The pilots claim to be Jedi, but Hayle thinks they’re bluffing. He turns over his bridge and goes to the hangar bay to meet these so-called “Jedi.”

The unknown vessel lands and exits Baylan Skoll and his apprentice Shin Hati. They pose as Jedi, and Hayle instead calls them Imperial trash wishing to pull one over on the New Republic. Baylan and Shin reveal their orange-tinted lightsabers, slaughtering the crew. Set to Kevin Kiner’s excellent piano score, Baylan frees Morgan while Shin takes out the people on the bridge.

Morgan says that Ahsoka is seeking the map and the whereabouts of Grand Admiral Thrawn.

After the title credits of “Master and Apprentice,” the next scene opens as Ahsoka Tano emerges from the blowing sands on a planet called Arcana. She walks among the ruins until she finds a particular carving on the ground. Whipping out her lightsabers, she cuts a hole to drop down into a room underground.

In the room are three pillars and three women carved into the walls. In an Indian Jones-esque scene, Ahsoka unlocks the puzzle, causing a new stone segment to rise from the floor. It crumbles away, revealing a golden orb with various markings on it.

Ahsoka calls into Huyang, an ancient droid that served the Jedi Order for thousands of years, but realizes their comms are being jammed. She hops above ground to realize she is surrounded by several HK-series assassin droids, demanding the orb from her because it is actually a map.

Cleverly taking out the droids, Ahsoka battles them before they begin a self-destruct sequence. She flees the scene with Huyang swooping in just in time to pick her up.

The New Republic calls in for “Fulcrum,” Ahsoka’s secret callsign during the Imperial era, and they ask her to come to Home One. Ahsoka and Huyang arrive at the ship, realizing there’s clearly been a battle.

Meeting the duo in the hangar is General Hera Syndulla to break the news about Morgan’s escape. The group meets to brief about Baylan and Shin, though none of them know who they are. Back when the Jedi Order was around, Huyang helped younglings make their lightsabers and held a deep record of every lightsaber he’d seen in his memories. So, he starts a search on Baylan and Shin’s lightsabers to try and identify them.

Ahsoka shows Hera the star map mentioning Thrawn, which piques her interest. Not only because Thrawn’s return could start a war but also because Ezra Bridger could be alive too. The map is locked, though, and Hera suggests Ahsoka go to Sabine Wren to help her. Ahsoka and Sabine had a falling out, but Hera says Sabine will do it for Ezra.

We return to Lothal, looking quite stunning in live-action. They’re celebrating the liberation of Lothal from the Empire, with Clancy Brown reprising his role as Governor Ryder Azadi. He’s giving a speech about Ezra and the Ghost crew’s bravery, as well as dedicating the monument from the Rebels season four epilogue.

Ryder introduces Sabine Wren, who painted the monument, but of course, she’s not there. Ryder shoves forward Senator Jai Kell, another deep-cut Star Wars Rebels character, to stall while Ryder calls in a security force to find Sabine.

Who is racing down Lothal’s familiar highways. She’s hailed by two New Republic ships to stop, but the Mandalorian slides under their vessels to escape.

Sabine arrives at the old communications tower Ezra lived in at the start of Star Wars Rebels, greeted by her pet Loth-cat. As the audience sees parts of Sabine’s old life packed away like her Mandalorian armor, she takes out a comm to watch Ezra’s last message to her.

Elsewhere, Baylan and Shin meet Morgan at a Nightsister site, where she reveals that she is, in fact, a surviving Nightsister of Dathomir. The group is also joined by Marrok, the mysterious ex-Imperial Inquisitor. The baddies need the map, so Morgan sends Shin to find Sabine.

Sabine wakes from a nightmare about Ezra to find her proximity sensor go off with the arrival of Ahsoka’s ship. Heading into town, she meets her old master and Huyang, who chat with Ryder. Before he leaves, Ryder implores Sabine to listen to Ahsoka.

Who point blank says she thinks she can find Ezra and hands her the locked map.

The group settles in, where Ahsoka and Sabine have a tense reunion thanks to their falling out as they look over the scans from the temple where Ahsoka found the map. They mention that Sabine should have been a Jedi before Huyang interrupts. Sabine wants to take the map with her, but Ahsoka firmly gives her a no. The map could start another war and needs to stay on the ship.

Huyang shows Ahsoka the results of his lightsaber scans. He doesn’t recognize Shin’s saber, but he does note Baylan, who vanished at the end of the Clone Wars. They are a master and an apprentice, hence the episode’s title.

Ahsoka steps out to tell Sabine, who has, of course, gone home with the map. In the distance, Shin uses a probe droid to track Sabine back to her home, as Sabine begins to use her resources to sleuth out the secrets of the map.

Ahsoka calls Hera, who is very amused by Sabine’s antics. Hera says that Ahsoka was probably difficult for her master, and Ahsoka namedrops Anakin Skywalker and how he never got to finish her training. She walked away from the Jedi Order, and Ahsoka realizes she had walked away from Sabine and left the wrong consequences.

Sabine has a breakthrough with the orb, turning the sides the correct way. It projects a map of two galaxies with a path connecting them.

Just then, Shin’s assassin droids attack! As Sabine battles one, the other destroys her research and backup data on the map. Sabine comms into Huyang for help, grabs Ezra’s lightsaber he left her, and runs outside.

There, Shin waits, and the two young women duel with their lightsabers. Sabine is clearly rusty but holding her own as Ahsoka and Huyang race to her location.

They’re not fast enough as Shin stabs Sabine. Sabine drops to the ground as Ahsoka arrives, and Shin flees.

The episode ends with a dedication to Ray Stevenson, who passed away in May.