WARNING: This post contains SPOILERS for Ahsoka Season 1, Episode 3.
The slower, quieter episodes of Star Wars TV are some of the most important — a space hill I will die on, considering “Trials of the Darksaber” is and will remain the piece of Star Wars media that defines the entire thesis of the franchise in just 23 minutes.
Understandably, therefore, this week’s Ahsoka episode took me by the hand and led me down a joyous path of nostalgia and Force lore. Sabine’s training scene intentionally called back to her saber training with Kanan in Rebels, but it was also extremely important in letting viewers know that who can and can’t use the Force is … complicated. In a good way.
Many viewers don’t like Star Wars unless there are ships zooming through space firing lasers at each other, so obviously there had to be some of that sprinkled in here too. But all they really had to do was put Ahsoka in a space suit and send her out into that terrifying vacuum of death and it became an instant win. The whole episode, really, was just Dave Filoni & Co. playing with metaphorical action figures, but sometimes it works! Sometimes it’s cool!
One of the episode’s most important feats: Strengthening the bond between Ahsoka and Sabine, who now — after years of being apart — have to figure out how to co-exist and solve problems together again. While they have vastly different pasts and experiences, they also have a lot in common. They have to sift through their differences to find the elements that tie them together — if for nothing else, to help each other survive.
From subtle Clone Wars nods (you don’t need to have seen the episode or show to appreciate the scene, but it does sweeten it quite a bit) to bringing baby boy Syndulla into live-action for the first time (he’s cute and I will not tolerate your Jacen slander — he’s the only Kanan-adjacent appearance you’re getting and you know it), this episode shines in its character study. Its action sequences are exciting. The purrgil are HUGE? And scary? And I love them??
It’s not what many are going to accuse it of being — “filler,” whatever that means. It gently nudges the plot forward in small ways — showing the strained relationship between the New Republic leaders and Hera, hinting that our favorite space whales aren’t just chilling on this random planet by accident — and there’s nothing wrong with that. The only downside is that this is an eight-episode season, and we’re almost halfway through it already. If it were a 12-episode season like Andor, these small steps forward would be more effective. But that doesn’t mean what we got isn’t important.
Star Wars cannot, and should not, be all pew pew all the time. Much like the Force, there has to be balance. You have to have conversations about talent and frustration, and spending Republic resources on trying to find your adopted son because he’s not dead and you’re going to prove it.
You have to have that all alongside Ahsoka Tano standing on the wing of a ship in the middle of space fighting off laser fire, because Star Wars is for everyone, and there’s always a little something for each of us tucked between the title cards and end credits of these episodes.
There’s only one question to be asked, looking ahead to the future: Have we seen the last of live-action Jacen, or is he getting his own spinoff series? Come on, you know you’d watch it. You wouldn’t be able to resist.
New episodes of Star Wars: Ahsoka drop Tuesdays exclusively on Disney+.
Make sure to check Dork Side of the Force after Ahsoka season 1 episode 3 releases for updates and news about the series!