Ahsoka review: Episode 4 hurts, and it’s good

(L-R): Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

WARNING: This post contains SPOILERS for Ahsoka Season 1, Episode 4.

Star Wars has been around for a long time. A franchise spanning nearly 50 years is bound to fall prey to its own storytelling tropes — it has many times before. But sometimes it exceeds expectations. Sometimes it goes where you never thought it would be brave enough to venture. And that is when Star Wars is at its best.

Ahsoka wouldn’t dare kill off its main character halfway through the series — or would it? Dave Filoni & Co. said yes it would, but also not really. Because Dave Filoni & Co. can do that. No one is going to stop them — perhaps no one should.

The World Between Worlds has become this untouchable thing among Star Wars fans — something so widely misunderstood, and therefore ridiculed and dreaded, that no one wants anything to do with that discourse on either side anymore. Yet this series has, possibly, given the concept new life. Ahsoka’s story is intertwined with this world between, and we don’t yet know the weight of the consequences of this. We’re just scratching the surface.

But technically-not-technically ending Ahsoka’s life isn’t even this episode’s most daring endeavor, though it pulls it off nicely. No, Ahsoka took an even greater risk — having one of its beloved heroes make the wrong choice, staring into the consequences of her actions almost instantly, raising the stakes so high that it’s going to take some work to claim this series isn’t worth watching for the twists alone.

Sabine Wren has made bad choices before, and she has faced consequences of her mistakes before. You can come into this show thinking, “What could possibly be done with a character who has already grown so much?” But the answer is to have her make a mistake again, not because she hasn’t learned, but instead because she, like us, is only human.

It is bold of Star Wars to put a character who has already recovered from her questionable past back on a path of destruction. But this is the benefit of time, of allowing Star Wars as a franchise and its creators and their stories evolve. Sabine has not regressed, this is not a retcon, we are not repeating the same story beats we’ve seen before. This is new, this is sad and frustrating not because it’s poor storytelling — no; it’s real. These things happen not just in stories but also in real life. People learn lessons, time goes on, they make new mistakes.

This may be one of the most important things Star Wars has ever done — it has allowed a beloved character to choose the wrong path. We don’t know how this will resolve, if Sabine will regret it, what she will learn from it. And that is a good thing. If we knew how this was going to end, what would be the point of tuning in?

I physically hurt by the end of this week’s episode. I like when Star Wars hurts me. I like when stories have two options and choose the less traveled one. Sabine’s motivations are real and raw — even if her choice was wrong, it isn’t wrong to care about someone else. There are lessons to be learned in the bad choices of our favorite characters. Absorb those lessons, rather than the reactions saying not my Sabine, not my Star Wars.

There is so much we have yet to see, so much we don’t yet know. Look forward to it. Don’t judge it so harshly that you poison your own experience before it has a chance to bloom.

New episodes of Star Wars: Ahsoka drop Tuesdays exclusively on Disney+.

dark. Next. Ahsoka Tano: A deep dive into her life and purpose so far

Make sure to check Dork Side of the Force after Ahsoka season 1 episode 4 releases for updates and news about the series!