A Whimper of a Finale

The newest Star Wars Disney+ show has come to an end (for now?) with the season finale of Ahsoka. Part Eight: The Jedi, the Witch, and the Warlord begins with Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) becoming a Night Sister. The Great Mothers provide her with the Blade of Talzin, and we start off an episode that does not conclude the story of Ahsoka in a satisfying way. I was not a big fan of the show when it started, but towards the middle, I felt that it really picked up. Having seen how the season ended, I’m left with a sense of disappointment as all the issues this show has faced are being brought to light.

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There are many aspects of the finale that I enjoyed. One of the best moments happens early on when Huyang (David Tennant) reflects on how the relationship between a master and an apprentice is as challenging as it is meaningful. When he says this, we push in on Sabine (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) reflecting on her complex relationship with Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson). Ezra (Eman Esfandi) forges a lightsaber with a handle that Huyang had been saving for Ezra’s former master Kanan Jarrus. We also find out why Ahsoka stopped Sabine’s training, and it’s a heart wrenching moment of backstory.

As we settle into this new galaxy, we find ourselves with an issue. This is the first time in a Star Wars movie or TV show that we have entered a galaxy even farther than far, far away. This is uncharted territory, with endless possibilities for what different galaxies could be like. However, we find ourselves on a planet that looks much like Earth. The creativity here is limited, especially after we saw ourselves in the forest of Seatos earlier this season, which had a distinct look. This is a visually dull planet in a galaxy that had the potential for much more flavor.

Since this is the finale, we get some pretty big Star Wars action. Ahsoka, Sabine, and Ezra charge into Thrawn’s (Lars Mikkelsen) fortress as it rains laser fire on them. It feels quite ludicrous that they would get through this battle unscathed, but the Force has always been a good source of plot armor. We later see them fighting the Night Troopers, but since the scene begins with the fight, it does not feel like there was enough buildup or suspense leading up to it. It almost feels like a chunk was deleted from the episode. However, we quickly have ourselves in full swing, with Ahsoka, Sabine, and Ezra fighting off the troopers. It’s a solid action sequence, and it gets taken up a notch when the Great Mothers use witchcraft to bring the Night Troopers back to life, turning them into zombies.

There are a few novel ideas here that make much of the episode worthwhile. Zombie stormtroopers brought to life by witchcraft is a fascinating concept for Star Wars, and it helps make them a more formidable threat to the Jedi. However, our heroes feel weaker in this final battle. Instead of slicing through them or simply Force-pushing the crowd of Night Troopers away, they find themselves cornered quite easily. The lightsaber movements and choreography are a bit slow, and this carries on into Ahsoka’s fight against Morgan. The fights can be inconsistent, sometimes featuring the best and worst of what Star Wars action has to offer.

There is a moment where Sabine finally uses the Force successfully, using it to grab a lightsaber to take out a Night Trooper. This moment feels like a recycled moment from many earlier Star Wars projects, such as when Rey finally grabs the lightsaber in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. However, the moment in this episode works well on paper but feels emotionally hollow, not serving as the crowd-pleasing, cheer-worthy moment it should have been. Furthermore, during the fight with Ahsoka and Morgan, we have more white lightsabers against a white sky, completely throwing out the color contrast rule that was employed perfectly in Return of the Jedi.

Ahsoka and Sabine finally fight alongside each other, but it does not work too well because we don’t get the sense that Ahsoka will ever lose the fight. The episode doesn’t push anything far enough for us to fear for her. Furthermore, even though we’re getting a rematch of the fight we saw in Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian, this fight does not have too much emotional weight behind it. Elsbeth has been one of the more boring villains in a series that has been trying to balance too many of them. Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) and Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) needed to be nearly fully written out of this episode for her to have any moment to shine.

Speaking of which, where are they in this episode? Their storylines don’t get a satisfying conclusion, feeling like a cliffhanger in the worst way possible. Although we get the tease with Skoll standing above the Mortis Gods, he was such a significant aspect earlier in the season that it feels like they went nowhere with the character. He’s so magnetic that he convinced Sabine to join him on his journey. However, they don’t take it anywhere more meaningful than this, nor do we ever get a sense of his motive. Nothing about what they do with Hati makes her story satisfying. She doesn’t get the chance to fully go anywhere that pays off.

We have a scene of infamously ludicrous stormtrooper aim where a whole crowd of them can’t hit Ahsoka or Sabine, even though they are running directly in front of them in a straight line. We have laughably cliché dialogue like, “Your friends are dead and you will die alone,” and “Victory is mine.” One of the interesting things they do is getting Ezra and Thrawn back to their old galaxy, with Ahsoka and Sabine still stuck in this one. It’s an Empire Strikes Back style ending where there is a dark nature to it, but we have a glimmer of hope.

Although we end on the note of Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker’s Force Ghost returning to watch over Ahsoka, there are two issues here. First of all, the concept is exactly the same as the final moments of Return of the Jedi, meaning that it’s not treading any new ground and feels uninspired. Secondly, this is the most visually flat scene in the episode. It is dark, dull, and uninteresting to watch. It’s a shame that the show ended on such a flat note. Overall, Ahsoka mostly delivered on what we wanted, with a continuation of the Star Wars: Rebels characters. However, I couldn’t help but want more from this episode, and not necessarily in the good way.

SCORE: 5/10

As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 5 equates to “Mediocre.” The positives and negatives wind up negating each other, making it a wash.

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