Now that was fun. While the episodes that led up to this one were all about character development, world-building, and story progression, the seventh , and penultimate episode of Ahsoka‘s first season, Dreams and Madness, was primarily focused on delivering the action. Space battles, lightsaber clashes, and chase scenes, mixed in with a bit of comedy, are an integral part of Star Wars, too, and this episode had all of that. It felt like a live-action Star Wars: Rebels episode, and I was here for it.

It didn’t start off like that. Instead we briefly caught up with the politics. When I saw Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) on the Disney Plus thumbnail for the episode, I worried that we would be shifting focus away from the events in the new galaxy we had just set up, back to the New Republic. But Mon merely presided over the cold open, as Senator Hamato Xiono (Nelson Lee) grilled Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), only for none other than C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) to save the day (acting on behalf of Leia).

It was a nice legacy character cameo, and I also liked seeing Hera, Mon, Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), and, of course Chopper (who was in a seat?) again. I’m glad they tied up that aspect of the story neatly, before getting back to Peridia.

C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) at a New Republic hearing – Ahsoka Episode 7 – Dreams and Madness (Lucasfilm)

We then catch up with Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), still on the ship inside the purrgil, but now training. I guess Huyang (David Tennant) finished the story. It was nice to see that we got some more Hayden Christensen, this time as Clone Wars training hologram Anakin Skywalker. I’m also glad that Ahsoka is furthering her character development by pulling out the old discs, and making peace with the good side of Anakin and her role in his legacy, which is part of her legacy.

Then the purrgil exit hyperspace, hit the Imperial mine field, and we’re off to the races. After the star whales get out of Dodge (glad they saved themselves), leaving Ahsoka and Huyang behind, we enter the classic movie Star Wars war on three fronts format. At first we switch between the cockpit of the T-6 One-Nine-Seven-Four in the whale graveyard, Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi), and the Noti fighting Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) leading a group of mercenaries, and Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen)’s, command center.

I like how Thrawn explains his thinking to Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto), and therefore to us, the audience at the same time. This is the master strategist I remember from Rebels. The way he brings in the Great Mothers (Claudia Black playing Klothow) and Captain Enoch (Wes Chatham) only as needed helps to demonstrate the cool efficiency of the character to an audience that may not already be familiar with him. While his instant response to finding out who Ahsoka’s master was showed his deep knowledge of what going up against Anakin’s padawan could mean.

Sabine and Ezra’s interplay, both during the battle, and chatting just before it, felt just like the two of them in Rebels. The moving battle itself, meanwhile, gave off the biggest Rebels vibe of any sequence in this show so far. The pretty much defenseless Noti doing their best to help fight was a nice touch, and a very Star Wars addition to the scene.

Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) and Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi) fight off bandits – Ahsoka Episode 7 – Dreams and Madness (Lucasfilm)

I cam now say with certainty that Bordizzo and Esfanti’s casting in these two established roles was perfect. The mannerisms, the voices, you name it. Their dialogue felt like how they talked to each other in the animated series, too. But both were written by Dave Filoni, so I guess you’d have to expect that. The only thing that would have made this sequence feel even more like Rebels, would be if Sabine had taken off with her helmet and a jet pack.

Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson)’s absence in the battle was not only noted by Thrawn, but by me too. We knew he was headed in a different direction, but I didn’t see him leaving before accomplishing his immediate task, or cutting Shin loose so quickly, or at all, for that matter. Maybe he didn’t think Ahsoka would be a factor, but then after they fought and she skipped out with his ride, he stayed on his course and didn’t try and help out his apprentice, who clearly now was not going to win. Maybe he figured that she would follow his advice and save herself, which she ended up doing.

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in a lightsaber battle with Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) – Ahsoka episode 7 – Dreams and Madness (Lucasfilm)

While Sabine and Ezra’s battle, and the episode in general, felt very Rebels, Ahsoka’s journey in it really gave off Clone Wars vibes. From her interplay with Huyang, to her swooping in to save the day, and especially her jump from the ship, all felt like Snips. I’m not saying she was Snips again, rather what Snips would become if she turned into an adult Ahsoka with her former adventurous side intact.

Was this the best episode of recent Star Wars series? No. That honor goes to the two episodes of Ahsoka that preceded this one. They raised the bar so high, that it could make it difficult to appreciate just a solid, and fun Star Wars outing like this one. It was a good setup for the finale, keeping the questions open, rather than answering some of them.

I don’t know what the next episode holds, aside from Ezra finally finding out what’s going on (Sabine didn’t tell him, but Ahsoka surely will). And I’m still looking forward to finding out, thanks, in part, to what Dreams and Madness continued to build.

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