Ahsoka‘s first season ended the way it needed to, just not the way any of us expected it to. Episode 8, with the absolutely amazing title The Jedi, The Witch, and the Warlord, was a beautiful, and emotional finale, and it was also a cliffhanger. It leaves us with more questions than it answers:

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), and Huyang (David Tennant) find their way back to the regular galaxy in enough time to stop Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen)? Will they find their way back at all? And what exactly does Ahsoka mean when she says they are where the need to be? Is it so Sabine can get some more training, or does it have to do with what Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) is up to?

Baylan Skoll (Ray Stevenson) looks out from the arm of The Father carved into a mountain – Ahsoka Episode 8 – The Jedi, the Witch, and the Warlord (Lucasfilm)

Speaking of Baylan, some of us know that his quest has to do with the Mortis gods, but who among them is calling to him? Also, will Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) fit back in with him, or join up with Ahsoka and Sabine, or maybe just stay with the group of bandits she is now poised to be the leader of?

Not everything is a question, though. It’s pretty clear that Thrawn and the Great Mothers, now at Dathomir, are going to revive the dead Nightsisters, and maybe some of the Grand Admiral’s troops who didn’t survive their first intergalactic voyage as well. What else could be in those crates? And Thrawn overseeing them had real Palpatine looking at his new army at the end of Attack of the Clones vibes.

Also, Sabine does have latent Force powers she has most definitely unlocked. Some haters may not like that at all, and other more reasonable people may not like how she went from pulling a lightsaber a short distance to pushing a fully grown man onto a moving Star Destroyer. For the latter group, I quote Yoda. When it comes to The Force, “size matters not”.

Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) using Force Push – Ahsoka Episode 8 – The Jedi, the Witch, and the Warlord (Lucasfilm)

The episode’s pacing was solid, too. We started with Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) getting 1-UPed by the Great Mothers, and given the Blade of Talsin, and then a great shot of Thrawn standing as two tie fighters took off behind him. When I saw at the end that the director was Rick Famuyiwa, it made perfect sense.

After that amazing title card, we got a touching moment with Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi) building his new lightsaber with the help of Huyang, and talking about Kanan Jarrus. This was followed by another sweet moment between Ahsoka and Sabine, and then we were right into the action, which would dominate the largest chunk of the episode.

We followed Ahsoka, Ezra, and Sabine dodging downward blasts from the Chimaera, fighting night troopers, and then resurrected night troopers, as they made their way up the catacombs to the ship. This whole time, we cut back to the relative calm of Thrawn in his war room ordering these obstacles, the final one being Morgan’s sacrifice.

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), and Ezra Bridger (Eman Esfandi) fight through the catacombs – Ahsoka Episode 8 – The Jedi, the Witch, and the Warlord (Lucasfilm)

At first, she was just giving up her trip back, but after Sabine decided to stay behind to not abandon her master, and handled the troops for her, Ahsoka was able to end the newly emboldened nightsister. One of the architects of this whole plan went out like cannon fodder, which added to Thrawn’s character as a cold, calculating pragmatist, especially given his reaction to learning about her death.

When Huyang showed up at just the right moment, there was hope that the heroes may make the trip home, but a cold “Long live the Empire” later, their hopes were dashed, back to Peridea for the foreseeable future. Now, it was time for the aftermath, the denouement. And it wasn’t all bad.

Ezra and Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) were reunited after over a decade, and Chopper knew exactly who he was, before he removed his stolen stormtrooper helmet. Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen)’s Force Ghost was proud, and Sabine could even sense him as a “shadow in the starlight”. It was bittersweet, and made it clear that there was more to come. And those emotions were clearly conveyed by the visual textures, and soundscape, too.

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) and Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) discussing being stranded again on Peridea, and “shadows in the starlight” – Ahsoka Episode 8 – The Jedi, the Witch, and the Warlord (Lucasfilm)

Kind of like the ending of The Empire Strikes Back, if you think about it. Sure, there was no WTF “I am your father” moment preceding the end, but the rest checks out. Am I saying this one episode was as good as the best movie in the entire franchise? Absolutely not. It’s not even the best episode this season. I am saying that it was the right way to end it, and the ending evoked some of the same emotions, and felt similar to Empire. There was pause for reflection, but things still needed to be resolved.

I had been hoping for more closure and resolution, but now I’m glad I didn’t get it. There was hardly any Baylan and Shin in the finale? There stories were meant to continue. Dave Filoni couldn’t have anticipated Ray Stevenson passing away, and now is faced with a tough casting and story choice, but the decision to plan for more out of the character was a good one.

Thrawn is back, but Ahsoka and Sabine are stranded? Not forever. You give an ending, but you don’t give an all-encompassing one in Season One if you’re planning for another season, or maybe a movie.

Ahsoka left off with me wanting more. And that’s exactly what it was supposed to do.

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