The Galactic Empire may have fallen — as depicted in the film Star Wars: Return of the Jedi — but remnants of the evil regime threaten to undo the peaceful new era.
Morgan Elsbeth (played by Diana Lee Inosanto), a former leader of the Imperial Navy, was arrested in The Mandalorian Season 2, Episode 5 after refusing to give up Grand Admiral Thrawn’s (Lars Mikkelsen) location. In Ahsoka’s series premiere, she hired Baylon Skoll (played by the late Ray Stevenson), a former Jedi Knight, and his apprentice Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno) as mercenaries to break her out of prison.
Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), meanwhile, retrieved an “egg” containing a star map with Thrawn’s location, from a temple built by the Nightsisters of Dathomir — witches who wield dark magick. Rumor has it they were trained by a Jedi in the ways of the Force long ago. Unfortunately for ex-Jedi Ahsoka, the map couldn’t be accessed without a key, which meant she needed help from Sabine, whom she hadn’t seen in quite some time….
On Lothal, a monument was erected to commemorate the Ghost Crew’s efforts in liberating the planet from Imperial control. Governor Ryder Azadi, who worked closely with them in Star Wars Rebels, was dismayed to find Sabine noticeably absent from the ceremony. (Note: Yes, that is comedian Vinny Thomas portraying a senator.)
But Sabine (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) didn’t feel much like celebrating. Still missing her friend Ezra Bridger — who had vanished into hyperspace along with Thrawn — she watched a hologram recording of him encouraging her to keep fighting.
Awkwardness filled the air when Ahsoka and Sabine finally reunited. Their small talk aboard Ahsoka’s ship was stilted, and the pair shifted their focus to the mysterious egg. When Sabine asked to take the device with her, Ahsoka insisted that it remained on the ship. Sabine snuck away with it anyway, and it’s a good thing she did. At home in the old communications tower on Lothal, she examined the egg from different angles before figuring out the key and unlocking the map within.
Elsewhere, Ahsoka second-guessed coming to Lothal and called Sabine “stubborn” and “bullish” as ever in her chat with Hera’s hologram (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). When her Twi’lek friend pointed out that Ahsoka’s master probably found her to be difficult at times, Ahsoka reflected on her time with Anakin Skywalker. She never finished her training as his Padawan because she walked away from him and the Jedi before the end of the Clone Wars, just like she walked away from Sabine.
“Sometimes, even the right reasons have the wrong consequences,” Ahsoka pondered. “What do we do then?”
Sabine wasn’t aware that she’d been tracked, which is why the attack from the mercenary Shin and her assassin droids caught her off guard. Sabine dusted off her lightsaber — the one Ezra gave to her – and fought off her would-be killers. It was a heroic effort, but Shin ran a lightsaber through her gut and escaped, just as Ahsoka arrived on the scene.
The first episode ended with a tribute to Baylan’s portrayer, Ray Stevenson, who died in May. “For our friend, Ray,” the title card read.
Episode 2 wasted no time in revealing Sabine’s fate. She sat awake in her hospital bed, surrounded by Ahsoka, Hera’s hologram and the sassy droid instructor Huyang (voiced by David Tennant). Although the Mandalorian warrior had unlocked the map, which displayed two galaxies and a pathway between them, she didn’t have time to pinpoint their precise location before being attacked.
Ahsoka returned to Sabine’s place to draw out the remaining assassin droid, then took it out of commission but left its memory core intact for her apprentice to decipher. Sabine pieced together that the droid came from Corellia, the New Republic’s shipyard. Morgan Elsbeth held factories there, but her operations should have been dismantled after the fall of the Galactic Empire.
Ahsoka and Hera’s visit to the naval location confirmed that to be false. Imperial loyalists were still in charge, secretly working to transport a hyper drive core among other things. With their shady operation exposed, assassin droids descended on Ahsoka while Hera took to the skies — with the grumpy droid Chopper as her wingman! — to catch the huge transport making its escape. It got away, but not before Chopper stuck a tracking device to its hull.
At the hospital, Sabine wondered if Ahsoka would have ever visited her if Huyang had been able to unlock the map himself. In short, Ahsoka only came to see her because she needed her. Huyang then pestered the beaten-down Mandalorian about resuming her Jedi training, but Sabine noted that she couldn’t do so if Ahsoka didn’t want to teach her. Huyang called that a bad excuse, and urged her to move forward.
Sabine took the droid’s advice to heart and returned home to retrieve her Mandalorian armor. She also cut her purple hair short, and visited the painted memorial with Ezra’s smiling face in the center. Ahsoka arrived with news that Hera’s tracker worked, and the transport has been orbiting the planet Cetos. It was time for them to get moving.
Aboard the ship, Ahsoka gave her answer for resuming Sabine’s training. “Take us up, Padawan,” she said. And with that, master and apprentice flew out.
Meanwhile on Cetos, Baylan and Shin watched as the hyper drive core was installed. With the Eye of Scion almost complete, they were close to retrieving Thrawn. Shin divulged to Morgan’s hologram that she made a clean escape from the shipyard and couldn’t have been tracked. But when Morgan asked Baylan what he saw, the ex-Jedi Knight revealed that Ahsoka was in fact on her way.
“Her presence in the Force is elusive, yet her determination is vivid. She is coming,” he shared. “To kill her would be a shame. There are so few Jedi left.”
What did you think of Ahsoka’s double-episode premiere? Did it honor Star Wars Rebels’ legacy? Grade the episodes below, and then share your feelings in the comments.