Ahsoka Episode 5 Recap: What purpose does Snips and SkyGuy’s reunion in “Shadow Warrior” serve?
Ahsoka Episode 5 Recap – Chasing the Ghosts of Better Stories
Now that we have officially crossed the midway point for Ahsoka, Dave Filoni has returned to not only pen Episode 5, titled “Shadow Warrior,” but to direct it as well. With the episode simultaneously airing in theaters across the country, it appears that Filoni is trying to prepare himself for a silver-screen debut, though it seems that he still needs to hone his craft. Cinematic digital landscapes and dramatic Light Side vs. Dark Side duels can only go so far, and this week’s episode underscores that. It chases after the ghosts of better stories, clinging to their spectral tendrils in hopes of drawing from the emotions they once inspired in the hearts of fans.
The episode opens where “Fallen Jedi” left off, with Hera (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) searching for answers about what happened to Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) and Sabine (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) before she and Carson (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) were able to reach them. After a short while, she discovers Huyang (David Tennant) perched on the cliff face, mourning the apparent loss of Ahsoka and Sabine, in a way that he knows best — fretting over the fact that they didn’t listen to his warning about staying together. But we know Ahsoka isn’t gone, at least not yet.
Ahsoka Is Reunited With Anakin Skywalker in Episode 5
As last week’s episode revealed in its final moments, Ahsoka’s fall into the ocean sent her into the World Between Worlds, where she finds herself once again face-to-face with her former master, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen). Anakin looks far less like his computer-generated and de-aged son this week, though the uncanny valley in their de-aging persists, made worse by the playful barbing between the characters about aging. Ahsoka questions what happened to her, and Anakin goads her with a blunt answer: “You lost a fight.” She does remember some of what happened to her in her final moments, which Anakin reveals is a good thing. If she still remembers what happened, then there’s still a chance for her to survive the whole ordeal.
Rather than answering her questions, Anakin informs Ahsoka that he has come to her to finish her training — which doesn’t make much sense. Ahsoka famously left the Jedi Order and is no longer a Jedi and Anakin… well, we all know what Anakin did. Furthermore, Star Warshas been stuck in a rut with the idea that so many of its female characters need to train or to be shown training, while Luke Skywalker is left to build a new Jedi Order. We also know how that went. Worse yet, Ahsoka’s “training” stands in the place of actual storytelling. By driving Ahsoka and Anakin straight into a duel, we’re robbed of dialogue and character moments that could heighten the story that Filoni is attempting to tell.
Filoni mistakenly believes that what audiences have been longing for is another poorly lit lightsaber duel — only this time between Anakin and Ahsoka — but that isn’t what anyone has been pining for. Especially not casual fans who know who Anakin is, but have no concept of why this duel with Ahsoka should matter to them. Even fans of The Clone Warshaven’t been looking forward to this, regardless of whether they’ve wanted Ahsoka and Anakin to reunite. We don’t want them to fight; we want them to talk, though, that’s a wish far too steep to be granted by Star Wars.
Anakin cuts through the platform they’re standing on, sending Ahsoka careening downward like the opening credits of Kingdom Hearts, though it’s not quite simple or clean. She is thrown backward into a flashback of the Clone Wars, with Ahsoka once again inhabiting her younger self (Ariana Greenblatt) — though the foggy, poorly lit sequence offers a mere facsimile of the emotional tension and writing that the animated series once offered. Star Warsused to be vibrant and alive, but these flashbacks depict none of that by trading practical sets and unique locations for the murkiness of a fog-filled soundstage.
The Search for Ahsoka and Sabine Continues in ‘Ahsoka’ Episode 5
Back on the planet, Hera and Carson begin their search for Ahsoka and Sabine, but Jacen (Evan Whitten) is already a few steps ahead of them. Drawn to the edge of the cliff, Jacen listens and hears the whispers of the duel taking place in the World Between Worlds. Each clash of sabers is swept up in the crash of the waves, like a ghost flittering through the air. At first, Hera can’t hear — but once she stands beside her son and focuses on the ebb and flow, she hears it too. This discovery drives Hera to send Carson and his X-Wing pilots to search the ocean anew, now that there’s a chance that Ahsoka might be somewhere beneath the waves.
While Carson’s presence is a welcomed one, it is odd that Filoni opted not to reunite the Ghost crew with the New Republic pilot who briefly appeared in The Mandalorian last season. Zeb belongs in Ahsoka — where the built-in fanbase for the beloved Ghost crew is. But perhaps their budget was spent bringing the Clone Wars into live-action to push Ahsoka to a realization that she already, essentially, had in the animated series. Hopefully, Filoni is reserving Zeb and Kallus for an eventual reunion with Ezra Bridger, now that the story is headed in his direction.
Once again, Ahsoka and Anakin are driven into another duel in the World Between Worlds — the plot device that has been used to propel every episode so far. Star Wars is more than just lightsaber duels and resurrecting the Skywalkers for drama. It’s about the connections forged between the characters who are thrown into situations, cast against the backdrop of a galaxy at war, both seen and unseen. Those connections feel hollow when left to molder in the shadow of nostalgia. Filoni seems beholden to recycled motifs from past projects as if he’s not yet ready to venture out into his own world, which is bewildering when he’s even recycling his own ideas.
The scene between Ahsoka and Anakin also begs the question of how this new lore fits in with the previous live-action canon. It’s hard to see Ahsoka having this life-changing moment with Anakin in the World Between Worlds and wonder why Anakin apparently chose to forsake his own grandson in The Rise of Skywalker. Ben Solo was also yeeted off a cliff and crawled back to save someone’s life. But instead of having a tête-à-tête with his grandfather — who understood the lure of the Dark Side and Palpatine’s influence — in the World Between Worlds, he just ghosted. It seems like Filoni has been given permission to run amuck with the lore, and it’s muddying the waters between who dies and who is worthy of living.
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‘Ahsoka’ Episode 5 Ends With a Jump Into a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Ahsoka’s decision to live and Anakin’s subsequent acknowledgment that there’s “hope for you yet” neatly coincides with Hera and the crew locating Ahsoka in the ocean. The World Between Worlds slowly melts away as Ahsoka sinks into the water, seemingly “reborn” within the vastness of the sea. However, one might question why Ahsoka needed to be reborn — or, better yet, why there was any question about where her story was headed. Ahsoka has never given any indication that she didn’t wish to live or fight, so it’s odd that Filoni chose to create a phantom conflict for her to “prepare” for what lies ahead. It doesn’t even seem like a plot point conceived for casual fans, but rather a veiled attempt to create struggle where there was none. Nevertheless, Ahsoka wakes with Anakin’s name on her lips, which may cause some to question whether the entire sequence was simply a water-logged dreamscape for her.
The final act of “Shadow Warrior” is dedicated to getting the story back on track and headed towards a different galaxy far, far away where Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen), Ezra (Eman Esfandi), and now Sabine, Baylan (Ray Stevenson), Shin (Ivanna Sakhno), and Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) are located — though none of them appear in the episode. After running an unsanctioned mission, Hera runs into a spot of trouble that might derail their plans to send Ahsoka and Huyang into the new galaxy, but luckily Carson is pretty good at stalling. After all, he spends most of his days playing galactic traffic cop! With the time Carson buys them, Ahsoka is able to maneuver her ship into the mouth of a Purrgil, just in time for the space whales to make their jump into a new world. With the extreme contrast in style and pacing between the World Between Worlds scenes and the latter half of the episode, it almost feels like two separate episodes, especially with the lengthy runtime.
As exciting as it is to see Christensen return to his role as Anakin Skywalker, particularly in the iconic Clone Wars attire he never got to wear in the Prequel Trilogy, even he can’t salvage the episode. Rather than focusing on building the foundations of a great story for this audience, Filoni seems intent on looking backward at the excellent stories he previously told in The Clone Wars, hoping that the goodwill they established will be enough to carry Ahsoka to the finish line. The animated series worked because of the SkyGuy and Snips chemistry forged between Ashley Eckstein and Matt Lanter, which Christensen and Dawson just don’t have (although Christensen and Greenblatt almost matched the dynamic).
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