If last week's Ahsoka episode gave Star Wars fans the Jedi reunion they were waiting for and then some, its sixth chapter does a heel turn and takes us to unexplored places while asking intriguing new questions. With only two episodes to go now, it feels like the Dave Filoni-helmed show's final destination isn't set in stone.
In 'Far, Far Away' — directed by Star Wars newcomer Jennifer Getzinger (Westworld, Jessica Jones) — Star Wars returns to its more fantastic roots and recaptures the fable-like qualities that made the original movies both refreshing and familiar. At this point, the Star Wars mythology we all know and love has almost been depleted, so it's only sensible to finally expand it in new directions. While the endgame of the Mando-era shows might very well be a loose adaptation of Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire books, there seems to be a growing interest in expanding the Star Wars canvas in live-action in the same way Filoni already did in animation.
If you've fallen in love with Ahsoka just as we have and want to see more of our snippy heroine, then we highly recommend checking out the 10 episodes of Star Wars to watch before Ahsoka (or, you know, right now).
Spoilers ahead for Ahsoka episode 6: 'Far, Far Away'
Our expectations going into this episode included that Ahsoka and Huyang were barely going to be in it, and while we were right, 'Far, Far Away' starts with a much-needed exchange between the two about Sabine's decision to leave with their enemies and put Ezra above their greater responsibility to protect the galaxy from Thrawn's return.
It's also a perfect mood setter for the tale-like tone and qualities of this episode, with Huyang bringing up the stories of old that he used to narrate to the youngest Jedi for many generations. It's here that, for the first time ever, Star Wars talks about itself in delightfully meta fashion: "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…"
And off to another galaxy we go, a new one which could be full of possibilities, though the current plan is to make a quick stop, pick up Thrawn and his allies, and return to the galaxy we've spent so much time in. At least that's what the bad guys want. For Sabine, however, Morgan Elsbeth's Eye of Sion is her golden ticket to finding Ezra, even if that means not being able to return home. We've seen this type of obsession before, and it makes sense that Ahsoka is worried about her unorthodox Padawan's future.
We think no one was expecting to see three Dathomirian witches — again, very "subtle" writing from Filoni — as soon as we set foot on Peridea, but at the same time, one of the first images we receive in this new galaxy is that of a massive bone graveyard formed around the planet, so things were bound to get very weird very fast.
Though it seems Morgan is a genuine ally to Thrawn and a believer in the might of the Empire he can recreate, the possibility of acquiring older knowledge from the witches who live in another galaxy and share a powerful ancestry with her makes the character click together. There are potential rewards for everyone involved in this risky mission into the unknown, and it's time we started learning about what everyone seeks.
Ray Stevenson's Baylan Skoll remains one of the most fascinating Star Wars villains we've had in a while, as he shares more of his thoughts and hopes with his apprentice. While Shin is starting to doubt their place in this story, Baylan seems convinced that he could change the way things have played out in a loop for centuries if he can find a mysterious something on Peridea. Much like other fallen Jedi that walked away from the light, he was fed old legends and stories that shouldn't be taken at face value. Is Huyang partially responsible for this?
Grand Admiral Thrawn's return is nothing short of majestic, as his old Imperial star destroyer, the Chimaera, is back up and running and hovers right over the tower where his servants waited for his arrival. The Chiss mastermind always excelled at making new allies wherever he went, and that seems to apply even in another galaxy. Besides the repaired star destroyer, he has a legion of stormtroopers with him; they could either have been revived with Dathomirian magick — much like Marrok — or actually be a tribe of Dathomirian Zabrak Nightbrothers in Imperial attire, something the subtitles back up.
Anyhow, Thrawn's new personal army looks fantastic and menacing, which is just what the show and the larger Mando-era plans needed to build up excitement for the event movie that looms on the horizon. While the bulk of the Admiral's forces in a potential war against the New Republic would probably be comprised of the Imperial remnants we've seen before, having Nightbrother fanatics and Dathomirian witches from another galaxy with him adds to the overall threat. Moreover, he's surely had plenty of time to learn about the Force and the witches' darkest secrets.
Unsurprisingly, Thrawn doesn't have kind words for Sabine and her personal quest of finding Ezra, but allows her to leave and pursue her lost friend, as chances are he might be dead and/or they'll be stuck in this galaxy once the Chimaera and the Eye of Sion go away. She's given a native mount by the striking Captain Enoch, who also returns her weapons and gives a warning about the pale deadlands that surround their location.
The following section of the episode brings back some of the straight-up western sensibility of the earlier episodes of The Mandalorian, with Sabine and her ride wandering around rocky plains that are as unwelcoming as they look. The many unfamiliar elements are far from ending here though. She's promptly jumped by competent bandits in red armor who could be stray Nightbrothers that want nothing to do with the witches. Regardless, the Mandalorian warrior stylishly makes short work of them before continuing her search.
In an episode that mostly feels relentlessly gloomy and foreboding with all the creepy talk about the "threads of fate" and opaque visions, the brief but cute back-and-forth between Sabine and her howler mount is a welcome respite, especially after we are reminded that Thrawn is backstabbing bastard who always has a plan: Baylan and Shin's new mission is to follow and destroy both the Mandalorian and Ezra.
Baylan's own interests might be a fatal flaw in Thrawn and Morgan's larger scheme, as he keeps talking about creating a truly new beginning for his galaxy once he finds that mysterious something — seemingly related to the Witch Kingdom of the Dathmiri — on Peridea. No matter, as the Chiss villain knows of his failure to kill Ahsoka back on Seatos before the episode ends and thanks to the red-wearing Nightsisters' visions.
Episode 6 also gifts us the best Star Wars present of them all: New strange little guys. The Koopa-like Noti will surely be the talk of town once spoilers spread out. They're small and cute, but also look slightly disturbing with their crab-like faces and bodies. This is what Star Wars is ultimately all about, we think.
The Ezra-Sabine reunion doesn't take too long to happen once the Mandalorian is taken to the Noti village. While the lost Padawan, played by Eman Esfandi, is looking scruffy in typical Jedi refugee fashion, he also looks surprisingly upbeat and all-around okay.
There's certainly a short story worth telling here about how he got away from Thrawn and found the Noti (maybe they're a small resistance of sorts), but for now, he's just happy to see an old friend before returning to his galaxy. We're pretty sure he won't like hearing about how she gave Thrawn and the baddies what they wanted though.