Tuesday, August 29, 2023

REVIEW: 'Ahsoka' - Sabine Resumes Training as Hera Requests Support From the New Republic in 'Part Three: Time to Fly'

Disney+'s Ahsoka - Episode 1.03 "Part Three: Time to Fly"

Hera tangles with New Republic politics while Ahsoka and Sabine Wren voyage to a distant planet.

"Part Three: Time to Fly" was written by Dave Filoni and directed by Steph Green

Grand Admiral Thrawn and Ezra Bridger disappeared years ago. They are presumed dead. Neither the Empire nor the New Republic would deploy resources for the mere aspiration that they are somehow alive. Their must fervent supporters still carry that belief. No one knew how to locate them either. And then, a map appeared. Morgan Elsbeth is building a ship that can make the journey to another galaxy. Its construction is nearly complete. Ahsoka, Sabine and Huyang have no backup coming as they investigate what is being built above Seatos. Hera presents the evidence to Chancellor Mon Mothma and a group of influential Senators. She clearly has the support of the leader of the New Republic. Mothma was influential throughout the Rebellion. Her elevation to this role came from the sacrifices she made and the strategies that won. She is surrounded by politicians. They didn't carry the same burden. They had the luxury of being distant from the war. They would survive no matter who emerged victorious. They represent their citizens. However, they are largely preserving their own interests. They don't think it's rational to believe so many across the galaxy would remain loyal to the Empire. A generous deal was offered to those loyalists to ensure their livelihoods didn't change whatsoever. The Empire was more than just a practical government though. It was built on ideology. The world lived under a tyrannical ruler. Those who resisted understand that viscerally. Those who never had to fight are hindered in understanding the stakes of this new conflict. The New Republic doubts those loyal to the Empire have the resources to take over once more. It's a lack of imagination that dooms their thinking. Of course, the context of this decision is carried by the heroes and villains who are certain in the survival of Thrawn and Ezra. The universe will change if they return to this galaxy. As such, everything must be done to respond accordingly. This has to be the top priority. It remains a battle being fought by the true believers. Ahsoka understands that the Force is present within everyone and everything. The Jedi had a process for sorting out who had naturally gifted connections to the Force. She doesn't want to abide by the old Jedi traditions. She sees the history throughout the galaxy. It led to the downfall of the Jedi and the creation of the Empire. A select few are deemed saviors who can turn the tides of the conflict. But so many lives were lost along the way in service to fighting for something larger than themselves. Ahsoka has dealt with her own personal pain in trusting others. She takes on Sabine as her apprentice once more. But everything that happens is ultimately in response to those desperate to restore Thrawn to his ultimate glory.

The longer the narrative waits to include Thrawn and Ezra into the story though the more the story builds up the legend of what they can do. That produces a lot of pressure for the narrative to ultimately deliver. This is a story about them and those searching for them. It's not really focused on the characters in the current state of their personal crises. It's not an exploration of how fighters with the Resistance are learning to live once the war is won. Plenty of work still needs to be done. It requires different skills. Mothma thrived on both sides of the debate. Hera is adapting. She is a general. She is trusted to oversee various missions. She's also trying to find the balance of work and being a mother. That matters to her even though she's tentative about her son Jacen's aspirations to become a Jedi. He's inspired upon learning Sabine's training has resumed. Meanwhile, Huyang asserts his opinion that Sabine doesn't have the skills to become a Jedi. She has always been good with a weapon. As a Mandalorian, that respect and talent was always present. Now, she's tasked with learning how to fight through other ways of sight. The natural talent isn't there. She's frustrated. Ahsoka still sees the potential. She doesn't want Sabine to become a Jedi. She wants her to be herself. Her potential is limitless. She deserves to shine brightly with all her talents. However, Ahsoka is the one tasked with walking out onto the wing of the ship to battle the squadron of fighters targeting them. It's a kind of action sequence that hasn't really been seen in this franchise before. It's a cool and effective moment. However, it's still about Ahsoka, Sabine and Huyang being chased and targeted by Morgan, Shin and Marrok. They escape to take cover in the forest of the planet thanks to the purrgil who populate the atmosphere. That too is an uncommon sight. The last time Sabine saw these creatures was when Ezra made his epic sacrifice. She has held onto that moment. She sees all these connections to the past. They identify a future where these powerful reunions can occur. But again, the drama builds from the anticipation of that moment. As such, it's slightly annoying to wait for that to happen. Not everything needs to occur right away in order to be dramatically satisfying. However, the narrative has placed an emphasis on Thrawn and Ezra. They are prioritized above all else. So much is devoted to continuing the story of Star Wars: Rebels. It's not setting out to explore what this moment means for the characters already involved in the story. They are rushing from one point to the next. Sure, the New Republic is depicted in a way that sets up the inevitable struggles they are set to face in this timeline. However, that too is a play to the future instead of living in the present and agonizing over the choices alongside the characters. It's a piece of a larger story instead of trying to be its own unique property in the overall franchise. That's unfortunate even as the viewer can still be hopeful for what comes next once those crucial characters are included.