Ahsoka Episode 4 review: This is where the fun begins

Cameron Frew
Rosario Dawson in Ahsoka Episode 4Disney+

Ahsoka Episode 4 is a terrific chapter; it allows itself room to breathe and intensify the suspense, there’s edge-of-your-seat Jedi action, and you may even be left with goosebumps.

The problem with Filoni-era Star Wars isn’t so much what it is, it’s what it represents: while Andor found astonishing depth in the uncharted backstory of Rogue One, The Mandalorian traded in its gunslinging, saloon-drinking essence for cheap nostalgia and, with Season 3, indulged Clone Wars and Rebels fans with a story more about Bo-Katan Kryze than the titular bounty hunter.

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With his Heir to the Empire movie on the distant horizon, the end-boss of Filoni’s creations, Ahsoka feels like a significant test: is there an appetite for this block of the galaxy far, far away’s timeline, and will the expanded universe’s tale of Thrawn’s return translate not just to fans, but casual viewers too?

After the first two episodes, it was a yes, but Episode 3 felt like two steps back; entertaining, but hollow. Fortunately, this week’s chapter is a substantial improvement that sets the show back on course and justifies itself – you could say, this is where the fun begins.

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Ahsoka Episode 4 presents a tough choice

After escaping via the kaiju-esque tentacles of the purrgil, Sabine and Ahsoka land their ship on Seatos. While Huyang carries out repairs so they can get in touch with Hera, Sabine heads outside to find Ahsoka observing the woods; she senses a presence out there, likely that of Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati.

“The enemy has the map and the means to get where they want to go,” she tells Sabine, but she doesn’t follow. “If we can’t make the journey to save Ezra, maybe no one should,” she says, delivering a brutal, anxious blow – and the worst part is, she’s absolutely right. Thrawn’s return would (*cough cough*, will) bring about galaxy-wide tyranny, and if he becomes heir to the Empire, he may become too powerful to stop. Ahsoka asks Sabine if she can count on her, should that hard decision come to pass, and she (half-heartedly) assures her it’ll be fine.

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Ahsoka and Sabine in Episode 4Disney+

Meanwhile, as Huyang fixes up the ship, an enemy droid watches from a distance – it even clenches its fist before quietly returning to Baylan, which is hilarious.

Back at the navigator, Baylan orders Shin and Marrok to move in with the droids. “The gods won’t delay them much longer,” Morgan Elsbeth says, doubting their capability against the Jedi. “But you will,” Baylan says as he looks at his apprentice, and they set off through the trees. “Is that a note of fear on your voice?” Morgan asks him. “Experience,” he coldly, knowingly responds.

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Skoll is – for my money – the most compelling character in the series: a fallen Jedi corrupted by betrayal, but flickers of the light occasionally spark in his dialogue. As Morgan readies the map and the Eye of Sion coordinates the hyperspace jump, he warns her: “If your calculations are off by even a little, we will be lost to the depths of the void.” She tells him to “have faith”, but as he gazes at the distant sky, he says: “Faith? I lost that a long time ago.”

Ahsoka and Sabine team up again

As their ship is slowly, silently circled, Ahsoka initially offers some unspoken comfort to Sabine, whose frantic behavior shows she’s been shaken by the idea of having to let Ezra go forever. “I know how much Ezra means to you… sometimes we have to do what’s right despite our personal failings,” Ahsoka tells her.

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Outside, Huyang is attacked by a droid, giving us a brief throwback to Real Steel’s robot boxing. For some reason, droids having personalities when they’re fighting is so much funnier than when they’re just walking around; the enemy droid is pissed off, and even covers Huyang’s mouth – can you even call it a mouth? – to stop him screaming.

Ahsoka and Sabine in Episode 4Disney+

Ahsoka and Sabine rush outside and put down the surrounding droids with ease. This is a grin-inducing scene, full of force-swiping, lightsaber-deflecting, and Sabine putting her Mandalorian heritage to effective use. They both head off into the woods, and Huyang asks them to “stay together”, because things always worked out better that way – you know, in Star Wars Rebels, the show you might not have watched a single episode of. Sigh.

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Lightyears away, Hera gathers some former rebels – including everyone’s favorite pilot, Carson Teva – from the New Republic fleet and makes the jump to the Denab system. “Once a rebel, always a rebel,” she says.

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Ahsoka vs Marrok, Shin vs Sabine

The rematch(es) we’ve all been waiting for finally arrives: under the pale crimson of the trees, Ahsoka takes on Marrok in a duel to the death, while Shin and Sabine face off once more. Both fights are notably different: Shin and Sabine are scrappy and breathless, while Ahsoka and Marrok’s fight has the temperance of two samurais going head to head.

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Marrok eventually resorts to using the spinny function of his Inquisitor lightsaber, but Ahsoka makes light work of him: she not only dodges it, but slices her lightsaber across his chest. Does she remove his mask? Do we see that it’s Sam Witwer’s Starkiller in live-action behind the mask, or perhaps even Ezra Bridger? No, nothing like that – he bursts into a puff of green dust with the scream of a wraith. Cue you exclaiming, “Are you f*cking kidding me?” – maybe that was just me.

Ahsoka and Marrok in Episode 4Disney+

While Sabine holds off Shin, Ahsoka makes her way to the navigator, where Baylan is protecting the map. “Everyone in the order knew Anakin Skywalker,” he says, as he lowers his hood. “Few had lived to see what he became.” Ahsoka tells him she’s not there to talk about her past, but “the only reason [he’s] there is to secure the future.”

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“Ambitious,” she says. “Necessary,” he responds, before spouting the same end-of-the-world, domination-is-the-cure hokum we’ve heard countless times before. “One must destroy in order to create,” he says – yawn! – but Ahsoka doesn’t let him opine any further. They wield their lightsabers and duke it out in a calculated, careful exchange of swordplay; both of them are near the top of their respective food chains, and they’re above the swinging, messy emotions of their two apprentices. That’s not to say they’re not pulling out some incredible moves: in one moment, Baylan uses the force to throw a boulder at Ahsoka’s head, which she slices in half with her lightsaber.

Shin flees after Sabine gets the better of her (she even uses the force, if only slightly), while Baylan tells Ahsoka: “Your legacy, like your master’s, was one of death and destruction.” She manages to remove the orb from the navigator, halting the Eye of Sion’s jump, which only angers Baylan further.

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He overpowers Ahsoka and pushes her to the edge of the cliff, but Sabine appears holding the map. Ahsoka tells her to destroy it, but Sabine can’t do it; if this is the only map, then Ezra will never be found. So, Baylan batters Ahsoka into the sea and starts manipulating Sabine, reading her mind and making promises he may not be able to keep. “Your family died on Mandalore because your master didn’t trust you,” he says. “Come with me willingly, and I promise no harm will come to you… do it for Ezra.”

Sabine tries to suppress the voices in her head, but she gives in and hands the map to Baylan. Shin then uses the force to choke her, but Baylan wasn’t kidding around. “I gave her my word, and unlike her former master, I shall honor mine,” he tells his apprentice.

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The Eye of Sion travels to a galaxy far, far away

Hera arrives with the fleet, but they’re too late: Baylan destroys the map with his lightsaber, and despite droids telling Morgan that the rebels are obstructing their path, she says to “ignore them… engage the hyperdrive.” The Eye powers up and makes the jump, nearly killing Hera and Carson as other ships burst into flames (this feels like a nice nod to Vice-Admiral Holdo’s sacrifice in The Last Jedi). As they regain control of the ship, Hera’s son Jacen says: “I have a bad feeling.”

We cut back to the crashing waves of Seatos, but Ahsoka is nowhere to be found. Instead, she wakes up alone in a strange astral plane, until a familiar voice whispers: “Hello snips.” Those who know will already have cheesers on their face. “I didn’t expect to see you so soon,” he says, before the shot peers behind Ahsoka and reveals her former master, Anakin (de-aged, which looks a bit off). Ahsoka smiles, but as the episode cuts to black, Vader’s theme kicks in – it looks like another battle of the heroes may be upon us.

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Ahsoka Episode 4 review score: 3/5

One enraging death aside, Ahsoka Episode 4 is a tense, exciting, and pivotal chapter that may have changed Star Wars as we know it.

Ahsoka Episodes 1-4 are available on Disney+ now, which you can sign up for here. You can check out our other coverage below:

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About The Author

Cameron is Deputy TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He's an action movie aficionado, '80s obsessive, Oscars enthusiast, and a staunch Scot. He earned a First-Class Honours Degree in Multimedia Journalism from Glasgow Caledonian University, accredited by the NCTJ and BJTC. He began his career at UNILAD, starting as a Junior Journalist and becoming Entertainment Editor prior to joining Dexerto. You can contact him at cameron.frew@dexerto.com.