We’re officially at the halfway mark of the season, and “Fallen Jedi” is a turning point in more ways than one. This is the episode many have been waiting for, but was it worth all the preamble? Let’s find out.
Huyang is still repairing the ship when “Fallen Jedi” begins, and the trio is set upon by droids, forcing him to start over. He encourages Ahsoka and Sabine to stay together, but they quickly split up so Sabine can fight Shin and Ahsoka can recover the map. Meanwhile, Hera is busy disregarding the council’s orders, heading to the Denab system with reinforcements. Ahsoka is overcome by Balon, who then wins Sabine over to his side. As the trio of baddies head for Thrawn with Sabine in tow, Ahsoka feels a familiar presence in the World Between Worlds.
The episode’s title, “Fallen Jedi,” interests me because I’m not sure who it refers to. The obvious candidate would be Balon, as he was once a Jedi and now resembles their ancient enemies, although I don’t think he’s exactly a Sith either. It could be Sabine, Ahsoka’s fallen Padawan. Finally, of course, maybe it’s Ahsoka herself. She left the Order by choice, after all, but Anakin (and maybe Plo Koon) turned their backs on her. Jedi is also a plural word, so maybe it’s all of them. It’s also entirely possible that the episode’s name isn’t that serious, and I’m overthinking it. Who do you think it is?
I am completely whelmed by Marrok’s demise. People have spent the last few weeks debating what major character he could be, and rather than some grand reveal, he just got one-shotted by Ahsoka. He put up a decent fight at first, but he was no Grand Inquisitor or Seventh Sister. I’m unsure how Ahsoka defeated him more easily once he busted out the rotating blades. I’m not arguing how formidable Ahsoka is; did you see the Siege of Mandalore?! I just think it’s kind of weird to frame this Marrok guy in mystery just for him to be cannon fodder in the end. I didn’t think he was Ezra or any of the other crazy theories, but they could have done something with him. The green smoke he emits at death implies he was either a Nightbrother or a corpse being kept alive by Nightsister magicks. I find the former more likely, but I get the feeling we’ll never really know.
Possibly the most exciting/unexpected development in “Fallen Jedi” is Sabine’s decision to give the map to Balon and go with him to Thrawn. I wasn’t expecting Sabine to get a “join me” offer, much less to accept it. I think this is very bold and good for the story. Sabine needs to make some difficult choices, and it has been clear from episode 1 that Ezra’s absence rocked her to her core. I can believe that she would prioritize his safety over containing Thrawn, regardless of how wise that is. After all, she isn’t a Jedi; she’s a Mandalorian. And Ezra was pulled to the Dark Side through much of the second half of Rebels. Sure, he sacrificed himself to stop Thrawn, but offering someone you love is harder than that. “Fallen Jedi” does a lot for Sabine, establishing that her family is now dead and reiterating her Mandalorian mastery of weapons. I’m going to need a crumb of context about her family, who were explored in season 3 of Rebels. I assume they died in the war alluded to in The Mandalorian. But is Ahsoka really partly to blame? That’s… interesting. I have to give Dave Filoni and his team kudos for making some bold creative choices in “Fallen Jedi.” They return Sabine to her correct state but push the envelope with other Rebels characters/story threads. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings, but I think it’s good for the overall story.
Balon destroying the map is another interesting choice. Obviously, Hera and Ahsoka will catch up with Balon, but I don’t know how. It’s basic and should be a given, but not knowing how the heroes will pull it off is nice. Speaking of Hera, I thought she was better in “Fallen Jedi,” but that may be because she was in it less and got straight into the action. I really like little Jacen, and I didn’t notice last week that he wears Kanan’s pauldron on his right shoulder. Kanan didn’t wear it to rescue Hera in Rebels, so he wasn’t wearing it when he died. She must have given it to their son, and that is affecting me more than it probably should. So cute! I was surprised not to see Zeb among her recruits, especially since Carson Teva accompanies her, and he was shown with Zeb in Mandalorian season 3. I’m sorry to bring that up again, but I assume Zeb was shown in live-action for a reason, namely, so he could then appear in Ahsoka, AKA Rebels season 5. This seems like a logical reason to show him; of course, he would go with Hera to help Sabine and Ahsoka. I still think we’ll see him at some point. He looked much better than other animated characters in live-action, like the Grand Inquisitor and Hera. It probably seems like I’m beating up on Mary Elizabeth Winstead/Hera a lot, but I don’t think she was the right choice, and she looks creepy to me. Her eyes are just haunting, and she doesn’t give off the matronly leader energy animated Hera had. She seems to be missing the warmth and compassion at the same time as losing Hera’s hard edge. She is a relatively complex character, and I may just be asking too much of both Winstead and the writers here.
I hope we learn how Ahsoka went from the edge of a cliff to the World Between Worlds. I’ve been excited to see this concept introduced in live-action, and I’m happy with how it looks. I’m not trying to nitpick too much because this episode was awesome, but I’m tired of fake-out deaths, and I really would like to know how Ahsoka went from one place to the other. In fairness, her apparent death was more for the benefit of the characters than us; we all know she isn’t going to die halfway through season 1. But it just doesn’t work for me, emotionally or logically. I don’t feel anything when they do this. However, I really enjoyed Anakin’s appearance. I think we have a lot to look forward to next week, which happens to be Rosario Dawson’s favorite episode of the series. I’m glad they de-aged Hayden Christensen here, or at least made him up; he looked goofy in the Kenobi flashbacks. He looked almost as old as Ewan McGregor in the present timeline scenes. This isn’t hating on Hayden; we all age, and he looks better than most of us regular people will as we get older. But if there was ever a time to use the creepy CGI de-aging, that was it. He looks perfect here, and that proves my point. I loved hearing him call her “Snips.” I’m pleased with their first live-action interaction.
Overall, I really enjoyed “Fallen Jedi,” which is now my favorite episode so far. Separating was Ahsoka and Sabine’s downfall, just like Huyang said, particularly for Sabine. This episode was more fun, action-packed, and surprising than the first three.