“Dangerous Debt” finds Ahsoka and the Martez sisters in prison on Obidiah. Raffa grows tired of Ahsoka’s morality and tells her that when Ziro escaped from jail, the Jedi accidentally pushed a crashing ship into their family home, killing their parents. The Pykes take Raffa for questioning and bring her back, barely conscious. This enrages Trace, who confronts the guards, and they take her away too. However, she manages to get a blaster and shoots her way back to her friends, releasing some prisoners on the way. However, Ahsoka has already freed herself and Raffa using the Force to open the holding cell, and the three escape into the city. Unfortunately, a transient asking for credits is turned down by Raffa and tells the Pykes where they are. A battle ensues, and the friends end up in a cell yet again.
I’m really having mixed feelings on this arc. We’re three of four episodes in, and at least so far, the Martez sisters haven’t grown on me very much. In fact, I like Raffa less with each episode we see. She’s been pushing Ahsoka’s boundaries on moral questions and has consistently showed that she doesn’t care about anyone else. However, in “Dangerous Debt,” she continually actively tries to leave Ahsoka behind with the Pykes. At one point, when the trio is in jail, she even tells the Pykes to take Ahsoka in her place, pushing her towards them and getting her electrocuted. I’m surprised how her actions are ignored or treated as being understandable under the circumstances. Both Ahsoka and the show itself seem to be fine with and even accepting of these casual betrayals. It’s frustrating to see Ahsoka repeatedly risk herself for the two sisters’ safety without as much as some gratitude. It’s also awfully convenient how Ahsoka keeps using the Force to protect her friends and make it safely past various obstacles without anyone noticing. When Ahsoka jumps over the disengaged bridge to where the Martez sisters are, they don’t see or realize how she did so, despite looking in the same general direction when it happens. I understand that the Martezes can’t find out Ahsoka used to be a Jedi until a certain point for the plot to work. Still, I wish the writers and animators had worked together to make these conveniences of timing more believable. As is, at least for now, it just makes it look like Ahsoka is being a little reckless, but the two sisters are too dumb and naive to piece together what’s actually going on. Trace is pretty inexperienced in general anyway, and makes a lot of bad decisions. However, given their knowledge of and painful experience with the Jedi, and Ahsoka asking “What if I was (a Jedi)?,” I’m surprised that they haven’t even considered the obvious.
Raffa is a somewhat frustrating character in general, I’m afraid. She’s seemingly more street smart and clever than Trace, yet it never occurred to her that the Pykes would resort to torture or murder to get the spice back. How is Raffa even able to broker such big deals without knowing who she’d be working for? It’s like she had no idea who the Pykes were prior to working for them. As I’ve said in my previous reviews, I like how the show is exploring that the Jedi are disconnected from the little people while those people have no understanding of the larger galaxy. This is an interesting and nuanced take on how the Jedi of the prequels fall from grace, and it shows that no group is perfect. Everyone is kind of wrapped up in their own little world, and Ahsoka is privileged to be able to explore these different classes within Coruscant. The Martezes are also very lucky to have her around, which is why Raffa’s dislike of her is so baffling to me. I understand that a scum sucker at the bottom of the food chain might not like being chastised repeatedly by someone who has the luxury and privilege of a moral compass. However, wanting her to die with the Pykes seems really harsh, and I would think most people wouldn’t even leave a stranger to that without at least trying to help. This character confuses me both in terms of her intelligence and her morality. I can appreciate a morally grey character, but Raffa simultaneously has no redeeming traits while Trace makes excuses for her and Ahsoka apologizes for interrupting her life. It’s like the show wants Raffa to be a three-dimensional character with both good and bad beliefs and qualities, but it’s not putting in the work of making us care for and sympathize with her. Trace is a dumb kid, but at least I feel sorry that her sister has dragged her into the criminal underworld in the wake of their parents’ death. They could kill off Raffa and I wouldn’t even miss her. She’s like the ultimate selfish darkness to Ahsoka’s caring, giving light, but it’s not nearly as exciting as that sounds.
Perhaps ironically, one of my favorite things in “Dangerous Debt” essentially amounts to a cameo. When the three girls are running away from the Pykes, we see a cloaked figure dodge the fallout. At first, I didn’t see the mask clearly and wondered if it might be Anakin. However, it proves to be former Death Watch member Bo Katan, followed by Ursa Wren and another Mandalorian warrior. They ultimately decide to “keep an eye on” Ahsoka. I suspect they’ll free her and the Martezes next week, which will lead directly into the Siege of Mandalore arc we’ve been promised. I was excited by the brief glimpse of Bo Katan we got in this season’s trailer, and I’m glad to see her even before the arc she will undoubtedly be co-starring in. I like that they have Ursa Wren (voiced by her Rebels actress, Sharmila Devar) following her, tying nicely into Rebels. We should also be seeing Padawan Caleb Dume and his Master Depa Billaba soon, seeing as how they were in the trailer, and they haven’t shown up yet. And all of this is to say nothing of Ahsoka’s duel with Maul. I expect big things in the final arc.
As for right now, while I’m enjoying the Coruscant underworld arc, I’m not sure what to make of it. We still have one episode to go, but I don’t care much for the sisters, especially Raffa. There are a lot of good ideas here, and Ahsoka does have a good arc with learning how differently some groups view the Jedi, the Republic, and even the outside world. The animation and music have been spectacular so far; it’s some of the best we’ve gotten in the entire series. I guess I just expected a little more emotional punch with these episodes, but it’s likely to be delivered more in the Mandalorian arc. “Dangerous Debt” is a pretty good episode, but not a great one.