Ahsoka Proves That Space Battles Are More Fun When You Work Together in “Time to Fly”

We’re back with more space-flying fun! And hilarious callbacks to perhaps the most famous training sequence in all of Star Wars…



Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Huyang is putting Sabine through her lightsaber forms, and she’s doing passably. Ahsoka decides to give Sabine a blast shield helmet and has her try to sense where Ahsoka is. By the end, Sabine is frustrated and angry, which Ahsoka points out will not serve her in trying to connect with the Force. Sabine points out that Huyang said she had less ability that any initiate the Order trained, which Ahsoka pushes back on him for, though he defends the point. Ahsoka and Sabine talk about the importance of Force-sensitivity in Jedi training, which Ahsoka doesn’t believe is a necessity. She tells Sabine to start small. Sabine tries to move a cup with the Force, but doesn’t manage it.

Back at the fleet, Hera tries to get Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) and a group of senators, including Hamato Xiono (Nelson Lee), to agree to give her more resources to aid Ahsoka and Sabine. Xiono suggests that this is all the ploy to get New Republic resources to help her find Ezra, leading to Hera nearly losing her temper. She steps away and is confronted by her son Jacen (Evan Whitten), who is excited to hear that Sabine has resumed her Jedi training and wants to start his own.

Hera contacts Ahsoka and Sabine, letting them know that she was unable to get aid in their mission. Her transmission cuts out, prompting Ahsoka to drop out of hyperspace at the edge of the system where Seatos is located, per Jedi standard procedure (which Huyang has been on her case for not following). They are found regardless and enter into a firefight with Elsbeth’s forces, led by Shin Hati and Marrok. Ahsoka and Sabine do their best to work together as they come up the Eye of Sion—the giant hyperspace ring that Elsbeth is working to power. As Huyang tries to scan the thing, their ship is heavily damaged and winds up dead in space.

Ahsoka puts on a space suit and goes onto the hull with her lightsabers to fight off the impending starfighter attack as Sabine works to get the ship back online. They are successful and Sabine get Ahsoka back on board while they dive into Seatos’ atmosphere. There, there discover a herd of purgill, hyperspace traveling creatures that may help to explain the planet’s significance in hopping to different galaxies. Huyang gives them schematics on the Eye of Sion and its purpose after Sabine sets the ship down on the planet under tree cover to hide them. Baylan tells his forces on the planet to go seek the group out.



Star Wars: Ahsoka, episode 3, Time to Fly

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

We’re placing bets now on who did the blast shield training method with Ahsoka. I know we see the younglings practicing this way in a group in the Jedi Temple, but doing it one-on-one like that feels like something Anakin would have done to her after Obi-Wan did it to him. (After all, Anakin was never tiny enough at the temple to be in the youngling mini-saber v remotes challenge.)

Having said that, I love how this training method is being used here—for Luke, it’s just a way of getting him to connect with the Force more readily than he’s been able to previously. For Sabine, it’s the opposite: Ahsoka is trying to frustrate her and fully illustrate the uselessness of that avenue. It’s a great followup to her initial Darksaber training at the hands of Kanan Jarrus, who believed he needed to be more like Ahsoka until realizing that his relationship to Sabine was far more paternal. (Kanan’s journey was ultimately coming to terms with the fact that being a solid Jedi mattered less than being a wonderful dad.) As a result, Kanan worked to unlock Sabine’s buried emotions while training. Now Ahsoka is showing her how to manage those emotions and find peace within herself. It’s a tall order for someone who heralds from a culture that’s never been big on peace of any kind, but that’s a problem for later.

We’re learning that Sabine doesn’t have much innate Force-Sensitivity at all, which makes Ahsoka’s desire to train her so much better: The idea that the one who walked away from the Jedi Order would see value in training literally anyone who wanted to learn about the Force is not only in keeping with Ahsoka’s arc, but a desperately needed shot in the arm to the Star Wars mythos. After all, it’s easy to feel as though the Force is “with you” when you’re busy doing gravity-defying flippy-kicks and deflecting laser bolts with the power of your mind. If Star Wars wants the Force to embody a true spiritual aspect that can stand up on a narrative level, it needs characters like Sabine, shepherded by Ahsoka Tano, to do that (arguably much harder) work. We got the beginnings of this idea with Chirrut Îmwe in Rogue One, but an ensemble player in a single film isn’t enough to develop the thought.

Star Wars: Ahsoka, episode 3, Time to Fly

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

I’m stuck again on Huyang, who gets grief for telling Sabine that she has less ability than any initiate the Order ever trained when he’s just… stating a fact? Ahsoka’s like “you’re not helping” and I’m like I dunno, maybe if either of you were paying attention to the fact that you’re talking to someone who also has no Force-sensitivity and doesn’t seem to let that dampen his enthusiasm for the work—which he’s been doing for untold centuries by the way—you’d take his dismissiveness differently, but what the heck do I know…

I’m bothered, ignore me, I’ll go stew in a corner.

The space battle sequence is more way more fun than usual because it’s being used as a means for Ahsoka and Sabine to connect, to learn what they need from each other and figure out how to work together as master and apprentice. The whole episode becomes a trust exercise in that capacity, which is excellent. I’ve gotta give Filoni credit here (and for making this half-hour episode feel much longer than a similar-length episode of The Mandalorian because there’s so much more in it story-wise) because it’s a much better use of a space battle sequence than anything we’ve seen in the Star Wars television shows. Space battles for character development! Make it a thing, please.

Of course, now I need to take a moment for Ahsoka Tano, trained by the Galaxy’s Most Extra Boy Anakin Skywalker, deciding that the way she’ll defend their ship from oncoming starfighters while they’re dead in space is to put on a spacesuit and lightsaber fight them on the hull.

Star Wars: Ahsoka, episode 3, Time to Fly

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

And it works, of course. I mean the only reason it does is because the two Force-users in their starfighters can’t resist the lightsaber candy on the hull instead of going for the ship and blowing it up, but Ahsoka knows that. She understands how these people think. And then she calmly requests her pickup while floating adrift in space.

They’re obviously holding out on giving us those flashback scenes with Anakin that were shown in the trailers, but part of the build up is giving us moments like this. The point is not that Ahsoka owes all she is to Anakin, but that her penchant for out-of-the-box thinking came from somewhere undeniable. Huyang talks of her being the product of a line of unusual Jedi, and when you go down the line, you can’t miss how true that is: It’s her to Anakin to Obi-Wan to Qui-Gon to Dooku to Yoda, every single one of them their own brand of oddity. (People like to think that Obi-Wan is a pretty typical Jedi and he is patently not on any level that counts—he just looks mild based on who he’s flanked by.)

And the line matters, but it’s especially relevant that Ahsoka was trained by Anakin Skywalker, and she is, perhaps, the best of them all. In the Clone Wars she literally becomes an avatar of the light side of the Force, and nothing about her life at present suggests that she’s relinquished the position. And that tells us something, about her certainly, but also about Anakin. But I suspect we’ll get to that later….

We’re getting some sense of how this weird map thing works: The purgill (the space whales) are the creatures that grabbed Thrawn and Ezra (at the young Jedi’s behest—he’s got a connection with animals, just like Obi-Wan) and disappeared with them, so this is all part of the puzzle. The idea that purgill can galaxy-hop is a helluva thing, though.


Bits and Asides

  • Sabine asking how she can fight with the blast shield down is practically what Luke says to Obi-Wan verbatim when the same thing is done to him in A New Hope.
  • Mon Mothma being Chancellor of the New Republic is in keeping with the Legends novels where she was “Chief of State” following the Empire’s defeat.
Star Wars: Ahsoka, episode 3, Time to Fly

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

  • Senator Hamato Xiono is father to Kazuda Xiono, who was the central character in the short-lived animated series Star Wars: Resistance. Yes, he’s always been like this. Kaz is kind of a mess as a result, but he learns a lot once he starts working for Leia and Poe.
  • Jacen Syndulla is Hera and Kanan’s son, and this is his second appearance ever on-screen. He looks just like his dad (brb crying), and no, there has never been explanation for why his genes expressed themselves by giving him green hair when his mom has no hair. His name comes from the name of one of Han and Leia’s kids in the Legends canon, Jacen Solo, who was twin to Jaina Solo and turned to the dark side as an adult.

Next week: We’re approaching the halfway point!

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