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Ahsoka: Part One: Master and Apprentice

What is it ? : A Republic Cruiser is carrying a prisoner of Ahsoka Tano's, Morgan Elsebeth, when they are approached by a shuttle with a Jedi transponder. The captain lets them land but is suspicious and orders them identified, but they ignite lightsabers and slaughter the guards and free Elsebeth who they identify as a Nightsister and associate of Thrawn.
Ahsoka Tano is searching some ruins for something and locates a metal sphere in a chamber decorated with images of three figures, she is then attacked by some droids and when she defeats them they self destruct in a massive explosion, but she escapes on her Jedi Transport piloted by Huyang.
They return to Home One where she meets with Hera Syndulla, who informs her about the escape of Elsebeth and shows her footage of the two who freed her, footage Ahsoka gives to Huyang to identify their lightsabers. To decode the sphere Hera suggests getting in contact with Sabine Wren.
On Lothal, Ryder Azadi is giving a speech about Ezra Bridger helping free the planet and tries to introduce Sabine but she isn't there so he orders security to find her. Two E-Wing starfighters track her down on her speeder bike exiting the city, and try to block the road but she ducks under the starfighter in her way and returns to the communications tower outside the city which she shares with her pet Loth Cat, we see her Mandalorian Armour sitting adandoned under a table.
She watches Ezra's recording to her from when he left, and spots Ahsoka's ship arriving so heads into the city to meet her. Ryder is already speaking to Ahsoka, but as he leaves he tells Sabine that she'll want to hear what Ahsoka has to say.
Ahsoka tells her that she has retrieved a map which may show where Ezra and Thrawn are, and asks Sabine to try to decode it. Aboard Ahsoka's ship, Sabine pauses to look at some of her graffiti on a wall next to a bunk, and she agrees to help, but wants to take the sphere to somewhere she can think, but Ahsoka objects. Huyang calls for Ahsoka having identified the Lightsabers, both of which are based on designs he has trained Jedi in the past, but only one is of a design he recognises, that of Baylan Skoll, but while Ahsoka is distracted with this, Sabine leaves.
Elsebeth, Baylan Skoll and his apprentice are at the ruins where Ahsoka took the sphere from, and want it, they realise she will have taken it to her old apprentice Sabine, so they dispatch Baylan's apprentice to retrieve it.
Sabine realises that the three figures on the walls of the chamber identify how to unlock the sphere which she does and it shows a map from one galaxy to another. But as she examines it she is attacked by the same droids that faced Ahsoka at the ruins, which manage to steal the sphere. She gives chase but is confronted by the apprentice, so ignites her lightsaber and fights them. Ahsoka picks up Sabines distress call and rushes to the tower, but as she arrives she finds that Sabine was defeated, stabbed through the stomach with a lightsaber and left for dead . . .

High Points : Well the acting is superb, and it's really nice to see recognisable characters returning, Ryder Asadi was lovely to see, as was Professor Huyang, who has some fantastic lines throughout. And the show looks quality, with it appearing more money has been spent on it, with a variety of locations all of which look right.
I was also impressed with the flow of the story, it's well paced, pauses to let you think where necessary, and has some great action.

Low Points : But, who are these people? To me they're almost unrecognisable as the characters who we knew. I can accept stuff has happened to them in the meantime, and they're lives have carried on. But why is Hera close to Ahsoka, when Ahsoka was basically just her rebel contact? Especially as she seems closer to Ahsoka than she does to Sabine, who was pretty much her daughter figure throughout Rebels. Ahsoka herself is so dark and broody now, far from her Clone Wars version, and quite a distance from the wise version she was in Rebels.
And while I suppose because she wielded the Darksaber Sabine could have some Jedi talents (although doesn't that mean that Din Djarin, Moff Gideon and Bo-Katan also all share these talents), do we really need everyone to be a Jedi to be special? Does this mean that the Rebels were the most force sensitive group in the Rebellion, with half their number being Jedi or potential Jedi?
Especially how she seems to have forgotten that she's a Mandalorian in the meantime. When she's chasing the droid that has stolen the sphere, Sabine ignores grabbing her Mandalorian armor with Jetpack, and instead grabs her lightsaber. Meaning that she has to wait for the elevator to return to head down from the tower instead of just jetpacking down and waiting for the droid to arrive! Which also means she fights the apprentice with her lightsaber, instead of using the variety of equipment shown in Rebels to be designed to take down Jedi.

So what do you really think ? : I liked it more as it went along, as I got used to the characterisation, but it niggled me throughout. The story seems interesting, and there's a lot to like here, but that one massive element is holding me back.

Final Words : In the scene where Ryder realises that Sabine isn't there, he asks a sidekick to speak instead. I really felt it was a missed opportunity, that instead of just being an unnamed and unknown sidekick, he could have namedropped him and identified him as Mart Mattin, who was a minor member of their group and it would be nice to see what happened to that character after the end of the series, and it wouldn't even have required them to hire a different actor since it was such a minor role.
It would have been nicer if they'd had Vizago or Hondo there, but then again I would advocate for Hondo being in everything Star Wars related.

Score : 8/10

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