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Ahsoka: Part Six: Far, Far Away

What is it ? : As they travel through Hyperspace in the Purgills mouth, Ahsoka and Huyang talk, she mentions the tales he used to tell her when she was young in the Jedi Temple, including stories of the graveyard of the Purgill in a different galaxy.
He suggests that she also has a story to tell, and she tells him that Sabine went with the others intentionally to rescue Ezra. In return he begins to tell her one of his old stories, beginning with "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...."
Meanwhile the Eye of Sion arrives from Hyperspace in orbit around Peridea, Sabine is handcuffed in a prison cell, and the others look out at the world and it's ring made from Purgill bones. They take a shuttle down to the planet and land atop a stone structure where they meet three Nightsister mothers, who take Sabine into custody as they sense Jedi on her. They summon Thrawn and his Star Destroyer, The Chimaera, still bearing the scars of it's battle with the Purgill, arrives settling it's docking bay down over the tower.
Thrawn leads an army of patchwork Stormtroopers, their armour patched and taped together, led by one with a golden mask, Enoch. The mothers complain about Sabine as they did not predict her presence, and Baylan Skoll explains the deal as he thought she might be useful, and as soon as he hears her identity Thrawn agrees.
They make agreements to give supplies to the Nightsisters in exchange for their help, which will take 24 hours to transfer, and then he meets Sabine, greeting her as an old friend, and agrees to fulfil Baylan's deal with her, providing supplies and transport along with information on Ezra's last known location.
She sets off being warned of the raiders that inhabit the world, and Thrawn tells Baylan to follow her with Shin Hati, and when he finds Ezra they will send Stormtroopers to deal with them, as they deal only promised to get Sabine to Ezra and not anything beyond that. After they depart, Thrawn speaks to Morgan Elsbeth, explaining that Baylan is disposable as he was a Jedi so is therefore unreliable.
Sabine rides her mount, a rat-like wolf creature called a Howler, when she is ambushed by raiders, she defeats them using her Lightsaber, but some of her equipment is destroyed, so she relies on the Howlers senses to find Ezra.
Later Baylan locates the scene of the fight, and he and his apprentice discuss what he wants from this deal, as he wants to break the cycle of the Jedi rising and being destroyed by an Empire, although Shin cannot see the benefit of this from the wasteland they are in, although they encounter some raiders who do not attack.
Sabine arrives at a pool of water and the Howler sniffs at a rock which turns out to be the shell a small alien creature who wears clothes bearing the symbol of the Rebel Alliance, she talks to the creature and convinces it and the others which emerge around them to take her to Ezra.
They arrive at a village and Ezra tells her that he was expecting her, but she took her time, asking whether his gambit with Thrawn was successful.
Meanwhile the Nightsisters approach Thrawn once more, telling him that another Jedi is coming, and he works out that she must be using a Purgill, so asks the sisters to use their dark magic to destroy the purgill when it arrives. . .

High Points : This is a visually stunning episode, with the Chimaera with massive battle scars, missing hull and flying on only some of it's engines, looks stunning and very different. The patchwork Stormtroopers equally look fantastic, tape holding sections together, and scruffy and dirty as if they've been away from supplies and new equipment for a long time, as they have.
And Peridea with it's bleak and misty landscape feeling like it was filmed in Scotland, and looks amazing, a world of raiders and ruins, it feels very different to anywhere we've been before (the closest to it would be the dam where they perform the heist in Andor).

Low Points : While they look amazing, the patchwork stormtroopers make little sense. Where have we seen Stormtroopers take damage bad enough to crack open their armour, but not bad enough to kill them? Each and every one of these stormtroopers wears patched together pieces of armour, how did they ALL get hurt enough to ruin the appearance of their armour, but not enough to die, unless we discover the Nightsisters are animating dead Stormtrooper to bolster Thrawns forces!

And while one of Ezra's first questions is about whether his plan to free Lothal was successful, which makes sense as he didn't get to see the end of the battle. Thrawn seems uninterested in what has been happening in the galaxy. Does he know somehow? And has been in communication with Elsbeth? Which would make sense, perhaps the Nightsisters have been using magic to see what has been going on, so he already knows Tarkin (his boss), Palpatine (his bosses boss), and Vader (his bosses bosses personal religious assassin who still for some reason gets to boss everyone around) are all dead.

Ezra tells Sabine he was expecting her, but didn't he actually ask her to protect Lothal while he wasn't there? Shouldn't he be slightly pissed, although I suppose he might just assume the planet is safe if she considers it safe enough to come and get him?

Peridea is the ancient home of the Nightsisters? And the graveyard of the Purgill? While this makes sense for this to be the place the Purgill took Thrawn and Ezra, and therefore a map of their migration routes shows where the world is. The fact that the Nightsisters who appear almost completely human (just look at Elsbeth herself), come from a completely different Galaxy? Also the Nightsisters while powerful, don't really look like a star faring race, with no apparent starships, technology, etc to allow them to populate another planet. We've also not seen any connection between them and the Purgill before, so while Legends has them riding Rancors into battle, have they really been travelling the stars in Purgill mouths?

And finally, Thrawn doesn't really feel like Thrawn, and asdwith all my criticisms of this episode, where perhaps this can be brushed away with storytelling, but we haven't had that storytelling yet, so for the moment this holds.
Thrawn is supposed to be intelligent and strategic, and although he fulfils Baylans promise to Sabine, he then sends him after her to kill Ezra and Sabine. Why? They're leaving in 24 hours, and he already told her there's no way off the planet except with him, so he's stranding them in a totally different Galaxy, which is as good as defeated. Now while he might have actually become vengeful on Ezra for the time he's been stranded here, so be out for revenge against his normal nature. And while the choice seems solid now he knows Ashoka is coming, as she will have a ship and a way home. But until we find that out, (and until he found out Ashoka was coming), his actions don't feel right, he just seems to be the same as any other bad guy, being duplicitous and evil for the sake of it.

So what do you really think ? : Another solid episode, and one which while not a lot happens, it does progress the story and introduces sights and ideas we've not really seen before so is really enjoyable to watch and keeps the interest. The story is moving along now, and while this feels like it should have been the second or third episode of the season rather than quite this late, I can't fault the episode itself.

Final Words : The series really feels as if it's finding it's feet now, and is getting some excellent storytelling done, even if it's taken half a season to get going. It also feels as if it's building to a cliffhanger rather than a conclusion, as we've got the storylines with Hera still to finish off, and killing off Thrawn in the next 2 episodes would feel rushed. So I won't be surprised if we get Thrawn returning to the galaxy, with Pellaeon and his forces joining him and Hera and the Republic having to scramble to fight this new threat in a second season / different series (crossovers with Mandalorian season 4 anyone?).

Score : 9/10

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