Review of Ahsoka Episode 5: “Shadow Warrior”
This review contains full spoilers for episode five of Ahsoka, now available to watch on Disney+.
Ahsoka delivers on its promise in Episode 5, “Shadow Warrior,” as Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) confronts her complicated feelings about her former master. The episode successfully brings Star Wars: The Clone Wars to live action, emphasizing that lightsaber battles are a physical manifestation of emotional turmoil between connected characters.
Revisiting the Past
The lampshading of Hayden Christensen’s de-aging doesn’t fully compensate for the effect, but the movement in the episode prevents the uncanny valley from being too prominent. Ahsoka’s duel with Anakin reveals that she has learned everything she needs to about lightsaber combat from her master, but more importantly, it highlights her internal struggle.
Visuals in the World Between Worlds
The visuals in the World Between Worlds are stunning, creating a mystical planetarium-like effect. As Anakin confronts Ahsoka, she tumbles back into the Clone Wars and her younger body, played by Ariana Greenblatt. Remarkably, Greenblatt and Christensen have better chemistry, capturing the essence of the Ahsoka-Anakin dynamic. Seeing Ahsoka portrayed by an actual child intensifies the horror of the conflict.
Anakin’s Redemption Arc
Hayden Christensen’s journey towards redemption starts with Filoni and Lanter bringing depth to the character and his fall to the Dark Side. Anakin’s ribbing of Ahsoka about training Sabine reveals Ahsoka’s deep conflict and humor that made Anakin work so well in The Clone Wars.
The transition from Anakin to Darth Vader is ominously depicted through a flickering effect. Ahsoka’s final duel with Anakin’s red lightsaber represents her confrontation with her fear that her master’s darkness is within her. In choosing life, she proves that she can resist the pull of the Dark Side.
“Where Anakin failed to resist the Dark Side’s pull, Ahsoka is able to quickly cast aside her anger…She proves that, while Anakin’s brutal training methods made her strong and formidable, they weren’t able to harden her heart or make her more susceptible to the Dark Side.” – Jesse Schedeen
Ahsoka’s costume change reflects her transition towards the light side of the Force. Additionally, she explores the non-combat applications of the Force, showcasing her growth as a character.
Interruptions and Frustrations
Unfortunately, scenes involving General Hera Syndulla searching for Ahsoka and Sabine Wren feel like interruptions and exposition dumps. The focus should have remained on the compelling Ahsoka and Anakin storyline.
A More Natural Portrayal
Dawson’s portrayal of Ahsoka becomes less stiff, bringing more emotional depth to the character. Confronting her past and learning to trust her judgment will allow her to strike a better balance in the future.
After a breathtaking portrayal of the purrgil swimming into hyperspace, we can look forward to the next episode delving into the fate of Grand Admiral Thrawn and Ezra Bridger. Ahsoka has the potential to build on its momentum without feeling rushed.