[Warning: Article contains spoilers for the two-part premiere of Star Wars: Ahsoka.] There is a lot we can say about the first two episodes of Star Wars: Ahsoka. From the seamless transition between animation and live-action, to callbacks of fan-favorite characters, to Dave Filoni’s mastery of story development, there’s much to love about the latest Star Wars offering. One aspect of the show stands head and shoulders above the rest thus far, however; Natasha Liu Bordizzo’s portrayal of Sabine Wren. Adding to her exquisite performance was the clear parallel to one of Star Wars: Rebels’ most poignant, and gut-wrenching, episodes.
Make no mistake: though the show is titled Ahsoka, Sabine Wren will be a true focal point of the series. (Dave Filoni himself hinted at such a notion over four years ago.) Sabine once again finds herself without a family, abandoned (intentionally or otherwise) by those she loves. Throughout Rebels, and now this series, the young Mandalorian has grappled with trying to find a sense of self, a sense of bellowing. The way in which she decides upon her path in episode 2, ‘Toil and Trouble,’ however, perfectly illustrates how her sense of loss now fuels her future. It’s also very familiar.
Ahsoka Episode 2: Sabine channels Rebels’ Kanan Jarrus
There was a time in Star Wars: Rebels when Kanan Jarrus felt lost, helpless, useless. Upon meditation in a cave on Lothal, however, he rediscovered his purpose and resolve. In Ahsoka, episode 2, ‘Toil and Trouble,’ Sabine finds herself in a nearly identical position, figuratively, and literally. Kneeling before a makeshift altar, Sabine ponders her fate before cementing her own resolve and ceremoniously cutting off her longer locks. By the act, she becomes herself again, ready to embark on the journey before her…. Exactly as Kanan did in the Rebels episode ‘Jedi Night.’
Kanan’s influence on Sabine should be obvious. He served as a father figure to the younger member of the Ghost crew. And let’s not forget that he also guided her through her first lightsaber training, before Ahsoka took up that mantle. (See the ‘Trials of the Dark Saber’ episode of Rebels.) Sabine, like Kanan, found herself at a crossroads. That her actions exactly mirror his is, of course, a product of the show’s writing. But…. What makes the scene so exceptional is the fact that it is, in every way, wholly authentic. One needs no stretch of the imagination to believe that she would emulate her first, de facto, Jedi Master in setting herself free from her self-imposed prison of uncertainty in this manner. It’s simultaneously heartbreaking, and inspiring. And that kind of Dave Filoni brilliance is only one aspect of what is going to make the Ahsoka series special.
Star Wars: Ahsoka airs Tuesdays on Disney+.