Warning: there are spoilers in this review.
This episode gave us the thrilling conclusion of the Onderon arc. It saw plenty of action, suspense, drama, and references to other pop culture franchises. Once again, our patience through the build-up and context of the entire arc paid off. At the beginning I really couldn’t care less about the fate of Onderon or it’s people, but after this fourth episode, I was invested fully.
The episode was absolutely gorgeous, and the look Onderon has echoes of movies like Casablanca or Raiders of the Lost Ark in the market scenes, but also the look of an exotic western through the battle scenes. There were also hints of classic Star Wars in there, too, with lines like “Yeah, but what good will that do us if (s)he gets (her)himself killed.”
And how could we not discuss the new Cylon Raider-like warships the Separatists are marching out in the war to smash the rebels of Onderon? They even say, “By your command.” I couldn’t have been more giddy as a pop-culture loving geek. And you all noticed the Empire Strikes Back like shot, right? Where Lux and Steela are kissing in the foreground with Ahsoka, the real point of the scene, looking on in the background. It was just like the Carbon freezing chamber with Vader and Fett in the background and Han and Leia staring sadly and sweetly at each other in the foreground.
But this episode certainly has a dark side, and it’s that dark side that makes this, perhaps, my favorite episode of the season so far.
You see, this is Filoni and team toying with us.
In this episode, Steela Gerrera meets her fate, sacrificing herself as a martyr, but there is a significant effort to save her that will have an emotional cost for all of her comrades, especially her brother, Saw. You see, Saw fired the shot that took down the Separatist ship that crashed into Steela’s perch, dangling her precariously over a chasm. Lux Bonteri (the object of Ahsoka’s secret desire) tries to pull her to safety but slips, only to be saved at the last minute by Ahsoka and her mastery of the force. She then sets her sights to Steela herself, but is shot in the back by the barely functioning, crashed ship.
Ahsoka goes down and Steela goes down.
It’s a tragic moment that instantly flooded my tear ducts with concern. Had Ahsoka and Steela both perished?
I forgot entirely that Ahsoka is already slated for more episodes and I thought she might have just been gone. When she got up, baring a wound on a shoulder I realized what had happened, but there was still that split second where I couldn’t be sure. This is what Filoni and team is going to do to us, as often as possible between now and the eventual time her fate is decided.
Will it be death? A turn to the dark side? Leaving the Jedi order?
We have no idea and Filoni and team are going to put pressure on those expectations until the thing we expect least is what’s going to happen.
Seriously, this episode packed a wallop and I couldn’t be more happy with how it ended up. This episode was balanced with the right mixture of angst, drama, and action. More like this, please.