Looking back at the season, this is precisely the core element the show was in desperate need of: high drama. The friction between Ahsoka and Sabine never reached a boiling point, Ezra’s return was tepid at best, Baylan and Shin’s split was abrupt and confoundingly amicable, and Thrawn’s Imperial march toward intergalactic domination with a literal zombie army and the most powerful witches in the galaxy doesn’t feel as frightening and dire as it should.

Maybe the only stirring thing about the episode was Morgan Elsbeth’s ascension into the Nightsisterhood and subsequent sacrifice in the name of Dathomir. Her story’s been an afterthought over the last couple of episodes, but this payoff was great. She met her demise on the best day of her life, and she died protecting the thing she loved most. 

This death really meant something. It was also preceded by some seriously awesome action. The gauntlet Ahsoka, Sabine, and Ezra had to fight through to get to Thrawn’s ship was inventive, exciting, breathless, and damn fun to watch. Their explosive high-speed approach to the fortress was a brisk way to kick things off, and the zombie trooper melee that followed was a perfect change of pace. The way the horde of undead was hunting the heroes as they climbed up the tower was a brilliant touch and lent the sequence a much-appreciated sense of urgency. I kept waiting to see an even a greater number of them—a sea of zombie Night Troopers climbing over each other to rip the fleeing good guys to shreds, World War Z style. Still, what we got was excellent.

One of the very early scenes was pretty great, too. Ezra arguing with Huyang over lightsaber construction only to receive the most touching, sentimental lightsaber part imaginable from the ol’ droid was heartwarming stuff. It’d be nice to spend an entire episode with just Ezra—Eman Esfandi is pitch-perfect in the role—to really get to know him again and see how years of being stranded on a witch planet far from home has affected him or changed who he is. Maybe in a future season, or perhaps in showrunner Dave Filoni’s upcoming movie?

A note on Peridea: turns out being stuck on this planet for three episodes is way too much. Aesthetically, it did look a bit creepier than the other planets we’ve explored on these shows thus far. But the dry, brown and gray expanses ultimately became so drab and uninspiring. Grating to the eye, even. It’s just not enjoyable to look at, which is a real bummer considering that half of the main cast ain’t leaving there anytime soon. If Peridia was meant to be our first step into a whole new galaxy, one implied to be vastly different from our own, it doesn’t really do enough to separate itself from the other miserable rocks in the Star Wars universe.

Meanwhile, the disappointing thing about Thrawn is that his character arc has been more of a character plateau. “Far Far Away” did well to focus on the villain’s immense talent for military tactics and getting under his opponent’s skin, but this wasn’t built upon all that much in subsequent episodes. I lost count of how many times we were forced to watch this same exact Thrawn scene: Enoch gives Thrawn a situation report; Thrawn mumbles measured, monotone orders to Enoch; Enoch disappears; Morgan is confused; Thrawn mansplains his plan; malevolent music, SW wipe. We do get some insight into the coldness of his psyche, though, when he explains to Morgan that his leadership isn’t driven by ego, but by sheer loyalty. “It is for the Empire. The security of our galaxy,” he says. He’s about as dedicated and laser-focused as villains get, even if his reasons for worshipping the Empire after all this time aren’t all that captivating.

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