Ahsoka episode 4 review: "Finally gives us some of that Star Wars razzle dazzle"

ahsoka episode four
(Image: © Disney+)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

In spite of persistent problems, Ahsoka is finally giving fans some genuine razzle dazzle in ways that only Star Wars can.

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This review features minor spoilers for episode 4 - you have been warned...

One-fourth of the way into Ahsoka's newest episode, 'Fallen Jedi', the title hero played by Rosario Dawson, commanding the sleepy energy of a concerned youth group leader, advises her protege/reluctant partner Sabine (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) to “do what’s right regardless of our personal feelings". Minor spoilers, but later on Sabine doesn’t listen to Ahsoka’s warning and chooses to prioritize her feelings to find Ezra at a critical juncture. Sabine may not do the right thing, but she’s making Ahsoka exciting at last.

With a sharpened focus on narrative direction and atmospheric lightsaber battles that reinforce with steel the Jedi’s derivation from Japanese jidaigeki, 'Fallen Jedi' is a modest improvement over last week’s jejune filler. Ahsoka as a series is still hard-pressed to correct its specific problems, however; bored line readings and grayscale palettes continue to plague a multi-million dollar project yet to prove itself as anything more than Disney getting to tout streaming subscriber growth next quarter. Still, the good outweighs the bad in this new chapter of Ahsoka, because it’s just too easy to get swooped up in its escapist thrills and not-so-secret surprises that can crack even the hardest cynics. 

In 'Fallen Jedi', Sabine and Ahsoka run into Thrawn’s minions, including ex-Jedi Baylan Skoll (the late Ray Stevenson), Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto), and Baylan’s protege Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno). Their ship is crashed somewhere not far from Morgan et al, which of course leads to riveting, thoughtful dialogue about the two parties’ opposing goals and how they may arrive at a mutually agreeable arrangement. Like Pacino and De Niro in Heat. 

Ha, sike! Actually they clash lightsabers for almost a full five minutes or more (I frankly didn’t clock the run time because I was so genuinely riveted by these sequences and their surprising mood and presentation). Meanwhile, Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) whisks off with a couple X-Wing pilots, including one familiar face, until they see for themselves the terrifying and destructive power of Thrawn’s cross-galaxy hyperspace jumper.


(Image credit: Disney+)

Containing all of the best and worst qualities of modern Disney-era Star Wars — in which impeccable production design, buttery sound mixing, and stylish filmmaking clash with suburban dialogue and desaturated colors — 'Fallen Jedi' has only just enough in its tank to prevent second-screen passive viewing. Raise the volume and sink deep into the couch, and this week’s dose of Star Wars delivers 40 solid minutes where you don’t feel the pull to doomscroll or stalk your frenemey’s Instagram. 

We can thank director Peter Ramsey for spicing things up. Ramsey, whose Hollywood career spans decades but as a director is primarily associated with CG family movies like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, transfers his animation sensibilities to create taut, textbook visual compositions that help make 'Fallen Jedi' feel a cut above the average streaming content dump. Outstanding cinematic swordplay too, falling somewhere between The Sword of Doom and Ghost of Tsushima, makes a special case for Ramsey to maybe join the likes of Jon Favreau and Bryce Dallas Howard as artists who are especially good at working in this sandbox. It’s only a shame that anemic dialogue writing — “you and I share a common goal,” Baylan says, so maybe my Heat joke from earlier isn’t so far off after all — keeps a good episode from being better.

Between compulsively rewatchable lightsaber battles that I know I’ll revisit on YouTube and a cliffhanger surprise that will make prequel apologists overjoyed, 'Fallen Jedi' is simply Star Wars at its most effective. I am willing to bet against this episode standing on its own years from now though. However, when fans want to celebrate Ahsoka in hindsight, I have no doubt their recollections of the past will be images of this episode, snapped clearly into focus. 

New episodes of Ahsoka drop every Tuesday in the US and Wednesday in the UK on Disney Plus. For more on the Star Wars show, check out our guides to:


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Eric Francisco is a freelance entertainment journalist and graduate of Rutgers University. If a movie or TV show has superheroes, spaceships, kung fu, or John Cena, he's your guy to make sense of it. A former senior writer at Inverse, his byline has also appeared at Vulture, The Daily Beast, Observer, and The Mary Sue. You can find him screaming at Devils hockey games or dodging enemy fire in Call of Duty: Warzone.