Folks, I’ll likely go to my grave – blue in the face – from exhaustion at having to explain over and over and over again that it’s not the job of any television or movie critic to make an audience like or dislike any individual property. While I think that this might be a reality lost on the average reader, it’s still about as fundamental a truth as is ‘the sky is blue,’ ‘the night is dark,’ and ‘oxygen is required to start any fire.’ Rather, critics exist for the sole purpose of examining a work of art and then commenting on its efficacy. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Heck, I’ve even been met with forks and pitchforks by some who insist that ‘making the audience like the show’ is the responsibility of the showrunner, its cast and crew, and the founding storyteller. Again – and I’m really very sorry if this is news to any of you – that just isn’t the case. Storytellers exist to tell a story. Showrunners exist to see the work brought to life. Actors and actresses are paid performers who embody characters that happen to populate said story. Despite what no one has ever told you, none of this talent is ever tasked with making you like anything. At the end of the day, it’s a job for them. It’s how they put food on the table. It’s how they make rent. Liking or disliking any single component of it never enters into the equation.
So – sure – it’s sad that maybe Ahsoka just might go down in history as one of the Disney+ Star Wars programs that split fandom into the respective haves and have-nots. Yes, I couldn’t agree more it’s unfortunate that all of us just can’t get along – can’t even be friends – and hum the Imperial March in unison as opposed to singing Kumbaya. This is why I’ve always said – in this space – that my job has been, still is, and will always remain telling you – in no uncertain terms – exactly what I thought of a show and not to cater to any side of a growing argument. My opinion? It’s my own. You’re free to your own. Such is life.
Now that I’ve gotten that unfortunate business out of the way, it’s time that I address the elephant in the room that is – cough cough – Ahsoka’s seventh episode, “Dreams And Madness.”
The New Republic is well out of its honeymoon phase, and yet we’re shown in the opening just how quickly upper management is apparently willing to throw one of their very own – namely Hera Syndulla – under the galactic bus. Those of us watching closely know that she disobeyed command and rushed off into the Final Frontier to aid her friends – Ahsoka Tano and Sabine Wren – in their bid to stop conspirators Morgan Elsbeth and kinda/sorta fallen Jedi Baylan Skoll from locating the nefarious Grand Admiral Thrawn and returning him to known space for what’s sure to be the Star War to end all Star Wars. (snicker snicker) As a consequence of her insubordination, there are those on the council who would see her summarily court-martialed … and, yes, it’s all a bit melodramatic but apparently well-intentioned.
Still, am I the only one watching who’s willing to point out that (cough cough) maybe Mon Mothma isn’t exactly suited for the job she’s been given? Clearly she can’t even sway those serving on this council with her reasoned and logical position, and if this is as effective a leader that she’s turned out to be, why, it’s no wonder that the Empire returns as the leading adversary in the Sequel Trilogy! If C-3PO – who has apparently achieved damn near God-like status yet again (this time not by the Ewoks, however) – hadn’t shown up in the nick of time to save the day, then audiences might very well have seen the last of one of our beloved ‘rebels,’ wouldn’t we?
To make matters worse, it would seem that Thrawn’s previous statement – of how they’re apparently very low on resources out her in this new galaxy – won’t stop him from (A) wasting time, (B) wasting mines, (C) wasting fightercraft, (D) wasting pilots, (E) wasting allies, and (F) wasting infantry all in the sake of creating (cough cough) good TV. After wasting all of the above, he ultimately pronounces that all was not for nought as his keen intellect and cunning strategy somehow managed to waste time of those who would stand against him, namely Ahsoka, Sabine, and Ezra Bridger … the very same and only folks standing against him before he (cough cough) wasted everything else.
But … hey! He got the cargo loaded!
Also, if the Chimera and/or that massive space ring had the ability to both target Ahsoka and her spaceship (albeit with a little help from the Nightsisters and their much-lauded magic), then why not use it as well to simply blast their enemies down on the surface of Peridia? After all, we’re low on R-E-S-O-U-R-C-E-S, aren’t we … so why not save us all a little time, a little effort, and a little investment by simply blowing them into atoms? I mean … I’m no Grand Admiral … but even I know there was a much quicker way to end this whole sad conflict with a single shot.
If you missed it, then I’ll make it crystal clear that, yes, I’m of the contingent who can’t understand why Ahsoka’s viewing audience can’t see these relatively simple errors of logic. It isn’t as if this show has a lot of balls in the air being juggled vigorously; frankly, it’s a reasonably simple affair that only gets complicated when the screenwriters decide they need to space things out for the sake of creating, say, more content? We’re seven episodes in to an eight-episode season, and we’ve still so little insight into a few of the big characters’ motivations – much less the sense of why they’re doing exactly what they’re doing – and that’s a huge, huge, huge disservice to anyone with a brain still watching. Don’t even get me started on Ahsoka’s ascendency to greatness – ‘Ahsoka the White’ is more like ‘Ahsoka the Wait’ given Rosario Dawson’s preferred method of speech delivery – and how it might all play into this increasingly sad affair because, frankly, I’ve no longer the time, energy, or inclination.
Let’s just chalk it up to “I’m trying to conserve R-E-S-O-U-R-C-E-S,” eh, Admiral Thrawn?
Still, like the other side of the audiences, the show has elements that I like. Granted, the list might be growing thinner with each successive installment, but they’re there. I just wish more thought was put into not only this story but also WHY TELLING THIS PARTICULAR STORY WAS IMPORTANT to begin with. Withholding that single crumb of the narrative to be revealed in the season finale is a damn near unforgiveable act on the part of Filoni and anyone else who participated in its creation; and I don’t know how it’s all conceivably reconciled in one final chapter.
Yes, yes, and yes: I’ll be waiting.
But – like so many – I don’t know that I’ll be coming back next year.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that I’m beholden to no one to provide a review of Star Wars: Ahsoka streaming series as I’m presently a subscriber to Disney+ … which might be changing in the future as their programming has really gotten a bit stale.