After Episode One and Two premiered on the same day, we finally get more Ahsoka content after waiting a whole week. I know, I couldn’t wait any longer either. Did Episode 3: Time To Fly live up to my expectations? Well, yes and no. There was definitely some positives in this episode, but what was that runtime? After Episode One clocked in at 57 minutes, and Episode Two clocked in at 44 minutes, I thought the show would stick to a framework of 45-60 minutes per episode. Time To Fly, however, clocked in at 37 minutes, which is no time at all when it comes to a mini-series like Ahsoka. Luckily, the show was able to give us a bit of everything before going on another week long hiatus.
If you want to catch up on Ahsoka before reading, you can watch all three episodes on Disney+ right now. If you want to read my reviews on previous episodes, you can read Episode 1: Master and Apprentice Review and Episode 2: Toil and Trouble Review.
Spoiler alert for those who have not watched Ahsoka Episode 3: Time To Fly.
Story – Ahsoka Throws Casual Fans in the Deep End
The story for Time To Fly picks up a bit after where Episode Two left off, where Sabine is practicing her sword skills with Huyang. As Huyang swings four lightsaber-like devices, he shouts a series of phrases, after which Sabine strikes one of the light devices. It’s revealed this was an exercise to judge the quality of her sword skills. Not only is this a good way to show Sabine is still learning the basics, It’s also a great example of the Japanese influence on Star Wars as a whole. This exercise is very reminiscent of exercises that Samurais conducted to judge the sharpness of their blades and the fluidity of their striking motions.
Hera, again, didn’t get a lot of screen time in this episode, but the writers do a good job of using the time she does get to develop her character further. In this episode, Hera makes a plea to some senators of the New Republic to allow her to command a small task force and help Ahsoka with her mission to stop Thrawn. However, the senators believe this to be a misallocation of resources. It’s a good scene that helps give insight into the politics of the New Republic, but the introduction of Jacen Syndulla near the end of the scene exposes one of the flaws of Ahsoka.
If you haven’t seen Star Wars: Rebels, you’ll likely have no clue who Jacen is or why he’s important. Jacen is the child of Hera and Kanan Jarrus, the Jedi who mentored Ezra Bridger, which means he could be force sensitive. Whether this is a cameo or a hint of what’s to come in Ahsoka, a lot of fans will likely be turned off by the amount of previous lore they may need to fully understand the events taking place. There will be another example of this later on in the episode that may confuse viewers.
The first half of the episode focuses on Sabine’s training and shows how much of an uphill battle she has, considering her low aptitude for the Force. She confides to Ahsoka that she doesn’t believe she can be a good Jedi when she doesn’t feel the Force in the same way Ahsoka does. Ahsoka tells her to start small and leaves her to practice her concentration on a small cup. This scene made me smile, because watching Sabine focus really hard to use the Force reminded me of when I was a kid and I tried to use the Force to lift things like a TV remote or a glass of water. I’m not sure if they were purposely trying to invoke that nostalgia, but that’s what I took from it.
Halfway through the episode, Ahsoka, Sabine, and Huyang arrive in the Denab system, where they tracked the transport that escaped from Episode Two. Huyang says he detects a large object behind the planet, but they are interrupted by Shin Hati and Marrok commanding squadrons to shoot them down. At first, Ahsoka and Sabine struggle to work together, but Ahsoka smartly realizes she needs to adjust to help Sabine in a way she can work most effectively. Once she does that, they begin to pick off the enemy ships.
After discovering the large object, the group are knocked hard by a turbo laser and are dead in the water, so to speak. This leads to a scene that, personally, I found very fun and humorous. However, I don’t think that was the writer’s intention. While Sabine fixes the ship, Ahsoka puts on a space suit and uses her lightsabers to deflect the enemies lasers and cut them down when they fly by. I’ve got to say, I was partly distracted from the coolness of the scene because I just kept wondering how Ahsoka has a space helmet tailored made to fit her head tails. I also couldn’t help but feel like Ahsoka flying through space and chopping down ships was a bit campy.
This leads to what I mentioned earlier about the show possibly confusing viewers not versed in all the lore. After Sabine fixes the ship, she pilots them into the atmosphere of a planet we later learn is Seatos. After some evasive maneuvering, they detect large objects in their scanners. Breaking through the clouds, they see a bunch of Purrgil, the space whales that Ezra used to defeat Thrawn in the Star Wars: Rebels finale. For those not familiar with that, however, they’ve got to be wondering why a bunch of giant whales showed up and why they’re important. They do explain the Purrgil and the fact they are capable of light speed travel, but it’s got to be jarring for those who are just now being introduced to them.
Characters and Performance – Subtle Character Building
For the most part, all of the character development that happened during this episode was done subtly. From Ahsoka and Sabine’s training session, to Hera’s plea to the senators, it was small but also meaningful. We didn’t get much character development for the antagonists, but that was likely due to the short runtime. As for performances, Ahsoka and Sabine were the focus of the episode, so they shined the brightest. Hera gave a good performance during her plea, you could sense the resentment she had when they challenged her request for a task force and she showed vulnerability when they told her Ezra was likely dead.
Cinematography and Sound – Never Get Tired of Star Wars Effects
One of the things I love about Star Wars is the sound effects that have become synonymous with the franchise. You’ve got the classic lightsaber swooshes and the satisfying fire of lasers from ships. The humming of space ships and holograms also add to the way Star Wars immerses you into the world. This episode also wore its Japanese influences on its sleeve. The training exercises, the Bokken they practice with, all show just how much Japanese culture influenced the creation of Star Wars.
Editing and Pacing – Very Short but Very Fun
I talked about the runtime earlier and I’ll admit I was disappointed that the episode was so short, but only because I was having lots of fun and wanted more. Despite the episode being short, the pacing wasn’t lighting fast like you’d expect. Sure, some scenes could have benefitted from having more time, but overall you didn’t feel the show was rushing to get everything on screen. I thought the show did a good job for the most part when it came to the editing. Although, during the scene where they fly around the Purrgil, I thought the editing was a bit rough and some bits didn’t quite cut together seamlessly.