Ahsoka Tano is back.
Many fans have been waiting for this moment. The story of “Gone With a Trace” picks up where we left years ago: despite being cleared of false accusations, Ahsoka Tano has left the Jedi Order and is now trying to find her new path in life. Her encounters with what it means to no longer be a Jedi, when being a Jedi was all you knew, are likely going to follow us through most of this season.
The episode introduces Ahsoka to the dynamic duo of Trace and Rafa Martez, sisters who are trying to make their living on Coruscant’s level 1313. While Trace works as a mechanic and initially helps Ahsoka to repair her broken speeder, Rafa seems to try to make fortune by bartering not-entirely-clean deals that are borderline risky, to say the least.
The episode culminates with one such deal going wrong. During the repair of load-lifter droids, a droid goes rogue and starts wreaking havoc across the level. In the end, Ahsoka has to use her Force training to save Trace.
To Be or Not To Be a Jedi
The situation becomes more interesting within the context of Trace’s previously revealed doubts regarding the Jedi. The episode confronts Ahsoka with the perspective of common (or even the worst-to-do) folk on the Jedi: they are “up there”, fighting their wars, and they are not really helping the folk like Trace or Rafa who are struggling to get by. Clearly, this is the setup for Ahsoka to realise what the Jedi should be; not the name, but the ideal: the “knights in shining armour” should be saviours for the common folk, not only the warriors in someone else’s war.
If this theme continues to resurface in Ahsoka’s story (as it already has, to a degree, in previous seasons – thus, Ahsoka’s encounter with the sisters is only a logical culmination of this development), we can expect one of the deepest problems of prequel Star Wars to be addressed directly: that is, who are the Jedi and who should they be? They are going to be destroyed by the Sith – but have they ceased to be what they should have been already by becoming warriors instead of guardians of peace and protectors of those who need it? This question is latently present already in Attack of the Clones, but here it may be finally voiced aloud.
The Girls of Level 1313
The dynamic of the “girls’ gang” provides a contrast of sorts to the very macho “Bad Batch” quartet. Trace (the tomboyish mechanic) and her sister Rafa (the older, more worldly – forgive me, but I can’t resist the comparison – “Posh Spice”) are characters based on very simple archetypes, but they seem surprisingly “alive” and are very well-written. It may be because they are the first original completely new characters after more than half a decade long break, but the quality of their characterisation stood out to me so much that it almost felt like they did not belong to the TCW setting.
Hardcore fans also wouldn’t have missed the sisters’ home was on level 1313. The symbolism of this number is multifold, the most famous it being the designation of a cancelled 2010s Star Wars game that was supposed to take place on this level of Coruscant’s criminal underworld. Level 1313 was originally invented for a live-action TV series planned (and later cancelled) in early 2000s by George Lucas. Is Lucasfilm trying to dig up this forgotten concept, perhaps probing whether it might be brought back from the dead, just like Clone Wars Season 7 was? Can we expect a #SaveLevel1313 campaign next?
A Great Start
It looks like we can expect Trace and Rafa to hang out with Ahsoka at least for a couple of episodes to come. Given the well-started dynamics between them, a sort of “miniseries” of their adventures would not go amiss. One could easily make a spinoff of an entire season just exploring Ahsoka’s relationship with the sisters and rediscovering her purpose in life amidst the dangers of level 1313.
As a sidenote, some fans, especially after some hints in the recent novel “Ahsoka” (set after these events), may be expecting to see some romantic attraction between Ahsoka and other female characters. I do not expect to see an overt romance, but I am not ruling out more straightforwardly expressed romantic interest in Ahsoka from one of the girls, for instance.
Whatever the case, Ahsoka’s story arc started in a very promising manner, providing a very fresh new plotline with interesting characters and questions in Ahsoka’s character development. With all this already being on the table, we can look forward to more.