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What was Anakin trying to say during the intense training scene in ‘Ahsoka?’

It was so much more than a Master teaching his former padawan.

ahsoka tano and anakin
Screengrab via Lucasfilm/Disney Plus

When the final moments of last week’s Ahsoka augured Anakin’s return in ghost form, we couldn’t even begin to prepare for all the epic moments episode 5 would have in store. Now, Dave Filoni has left us to ponder what was arguably the most important plot development in the MandoVerse to date, an event that not only paints Ahsoka’s character in a different light, but also speaks to Anakin’s new position in the world of the galaxy far, far away.

Anakin appeared to Ahsoka in the World Between Worlds, intending to finish her training. It’s unclear if Hayden Christensen will be back for more in future episodes, but even his brief appearance during episode 5 gave us a lot to chew on. For instance, what was the significance of his last lesson to Ahsoka? And why did he have to channel the Dark Side in order to get it through?

To give you a quick recap, Anakin compelled Ahsoka to duel him, and the two began sparring in the mysterious place connecting all of time and space. Anakin then threw Ahsoka into one of her older memories from the Clone Wars when she and her master had led a charge against the Separatists. Lastly, Ahsoka revisits the Siege of Mandalore, and throughout all of these trips, the two continue to converse about what it means to keep fighting.

When Anakin realizes that he isn’t getting through to Ahsoka, he starts to fight her again, but this time as Darth Vader. It is only in the final moment, when Ahoska seemingly comes out on top, that he lets go of the Dark Side and vanishes.

What was Anakin trying to teach Ahsoka?

Anakin and young Ahsoka
Screengrab via Lucasfilm/Disney Plus

If you want to know what went down between Anakin and Ahsoka in episode 5, you first need to understand what defined the latter’s character arc since the moment she started her journey in The Clone Wars. While the prequel trilogy tries to question the Jedi Order’s hypocritical morality, Ahsoka struggles with that inner ethical compass at every step of the tale. Eventually, she becomes so disillusioned with the Order that she leaves it behind near the end of the animated series and refuses to even call herself a Jedi.

And so, while other others in the galaxy might see a Jedi in Ahsoka, she would dispute that characterization. The Jedi preach that they are keepers of peace, but they haven’t gone a single decade without engaging in some sort of conflict, inflicting as much death and destruction as they received it in turn.

But if Ahsoka doesn’t want to follow that path, why can’t she stop fighting? Why not leave the fight to someone who can stomach it and find a quiet life somewhere, away from it all? Well, it might have to do with Anakin. Though she may be disabused of the notion of good vs. evil, Ahsoka still understands her responsibility towards others as an individual trained in the ways of the Force.

I think Anakin just wants Ahsoka to go all the way and embrace who she is, even if she won’t necessarily appreciate the person looking back at her in the mirror. Anakin is no longer an embodiment of the light side of the Force or the Chosen One, because he, too, understands the hypocrisy of the Jedi Order in never admitting to their will to aggression. Skywalker himself fully embraced the Dark Side and managed to come back to the light, so if anything, his appearance in Ahsoka finally explains why he is the meaning of balance in the Force.

Anakin can tap into the Dark Side without losing himself. He uses that ability to prove to Ahsoka that when it comes down to it, the decision is simple enough; you either surrender and die, or you fight and survive.

In the larger tapestry of the Ahsoka narrative, Anakin’s decision to channel the Dark Side could also tie into his padawan’s insecurities involving Sabine. Ahsoka doesn’t seem to think she’s a good teacher, worrying that her training could lead to Sabine succumbing to the same evil that took her master from her. Anakin teaches Ahsoka that there’s a dark side in all of us, and one slip doesn’t necessarily turn someone away from the light, much less turn them into another Darth Vader.

About the author

Jonathan Wright

Jonathan is a religious consumer of movies, TV shows, video games, and speculative fiction. And when he isn't doing that, he likes to write about them. He can get particularly worked up when talking about 'The Lord of the Rings' or 'A Song of Ice and Fire' or any work of high fantasy, come to think of it.