This week, I finally got a good deal on the Xbox One version of Star Wars: Squadrons, an arcade-like flight simulator where you can play as TIE Fighter and X-wing pilots on various missions set after Return of the Jedi. My Imperial pilot is named Polonious Toot. It is a pretty fun game, although I can’t invest in games like I used to: I’m always considering the books I would rather be reading or movies I would rather be watching.

I tried to start the second X-Wing paperback novel, but those stories are just too light for me to stay invested when reading them in rapid succession. I started Wuthering Heights instead.

New lightsabers were made available on Shop Disney, including Ben Solo’s hilt, but I have to skip it because I spent stupid money on the hard-to-find Arrow Gamera Blu-ray set. Ah, well.

My Shields Can’t Repel Hype of This Magnitude

This was certainly the best episode of The Mandalorian yet, in no small part due to the fact that Ahsoka Tano was finally brought to stunning live-action with a spot-on performance by Rosario Dawson.

A few years ago, I was talking about Star Wars with my dad, who saw the originals in theaters, yadda yadda yadda. And I realized that there are multiple generations of Star Wars. He lacks awareness about the generation of fans who have engaged with and defined their love of the saga through the perspective of characters like Ahsoka, who are as definitive to the overall Star Wars universe as Anakin or Han Solo or Rey Skywalker. It’s inarguable that this audience is much smaller than the audience that goes to the movies or even those who watch The Mandalorian, which is why bringing Ahsoka into the mainstream like this feels like a big deal to those of us who really like her character and what she brings to the series.

If you’re unaware: Ahsoka was Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan through the Clone Wars, whose experiences during that war changed her and her view of the Jedi. She escaped Order 66 in this year’s final season of The Clone Wars (itself one of the finest products to bear the Star Wars brand), but prior to that, she also underwent a personal journey very similar to Luke Skywalker’s arc in The Last Jedi — disillusionment with the Jedi Order and a choice to be a hero in her own way. Choosing to be a hero against all odds is the fundamental story of Star Wars, and its best movies understand that those choices are its bedrock.

Ahsoka later appeared in Star Wars: Rebels, where she faced down her former master in his Darth Vader form, helped the Rebels, etc. She survived that series and a cliffhanger implied another to-be-announced show; her appearance in The Mandalorian hints at that, which is very exciting.

Anyway, Ahsoka refusing to train whom we now know as Grogu (!!!) because of the darkness within him (I mean, he did eat those Frog eggs) was a big character moment for her given her knowledge of Anakin, as well as a big moment for Grogu — formerly Baby Yoda / The Child — giving him some backstory and an internal conflict that makes his father-son relationship with Mando even more interesting.

That burgeoning parental relationship is the best part of The Mandalorian, and I’m glad this episode furthered that as well. Every day, Aly and I are dealing with a little baby who is way smarter than we know but who can’t communicate it. It’s such an interesting approach for this show to take.

Also: The name Grogu is so fucking cute I can’t stand it. I want to vomit. I need to purge myself, it’s so cute. Help me.

I’ve written about this before, but I’m really pleased The Mandalorian doesn’t waste my fucking time very frequently. Other shows would spend a whole season leading up to a small cameo for Bo-Katan or Ahsoka or whatever. Remember those garbage Netflix Marvel shows where the characters never put on their costumes? Fuck that dumb bullshit. I hate “prestige” TV. Nobody has time for that garbage. The Mandalorian knows every episode has to feel special, and although it sometimes fails (like last week), at least every other episode makes up for it with neat new worlds or characters or giant monsters or Frog Ladies. I love this show. It gives me everything I want. It’s fan service in the purest and most honorable form, lacking the cynicism of J.J. Abrams’ shallow productions and replacing it with genuine glee and excitement.

I didn’t even mention how great it was to see Michael Biehn show up as Lang, a mercenary enforcer for the Magistrate who Ahsoka is fighting. And he gets hunted by her, like in Aliens! COME ON!

And Loth-cats!!! And Ahsoka’s white-bladed lightsabers!!!! Mention of Thrawn!!!!

Let’s not downplay how awesome the parallel showdowns were, either, and the way in which Ahsoka’s lightsaber combat was treated like a samurai duel rather than her more fluid and acrobatic depiction in The Clone Wars. I’m always appreciative of the way different directors film lightsaber combat — one of the few things at which J.J. Abrams particularly excelled. Just outstanding.

What an Expensive Episode:

Ahsoka Tano Legacy Sabers – $300 (Christ, I’m so fucking tempted)

6” Lang – $20

6” Magistrate – $20

6” HK-47 – $20

6” Magistrate Guards – $20

6” Loth-cats – $20

6” Ahsoka – $20 (I already own her Clone Wars and Rebels forms, but now I want a Rosario Dawson one too).

Damage: $420