This article contains spoilers for Disney+'s Ahsoka season one episode six.
Wow. How about last night's episode of Ahsoka? From the witchy Nightsisters to a new galaxy to the live action debut of both Ezra Bridger AND Grand Admiral Thrawn, it was an episode to remember, despite the titular character not really being in it. But there was one moment in particular that grabbed me.
Just before Thrawn makes his grand entrance, Baylan Skoll and apprentice Shin Hati are reflecting, their goal of finding the Empire's heir finally achieved. In this moment, Baylan recounts that the Jedi's fall and Empire's rise were "all inevitable." History, he says, "repeats again and again." Hati wonders if their alliance with Thrawn is their turn to ascend, to be part of that cycle of history and to rise to power. Baylan tells her it is not.
"That sort of power is fleeting," syas the ex-Jedi. "What I seek is the beginning, so I may finally bring this cycle to an end."
It's an intriguing idea, and a deeply personal statement coming from a character that has been largely shrouded in mystery. But what does it mean? How does Baylan envision an 'end to the cycle,' and what part does Thrawn play in it? I did some digging to try to find out.
Let's rewind a bit to Ahsoka episode four, in which the first meeting between Ahsoka and Baylan took place. After telling Ahsoka he knows who she is, Baylan states the purpose of his quest for Thrawn. "The only reason I am here," he tells his fellow ex-Jedi, " is to secure the future."
Baylan tells Ahsoka he believes that Thrawn will begin a war, a war that will lead to something greater than the galaxy's current predicament. And though it's not war Baylan seeks, he deems it "necessary."
"It is an unfortunate evil that speaks to a greater truth." extolls Baylan. "One must destroy in order to create." Whatever future Baylan has in store, it seems, will come with some great sacrifice. A lightsaber battle begins, and Ahsoka is nearly killed.
Skipping back to Ahsoka episode six, we find Baylan and Shin alone again, and we return to the topic of the future. As the pair hunt for the now-free Sabine Wren, Shin brings up the topic of the Jedi Temple, asking her master if he misses it. "I miss the idea if it," he answers. "But not the truth. The weakness. There was no future there."
Alright, so we've established we've established two things that Baylan holds to be true. First, that a better future means one without weakness. And second, that any body influenced by the Jedi is weak. With that in mind, here's my theory:
Baylan wants Thrawn to make war on the New Republic, with the sole purpose of eliminating the new Jedi influence in the government. Whether or not Thrawn wins or reestablishes the Empire is immaterial. The point is only to get rid of the Jedi (and by extension, maybe even their Sith opposite) once and for all.
Of course, there are still two episodes left in this season of Ahsoka, so there's plenty of time for my humble theory to be proven wrong. And, not to play Devil's Advocate to my own idea, but there's one part of Baylan's plan that I'm struggling to factor in. One part that doesn't involve Thrawn at all.
In the first Baylan/Shin exchange of this episode, master tells apprentice that the place they're in, Peridea, was once a Jedi folktale few believed. He ends their discussion about history's "cycle" by saying that there could be a new "beginning" on Peridea, if those folktales prove true. Later, in their second exchange, Baylan expands on the mystery of this new galaxy.
"I see what once was the Great Witch Kingdom of the Dathmiri. the existence of the Great Mothers confirms this." Shin notes that the Great Mothers, who are those witchy Nightmothers I mentioned earlier, seem eager to leave Peridea.
"Maybe they flee a power greater than their own," posits Baylan. "Something calls to me. Can't you hear it? Something stirs here. Can't you see it?" A bandit sighting interrupts the ambitious ex-follwer of the Jedi and mastermind in his own right before he can expland on that idea, leaving us with some pretty big questions.
What is the power that resides in Peridea? And what does Baylan Skoll seek to do with it?
Ahsoka is streaming now on Disney+.
Another giant question at the heart of Ahsoka is the indentity of Marrok, a new Inquisitor.