“Life and Death” depicts Ahsoka’s earliest year in a sensitive short that shows power can be just as much about empathy and understanding as lightsabers and blasters.
This Tales of the Jedi season 1, episode 1 recap for the episode titled “Life and Death” contains spoilers.
The first episode of Tales of the Jedi, and the first of three centering on Ahsoka Tano, is a quiet, almost serene twenty minutes that establishes the idea of Ahsoka’s power in a much more non-traditional way than Star Wars usually likes. Don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll get to the lightsaber duals and droid shootouts later – for now, it’s time to become one with nature.
Tales of the Jedi season 1, episode 1 recap
This, to my understanding, is the earliest depiction of Ahsoka’s backstory – it couldn’t be any earlier, in fact, since it’s set around the time of her actual birth in a placid Togruti village. E. K. Johnston’s young-adult novel Ahsoka detailed more of her life during the post-Order 66 period that subsequent episodes will explore, but “Life and Death” is all new, and all cute.
There is plenty of ceremony surrounding Ahsoka’s birth. Her mother, Pav-ti (Janina Gavankar), is very reminiscent of the grown-up she’ll become. When Ahsoka is a year old, Pav-ti takes her hunting, perhaps against her better judgment, but there are a lot of lessons to be learned – especially about life and death – on the trip. But there’s also a fair amount of danger, which is revealed when Pav-ti kills a kybuck and is subsequently attacked from behind by a creature that I don’t know the name of but that looks very much like a saber-toothed tiger on steroids.
The tiger attacks Pav-ti and takes Ahsoka deeper into the forest, presumably as a meal. Ahsoka’s father, Nak-il (Sunil Malhotra), comes running, but he’s too late to prevent the kidnapping. Instead, the villagers regroup and plan to hunt the creature down. But luckily, Ahsoka has everything under control.
If this were Luke Skywalker or someone, the baby would have probably flung the tiger all around its cave and spent the night sleeping among its entrails. But Ahsoka’s obvious Force sensitivity is… well, more sensitive. She boops the creature on its nose and it settles, the power of the Force flowing through them both. Before the villagers have even had a chance to leave the village, Ahsoka emerges riding the tiger, which lays her gently at their feet. The village elder, Gantika (Toks Olagundoye), declares quite rightly that the child is a Jedi.
It’s a nice opener, then, delving deeper into Togruti culture and showcasing how the Force isn’t just about lightning and lightsabers – it can be about empathy, understanding, and finding common ground. And riding tigers, obviously, which is always a plus.