Last week, Ahsoka’s speeder bike broke down, leaving her stranded on Level 1313 of Coruscant’s underworld. Fortunately, her bike landed on the hangar (and repair shop) of Trace Martez, who has thus far proven to be a good hearted person–and maybe even a friend.
Trace’s sister Raffa, on the other hand, is abrasive and morally flexible…and may need help with a job.
The episode opens with Ahsoka and Trace doing some work on Trace’s starship. Impressed by the former Jedi padawan’s mechanical skills, Trace asks what academy Ahsoka attended during her days living topside on Coruscant. Ahsoka replies that it was “Skywalker Academy,” which was more than a little heart wrenching.
Trace reveals that her and Raffa’s parents abandoned them (or were possibly killed/incarcerated). While Raffa begun running illegal schemes to make ends meet, Trace worked every odd job she could find to earn enough credits to buy her starship freighter, which she decided to name the Silver Angel.
After the pair moves on to repairing Ahsoka’s bike, Trace manages to convince her new friend that she should stick around for a while. Raffa conveniently shows up at this point with a dilemma: The crew she hired for an off planet job has flaked out on her and she needs a new pilot/ship.
Trace is initially hurt and offended that her sister didn’t come to her first, but still happily accepts the chance to take her ship on its first test run. As she heads off to get the Silver Angel ready, Raffa confronts Ahsoka and demands that she reveal her ulterior motives for helping Trace. Ahsoka insists she’s simply trying to help them, but Raffa is predictably unconvinced.
After ascending to the skies over Coruscant, Trace guides the Silver Angel into a military lane despite Raffa and Ahsoka’s warnings not to do so. Their ship is quickly hailed by a Republic Star Destroyer that just happens to be manned by Admiral Wullf Yularen. As if that weren’t awkward enough, Anakin Skywalker is on the bridge, as well.
Ahsoka and Raffa beg Trace to ignore the hail and move out of the lane, but she refuses, insisting for some reason that she needs to respond. Yularen immediately berates her for flying in restricted airspace while also threatening to take her non-existent star pilot license. After Raffa unsuccessfully tries to smooth things over, Ahsoka cuts the transmission and convinces Trace to move into a transport lane.
Meanwhile, on the Star Destroyer’s bridge, Anakin asks Yularen who is aboard the rogue freighter. Although the admiral doesn’t know (or care), it’s clear that the Jedi and his former padawan can sense each other’s presence.
Whether he fully understands what he’s feeling or not, Ahsoka’s proximity convinces Anakin to tell Yularen he should let the Silver Angel break off and leave the planet without incident.
After what could be generously described as a rough start, Trace continues to prove her inexperience by entering hyperspace with her air brakes on. Thankfully, she realizes her mistake in time before the ship is torn apart.
When the Silver Angel comes out of hyperspace, Ahsoka is shocked to discover that they’ve arrived at Kessel, a planet known for its enormous spice mining operations and heavy ties to the criminal underworld. Their contact destination, however, is the on the scenic palace grounds of King Yaruba.
After parking the Silver Angel at the palace’s landing spire, the trio is greeting by Yaruba’s consigliere, Kinash Lock. After bringing them inside for a banquet, he declares that their success on this delivery run will ensure Raffa and her sister are awarded a continuing contract. Raffa is able to play it cool, but Trace has absolutely no chill, excitedly insisting that they have “the fastest ship around.”
Ahsoka, on the other hand, expresses her concern that the unrefined spice they’re transporting will not be utilized for medicinal purposes. Lock is taken aback at her accusation, but assures her and the Martez sisters that everything is above board.
On their way back to the Silver Angel, Ahsoka tries to explain to Raffa that running spice will make them a prime target for pirates. Raffa counters by explaining that no one will know it’s them because their ship is significantly smaller than the others that normally transport the substance. Ahsoka politely points out that Raffa’s logic is stupid (especially since they are LEAVING A PLANET KNOWN FOR IT’S SPICE TRADE), but to no avail.
After unsuccessfully trying to dissuade Trace from going through with the mission, Ahsoka and the Martez sisters board the Silver Angel and depart for the spice mines. Trace is visibly perturbed by the massive amount of slave labor being used, but Raffa waves it off, explaining that the Republic would never allow a slave-based operation to exist. In one of the few poignant moments from this episode, a disillusioned Ahsoka affirms that the Republic would ignore it just like Raffa did.
After getting the spice loaded onto the Silver Angel, the trio departs and heads into hyperspace. Raffa finally reveals that their recipient is Marg Krim, leader of the criminal Pyke Syndicate on the planet Oba Diah. Ahsoka is simultaneously mortified and furious. After angrily explaining how bad/ruthless the Pykes are, Raffa counters that she took the job to pay off the massive debt she and her sister have back on Coruscant. Ahsoka shoots back that the debt is hers, not Trace’s.
While Ahsoka and Raffa continue to argue about what they should do with the spice, Trace begins to freak out over the possibility of her ship being confiscated by an intergalactic crime syndicate.
At this point, she has two options:
- Option A (Raffa’s Plan): Deliver the spice to the Pykes, who would most likely pay and let them be on their way since they needed to keep their supply line open with Kessel.
- Option B (Ahsoka’s Idea): Find somewhere to deliver the spice that will make use of it as medicine instead of a illicit black market drug.
Instead of selecting either of those, Trace decides to goes with…
- Option C: Dump the spice out into space and screw everyone over.
For once, Ahsoka and Raffa are on the same side, amazed and infuriated by Trace’s stupidity.
Raffa angrily suggests that the only way they can get out of their predicament now is if they sell the Silver Angel to the Pykes. Trace predictably refuses, leaving it up to Ahsoka to try and Jedi their way out of things.
After landing at the Pyke compound, Marg Krim demands to see the spice before handing over the payment. Ahsoka subtly uses a Jedi mind trick to make him cool with taking the merchandise without inspecting it and allowing them to leave.
Unfortunately, his guards can tell that something is definitely up with their bosses sudden laxness. As Ahsoka and the Martez sisters reboard their ship, Krim’s consigliere checks the storage containers himself and discovers that they’re empty. He immediately orders patrol ships to surround the landing platform and engages the compound’s tractor beam.
Unfortunately for our heroes, the Silver Angel’s doors take an excruciatingly long time to close, allowing the Pykes plenty of time to trap the ship before it can escape.
If you were hoping for things to pick up after last week, then I’m sorry to report that ‘Deal or No Deal’ is a severe disappointment.
Yes, the animation is beautiful, particularly the scenes of the Silver Angel in flight over Kessel. And despite how contrived it is to have Anakin happen to be a on Star Destroyer over Coruscant right when Ahsoka flies by on a rogue freighter, it did make for a nice moment.
Otherwise, there’s not much to enjoy. Every story beat is painfully predictable, from Raffa’s escalating shadiness to Kinash Lock doing everything short of a mustache twirl to let you know he’s up to no good. The only surprising moment was when Trace dumped the spice, which was a colossally stupid move no matter how much she cared about her ship. Why would an otherwise savvy character think that dumping a crime syndicate’s extremely valuable merchandise (THAT THEY KNOW SHE HAS) help their situation at all?
There was also complete lack of action in this episode. I’m all for a tension-filled/dialogue-heavy narrative as long as it’s good. In this case, however, we got a poorly executed by-the-numbers story that culminated in a capture that couldn’t even be proceeded by a chase.
Let’s hope next week’s installment (which pretty much has to include some type escape sequence) is more entertaining…or maybe we can just skip the next two episode and go straight to the Siege of Mandalore.