One of the most interesting ideas in this episode comes from Baylan Skoll. He’s been one of the most interesting characters on this show from the get-go, even though he hasn’t had a chance to really delve into his backstory. This episode finally gave him a chance to shine and talk more about his motivations, and it feels like he’s actually got the same idea as Luke Skywalker in “The Last Jedi,” but is going about it in the exact opposite fashion. Baylan has embraced the dark to find a power strong enough to end the cycles of conflict in the galaxy in Thrawn because, as a student of history, he sees that the Sith and the Jedi, light and dark, come back and inevitably wipe each other out.
Where Luke tries to break the cycle of violence by throwing away his lightsaber, exiling himself on Ahch-to, and cutting himself off from the Force so he can’t sense the future, Baylan Skoll embraces a darker, larger view of the Force and his place in it. It’s a fascinating connection to Luke Skywalker in the sequel trilogy and shades Luke’s motivations there and how he goes about it in a fascinating way. Watching the dark opposite to something we’ve seen the light side version of is something Dave Filoni has brought us before, for example, the training of Savage Opress by Count Dooku as a dark inversion of Luke’s Jedi training on Dagobah. This altruism to Baylan makes him all the more sympathetic, even though he is going about things entirely the wrong way.
And what is the power he senses greater than even Thrawn? I think that line could pass by most viewers, but I really think that’s the key to whatever the end of this season of this show will be. Will it be as large and impactful as the Bendu was on Thrawn’s defeat on Atollan in “Star Wars Rebels”? We will have to wait and see.