Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (a 15-Minute Force production): Chapter Six: From Ahch-To to Act Three (Or: Luke and Rey Duke It Out When Luke Takes Away Her Phone Privileges)

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01:15:01 – 01:30:00

Welcome back to the next chapter of The Last Jedi Edition of the 15-Minute Force. In our previous chapter, Finn and Rose managed to escape from Canto Bight with the assistance of the slicer DJ (Benicio del Toro in another dialogue mangling role). We can safely assume that they are returning to the location of the Resistance fleet to break into the Mega-Star Destroyer Supremacy and deactivate the hyperspace tracking device so that the Resistance fleet can escape. That seems like exciting stuff.

We’re not there yet. We’re still back on Jedi Isle, which is on the planet Ahch-To according to reliable source Wookieepedia. I’m not sure how that’s pronounced. Could it be “Act Two”? Which we’re still in, by the way. We don’t transition into Act Three until Rey leaves Ahch-To, which I suppose is appropriate.

Rey is still in the Mirror Cave where we left her, looking at images of herself curving off into infinity. It’s like a series of images each slightly ahead or behind the other by some microscopic slice of time, demonstrated as Rey snaps her fingers. The reflections behind her seem to show the snapping of the fingers before she actually snaps them, while the reflections ahead of her continue snapping after her. It’s a neat effect. But, it’s a Magic Mirror.

Therein lies the problem, which we’ve discussed before. I don’t need midichlorians to explain the Force—on one hand. On the other hand, perhaps my skinless robot hand, I dislike magic and the more fantasy-oriented trappings in any of the Star Wars movies. In my opinion, once again, The Last Jedi has been the worst offender so far.

Magic mirrors. Sheesh. Mirror, mirror in the cave . . .

Rey says, “Let me see them. My parents . . . please.”

The magic mirror cave is not accommodating. She sees only reflections of herself. Unless the cave is telling her that she has no parents. Maybe, like Annakin Skywalker, she was a product of Immaculate Midichlorian Conception, only she one-upped him by having no parents at all.

Rey Facetimes Kylo Ren again after leaving the cave. This has become a thing. A thing I don’t like much, but a thing, nonetheless.

I thought I’d find answers here,” she says. “I was wrong. I’ve never felt so alone.”

You’re not alone,” Kylo Ren tells her.

Neither are you,” she tells her long-distance beau. “It isn’t too late.” They both tenderly reach out and touch fingers. Rey sheds a single tear.

Luke Skywalker catches them before any phone sex can begin. He yells at them to stop and the hut blows up around them. Rey asks Luke if it’s true that he tried to murder young Ben Solo. Luke angrily tells her to leave the island. Now! Rey strikes Luke with her quarterstaff as he walks away from her. No, Rey is insistent, she wants to know. Is it possible that Luke Skywalker, the Last Jedi, the legend himself, created Kylo Ren through his actions? Luke uses the Force to remove some sort of antenna from the top of a hut, which he uses to fight Rey. While I was hungry for action—any action–this fight seems a bit out-of-character and pointless.

When Rey says, “Tell me the truth, “ Luke gives us yet another Rashomon-style version of that fateful night.

I saw darkness. I’d sensed it building in him. I’d see it at moments during his training. But then I looked inside . . . and it was beyond what I ever imagined. Snoke had already turned his heart. He would bring destruction, and pain, and death . . . and the end of everything I love because of what he will become. And for the briefest moment of pure instinct . . . I thought I could stop it. It passed like a fleeting shadow. And I was left with shame . . . and with consequence. And the last thing I saw . . . were the eyes of a frightened boy whose master had failed him.”

Rey doesn’t think it’s too late for Kylo Ren. She thinks she can turn him. Like every other woman who’s been in love with a bad boy, she believes she can change him. She saw his future when they touched hands.

Luke begs her not to do this. Rey offers Luke back his lightsaber, one last time. When Luke refuses to take it again, she says, “Then he is our last hope.” Meaning Kylo Ren.

Rey flies off in the Millennium Falcon, unsuccessful in her mission to bring Luke Skywalker back into the fight. After she leaves, Luke is visited by Yoda’s Force ghost. Luke tells his old master that he’s burning down the tree, the texts, the Jedi. Yoda laughs. He agrees that it is time for the Jedi Order to end. It is Yoda himself who summons a lightning bolt to destroy the Jedi library.

Yoda tells Luke, “Lost Ben Solo, you did. Lose Rey, we must not.”

I can’t be what she needs me to be,” Luke says.

Heeded my words not, did you? Pass on what you have learned. Strength, mastery. But weakness, folly, failure, also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is. Luke, we are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.”

When Yoda finishes reading the message in his fortune cookie, I believe we pass into Act Three. Our major characters are all moving to new settings in their next scenes.

Finn, Rose and DJ the stuttering slicer are still zipping along in their stolen starship. DJ, revealing his mercenary heart, says they need to talk about a down payment on the job he’s about to help them pull. He accepts Rose’s gold pendant as upfront payment. Finn wants DJ to give the pendant back, but the slicer ignores him. He tries to offer Finn some advice: It’s all a machine, partner. Live free, don’t join. He’s advising Finn not to take sides in the conflict. That does sound a little like Lando.

Meanwhile, Poe Dameron, Hero of the Resistance, confronts Admiral Holdo. He asks if they are fueling up the transports and abandoning ship. He calls her a coward. The transport ships are unarmed and unshielded. If they abandon the cruiser, they don’t stand a chance. Poe insists that Holdo isn’t just a coward, but also a traitor.

Not surprisingly, Holdo orders her people to get Poe off her bridge.

Poe contacts Finn to bitch about Holdo’s plan. Finn tells him that they have a codebreaker and are almost there. Poe just needs to buy them a little time. Poe says all right, but hurry.

Rey, meanwhile, is converging upon the same location. She leaves the Falcon in an escape coffin and lands inside the massive Star Destroyer. She is met by Kylo Ren, but also by stormtroopers, and she is immediately placed in restraints. Now she is a prisoner of the First Order.  Were any of us really surprised when Kylo seemingly betrayed her?

DJ manages to slip himself, Finn and Rose inside the Star Destroyer’s shields as this chapter draws to a close. This is great third act stuff. Our heroes are coming back together after being separated during the long second act, and it looks like the day is about to be saved. That’s the way these things work, right? Finn and Rose will carry out their assigned task, the same way Obi-Wan did in A New Hope, and then it will be up to Rey and, maybe, Poe, to bring down the Star Destroyer so that what remains of the Resistance can escape. Then maybe a short celebratory scene at the end.

Hold that thought. This one doesn’t go quite that way. That would be too predictable.

Something just occurred to me. Either I was wrong about where Act Two transitions into Act Three (and I don’t think I was), or this movie actually has a rare four-act structure. Not three acts and an epilogue, but actually four distinct acts. I just remembered where our next transition occurs, and the story changes tack again.

Maybe that’s one of problems with this movie. It seems to spend a lot of time building to a certain point and then abruptly changes direction. Surprise isn’t always a bad thing. I certainly wasn’t able to predict the ending when I watched this in the theater.

Until we meet again next week . . . Hope is Like the Sun. If You Only Believe in it When You Can See It, You’ll Never Make it Through the Night . . . And May the 15-Minute Force Be With You.

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