I have a bit of time tonight, so some more specific thoughts. They’re a bit scattered as I’m jotting them down as they come to me.
For me as a non-Prequelist, Hayden finally now looked like someone who embodied the mannerisms of Vader and I could definitely see him becoming Vader. I’ve never once, in 25 years, seen or thought of him as Vader. It just did not work at all for me. I most certainly do not see that in any Prequel clips I’ve ever watched. In fact he’s always seemed like a terrible choice. Turns out it was really just more bad writing and directing by Lucas. That all changed in episode 5. To me, Hayden was able to redeem himself as an actor as well as the character. He IS Vader.
Put the characters in the right hands and let actors do what they do best and it can make a VERY big difference. It certainly did for me with Hayden. Like I mentioned to a friend, when he said “you lack conviction” just as he’s trying to kil her - that felt 100% like a Vader moment. Same with his matter-of-fact explanation of things to her. Also his not coddling her is interesting. When she tells him “I don’t understand” , his response is “that’s your problem” and he takes off running without her. He’s no nonsense with her. It’s an interesting dynamic. I particularly liked him saying how it bothered him when soldiers were killed…”of course it does”. His last line to her is perfection, like the visit meant something, but wasn’t as serious as she may have imagined. It really was a lesson disguised as a fight - “there’s hope for you yet”. Man, that is depth of character we’ve never had before.
I’m thinking she may be my favorite of the cast. She speaks and behaves like an actual person. I’ve watched episode 2 three times. Hera and Sabine in the hospital is the highlight. Hera speaks to her like friends sometimes do. Her answer to Sabine is painfully honest when Sabine frets over how she , as she puts it, let a mission “go sideways”… “Well, you’re both difficult” and again with her answering Sabine; “She doesn’t want my help”…”yes she does”. That’s how people speak to each other. That felt real.
Same with her extended conversation on the ship after having searched for Sabine all day - she has a sort of defeat in her voice when she says ”Huyang….where are they?” She isn’t so much asking as she’s letting on that she’s worried and losing hope. That defeat in her voice comes up again later when she asks Ahsoka moments after she regains consciousness - “where’s Sabine”.. Outstanding work by Winstead.
She’s very stoic through most of the series. I’m fine with that. She’s not the most dynamic by any stretch, but that’s who she is. We’re catching up with her later in life and she’s become very mature. With that in mind, I think her time with Anakin in the World between worlds changed her.
She seemed lighter, less stressed. There are a few scenes after where she’s a bit different.
One where she’s outside the ship and bangs on the window …”hey!…get in there”. She’s showing emotion she has been bottling up prior to that moment.
The second one where they’re in the whale mouth and she says “I have no idea if this is going to work”…”no idea”. When she says the second time “no idea”, she’s smiling for what feels like the first time in the series. She’s lighter, almost happy.
It’s late and I’m exhausted. I’ll address the other characters and scenes later.