CLONE WARS BREAKDOWN – AHSOKA AND THE UNDERWORLD ARC

Disney, Star Wars, TV Reviews

The second to last episode arc of The Clone Wars, historically called “Ahsoka’s Walkabout” features four new episodes that deals with the aftermath of Ahsoka leaving the Jedi Order. It includes episodes such as “Gone With A Trace,” “Deal No Deal,” “Dangerous Debt,” and “Together Again.”

These episodes followed Ahsoka, who after leaving the Jedi Order sought to hide from her Jedi past and learn how to live like a normal citizen in a galaxy far far away. Throughout this arc she faces many challenges and each of which forces her closer and closer to revealing the truth about who she is.

Ahsoka Lives:

I must say, the highlight of this arc was Ahsoka. Every decison she had to make pushed her closer and closer to revealing her own identity. The talks between her and the Martez sisters really showed how little the Jedi understood the common person. Instead of proudly defending the Jedi as she had done numerous times throughout the series, we see Ahsoka take a more nuanced and bitter approach towards them. Clearly she is hurt by their betrayal from season 5. Ahsoka’s voice actor, Ashley Eckstein, once again played the young ex-Jedi adding notes of sorrow and bitterness to her character that really gave this arc life.

Ahsoka was not the only person the Jedi hurt, in one scene we learn that the Martez sisters, who are new characters, were also hurt by the Jedi, whose wreckless decision making caused their parents to die. According to Rafa, the green skinned Jedi responsible for their death (lets be honest, it’s probably Luminara) came up to her and said “I had to make a choice. But not to worry, the force will be with you.” Once again this portrayed the Jedi in a tragic light, a light which The Clone Wars has often shown them in. Oh, how far the Jedi have fallen. This scene spoke to me on a much deeper level than I expected. Speaking as a person of faith, what this Jedi said is the equivilent of someone saying, “don’t worry, God is with you” to anyone else going through deep trauma without taking actions to help. Before we judge the fictional Jedi, lets make sure we judge ourselves. Another reason this scene was so powerful is the beautiful animation, which flawlessly displays Ahsoka’s pained reaction to their story. Ahsoka, who once was a Jedi, clearly feels responsible for what had happened. While this arc may be repetitive at times in regard to the plot (I mean, they were captured at least 3 times) the importance of it for Ahsoka’s story cannot be understated. In the end, Ahsoka learns to face her past and embarks on a mission that will inevitably lead her back to the Jedi.

Shadows of the Underworld

Photo Credit: StarWars.com

Although Ahsoka is on a road leading back to the Jedi, I do not think this means she will rejoining the order. Whatever he case, I am excited to see what may happen next. One of the highlights of episode 8 was the inclusion of Maul (formaly Darth Maul) who once again was voiced by Sam Witwer. When Maul was first brought back to the Clone Wars, I must confess, I wasn’t a fan. To me Maul was just the big brute from The Phantom Menace, but when The Clone Wars revived him, His character reached new heights. Maul was not longer the Emperor’s brute but now forgotten Sith, who, if he had not been presumed dead, would have been apart of The Clone Wars. Needless to say, seeing Maul again was a thrill, once more he is acting behind the scenes and controlling the criminal underworld from the shadows. His organization “The Crimson Dawn”, which was first seen in Solo, was named, further connected this arc to the movie (which it already was from the stunning visuals we first saw on Kessel)!

While they took some time to grow on me, I did enjoy the Martez sisters (Trace and Rafa) and their very different personalities. These two characters really shines when they are seen as foils for Ahsoka. Rafa is a very jaded figure; a type of person Ahsoka could easily turn into if she is not careful, while Trace is entirely nieve, much like Ahoksa was in the first few seasons. In a shocking moment, after picking up some spice to deliver to the Pykes, Trace jettisons the cargo, determined to do what is right. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t think through the consequences of her actions and they all wound up in jail. Although, lest we completely blame Trace, we need to remember that it was Rafa who took the job in the first place, jeopardizing her sister’s safety. These two characters were interesting in their own rights, but at times they did feel kind of one note.

Stories Left Unfinished:

Although I did enjoy this arc, it felt like a B-Tier Clone Wars arc. Throughout its run, The Clone Wars was famous for this. One week it will show an A-Tier episode and then it will have a few that were good, but not great. I feel like this describes this arc. Let me explain:

The Martez sisters had to grow on me. By the end of the arc I really enjoyed both of their personalities, Trace was very aloof to the world around her and Rafa was extremely cynical. As mentioned earlier, I liked these two personalities, but both of them felt under developed.

My other disappointment is probably based more on expectations than on the story itself, but I feel like I should mention it as well. While I think it was clever for Bo-Katan to appear in this arc to tie things into the upcoming Siege of Mandalore arc, it felt a little forced at times. The Mandalorians appeared a few times in the last two episodes only to later follow Ahsoka off world. While I liked the message of the moment (that Ahsoka would have to face her Jedi past once again), it felt rushed. I felt like Ahsoka could have used more time on her own before heading to Mandalore (I mean she literally just left the Jedi Order, assumingly months ago). Also, I do know there are more untold stories featuring Ahsoka on Coruscant that I really would have liked to hear. While I am still excited to see the Seige of Mandalore, I feel its introduction felt forced, aside from that great Maul moment. Speaking of Maul, I am a bit concerned at how he will connect to the overall story. After The Clone Wars’ cancellation, they released a short comic series called “Son of Dathomir” which was an adapted Clone Wars arc explaining what happened to Maul and how he connects with the Mandalorians (again). The last time, canonically, most viewers saw Maul, he was whisked away by Darth Sidious. So much has happened between then that most of the audience doesn’t know about, and should. Maybe I am just sad that The Clone Wars is finally ending, but I feel like there is more to the story that ought to be shown.

I feel like the problems of this arc has less to do with the arc itself, but with the lack of relevant stories surrounding it, stories that would have been animated if Disney had not canncelled the show in the first place. While the end of The Clone Wars is upon us, I dare say it is still left incomplete, at least in animated form.

Predictions:

Lamenting aside, I really did enjoy these past 8 episodes. While I don’t want The Clone Wars to end so quickly, I am excited to finally see what would have been the end of a 8 season run. One season less cannot take that excitement from me!

Next week starts the Seige of Mandalore, where Ahsoka and Maul will have an epic confrontation. I do know a few details from old story boards previously found online as well as the Ahsoka novel written by E. K. Johnston, although some details may change. So, I won’t predict the things I am already certain about, but I will predict some of the things I do not know.

I think, next week we are going to see Ahsoka team up with Bo-Katan, clearly Maul has his grip on Mandalore, and I predict that the Jedi will be too busy to deal with them, after all, Maul is no longer a part of the Sepritist Alliance, he has his own plans. Somehow, the Jedi need to get involved, I’m wondering if Ahsoka will be a part of that, asking for Republic Aid. If I remember correctly, the last time Maul was on Mandalore, Obi-Wan traveled there without the Jedi’s approval, to rescue Satine. So something has to happen that convinces the Republic to intervene. My guess is that Mandalore officially asks for Republic aid. And Anakin and Obi-Wan, who are already on the outer rim seiges, come to help.

I am also particually excited to see what happens with Captain Rex. We know Seige of Mandalore is taking place around the time of Revenge of the Sith. Will we see Order 66? And if so, will Rex be able to overcome his programing? Will he participate in Order 66, I assume that he would be the one to first recieve the order. How do we get the Rex and Ahsoka from The Clone Wars, to the Rex and Ahsoka we see in Rebels.

I have no idea. But I am more than excited to see it! How did you enjoy Episodes 5-8? What are your predictions for next week?