Any sane person would probably take a break from this series for the remainder of December. Seeing as how I’ve got a ton of top ten entries to be writing. I couldn’t do that though, I’m on a roll of not missing one of these Clone Wars uploads for months, and I would be crazy to try and get out of it now.
Plus, with all these new Star Wars series getting announced, I’m becoming increasingly aware that I need to catch up to Rebels after finishing Clone Wars if I want to feel like I’m up to date on everything.
Anyway, we’re into season 5.
Season 5, Episode 02: A War of Two Fronts
We’re on the planet of Onderon, a world I explicitly remember from my dozens of times playing through Knights of the Old Republic II. The world has been overrun and occupied by Separatist forces, ousting the former King and installing new leadership; whojust so happens to be a puppet of Count Dooku.
We begin not with a battle, but with a moral debate within the hall of the Jedi Council. Anakin has proposed training a gathering of fighters to overthrow the new government through ambush tactic and guerrilla warfare. Something that doesn’t sit right with the rest of the Jedi. It feels like it’s been a while since the Jedi actually took a moral stance on something in this series.
The Jedi don’t like the idea of training terrorists, fighters with no oversight that could very easily get innocent civilians mixed up in these proposed tactics. Anakin cutely refers to them as Rebels rather than terrorists. Despite these misgivings though, the council go along with the plan, with Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka making their way to Onderon to covertly train the guerrilla fighters to overthrow the CIS government.
Once on world, we’re treated to the introduction of Saw Gerrera, a character who will go on to appear in video games and movies in the future, meeting his eventual end in Rogue One, whilst being played by Forest Whitaker. Gerrera is a hot-headed, jump in head-first kind of guy. Someone whose eagerness to fight against oppression seems to outstretch his current abilities as a fighter and a leader, at least right now.
Joining him is his sister Steela; the more level headed and capable of the siblings. The early parts of this episode show the Jedi training the little rebellion on the best tactics on taking out droid combatants as quickly and efficiently as possible. While this is far from the first time we’ve seen Anakin training local forces how to fight, it is the first time we’ve seen him doing so with such capable students.
To add a little wrinkle to this whole party though is the inclusion of Lux Bonteri. Despite not wanting to align with either side in the war, Bonteri is from Onderon and has joined Gerrera’s forces to fight the Separatist forces from his homeworld. While I have been pretty critical of Lux in the past, he does seem to be far more capable in this episode than we’ve seen him before. While he might not be a seasoned fighter, he is intelligent and shows he is able to apply that intelligent into battle situations after some training.
However, his presence is the pivot on which all the character drama of this episode balances. He and Saw have a petty rivalry going on, which hinders their ability to work together. Probably not helped by Steela’s obvious feelings of affection for Lux. Which is additionally not helped by Ahsoka’s obvious feelingly of jealousy whenever she sees Lux and Steela together.
Although I’m not sure Lux is even aware of the two women staring daggers at one another over him.
The episode ends with some droids assaulting the encampment after a probe droid discovers their location. Using everything they’ve learned over the course of the episode, along with some quick thinking and ingenuity on Steela’s part, they manage to repel the droids and show that they’re probably ready to infiltrate the capital of Iziz and begin their campaign.
Season 5, Episode 03: Front Runners
After spending some time observing the Guerrilla fighters ambushing droid patrols and taking down checkpoints, the Jedi are content that they don’t need to hang around any longer.
Personally though, these attacks seem ridiculously irresponsible to me. I get that they’re using Ion based weaponry, but there’s nothing stopping the droids from just firing indiscriminately and hitting innocent bystanders nearby. I mean, these attacks are going on in broad daylight, in the middle of crowded markets. I get that this is guerrilla warfare, but the Jedi being happy with this seems super irresponsible.
I suppose Obi-Wan does point out that the populous of Iziz could very easily turn against their campaign if the fighting starts endangering them or affecting their way of life. To them, the fighters could very easily become terrorists if a few of their ambushes go wrong.
In the end though, Rex and the two elder Jedi return to Coruscant. They leave Ahsoka there as an advisor and a liaison to the Republic. Also to observe them and prevent them from going to far. Once on their own Lux comes up with the plan to destroy the city’s power station, therefore preventing the droids from recharging their power cells. This is a sound plan from their perspective, but didn’t we just get past the idea of public perception of them being super important to their continued operations.
Surely, if they kill all power to the city, the city would descend into chaos. I’m not sure the people would be super happy about having their lives turned upside down. I think my big issue with this whole concept is that, from what we’ve seen, the innocent bystanders of Iziz don’t actually seem that adversely affected by the presence of the droids in their city.
They seem to be living relatively normal lives. We’re not seeing the random shakedowns and abuse of power that usually accompany the evil occupying forces in Star Wars. If anything, the guerrilla fighters seem to be doing more damage than the droids do.
I guess my issues with this concept don’t really hold that much water though, because the people seem pretty pleased with the rebellion cutting their power. Casually cheering the success of the power station’s destruction, although seeing how loud and bright that thing is, maybe they’re looking forward to a peaceful night’s sleep for a change.
In the aftermath of the rebel’s success, the fighters all collectively declare Steela their leader. Something Saw seems to take weirdly personally, storming off afterwards. When Lux comforts her and tells her to let her brother cool his head, Ahsoka once again gets that pang in her heart. Something Anakin (who is present via hologram conference call) notices, which is surprisingly observant of him.
I suppose this is one aspect of being a Jedi he is uniquely experienced in. He gives Ahsoka the highly hypocritical advice of putting purpose ahead of feelings. While it’s the correct advice to give as a Jedi, it’s not advice I could ever really conceive of him following himself when it came to Padme.
These episodes feel strange to me, like they’re out of pace with the rest of the series. It makes me wonder if these episodes are a soft pilot to the Rebels series that would follow a few years later. I know Saw ends up being a part of that series too and is more focused on Rebellion rather than the open warfare of the Clone Wars.
I’m softening on the Ahsoka/Lux romance a little now, Lux has finally shown himself to be an intelligent and capable individual, whereas he seemed like a naïve, rage-fuelled dope before. Although while Saw shows up in later examples of the franchise, neither Steela or Lux are characters I know about beyond this point, so it makes me wonder if either of them will survive the remainder of this story arc.
Once again, it’s interesting following a collection of new characters, with Ahsoka only involving herself when she needs to. I’m interested to see the conclusion of this storyline and if there is any deeper commentary to the freedom fighter/terrorist debate that kicked off this storyline. Given Saw’s more extremist tactics in his later years I have a feeling I might know what this puppet of Dooku might have planned for the following episodes.
- Season 5, Episode 04: The Soft War
- Season 5, Episode 05: Tipping Points