Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited – Part 36: Testing Rebel Waters

It feels like a million years ago I last talked about the Clone Wars. Although I suppose part of that comes from the sheer quantity of words I’ve had to produce in this month. Although it’s been nice to return to this series, and finish off this second part of the four-part storyline focusing on the Gerrera siblings and the liberation of Onderon.

Season 5, Episode 04: A Soft War

We resume the story amidst the guerrilla war the Onderon rebellion are undertaking in the streets of the capital Iziz. More so than before, it seems like a lot of this fight is a publicity campaign. While the people should be fearful that there is fighting happening outside of their homes and in their markets, the new face of the movement; Steela Gerrera manages to inspire the people to their side.

There’s this strange tone to part of this episode, like it’s trying to play both sides’ stories, but not really. Because while the is undoubtedly a set of good guys and bad guys in this conflict, the puppet leadership of Sanjay Rash and his council say all of the things you’d expect to hear from a government dealing with a terrorist threat. It makes you kind of question who here really are the good guys considering the potential for shades of grey, coupled with the infighting going on in both camps.

Although let’s be real, this is Star Wars and things are generally painted very distinct shades of white and black.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited - Part 36: Testing Rebel Waters

After some building frustrations, Saw breaks off on his own to try and rescue former king Ramsis Dendup against the wishes of his sister. While he’s out, it’s obvious that the little crush between Lux and Steela has evolved into something more mutual. Adding one more little tragically doomed element to this whole sorted affair.

Saw is quickly captured by the droids guarding Dendup, walking straight into a booby trap designed to prevent anyone from leaving the grounds of the palace. After learning of this, Steela makes the tough choice to leave Saw in their clutches, as to not endanger their own plan to liberate Dendup during his execution the following day.

It’s Ahsoka’s presence in this story that really helps me connect to the events and what’s going on, which was no doubt the intention. When contacting Anakin and Obi-Wan of events, she is concerned over the rift in the alliance of the rebels and feels responsible for them. Obi-Wan urges her to try and leave them to their own choices, the whole point of this experiment was to determine whether this rebellion could operate on their own without being babied by the Jedi.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited - Part 36: Testing Rebel Waters

It seems a little cold to me, but I suppose it’s a “teach a man to fish” kind of message rather than them being this disconnected political entirety that the Jedi seem to increasingly turning into. In the palace, Saw is being tortured by Dooku’s man/droid on the inside. Upon seeing this, the leader of the planet’s militia; General Tandin debates the effectiveness and merits to the Confederacy’s approach to leadership and military strategy. Right from his introduction, you can see he’s man of principle, and the new way of doing things doesn’t sit right with him.

He takes Saw down from his torture rack and talks to him in an interrogation room. He speaks quite frankly with the rebel fighter and Saw’s typical firey passion for the freedom of choice seems to leave a mark on the old General, something that ends up changing his mind further down the road. Plus, it’s a pretty decent debate of morals about using violence to effect change.

Saw’s words are enough for the old General to decide he doesn’t like the changes in his world’s government and uses his militia to save the former king and the rebels themselves who seem to have gotten in over their head during their rescue attempt. It’s only when he himself seems willing to die for the choice he’s made that Ahsoka dives in to save the man from making the heroic sacrifice.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited - Part 36: Testing Rebel Waters

Although Ahsoka revealing herself to the enemy means that the Confederacy are now aware that the Republic are meddling in their affairs of Onderon. Which means open warfare is now an inevitability as a full droid army are on their way to the planet to quell the rebellion and their new members after the actions of the royal guard.

These days, I’m really starting to see how much Ahsoka has matured as a Jedi. While she is talking with her two masters (because it seems like Obi-Wan does as much teaching of her as Anakin does) she seems level headed, cool under pressure and authoritative all on her own. At this point, it really doesn’t feel like Knighthood is that far off from Ahsoka’s future.

 

Season 5, Episode 05: Tipping Points

With all the extra support of the Onderon Militia and the people of the planet themselves, the Separatists have sent an overwhelming military force to the world with the plans to wipe out the rebellion once and for all. We have moved out of the city this time, as to avoid civilians getting caught in the crossfire. As the battle gets underway, I swear a lot of the visuals from the environment and the army’s battling have some amount of inspiration from James Cameron’s Avatar

Before the battle begins, We see a “calm before the storm” interaction between Lux and Steela that seemingly confirms that Ahsoka has well and truly been friend zoned. That’s because Steela plants a big kiss on Lux. Although, at this point, it seems like Ahsoka has gotten over whatever jealousy and feeling she was having in the first two episodes when it came to seeing them together, as she seems genuinely happy for Lux.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited - Part 36: Testing Rebel Waters

The battle itself goes pretty poorly, as the droid forces prove too much for the limited hardware the rebellion has access to. It’s at this point that Obi-Wan tells Ahsoka that, if things look like they’re going to take a turn for the worst, that she should cut and run. Which seems like an especially cold thing to say from Obi-Wan. I suppose it’s easy for is to feel connected and invested in the struggles of the Gererra siblings at this point.

But this was always their war, and the Jedi were only ever there to lend them some aid, not to fight the war for them. Then again, what is the point of the Jedi if not to help those with a just cause when they are in need of help. Anakin certainly thinks so, going out of his way to ignore the Council’s advice and hire some pirates to smuggle some hardware onto Onderon to support the rebels.

Which gives us a nice, but brief cameo from Hondo Ohnaka and his Weequay band of pirates. Hondo is a real fun, swaggering asshole. It’s fun to see him again. And the gear he brought courtesy of one A. Skywalker is enough for the Rebels to turn the tide of the battle and defeat the Droid army. Although not without some final, and inevitable feeling tragedy.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited - Part 36: Testing Rebel Waters

After saving the former king from an attack, Steela finds herself clinging to the edge of a cliff. All seems to be in hand when Ahsoka starts using the force to life her up to safety, however, one of the droids thought to be destroyed fires and hits Ahsoka in the shoulder, breaking her concentration and causing Steela to fall to her death.

Dooku and his tactical droid come to the conclusion that a drawn-out war with the rebellion is not worth their time and decide to pull their forces out of the city and leave Onderon to the previous regime to fill in the power vacuum. Executing Rash in the process. Just because?

The episode ends on a very bittersweet note, because whole Onderon is now once again free. The figure everyone on the planet rallied behind now lies dead, having given up her life for the cause. It causes Ahsoka to ponder the real cause of the ongoing war she has been fighting in for the sake of the Republic.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited - Part 36: Testing Rebel Waters

Of all people, it’s Lux who ends up reassuring her about her cause. While he was a staunch Separatist when we first met him, the experiences that lead him to losing his mother, as well as what he learned on Onderon has shown him that he feels the Republic is the side he wants to align himself with. Revealing that he’s become the senator for the planet of Onderon

 

Verdict:

I liked this entire story arc. Although I struggled to feel all that connected to these characters. Like I mentioned last week, it almost felt like a proto-Rebels. Almost as if it were testing the waters for telling a story in that kind of setting. While this entire story was telling the tale of Steela Gerrera, there were also shades of Ahsoka starting to see and become despondent with the constant war going on around her since she became a Padawan.

I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m super busy, but this seemed like a kind of weak beginning to season 5. I know it’s not technically the start of season 5 given the weird continuity I’ve decided to work with to write these reviews, but these were some episodes I felt like I could ultimately skip on a potential rewatching, despite the introduction of Saw Gerrera.


 

Next Time:

  • Season 5, Episode 06: The Gathering
  • Season 5 Episode 07: A Test of Strength

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