I’ve come dangerously close to missing an upload of the Clone Wars. But I’ve just watched these episodes and written about them straight away. Because hell with letting them settle and allowing myself to dwell on them for a while. Honestly though, these are pretty cut and dry episodes any.
Season 5, Episode 06: The Gathering
This episode is a mostly self-contained story, taking place away from the war. Instead, we take some time to see the inner working of how young Jedi grow and move from one stage of their development to the next. In this episode, we follow a collection of younglings who are on the verge of becoming eligible to become Padawan learners.
One of the final stages in their training is to collect a Kyber crystal from the caves of Ilum so they can begin the construction of their Lightsaber. Again, Ahsoka is present to take this collection of six kids to Ilum. As much as I’ve come to love Ahsoka, she seems to be heavily involved in everything that’s going on in the Jedi temple these days. Plus she’s still just a Padawan, one that hardly seems to spend any time around her master anymore.
We’ve got a ton of Jedi living at this temple, but the series seems increasingly reluctant to make use of them of late. The series has shown it can carry stories without it’s main characters already, Ahsoka’s presence here feels a little unnecessary when it could have easily been any other Jedi we don’t get to see very often. That’s just a personal gripe though.
Once the kids get into the cave, it quickly becomes apparent that it works in a similar way to the cave on Dagobah Luke ventured into during Empire. As the kids look for their individual crystals, the cave manifests situations in which it tests them to overcome their biggest weakness in order to retrieve their crystal.
Giving them lessons in courage, self-confidence, patience and selflessness. They all end up overcoming something in order to retrieve their crystal and all succeed in their task. The final one of which is Petro, who is the cocksure kid who comes dangerously close to leaving one of his fellow classmates to apparently freeze to death in the caves.
The whole thing is one of those frustratingly cryptic learning experiences we see all the time in fantasy stories. Where some grand old wizard, who is Yoda in this case, paints this task with dire consequences, only for it to be a load of bullshit by the end. Some grand manipulation to teach you a lesson.
It goes to show how bad of a Jedi I’d be, as Yoda’s cheeky little lessons would frustrate the hell out of me personally. It’s one of those “you must overcome yourself” kind of tests that would leave me more annoyed than enlightened by the time I’d failed it. Because let’s be real. I’d fail the hell out of that test.
Season 5, Episode 07: A Test of Strength
Ahsoka’s presence in the story seems like it makes a lot more sense now considering the events of this episode that follows the previous one. Although I still question the decision making on the Jedi’s part to allow a mere learner escort a bunch of children into Unknown Regions and back during an active war.
Before we get to the action segment of the show, we get another peek into Jedi development, meeting an ancient droid voiced by David Tennant who instructs Younglings in the basic knowledge of Lightsaber construction. There is very much a “more than meet the eye” thing going on with this character.
While he may be a droid and unable to feel the force himself, that doesn’t mean we should disregard his knowledge and experience and what is can offer us as we grow. It feels like every little thing the Younglings are being presented with on this journey is some kind of learning experience.
During the scene where the droid; Huyang, is going through his collection of materials and presenting them to the youngling is very whimsical. It reminds me of a lot of the Olivander scenes from the earlier Harry Potter movies. Which you could very easily drawn comparisons between when it comes to wizard wands and a Jedi’s Lightsaber.
The cocky kid from the previous episode, Petro continues to be the one whose presence seems to stick out. He is in such a rush to be the best that he ends up incorrectly construction his Lightsaber, meaning it could easily invert its own power source and self destruct. Something that comes into play later on.
As the ship is making its way back to Coruscant, they are ambushed by Pirates. Hondo of all people, whose status as either a friend or an enemy seems to swing back and forth pretty drastically on an episode per episode basis. Although, it reminds me quite a bit of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, in that at the end of the day, they’re still pirates, and will stab you in the back at the very first opportunity.
As Ahsoka and the Younglings try to fight off the pirates, the kids using a few very Home Alone-esque makeshift traps, Petro’s broken Lightsaber ends up being a huge boon. As he tricks the pirates into using it and the resulting explosion being able to mask their escape. Enough time for them to get to safety and Ahsoka to enact her initial plan.
In regards to Petro, I’m struggling to decide whether the show itself is approving of his attitude or not. Despite the fact that he is filled with traits like arrogance, impatience and anger, this episode seems to imply that being a cocky d-bag is the best approach to being a Jedi. Between his and Anakin Skywalker’s attitudes, they’re both apparently far more effective at things they put their minds to than their peers.
I’m kind of wondering whether the show will make some kind of final judgement on him and his behaviour come the end of this storyline, I know he’s a kid any everything, but it seems to be playing both sides at the moment.
Ahsoka’s plan to break the boarding tube and use the resulting recompression to flush the pirates out into space seems to have worked. Just as she is about to seal the ship’s boarding hatch a stray body flies into her and strands her on the Weequay ship before the Younglings make a hyperspace jump to safety.
The episode ends with the Younglings alone on a ship except for the two droids of Huyang and R2-D2 and Ahsoka about to either be sold into slavery by Hondo, or ransomed off back to the Jedi. It’s never made especially clear, but the first option is definitely the less riskier options of the two, as he knows Anakin Skywalker enough at this point that he probably wants as little to do with the Jedi as possible.
Although he wouldn’t have ambushed the ship in the first place if he was really that concerned about that.
I was intrigued by the first episode and the first part of the second as a different look at the Jedi, seeing the early parts of their development that hasn’t really been touched upon that much before. But this is still a series that needs some action stakes, so the pirates are here to place some kids into a perilous situation.
While they were mostly just following Ahsoka’s orders in this episode, I’m almost certain the next episode or two will feature them mounting a rescue attempt of Ahsoka on their own rather than doing what they should really do, which is return to Coruscant and let some fully trained Jedi mount the rescue mission.
But they’ll all grow and learn as a result and become great future Jedi as a result. (Except we know they won’t because whoops order 66.) Also, I thought it was pretty cool that the developers at Respawn obviously used the scenes during The Gathering as their design basis for the scenes that took place on Ilum in Jedi: Fallen Order. Actually, the more I watch the Clone Wars, the more I realise just how much this series inspired the the world design of that game.