The Clone Wars Countdown, Essential Arcs // #1 – The Apprentice Walks Away

We have finally arrived at the big moment, the reveal of my most favorite story arc in the entire series of The Clone Wars. The final episodes of season five (which many thought were going to be the final four episodes of the entire series after Disney bought Lucasfilm and canceled the series before Netflix came to the rescue…) revolve around the best character in TCW, Ahsoka Tano, and showcase just how far the Jedi Order has fallen. Before I get rolling I want to point out that it appears Netflix and Disney have reached an agreement to keep The Clone Wars on the platform for the foreseeable future, which is amazing news for all you guys, so comb through my entire essential arcs series and get to work. But today, let’s focus on the very best arc…..

#1 //  The Apprentice Walks Away

Season 5, episode 17 — Sabotage
Season 5, episode 18 — The Jedi Who Knew Too Much
Season 5, episode 19 — To Catch A Jedi
Season 5, episode 20 — The Wrong Jedi

Why it’s essential watching (without giving it all away….):

  • Ahsoka Tano – period, the apprentice everyone hated turned into one of the most beloved characters in not only The Clone Wars, but the entire Star Wars saga. Her character arc throughout the series, then continuing forward in Rebels and print, is the most fleshed out arc of any character in the entire SW saga, save for Anakin and possibly Luke. She captured the hearts of millions of Star Wars fans (and still has it) after being completely panned and hated after her debut in The Clone Wars feature film. The first moments of this arc in Sabotage as she and Anakin are flying through the skies of Cate Nemodia it was awesome to see her save his skins. A small detail that really paid dividends at the end of the arc, really showcasing how much she had learned and grown as Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice and friend.
  • Heartbreak – man, the end of The Wrong Jedi is a tough pill to swallow, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. This alone proves how grown up TCW was as the series’ run was winding down. There are very complicated emotions in play here, and the animators and writers do a superb job of making sure the audience realizes just how real he stakes are for our heroes at this juncture in galactic history. I will admit however, that when I first watched this arc it certainly did not end the way I thought it would – and that’s what makes it so amazing. You really feel for Anakin here at the end, and this development (more on this in a bit) really helps to build on why and how he could be so disenfranchised with the Jedi Order by the time we get to Revenge of the Sith – a point that I don’t think George hammered home well enough. It was rad to see him get a do-over of sorts, building Anakin’s character throughout The Clone Wars.
  • Betrayal and dissent within the Jedi – as we saw in the Umbara arc, there are some within the Jedi Order that do not agree with the war, taking it so far as to believe that Dooku may be in the right. We see this all come to a head here in this arc, as one of Ahsoka’s most trusted friends is behind a nefarious plot and frames her in the process. Barriss’ speech in the Senate chamber at the end of the arc tells it all, although it’s still masked by her wrongdoing. The Jedi have lost their way and they have become politicians and soldiers – not keepers of the peace. The long-game of the Sith and Palpatine have come to fruition, and the Jedi were blind to it and powerless to stop it, at least by the time we get to this point in the timeline.
  • The Jedi have lost… – as mentioned in the bullet point above, by the time we are wrapping up The Clone Wars the Jedi Order as a whole have lost their way – so much so that they completely turned their backs on Ahsoka – a Jedi Padawan with an impeccable record of service – under the pressure the military (which includes Tarkin’s blind hatred of Ahsoka that dates back to the Citadel arc) and the Senate. It was insane to me to watch her trial develop, culminating in the majority of the Jedi High Council stating that they believe Ahsoka was guilty. Yoda does mention that it was not unanimous, and if I’m guessing I’m going to say that Yoda and Plo Koon (and maaaayyyybbeee Obi-Wan, one would certainly hope, but….) cast the dissenting votes, but that’s purely speculation on my end. And that vote is exactly what makes the ending of this arc so poignant – just beautiful, beautiful storytelling here. Early on in the arc it is also noted that the public at large are also beginning to turn on the Jedi, another point worth mentioning as we near the end of the war and need a reason to believe the citizens of the Republic/Empire would believe the Jedi were traitors and condone their eradication. Kudos once again.
  • Anakin, loss, and the seeds of distrust – once again we catch glimpses of Anakin’s fear of loss and attachment. Anakin’s fatal character flaw (or saving grace, depending on your point of view…), he is dealt a terrible blow at the end of the arc, watching his Padawan and close friend turn her back on him and the Order. This really adds to his fall in Revenge of the Sith, in my opinion. Also worth mentioning, throughout The Clone Wars series we see Anakin at odds with the Jedi High Council. Nobody can dispute that he gets results, perhaps being the biggest Jedi hero of the war. Nevertheless, he is seemingly always out of favor with certain members of the Council (I’m looking at you, Mace Windu) and that in and of itself would be enough to frustrate any Jedi and war hero, no? As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think George did a great job of showcasing Anakin’s distrust of the Jedi Order by the time we get to Revenge of the Sith, and I’m not sure if it was execution or him simply running out of time. Coincidentally, there is a supposed 4+ hour cut of RoTS somewhere, and I for one would absolutely LOVE for this to see the light of day. Maybe I’ll do a podcast about it one day…. Anyways, back to TCW. I think this series did an excellent job with Anakin’s character, and I really felt for him at the end of The Wrong Jedi. Watching his mentor and best friend turn his back on his apprentice (and effectively choosing the Council over him) was a bitter pill to swallow… Yeah we are looking at you Obi-Wan Kenobi…
  • Dude, Obi-Wan, WTF?? – what the hell was Obi-Wan Kenobi thinking during this arc? After having served side-by-side with Anakin and Ahsoka for the bulk of the war he decides to shut his trap during the moment of truth?? Really, Obi-Wan?? What the hell, man?!? Again, kudos to the writers here, as this is obviously Obi-Wan’s character arc, but it was hard to take for the audience, so it had to be excruciating for Anakin. Once again, great storytelling here as more seeds of distrust and anger arise between Anakin and his former Master, right as we ramp up towards Revenge of the Sith.
  • Captain Rex – just a quick sidenote, but of course Rex was in Ahsoka’s corner throughout the hunt for her. Their relationship is awesome, and one can only hope we will get the finish of TCW that has been rumored to end with the pair hunting Maul on Mandalore, right?!?!
  • Ventress is back – again, just a quick sidenote here, but it’s always a welcome sight to see Asajj Ventress’ pretty face on The Clone Wars. As we near the end of the series we also continue to see a softer side of the fallen Sith Assassin, as she helps Ahsoka and eventually Anakin, after some persuasion, haha. Her TCW continues in the amazing novel Dark Disciple, which takes eight unfinished scripts from the series and turns them into a book. Highly recommended reading here, folks, seriously. We also see how Ventress loses the red-bladed lightsabers she had throughout the series, paving the way for her new weapon as featured in Dark Disciple!

I can’t underscore enough how much I love this story arc and Ahsoka Tano. If you were like me and you initially punted on The Clone Wars, give it another shot. I took the plunge and have now watched the entire series start-to-finish four times. It is the best example of storytelling Lucasfilm has produced to date, with stunning animation and very complex stories and characters. Be on the lookout for an upcoming episode of The Exhaust Port dedicated solely to The Clone Wars very soon, but until then please enjoy all of my featured arcs. Feedback, comments, wanna guest on an episode of The Exhaust Port or write for the site? Hit me up here!