Everything I heard was true: The Clone Wars is a show that improves in each subsequent season. As I wrap up my coverage of season three, I am really blown away by the overall quality of the show at this point, and how it has become something totally different than what it started out as.
1. Ahsoka’s leadership
One of the things that season three has done so effectively is given Ahsoka all the tools to be a successful Jedi in the future. Between her obvious physical skills, her compassion, her creativity, and her bravery, she seems primed to be a major force in the Jedi order to come. Of course, we know how that goes…
But it is particularly her leadership that stands out here. We’ll get to her companions in a little while, but Ahsoka finds herself on a strange planet, with people far more experienced at survival than she is, and yet by the end of the first episode, they are more or less following her example for everything. Her instincts are spot on, and she’s able to spell them out with relative ease. She even, like some very good leaders have never figured out, listens to the folks she finds herself leading and takes their input to heart.
2. The younglings
Ahsoka encounters three former Jedi younglings who have been surviving on this awful planet for an unspecified period of time. While we’ve seen failed Jedi before, specifically of the Sith variety, it is interesting to see what happens to someone who is removed from their Jedi training before it is completed. Kalifa shows hubris and a touch of cruelty; O-Mer and Jinx have lost most of their ability to think for themselves, which is part of the reason that Ahoka is so easily able to lead them.
I hope the show goes into Jinx and O-Mer’s reintroduction to the Jedi Order, or the lack thereof. Are they allowed to begin training again? Do they want to? I’m really interested to see how those characters continue on the show, if they do at all.
I am really glad that Bossk was not one of the Trandoshans hunters, because sometimes this show gets a little too cute with bringing in characters we already know (see item 5), but I did enjoy the extended Trandoshans sequences. I think there’s a lot to be said for The Clone Wars not always giving too much time to local traditions or customs for the various species we meet. But here, we get to see a Trandoshan rite of passage, even if it appears cruel or unfair.
We also got to see them get their asses handed to them, so that’s fun, too.
4. Anakin’s guilt and Plo’s acceptance
One of the themes of The Last Jedi was that the Jedi order was incredibly flawed, and Plo Koon becomes the avatar of that this week. Anakin is rightly worried about Ahsoka, and seems willing to move heaven and Earth to get to her. Plo represents the more ‘you trained her, she’s on her own,’ detached Jedi approach. While Plo’s position might make logical sense, it is not exactly a compassionate one, and it seems to go against general wisdom of how to treat/care for people.
Anakin’s emotions, clearly a problem in some regards, come from the right place, whereas Plo’s detachment comes from his training, and betrays his heart.
5. What a Wookie!
Look, I love Chewbacca. I do. But there’s no reason why this show needed Chewie in it. Any Wookie would’ve done in that situation, and would have made the galaxy seemed even larger and more imposing. When the same characters pop up all the time, it makes it a little hard to grasp the enormity of the setting.
That said? Chewie is the best.
See you next week for season four!