This week on The Clone Wars, Ahsoka gets a chance to prove herself, Anakin is a huge hypocrite, and there are some uncomfortable stereotypes. Strap in!
“It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.”
1. The padawan’s journey
I am sure that folks far more embedded into the minutia of Star Wars can answer this question for me, but I’m really interested in the process of becoming a Jedi. By the time we meet Ahsoka, we can presume that she’s been trained for most of her life. Anakin is professed to be ‘too old’ in The Phantom Menace, and I think he’s supposed to be 9? But when we meet her, she is just now getting out ‘in the field’ as it were, and we are still in season one, and she’s already commanding a pretty intense mission.
The best part of this episode is how it conveys her unease with the situation, her doubts about her abilities, and her general self doubt. I’ve found it very hard to relate to/enjoy Ahsoka for most of this season, but this episode made me really get who she is. Whether it is your driving instructor taking you on the highway or your first time taking an open penalty shot or a guitar solo, there’s often a crippling feeling of dread, even if you know you can do it. And Ahsoka has the nightmare scenario play out in front of her: she fails. She defies orders and, due in part to her defiance, people die. This is the equivalent in going for a guitar solo and being so bad on your first take that the band breaks up.
Through most of this episode, we see Ahsoka deal with who she is, versus who she thinks she is, and it is fascinating. While I still think the voice acting tends to play her too whiny and childish, this episode truly drew me into her story.
2. Anakin is full of shit
Anakin reprimanding Ahsoka for defying orders is about the clearest indication of a pot calling a kettle black you can get. Sure, he tries to patch it up by saying “that means I get what you’re going through,” but that’s a bunch of horseshit. Anakin is so skilled that he has likely never been in Ahsoka’s shoes. When he defies orders, he’s still the chosen one, and can still achieve what he needs to, regardless of orders. Him telling Ahsoka “I know what you’re feeling” is like Michael Jordan stopping some kid who can’t make a free throw on an 8 foot hoop and saying “I miss some shots, too.” Yeah, of course, but you’re also in the NBA Hall of Fame. Fuck off with your Hitler mustache, Jordan.
I find it interesting how far and wide Anakin’s reputation has spread, especially because he’ll have essentially the same experience as Darth Vader in a few years. For this galaxy, has any person ever had his legend told as many times? Maybe his son.
4. Yep, still racist
There was a lot of criticism of the prequels and their use of Asian stereotypes, vocally, for certain characters. Mar Tuuk has one of those voices and, while there’s nothing overtly offensive, it does get quite stereotypical and, at times, seemingly played for laughs.
Yeah, that’s racist dog.
5. Ahsoka as a leader
Ahsoka, of course, overcomes her fears and turns in an outstanding performance not just as a pilot but as a tactical leader, and wins the confidence of all around her. Sure, it’s a little storybook-y, but it is executed really well, and and shows the character’s growing and maturation. While I’ve really enjoyed the Obi-Wan and Anakin moments on the show, you can’t do too much with them, growth wise. But Ahsoka can blossom – let’s hope they continue to focus on that.