After seeing the The Clone Wars finale at Lucasfilm, and then watching ‘The Wrong Jedi’ again at home, there’s certainly a lot to talk about regarding what happened in that final episode of the season, especially with Ahsoka. This article will move into spoiler realms after the next picture, so go watch the episode if you haven’t done so already.
Also, Ashley Eckstein and Dave Filoni go behind the scenes with ‘The Wrong Jedi’ in the behind the scenes commentary. For more insight on the episode (and the whole finale arc), check out the Question and Answers segment from the Lucasfilm screening with Dave Filoni, Ashley Eckstein and Matt Lanter, recorded by Bryan Young for the Full of Sith podcast, episode XII (If you just want to skip to the Q&A, it starts around 35:10).
Spoilers from here on out! (including the comments)
Whose fault is it that Ahsoka ended up where she did?
So, the Jedi Council doesn’t trust Ahsoka and kick her out because they feel pressured to bend to Tarkin’s call for a military trial instead of a Jedi trial. Without any real questioning, they give her the boot, and not until Anakin shows up with the real traitor (who confesses and has hard evidence of her involvement), do they even consider that they made a mistake. And then they try to play it off as “this was your Jedi trial” and ask Ahsoka back. And she walks away – not before a last moment with Anakin with more bombshells.
But while the Jedi were pretty quick to not back her up, does Ahsoka share some of the responsibility of her predicament? At any time, she could have mentioned that Bariss was the one who told her to go to the warehouse where the nanodroid bombs were found. But sometimes teenagers have to stick together against the grown-ups? She felt like she couldn’t trust anybody and she kept jumping to wrong conclusions (Asajj is the mastermind!) – is it the cloud of the dark side, or is she just being a teenager, trying to fit into the room of adults who she feels are all against her? If she did mention Bariss Offee when she talked about being set up and deceived, chances are that the Jedi would have investigated, and perhaps found the stolen lightsabers, or at least gotten a discrepancy in testimony. Or do the Jedi not work that way, and instead just rely on their gut?
By the way, the Jedi Temple’s Chamber of Judgment? Talk about how to use interior design to make a hostile environment for judgment. You’re on trial in a tiny, dark, claustrophobic chamber where the Jedi look down on you from all sides, and you have to balance on a tiny platform with no railings. Even the Republic’s military tribunal space has railings. Even the name of the room – it’s judgment, not justice or inquiry. This doesn’t seem to fit with the Jedi way, as embodied by the Council chambers – sure, people in the middle are put on the spotlight by being surrounded, but there, you are at least at the same level as the Council members, and have no worry of falling twenty feet while making your case. But it does make for a great setting to let the audience know that Ahsoka is hosed. As Anakin points out, her expulsion has already been decided, and this is just formality. But the Jedi Council could have explained why they were doing what they were doing – Tarkin’s going to use public sentiment against us unless we hand you over for a non-ecclesiastical trial, so we have no choice but to bend to the Republic yet again without even stalling. If they had been more forward with their reasons, perhaps Ahsoka could have given them more to back her up with?
Meanwhile, the Republic’s military court space has a very different effect on the defendant – you’re the center of attention, but just a puny speck in this giant cavern that should normally be part of a Death Star. On Coruscant, where real estate space is the ultimate luxury, the Republic has clearly enough room for a giant courtroom inside a military base that screams Empire (or some sort of G.I. Joe playset re-themed for Nazis). But at least there’s a railing, even if your counsel has to stand on a separate walkway.
Yay for Padmé finally showing up this season! We had gotten a hint that she would be returning from Ashley, though the players in the military court just seemed wacky if trying to impose any real world sense on it – normally, court cases, even military ones, have regular lawyers, judges, etc. and that these things take time. But nope, the Supreme Chancellor has nothing better to do that preside over a terrorist trial, and a top military admiral and a senator are available to serve as prosecutor and defense counsel. But this is a kid’s show, so both the courtroom cast and the sped up trial timeframe work. Besides, Tarkin clearly has an anti-Jedi agenda, so any chance for him to break them down in the public eye is time well spent for him. And Senator Amidala is a familiar face to Ahsoka, so she could confide in her… but she doesn’t mention Barriss or give any indication that she shares her side at all. Mrs. Jawa pointed out that all this episode needed was a line about Ahsoka giving a reason not to betray the Barriss connection, and the rest could all worked.
The final scenes: The scenes of Ahsoka back in the Jedi council chamber, and then outside with Anakin were so well executed and fit so well. The Jedi Council’s lame spin of ‘this was your Jedi trial’ with no real apology and the arrogance that she would accept this and return fit perfectly with where they are headed in Episode III – they are seeing a lot of things, but not getting it – trying to shape outcomes but failing, and Anakin is watching this happen. And that all ties in with Barriss’ rationale for her actions – the Jedi are on the wrong path. Not sure how Barriss expects her actions to be a wake-up call for the Jedi or the public, but then again in real life, do terror attacks really ever get people to get people to think.. “Hey, maybe the terrorists are right?” (And the official site, in the trivia slideshow we get this statement to chew on: “Barriss’ rebuke against the Jedi Order, though they led to dark actions, is a hundred percent true.” (Trivia Gallery Slide #4).
Back to Ahsoka: Even knowing that her hesitation when asked back was essentially her decision to leave, and the hand closing Anakin’s offered padawan braid chain was more the visual confirmation, this was a powerful moment. Mrs. Jawa hoped that Ahsoka would tell Mace Windu bleep off after his lame positive spin (a la Dean Venture at the end of The Venture Brothers season 4: Operation P.R.O.M.), but this ain’t Adult Swim, and Ahsoka is still minds her elders, even when they are wrong. And if you notice, that while the Jedi Council has female members on it at this time like Shaak Ti (seen in the opening bit with the holo of Tarkin), it is only male members that are present at the Council’s apology (the five who were on her Jedi hearing, plus Saesee Tiin and Anakin).
But the final scene on the Jedi Temple steps is the tear-jerker. (Even watching it a second time when it aired still made me misty-eyed). Anakin pleads, and even reveals that he’s thought about walking away from the Order, to which Ahsoka drops: “I know.” BAM! and cue the music. Also, a yay for Cartoon Network to not put promo material over the closing credits of their final episode of The Clone Wars, with a new score just for this episode.
If you listened to the Q&A from the USO or Lucasfilm screenings, you knew that Kevin Kiner, the composer, got a full orchestra to build the music for the final episode arc, and hearing some portions of the John Williams score incorporated into this episode (when Anakin & Bariss are fighting in the corridors of the jedi temple, we get a riff, and then obviously when Anakin is chasing Ahsoka outside the temple at the end) really helped cue the emotions.
And Barriss Offee – total badass in combat. And Asajj gets more badass points too, starting the fight with Anakin without having a lightsaber of her own. and Yay for the younglings return – I was almost afraid that Barriss would use them as hostages.
Anyway, questions to be answered that we can bug Dave Filoni with all convention season long:
- What’s going to happen to Barriss Offee? (presumably after her trial)
- Will Asajj get grumbly that she never got that pardon? (I’m assuming that Ahsoka leaving the order kinda meant she didn’t fill out that paperwork?)
- Will the Jedi give Ahsoka a little bit of a severance package, so that she can start her pony farm?
- How does Ahsoka feel about Barriss? – the one person she protected was the one who framed her with terrorism and murder
- Did Barriss act alone (besides Letta)? Tarkin discounts Ahsoka’s theory that someone else choked Letta because his prison is secure – was someone else helping Barriss out in her prison ninja missions – killing Letta, and helping Ahsoka escape/killing clones while remaining off of the cameras?