The fifth season offers another terrific installment of The Clone Wars. Narratively, it is bookended by the rise and fall of Darth Maul as he claims the darksaber, takes control of the planet Mandalore, and is appointed leader of the rogue Death Watch squad of assassins. Season 5 concludes with a memorable finale as Ahsoka Tano is wrongly accused of being a terrorist by the Jedi Council. She is forced to choose whether or not she will continue along the path of a padawan, especially if the Jedi Council distrusts her. This season gives a much better perspective on how/why the Jedi Council have lost the faith and trust of citizens throughout the Galactic Republic.
Season 5, Episode Eighty-Nine “Revival”
“Strength of character can defeat strength in numbers.”
In the Season 5 opener “Revival,” Darth Maul and his brother Savage Opress return as they attack an intergalactic vessel –we learn that Maul has grown very powerful, and Opress is now his apprentice. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jedi Master Adi Gallia track Maul and Opress to a band of pirates led by Hondo, and they are able to persuade Hondo to join their side. During the battle, Adi Gallia is tragically killed by Opress. Obi-Wan then claims her fallen lightsaber and battles both brothers, wounding Opress by slicing his arm. Then Hondo’s men chase the brothers and shoot out Maul’s legs again. The badly wounded Zabrack brothers try to escape, but Hondo’s men shoot down the ship in a nearby desert. But upon inspecting the crash site, Obi-Wan finds it is empty –where did Maul and Opress go? At the end, Chancellor Palpatine instructs Obi-Wan not to pursue Darth Maul. The Jedi Council fears the underworld has grown too bold while the Jedi have perhaps been overly focused on the Clone Wars.
Season 5, Episodes Ninety to Ninety-Three “A War on Two Fronts,” “Front Runners,” “The Soft War,” and “Tipping Points”
“Fear is a malleable weapon.”
“To seek something is to believe in its possibility.”
“Struggles often begin and end with the truth.”
“Disobedience is a demand for change.”
In the next four-part series (“A War on Two Fronts,” “Front Runners,” “The Soft War,” and “Tipping Points”) we trace the fall of Onderon to the Separatists under the rule of a new king, King Rash. There is an interesting debate among the Republic leaders about the ethics of supporting a rebel group to overthrow the government. Ahsoka is placed in charge. Lux Bonteri reappears after his dramatic departure from Ahsoka in the previous season (their subtle romantic connection is again alluded to), and we also meet a young Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) for the first time, and his sister, Steela, who is elected to lead the rebels from within. She and Lux also have some sort of romantic affinity it seems. The Jedi infiltrate the city of Iziz where they engage in a prolonged battle with enemy droids while inspiring an insurgency, in an effort to reclaim the planet for the Republic and restore the elderly King Dendup. It is another case of a planetary ruler seeking neutrality only to fall prey to the Separatists. There are several moments in this series when King Rash could have easily been captured or assassinated by the rebels and/or Ahsoka. Why did they not take action? At any rate, Dooku escalates the crackdown on the rebels on Onderon, which leads Ahsoka to beg for help from the Jedi Council, but instead Anakin develops a ploy with the pirate Hondo to provide supplies. Sadly, Steela dies in a cliffside accident, and her brother Saw blames himself. In the end, Count Dooku decides a prolonged war on Onderon is not in his interest. He instructs his droids to kill King Rash as Dendup is reinstated as King and Lux is appointed the planetary representative. Despite his prior hesitations, he decides to follow in his mother’s footsteps and join the Republic.
Season 5, Episodes Ninety-Four to Ninety-Seven “The Gathering,” “A Test of Strength,” “Bound for Rescue,” and “A Necessary Bond”
“He who faces himself, finds himself.”
“The young are often underestimated.”
“When we rescue others, we rescue ourselves.”
“Choose your enemies wisely, as they may be your last hope.”
In the next four-part series (“The Gathering,” “A Test of Strength,” “Bound for Rescue,” and “A Necessary Bond”) Ahsoka and Yoda take a group of younglings to an ancient Jedi temple inside a cave on the snowy planet of Ilum to perform a Jedi rite of passage called “The Gathering”, where they must quickly overcome an internal fear in order to harvest their own particular Kyber crystal and begin constructing their own lightsabers. This episode offers a bit of fascinating lore to the lightsaber mythos. However, while returning to Coruscant, the group is attacked by the pirate Hondo while Ahsoka and the younglings force the pirates off their ship, however in a last-minute accident, Ahsoka is captured by the pirates. The younglings are left alone to commandeer their ship, The Crucible. While Obi-Wan is surprised and over-run by the Separatists, the Younglings stage a rescue of Ahsoka by posing as circus actors. However, the planet Florrum is soon invaded by General Grievous and the younglings are forced to negotiate with the pirates to fight together against the Separatists (Count Dooku was intending to punish Hondo for capturing him and planning to sell him to the highest bidder). The younglings and pirates narrowly escape with Hondo returning them to the Republic forces.
Season 5, Episodes Ninety-Eight to One Hundred-One “Secret Weapons,” “A Sunny Day in the Void,” “Missing in Action,” and “Point of No Return”
“Humility is the only defense against humiliation.”
“When all seems hopeless, a true hero gives hope.”
“A soldier’s most powerful weapon is courage.”
“You must trust in others or success is impossible.”
The next four-part series is a bit farcical (“Secret Weapons,” “A Sunny Day in the Void,” “Missing in Action,” and “Point of No Return”). A team of Republic droids including R2-D2 is led by slug-like Colonel Meebur Gascon on a top secret mission to invade a Separatist dreadnought and recover an encryption module, however en route back to Coruscant, they encounter an asteroid belt that damages the ship, sending it rocketing down to a desolate planet called Abafar –information on the planet is “void” per the droid’s memory banks. After experiencing delusions, they soon encounter a herd of ostrich-like creatures who lead them to a remote facility in the void. Here, they meet a renegade clone trooper named Gregor who has been stuck on this void, as well. They help him escape from his servitude as a diner employee to an odd character named Borkus. Next, they gather themselves and sabotage the Separatist facility while Captain Gregor remains behind and sacrifices himself so Colonel Gascon and the droid “D-Squad” can escape. However, when they return to a Republic ship it turns out that it is hijacked by Separatists and the entire ship has actually been retrofitted into a bomb –it is headed straight for a large Republic conference! Thankfully, they manage to avert disaster by detonating the ship and escaping in a pod which returns them safely to the Republic.
Season 5, Episodes One Hundred-Two to One Hundred-Four “Eminence,” “Shades of Reason,” and “The Lawless”
“One vision can have many interpretations.”
“Alliances can stall true intentions.”
“Morality separates heroes from villains.”
At last, we return to Darth Maul and Savage Opress (“Eminence,” “Shades of Reason,” and “The Lawless”). Floating through space in their cold ship, barely alive, they are rescued by the Death Watch –the rogue band of Mandalorians led by Pre Vizsla who believe they are the inheritors of the true warrior tradition of Mandalore, unlike the Duchess Satine who has betrayed the warriors ethos with her preference for pacifism. The brothers and Death Watch form an alliance with other crime syndicates including the Black Sun (who provide an army only after Maul and Opress behead the Back Sun’s leaders), spice traders known as the Pyke Syndicate, and then to Nal Hutta where they slaughter a contingent of bounty hunters hired by the Hutts, and then to Jabba’s Palace on Tatooine where they takeover the Hutt’s criminal underworld supply chains. However, the relationship between the brothers and Death Watch is uneasy. Maul wants vengeance on Obi-Wan Kenobi, but he pretends to be building a vast criminal empire, while Death Watch merely hopes to assassinate Duchess Satine and reclaim Mandalore. Regardless, the uneasy alliance attacks a base on the Mandalorian capital of Sundari and they stage a coup in which it seems as if the Death Watch has saved Mandalore. The Duchess is imprisoned beside Almec whom she previously imprisoned for corruption. When Maul and Opress are betrayed by Vizsla, they easily escape confinement, and Maul challenges Vizsla to a duel –one of the best in the series as Maul’s raw power is pitted against Vizsla’s dark saber. In the end, Maul succeeds. He claims the dark saber for himself and beheads Vizsla, thereby claiming Mandalore and the loyalty of the Death Watch, according to rigid Mandalorian traditions. Almec is instated as Prime Minister and Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) escapes with a couple recalcitrant Death Watch soldiers who refuse to bow the knee to Darth Maul. Duchess Satine issues a plea for help to her former lover Obi-Wan Kenobi who, despite the Jedi Council’s decision, travels undercover as a Mandalorian to rescue Duchess Satine but they are captured by Maul and his forces. Then, in a shockingly gruesome turn of events, Darth Maul executes Duchess Satine right in front of him. A despondent Kenobi is led away to imprisonment but he is rescued by Bo-Katan who is revealed to be the late Dduchess Satine’s sister. This brilliant and dark series ends as Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious arrives and decides to fight both Maul and Opress, claiming they are now “rivals.” Duel-wielding lightsabers, Darth Sidious executes Savage Opress –reminding Maul that the rule of the Sith is that there can only be two, and Maul has been replaced. With Darth Sidious’s two lightsabers, and Maul wielding both a lightsaber and the dark saber, Sidious defeats Maul but decides not to kill him, instead preferring to cause him great pain using force lightning. He will be kept alive for other reasons as yet undetermined…
Season 5, Episodes One Hundred-Five to One Hundred-Eight “Sabotage,” “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much,” “To Catch a Jedi,” and “The Wrong Jedi”
“Sometimes even the smallest doubt can shake the greatest belief.”
“Courage begins by trusting oneself.”
“Never become desperate enough to trust the untrustworthy.”
“Never give up hope, no matter how dark things seem.”
Amazingly, the previous group of episodes was not the season finale! In the concluding four-part series (“Sabotage,” “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much,” “To Catch a Jedi,” and “The Wrong Jedi”) Ahsoka Tano rescues Anakin from a crisis on Cato Neimoidia which nearly kills him. Then, they are both called back to Coruscant by Yoda because the Jedi Temple has been bombed by a terrorist. This leads to a dark plot involving nano-droids placed into the bloodstream of a munitions expert named Jackar whose wife Letta was involved. Letta is then imprisoned but she is only wiling to speak to Ahsoka Tano. But when Ahsoka arrives, Letta claims she was forced to commit the bomb plot by an unnamed Jedi. Before she can finish saying who initiated the bombing, Letta is mysteriously force choked to death and Ahsoka is framed for Letta’s murder. Admiral Tarkin arrests Ahsoka and then an elaborate escape effort is staged for Ahsoka so that is looks as if she has murdered several clone troopers. She flees desperately through the sewers –knowing she is innocent– and she leaps to freedom after Anakin fails to persuade her. to return to make her case before the Jedi Council. Ahsoka feels as if she can trust no one. Who has framed Ahsoka? She trades for a cloak off a drunken homeless goat-like creature on the streets of Coruscant and communicates with her friend Barriss to help solve this mystery. Ahsoka is chased all over the city by the police as she is a wanted criminal. Suddenly, she bumps into Asajj Ventress working as a bounty hunter. This leads to a clue in an abandoned warehouse in which Ahsoka faces off with a mysterious Jedi. During the fight, Ahsoka is sent crashing down into a collection of nano-droids at just the moment that clone troops arrive to arrest her. Ahsoka is then imprisoned and brought before the Jedi Council for questioning. She is then found guilty of sedition and officially expelled from the Jedi Order. Ahsoka is handed over to Admiral Tarkin and the Senate for a tribunal (Padme volunteers to represent her). The court is about to read Ahsoka’s conviction when Anakin bursts into the room to reveal the true perpetrator –Ahsoka’s friend, Barriss, who has come to believe the Jedi are warmongers and the war is a great crime as the republic seems to e descending into a tyranny. In a tearful ending, feeling betrayed and isolated, Ahsoka decides to leave the Jedi Order.
Standouts for me in Season 5:
- Episode 89 “Revival”
- Episodes 102-104 “Eminence,” “Shades of Reason,” and “The Lawless”
- Episodes 105-108 “Sabotage,” “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much,” “To Catch a Jedi,” and “The Wrong Jedi”
“Strength in character can defeat strength in numbers.”
I like that.
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