There are times when something you have a vested, though admittedly, rather casual, interest in manages to surprise you with the emotional depths it’s able to show, especially when it’s a cartoon. The season (possibly series?) finale of Star Wars: The Cone Wars, was yesterday, and it finished off what had been a compelling story arc revolving around the character of Ahsoka. Those unfamiliar with the show, the character appears in The Clone Wars cartoon movie and has been a part of the television show since its inception. Now the show itself came stumbling out of the gate, partially due to the nature of the show and the animation surrounding it. The Clone Wars started as a vehicle to show fans of the movies what they had missed in-between Episodes 2 and 3 of the prequel trilogy. The first season was okay, but it was clear that it was geared towards the younger fan base of the franchise. But as the seasons have progressed and the show has grown older, so has the writing, animation, story lines and character development.
That’s where little Ahsoka comes in. In the beginning she was brought in as a padawan (pupil) of Anakin Skywalker. And since the Clone wars are supposed to be canon, (that is the events that take place in the cartoon are part of the same history as the films) the question arises: Where the hell was she during Episode 3? That question is the biggest one looming over the entire run of The Clone Wars. And after five seasons fans got their answer to that nagging question. Over the course of the show, Ahsoka went from being the little sidekick to Anakin Skywalker, seemingly always getting into trouble and needing Anakin, or any other Jedi, to bail her out of it. Most of the times fans of the show were more irritated than endeared by the little padawan (a fact that hasn’t changed among some now). As time has gone by and as the show has grown, so has Ahsoka. She has transformed, growing as a character, and an individual. She was no longer standing in the shadow of Anakin, rather standing besides him. There was relevance to her now, and the part she played in the star wars universe however big or small was important. Perhaps the past two seasons have shown the most growth by the character. She’s shown an independence , strength and a confidence that had been lacking for too long.
WIth the season 5 ending of Clone Wars, never more has that strength been show than the episode “The Wrong Jedi.” After being wrongly accused, imprisoned, chased, exiled from the Jedi order, and finally placed on trial with her very life at stake, it’s Anakin who comes in at the last minute with evidence that it was Ahsoka’s closest friend who had actually set her up. After all of that, the council welcomes her back with open arms, explaining that what she had gone through was one of those “Jedi trails” you hear so much about. Far as the council was concerned it was water under the bridge. Not so much for Ahsoka, and after going through what she had to endure, I think most people in her shoes might have had the same reaction.
The final minutes are probably some of the best of the entire show, and without a doubt the most moving. Anakin tells her that he’s asking her back, and after a few seconds where both she and the audience seems to not know what happens next, Ahsoka simply tells her master she’s sorry, but she’s not coming back. What’s next is a masterful blend of voice acting, animation and music as Anakin runs after Ahsoka to ask why and she tells him what the audience is thinking, “The council didn’t trust me, so how can I trust myself?” She’s hurt, betrayed, heart broken and unsure of what her future holds. One thing she does know is that she is no longer the person she thought she was, the universe she thought she knew so well is no longer what she thought it was. Anakin tells her how he’s often thought of walking away from the order, and in a telling but compassionate voice, Ahsoka’s last words are simply…”I know.”
Nothing more is said, and Ashoka walks away, not looking back at her former master, headed into a reality she knows not what.T he expression on both their faces, the pain of losing not a pupil, but a dear friend for Anakin, and the pain of hurting the one person she knew always had her back by leaving him, in Ahsoka’s face, complete with a single tear, is heart breaking. Watching that scene play out I had to remind myself, “This is a cartoon, I can’t be this emotionally affected by a cartoon.” The last shot is of her walking down the steps of the Jedi temple and disappearing from view as strings play across the soundtrack. It’s a beautiful and moving shot, and a fitting end to a wonderful episode.
Right now it’s up in the air if they’ll be another season of The Clone Wars. People are saying Disney has no plans to make another season, while at the same time other people are saying they’re moving forward with the next, which means no one really knows what’s happening. But if by chance there is another season, I think it’s a safe bet she’ll turn up again. If this happens to be the last episode of the series, then I can’t think of a more perfect ending. The fans have their answer as to what happened to Ahsoka, and they have their closure from it. The emotional punch delivered by this episode showed that The Clone Wars can be more than what it is, that the stories it delivers can be just as powerful as any “grown up” show.