In last week’s episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the Onderon arc closes out much better than it opened up.The Onderon rebellion has gained some traction amongst the citizenry, and the rebels, along with Ahsoka Tano, have taken the fighting out into the wilderness in order to draw the droid armies out of the cities and to minimize civilian casualties. The Separatists send out some gunships and the Jedi secretly support the rebels by sending a shipment of rockets to the planet (via our old friend, the pirate Hondo Ohnaka) and the war is turned in the favor of the rebels. But a crashed ship sends Steela over the edge of a cliff. As she hangs on for dear life, Ahsoka attempts to Force lift her to safety, but is shot in the shoulder, losing concentration and dropping Steela to her death. Still, despite the tragic loss, the Rebels have clearly gained a foothold on Onderon, and Count Dooku decides to cut his loses and abandon the planet, leaving false king Rash to the mercy of the people. In the end, Ramsis Dendup resumes the throne and Lux Bonteri is appointed the Onderon senator in the Republic.
Overall, I thought the episode was pretty decent. For the most part, nothing really wowed me about it, but after finally gaining an emotional investment in the conflict after last week’s episode, I cared about the proceedings enough to want to see how they were resolved. And even if I wasn’t blown away by the first 3/4ths of what was going on, I’ve got to say, the way Steela’s death was handled was very well done. Huge props to the Clone Wars crew for the way they did that, with Ahsoka having this great hero moment, only to be undercut with a single blaster bolt. The way it was shot, it actually made me think that this may be a plot point that comes back to haunt her in some fashion, especially after Saw more or less gives her the cold shoulder at the reception. Actually, right now, my favorite piece of speculation amongst my friends regarding the story of the recently announced Star Wars: Episode VII is that Ahsoka is the villain, with The Clone Wars eventually showing her turn to the Dark Side and Anakin’s failure at redeeming her, in an echo of his soon-to-be (timeline-wise) relationship with Obi-Wan. I could see how something like this could set that up, with her thoughts soon turning to “I wasn’t powerful enough.” Even if things don’t go specifically down that path, I’d still wager that this is a milestone of sorts for her.
In the end, the Onderon arc started off weak, with two episodes that could have been one, but the second half made up for it. It’s far from my favorite arc of the show, and if I had to judge it as a whole, I’d give it a C letter grade, but only because those first two episodes bring it down. The latter half is better than average without coming close to great territory, and made visiting Onderon worthwhile. The plot threads left open at the end — Ahsoka and Saw’s feelings regarding the death of Steela, in addition to Lux’s promotion to senator — are interesting enough to make me open to a return to this planet and its people somewhere down the line.
Up next: part one of the “Young Jedi” arc, “The Gathering” (which I’ll actually get to watch as it airs, for once). I’m looking forward to it.
VIDEO SOURCE: The Official Star Wars YouTube Channel