A couple of days late, but that’s because I chose not to fire off my thoughts until I’d given them some time to develop. There was a lot of stuff going on in last weekend’s Clone Wars, so let’s get to it!
The episode starts with Yoda overseeing a Jedi funeral, and then goes into a discussion between Admiral Tarkin, Anakin, Ahsoka, and Barriss Offee into the investigation behind the bombing (from last week’s episode). Tarkin seems intent on the military taking over control of the army from the Jedi, while Barriss (in her first, non-background role since Season 2) is a bit distracted by the whole bombing thing. A bit later, Ahsoka is called to the prison where the bomber, Letta, is being held. Seems Letta will only talk to her, and while Ahsoka is interrogating her, Letta is mysteriously force-choked by an unseen individual. Since the sound recorders for the room were also conveniently disabled, it appears to the clones that are watching that Ahsoka murdered Letta, and she is arrested. Anakin tries to see her, but isn’t allowed. Ahsoka, meanwhile, discovers a keycard left outside her cell and uses the Force to use the key to open the lock. When she gets out in the hallway, she finds her lightsabers on the ground and a bunch of downed troopers. Commander Fox sees the escaped prisoner and assumes she’s behind the assault on his men and calls for back-up. Ahsoka goes on the run, with the clones, Anakin, and Captain Rex trying to capture her. Clones that were killed by lightsaber slashes are discovered, and the evidence mounts against Ahsoka. The chase continues through the prison, outdoors, and into the sewers, ending with Ahsoka standing over a chasm that leads to the lower levels of Coruscant, and Anakin pleading with her to come back with him to prove her innocence. She tells him that she’s being set up, and going back won’t help. Ahsoka says that Anakin needs to trust her to find the real person behind the crime, and she takes a leap into the chasm…
Right off the bat, this is my new favorite episode of the series. While I loved the recent Darth Maul stuff, they never quite overtook “Landing at Point Rain” or “The Zillo Beast Strikes Back” as my favorite episodes. But “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much” absolutely did. This felt more like STAR WARS than anything I’ve seen since the Original Trilogy, and I mean in all forms of media — film, television, comics, literature, video games, you name it.
In a large part, this is due to the absolutely stellar work by Kevin Kiner in scoring the music for the show. This is by far his best work on the series, and man, I want the soundtrack for this episode, and I want it yesterday. There are nice inclusions of John Williams’ “Imperial March” used in the scenes set in the Republic Prison, but even beyond that, the score felt so iconic, that there was actually a point when I was rewatching that I realized I wasn’t listening to classic Star Wars musical cues. This is particularly true during Ahsoka’s flight outside the prison, in which a much more epic version of her theme than we’ve ever heard before kicks into high gear. It felt so appropriate to the sequence, as Ahsoka heroically batted away stun blasts with her lightsabers while she was on the run, that it’s been stuck in my head for about two days. It fits right in with the best of Williams, and I’m still shocked that it isn’t a theme we’d heard previously in the live-action films.
Beyond the score, there are other nice touches that brought it around to feeling so much like STAR WARS. The return of Tarkin and his inclusion as a semi-main character was fantastic, as were his views on the military replacing the Jedi. I really hope to see more of him in the series, cementing him as the non-Sith face of the soon-to-be Empire to the generation of kids who see Clone Wars as being their version of STAR WARS.
Also, the design of the Republic Prison was absolutely stellar, harkening back to the designs of the Death Star. With the Clone Troopers marching around and the “Imperial March” playing, it was without a doubt the single biggest nod to date that this series has given us that we are heading into dark times. Nevermind the fact that you ostensibly had Stormtroopers hunting down Jedi in the episode, something that should get every old school, die hard fans’ blood pumping. And it was a nice touch to have them trying to kill Ahsoka, until switching over to stun based on Anakin’s orders.
Speaking of the Republic Prison, I liked seeing Wat Tambor and Poggle the Lesser in their cells on the monitors in the background. I’d nearly forgotten that they’d been captured by the Republic ages ago (Seasons 1 and 2), and it leads me to believe that their release will play a role in the series at some point (since they are with the Separatists in Revenge of the Sith).
Overall, this was a very grim episode. Yoda’s eulogy – reminding the other Jedi that they will all be one with the Force someday – set the tone, and it never let up. Even Ahsoka seemed darker than usual, with her attitude clearly being a reflection of her own master’s rogue ways. She shows a lot more emotion than the typical Jedi. I was particularly struck by her line “She will pay for what she did,” in regards to Letta, as it didn’t seem like justice was what Ahsoka was referring to but rather vengeance. Even when she escaped, she was guided more by her emotions in a fight-or-flight response as opposed to being calm and trusting the Force. It never seemed out of character for her, but was perhaps the strongest indicator that she’s picking up some bad habits from the man who will become Darth Vader.
As to what’s going on in the episode, there is still a lot of mystery. Barriss is the clear candidate to be the Jedi who helped set up the bombing, as there is without a doubt something else going on with her, though that could also be that she’s just disturbed at the loss of her friend. But based on what she says in the episode, her friendship with Ahsoka, and how Letta said Ahsoka was the only one she could trust, it’s looking like she’s the traitor. However, I’m not so sure that she’s the one who set Ahsoka up in the prison. Whoever did would have to have access beyond even General Skywalker, which makes me wonder if Palpatine didn’t give his newly returned lapdog Maul the codes to set Ahsoka up, if not do it himself.
We shouldn’t have long to find out though. There are only a couple of episodes left this season, and then we’ll hopefully get some info for what’s going on next year (I’m wagering they’re waiting to announce Season 6 on Disney XD until after Season 5 wraps up on Cartoon Network). They’re doing some really interesting things with this show, and I’ll definitely be back as a viewer. I just wish they’d give us more like these last five episodes instead of so much of the filler that comprised most of the rest of the season.