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Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Episode 119

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Star Wars: The Clone Wars marches toward the end of its first season on a triumphant note with the Ryloth Trilogy, chronicling the  liberation of the Twi’lek homeworld from a Separatist blockade. In its first installment, titled “Storm Over Ryloth,” Anakin Skywalker leads a Republic invasion force, while his Padawan Ahsoka Tano is put in charge of her own squad of fighters for the first time. Unfortunately, her failure to follow orders results in the death of every clone under her command.

Initially, Star Wars fans wondered whether the inclusion of Ahsoka in this series would dilute its storytelling in an effort to appeal to children. Undoubtedly, the spunky, teenage Jedi-in-training has helped younger fans gravitate toward the saga—particularly those who may not yet be entirely familiar with the live-action films. However, Ahsoka has a lot to add to the overall Star Wars story for the rest of us as well. We’ve already grown accustomed to iconic characters such as Anakin, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, but Ahsoka can still surprise us.

Throughout much of this episode, Ahsoka is coming to terms not only with her own personal feelings of inadequacy following her failed mission, but also by the weight of human life lost as a result of her actions. This is weighty material for such an action-oriented series, and the Clone Wars team should be commended for allowing its often all-too-perfect characters to fail once in a while.

Fortunately, Ahsoka is able to bounce back from defeat pretty quickly, as Anakin’s plan to break through the Separatist blockade thrusts her once again into a leadership position, this time placing her in charge of the command ship Resolute. Evacuating all staff and equipment from his own ship, the Defender, Anakin plans to solely pilot the vessel directly into the lead Separatist battleship. This reckless maneuver would leave Anakin and his stalwart droid companion R2-D2 defenseless in an escape pod while Ahsoka takes care of the disoriented droid forces. The tactic pays off—despite Separatist leader Mar Tuuk’s last-minute escape from his exploding ship—while further cementing the teacher-student relationship between Anakin and Ahsoka that has evolved considerably since this series began.

Fast-paced space combat has always been a distinguishing aspect of the Star Wars saga, and episodes such as this one continue in that tradition. While The Clone Wars has yet to match the striking visuals of the films’ most thrilling battles, it comes pretty close.

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