The Clone Wars, Season 3, Episode 15: Overlords
This is the first part of a three-part arc.
OH MY GOD, I am so excited to recap this nonsense. How I’ve gone even this long without recapping any part of this bonkers arc is beyond me.
Many a time have Star Wars fans contemplated important questions, such as:
- The Force – what the hell is it, even?
- Why the hell do we need to balance it?
- How does that even work?
- Also what’s the deal with Anakin*?
Today we attempt to go into the mythology of the Force a bit more and, surprise surprise, like 99% of the arc centers around the Mysterious and All-Important Destiny of Anakin Skywalker (the other 1% is probably Kenobi Sadness somehow, because of course it is.)
This arc is both beloved and scorned, and honestly I can’t really blame either camp. It’s insane, from beginning to end and it brings a couple possibly iffy concepts into the universe but it is delightfully weird. We’ll explore it all. Just getting through one episode was pretty time consuming because so much is happening and there’s plenty of Star Wars goodness to snark on. Time to put your shoes on, kids — we’re off to Mortis!
* This will not be entirely explained, now or ever. I’m not sure they could fully explain it if they tried.
Recurring Theme: We’ve Got Our Best People on This
So our story gets going with a marvelous premise right out of the gate via Voiceover Recap Guy: a message has been received from God knows where that includes, embedded in it, a Jedi Distress Signal that has not been used in over 2,000 years. This needs to be investigated. It could be a trap being set by Ultimate Evil or something. Hmm! Well that sounds kind of suspicious. And quite mysterious. And kind of like something that multiple senior Jedi should maybe look into.
Naturally, of course, the Jedi don’t send multiple senior Jedi: they send Obi-Wan, Anakin (and all his weird problems) and Ahsoka, who is not only not even a Jedi yet but is also supposed to be like 15 here or something. So, let’s just summarize – Most Tightly-Wound Dude Ever, Maladjusted Unstable Chosen One and someone who is still an actual kid. Make no mistake: I am DELIGHTED that they are sending the Dream Team Space Family, because I love them and so much wackiness is going to happen to them here, but sometimes I feel compelled to point out: this is who they’re sending.
It Does Not Exist
Because they all think this may be a Separatist trap, the three of them are supposed to meet up with Rex and Co. for backup when they get there. But when they arrive at the coordinates, there’s nothing there. Rex can’t see them, and they can’t see Rex, yet they’re both in the same place. What gives?
All of sudden, the ship’s power gives out briefly, then as it comes back on Ahsoka’s like “uhh…guys…WTF is that?”
That’s No Moon
They look ahead to see a sort of…diamond-shaped planetesque sort of thing that is sucking their ship in. Obi-Wan tells them all to fasten their seat belts and the next thing we see after a blinding white light is Anakin’s eyes fluttering open.
They all blacked out, which leads Obi-Wan to wonder who the hell just landed their shuttle, and Anakin to wonder where the hell they are.
Ahsoka identifies it as something bigger than an asteroid with breathable air, and I kind of love how right after this Obi-Wan and Anakin just sit there confused and chit chatting about why stuff isn’t working and Ahsoka’s just like, done with being a third wheel and leaves to go outside alone. I am staunchly in favor of every single time that Ahsoka just rolls her eyes at them to go be awesome somewhere, but still: sure Team Handsome, let’s have the padawan be the first to step outside on the mysterious thing we just landed on somehow!
So the Kenobi-Skywalkers follow Ahsoka outside to investigate and the planet is…pretty, and weird, with big chunks of floating rocks in the air. Anakin hears a voice and this is honestly the point in my first viewing where I was like OH BOY, this one’s gonna be a doozy isn’t it?:
The voice is coming from this lady, who joins us here in the GFFA on loan from what I presume is her day job as a summon in Final Fantasy:
She identifies herself as “Daughter”, and just…yeah. Get ready guys. She asks Anakin the same question again. Obi-Wan is like “WTF how do you know about that? Did you also see Episode 1? If so, don’t you think my hair looks SO MUCH BETTER now?”
I Think We’re Getting Further Away From It
She doesn’t divulge how she knows about Anakin’s Very Special Role in the Universe. She tells them she’s going to take them to someone who can help them, but they have to go with her now and get shelter before nightfall.
As they walk around, Obi-Wan asks the entertainingly dopey question: “Have you noticed the seasons seem to change with the time of day?” like, WHO IS NOT GOING TO NOTICE SOMETHING LIKE THAT, KENOBI?! This is like saying “say Anakin, have you ever noticed that this whole franchise is completely INSANE?” Anakin says he has noticed (to both, probably), and Ahsoka notes there are no animals on this weird planet, either. Obi-Wan asks “…and you’ve also noticed that the Force is like, giving us all nosebleeds because it’s so strong here, right?” Anakin again answers in the affirmative.
So anyways, after establishing that they all think this place is weird, they ask this lady where she’s leading them to. She says “to the Father”, and Ahsoka rolls her eyes and says “…of COURSE,” and God I love when Ahsoka kind of acts as my proxy in this show, like that time she made fun of Cad Bane’s hat.
Obi-Wan asks her who exactly she and “the Father” are, and she gives this answer:
…which is super-helpful, clearly, and Anakin agrees with me:
A cascade of rocks starts falling down on all of them suddenly, and Anakin and The Daughter get separated from Obi-Wan and Ahsoka. Kenobi almost falls to his death over a ledge and Ahsoka saves him and it’s really kind of sweet:
Don’t Hold My Hand
The Daughter then flips the eff out because Anakin touched her and MAN people are kinda touchy around him overall, huh?
She tells him that the rocks were chucked down on them by her brother, and that she’ll BRB, don’t go anywhere.
Obi-Wan and Anakin have a quick Jedi Cell Phone call about what they should do now. Anakin tells them to go back to the ship and radio another distress signal; he’ll see if he can figure out how to get them outta here.
He Never Misses a Chance
Obi-Wan asks Anakin what he’ll do if this ends up being a trap after all, and Anakin’s like “psssht, definitely not something insane, no sweat pal.” Obi-Wan then is no doubt delighted because he gets to do his favorite thing ever, which is
daydream about what a bad boy Anakin is complain about Anakin being impulsive:
After Midnight, We’re Gonna Watch Everything Around Us Mysteriously Die
So Ahsoka and Obi-Wan try to go back to the ship now as a storm approaches, only to find that it’s gone. And now that it’s nightfall everything is dying. Well, that’s super normal.
Just then this creep appears:
This is “The Son”. He pulls some bad guy posturing and asks if they brought that one Chosen One Guy and Obi-Wan’s like “Oh great, you’re a Sith?” to which this dude replies, “Yes, and no,” which again, SUPER HELPFUL explanation. The Son then tells them the storms here are lethal and they should get shelter if they want to live. Then he leaves and Ahsoka, again channeling me, is like who the crap was that? Obi-Wan has no idea because no one does. They run into a cave to get shelter from the storm as the foliage dies all around them.
Welcome to the Hotel California
We cut back to Anakin who, this show likes to remind us, is a freaking superhero, as he bounds impressively up a mountain and spots a monastery in the distance.
He bolts over to it and runs up its stairs into a throne room that is even weirder than Satine’s, and whose lighting scheme is best described as “Tron”-inspired.
An old man sits on a throne in there and asks Anakin to have seat, cos they’re gonna rap about his being The Chosen One. He says that Anakin must believe and understand his role if he’s to fulfill his destiny, and Anakin is so DONE with people speaking in overwrought riddles to him, and I cannot say I blame him.
The old man tells him “tough crap, it’s storming and you’ll die out there, so go put on your jammies and get comfortable, you’re staying here to talk about this craziness with me.”
Depressing Camping Trip
We cut back to Ahsoka and Obi-Wan in their cave hideout, and we immediately go into Drunk-o-Vision as we focus in on Ahsoka, who’s dozing off:
…and Obi-Wan, who’s sitting on the opposite end of the cave looking forlorn:
Recurring Theme: An Old Friend Has Learned the Path to Immortality, and He’s Here to Mess with Your Head
Obi-Wan looks up as a voice asks him if he’s done as this person asked. Who could it be?
It’s Qui-Gon! And he’s here to check up on how things are going with Project Let’s Train the Chosen One Even Though Everyone Kept Telling Us Not To.
Obi-Wan is understandably confused about what the hell he’s doing there, what with him being dead and all, and is on the defensive. Qui-Gon gives us some semi-helpful information by telling him that the place they’re at right now is basically like, a Force Supermagnet that draws in and gives out an absolute ton of Force Power. Or whatever. It’s Force-y here, just know that. Also that three people are here looking for Anakin, who all think, like Qui-Gon does, that he’s the Chosen One.
Obi-Wan fills him in that, OK, sure, you were right Master: Anakin’s basically a total badass, but he’s also really pretty obnoxious and he’s not like, exactly good at being a Jedi, necessarily? I love how Obi-Wan hasn’t seen or spoken to this guy since he watched him get Mauled on Naboo more than a decade ago, and yet isn’t like “HOLY SHIT QUI-GON! I miss you! I’m sorry I fell and almost died and then either couldn’t use or forgot to use Force Speed to get over there in time to save you, pal! Also BTWs, THANKS for dying and leaving me with fricking SKYWALKER.”
Anyways, Qui-Gon closes his spiel out by telling Obi-Wan that this is not a safe place for Anakin to be, which describes virtually the entire universe. And then just like that, he’s gone and Obi-Wan’s left looking around, puzzled.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Needs Ambien
So does Anakin like, EVER sleep well? If not, no wonder he went insane. I’d join the dark side too if every night of my life involved me fitfully throwing myself back and forth in my sleep while scowling. We cut to Anakin’s zillionth, but sadly not shirtless, bad night of sleep over in the Temple of Destiny:
Mother and Child Reunion
He hears a voice and looks up to see his mother standing over him, leading him to bolt from his bed and actually say the line “what kind of black arts is this?” which it goes without saying I love.
He flips out and asks her how she can be here. Shmi tells him that nothing ever really dies, something that every damn person in this show should really take note of. He laments, again, that he couldn’t save her, and that he failed as a Jedi when he went insane and went on a killing spree after she died. He gets lectured about letting go of his guilt, and he eventually mentions Padme and his love for her. Shmi morphs into a demon briefly, and tells him that Padme is “a poisoner” and not Anakin’s destiny, before disappearing into the ether.
Time to Look for Other Work
Now it’s Ahsoka’s turn for a Force-Fueled Freakout. She sees a grown version of herself:
Future Tano tells Present Tano that Anakin has planted the seeds of darkness in her, and that she must not remain his student unless she wants a future full of bad stuff, like probably having to rub Sidious’ gross feet. She warns her to leave the planet, and disappears into flame. I like how Ahsoka’s force vision keeps it succinct. Obi-Wan awakens her and Ahsoka tells him she thinks Anakin might be in trouble.
Recurring Theme: Old Man Tells a Crazy Story
Anakin heads over to the Throne of the Old Weird Force Guy again and asks for an explanation of what the hell just happened and why he saw his mom. He accuses the man of being a Sith, and points his lightsaber at him, leading to a brief callback (er, call forward?) when the man says this:
The man tells Anakin that the vision he saw was likely his son – THE Son. He and his two children are sometimes called Force wielders, and they can manipulate the Force better than anybody. Also almost no one knows they still exist which answers Anakin’s question about why the Jedi never thought to mention this to him. ‘K.
The three of them, he explains, live here as a sort of combination prison/sanctuary so that he can keep The Son and The Daughter, who are physical manifestations of the Light and Dark, from tearing the universe apart. Like, I dunno, he keeps them in…some kind of balance, perhaps?
We May Have Something Opening Up in Our Chosen One Division
So he mentions now that he was SUPER interested in hearing that somebody’d FINALLY dug up The Chosen One and was eager to meet him. Anakin is decidedly unimpressed even by Anakin standards:
The old man suggests they find out together if Anakin is right or not, and proposes that Anakin try to pass one test for him. Then he and his friends can leave. Anakin reluctantly agrees.
Recurring Theme: Make Your Choice
It’s daybreak on Mortis and everything is coming back to life as Ahsoka and Obi-Wan set off to find Anakin.
As they discuss how they’re going to get Anakin out of this lunatic asylum and back to the one he’s used to, two bat/griffin-like creatures – one white, one black – swoop down and scoop them up.
The creatures fly them to the monastery, to an outdoor platform where Anakin and The Father await. Ahsoka’s being held down by the black creature; Obi-Wan by the white. Ahsoka yells at him to not do whatever they want him to, and Anakin tells the old dude to knock it off. He tells Anakin that he thinks Anakin will play along: he’s instructed his children to kill Anakin’s friends, so he’s going to have to. But the question is…which one will he save? And yes, OK SHOW, we get it.
Force-Balancing Act: Practice Run
Obi-Wan immediately goes Full Kenobi and tells Anakin to save Ahsoka because Obi-Wan Is a Good Guy and he wants to make sure everyone knows.
I’d like to pause on the screengrab below:
People, this is Anakin Skywalker, aka Darth Vader, getting this information from Obi-Wan Kenobi, who, you will all note, is being held back by a physical manifestation of the Light Side of the Force currently taking on the form of a mythical giant griffin/bat creature. Raise your hand if you thought this probably happened to these two guys when we first saw them together on Death Star I in Episode 4. I told you, these two and their ridiculous story are my absolute favorite thing ever.
Aaaanyways, Obi-Wan then tells Anakin to USE said Force, which he does, commanding the creatures to release them BOTH. Get it? No?
The sky goes dark, Anakin commands both sides to release his friends, and Ahsoka and Obi-Wan are released. Anakin brings both creatures to their knees. Get it now? He tamed the Light AND the Dark, guys. It’s like he’s balancing them!
So he’s passed the test, and is eager to get the hell out of here, but the Father has a little more he wants to discuss with Anakin alone. Ahsoka hisses at him to not trust this guy on her way out, and Anakin is like, DUH.
Recurring Theme: The Skywalkers Don’t Waaaannna Fulfill Their Destiny, Old Man
The Father tells Anakin that he is dying and needs someone to replace him. As the Chosen One, Anakin is clearly the only one who can do it. Anakin protests that he can’t just stay behind and tame the Force, he has like paperwork to fill out and the Jedi Company Picnic is next week and Padme’s been bugging him about getting the dishwasher fixed and he promised some guys he’d play Halo with them later and also it’s raining and uh, no. Sorry. Can’t help ya, mister. The Father tells him that he cannot be made to take the job, but if he denies his destiny, his selfishness will haunt him – and the galaxy – forever.
You Cannot Deny the Truth That Is Your Family…Will Still Ruin Everything No Matter What You Do About Your Destiny, Anakin
We cut to the Dynamic Trio getting ready to leave, and Obi-Wan asks Anakin if he’s ready to go. Anakin is silent, does some Skywalkering out onto the horizon momentarily, and then wordlessly walks onto the shuttle. We get a wide shot of Mortis, and we iris-wipe to the credits as our friends depart.
Could things possibly get weirder? The answer, always, in this universe, is obviously hell yes.