The Clone Wars, Season 6, Episode 11: Voices
This is the second installment in a four-part arc. To start at the beginning, go here.
So! The Council has learned that Evil Incarnate created an army of clones for them behind their backs.
Before we go any further here, I would like to review some stuff that has happened starting with Saga Episode 1:
- One of the Jedi gets killed by a Sith Lord even though they initially were all pretty damn sure the Sith were extinct;
- The Jedi take in a random, supernaturally gifted child that they are all scared of, and give him to a grieving, unprepared and too-young single dad to raise, even though initially they weren’t even going to let an Experienced Hire train him;
- A Jedi-turned-Darksider has told them outright that the government is under the influence of Ultimate Evil;
- A clone army got created for the Republic behind its back, by what the Council now knows was Ultimate Evil but they’ve decided to just KOKO about this for Reasons largely filed under “Cover Our Ass”;
- One of the clones, like, a hot minute before this episode, “snapped” and killed a Jedi, and another clone tried to tell everyone about a dark conspiracy related to the clones before he died;
- Everyone thinks the Chancellor is kind of a sneaky creep and knows more than he’s letting on;
- The kid they were afraid to train is now an insanely powerful adult badass AND weirdly protective of the Chancellor, has formed superglue-strength emotional attachments to literally everyone in his general vicinity including robots, and, close to the time frame this episode arc is set in, is going to be getting his secret wife pregnant with twins.
YOU GUYS. YOU. GUYS. Sometimes I just cannot with this franchise. THE JEDI ARE SO SCREWED, YOU GUYS. It’s like watching a slow motion car accident. I keep wanting to yell at them to turn away from the oncoming car, or at least stop ACTIVELY INVITING IT TO CRASH INTO THEM. Seriously.
OK, so, that’s where we’re at going into this episode, the second in this four-part arc which, tragically, was the last of TCW’s completed arcs. In today’s episode, Yoda’s going to be heading out on a journey that will set us up for a couple of things that have influence on literally every single saga installment after this, including the currently-under-construction sequel trilogy. It’s important stuff, and it is wonderfully weird. Time to dive in!
Let’s Get Zen
We open with our little green friend deep in meditation in his room with those mini-blinds that are never fully closed or fully open, and before I say anything else let me point out that he has a cute lil’ candlescape going:
He’s startled from his contemplation by a voice. I know that voice! Do you? Yoda shrugs it off at first. But not so fast, Yoda! Our dearly departed Hippie Jedi Dad Qui-Gon Jinn confirms that he is, in fact, talking to him.
Well, the joke’s on Yoda here, because almost NO ONE who has ever died in this series has ever stayed truly gone. It doesn’t matter if they get blown up, or Mauled, or set on fire, or cut in half, or die of old age at 900-something, or pull a fast one on their evil former student at the last second before sublimating into the afterlife: they will be back, in some form. Like, Han Solo could just waltz into Episode 8 at this point and I’d be like “…well, sure, why not.”
Qui-Gon demonstrates that he’s indeed now part of the Living Force, by lifting Yoda up in the air. Yoda gets set back down, and he is in shock as the scene ends.
Awkward Team Meeting
Next, we cut to yet another installment of You Guys Are All So Screwed Theater as the council meets to discuss the whole oops-our-clone-army-was-created-by-evil thing. Ki-Adi-Mundi states that he doesn’t think they all realize just how fucked up everything might be. He points out that it is quite possible that Dooku’s not the Head Sith — he might merely be the assistant manager, in which case, the Big Bad may have yet to reveal themselves.
Mace Windu is not sold on this, and man is that guy going to have one hell of a bad day when the truth comes out. He asks Yoda, who seems distracted, what he thinks, and Yoda stammers out an apology for not paying attention: he was deep in thought.
Everyone exchanges Glances of Worry, because apparently NONE of them have ever gotten distracted away from the scintillating conversation that takes place in this room ever in their lives even for 45 seconds. (YES, Kenobi: we know, you certainly never have and you never would and you’re so dedicated to the Order and how dare I.) Finally, Yoda weighs in that he agrees that things are likely going to be bad for everyone because An Evil Plot is Afoot. OK. Good talk, guys.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Being That Way on Purpose I Swear to God Stop It Kenobi
Obi-Wan’s walking down the hall flanked by
admirers coworkers, when Mace pulls him aside and asks to speak to him alone. He takes his leave and honest to freaking God, I refuse to believe this guy is not like this deliberately. Please stop being a damned dreamboat for like 12 fricking seconds, OK?
I’m Worried About Grandpa
He and Mace discuss how Yoda was radiating Force Rays of Sadness in their meeting, and Mace voices deep concern over anything making Yoda this uneasy. I would like to mention that this includes like the 5th time in canon that the following has happened:
Other Jedi: I sensed something bad.
Obi-Wan: Oh yeah, I totally did too.
Anyways, Obi-Wan agrees, but notes that the war’s made them all feel beyond worn-out — maybe they’re just surprised Yoda has a breaking point?
Mace hopes Obi-Wan is right, but he thinks it’s something worse than just fatigue. The two of them wrap things up here by staring out that one Temple window everyone always likes to look out of after Feeling Ways About Things.
Anakin Skywalker, The Hero With No Friends
Outside the Temple, Anakin is Skywalkering around amidst Falling Leaves of Symbolism because evidently he has nothing else going on at the moment so he’s just…wandering around alone. And now I’m thinking about how maybe Anakin has like no friends except Padme and Obi-Wan, and both of them have so much other stuff going on in their lives, so he maybe just goes for walks by himself a lot while shedding single tears of loneliness. He used to have Ahsoka to hang with, but she’s gone, and now I’m feeling many sad things so maybe let’s just move on.
This part’s notable because, before he even sees Yoda, Anakin evidently briefly half-hears Qui-Gon saying Yoda’s name. He pauses and looks around before dismissing it:
So, what is this, then? Anakin’s like, SUCH a strong Force Guy that he sometimes accidentally picks up other people’s broadcasts? He’s like a really powerful satellite dish, or a radio picking up signals from three towns over on a clear day? Cool, I guess, but then I have a LOT OF QUESTIONS for him about how Kenobi was able to chill in the desert for twenty damn years “undetected”. Sure, Vader: you had “no idea” he was alive. We all…believe you.
Anyways, Anakin turns around and sees Yoda meditating again. Oh! He didn’t see ya there, Yoda. What’s up dude?
Yoda asks Anakin to expand a bit, for him, on that time that he talked to Qui-Gon on the Crazy-Ass Force Planet.
Recurring Theme: Total Cop-Out
What follows is hilarious. So Anakin’s like “oh, yeah, me and Obi-Wan both talked to Qui-Gon on Mortis! But like, he’s dead, so that couldn’t have been real, so we have both decided we were just high or drunk on the Force or whatever and our brains jointly made it up.” So either they assume that A) the Force would…what? Just fuck with them like that for funsies? and/or B) Obi-Wan and Anakin are in the habit of collectively hallucinating a fantasy world together so they think this explanation is remotely possible. Well, either way, boy oh boy is Kenobi going to feel like a jackass for brushing that whole Mortis thing off in a few months when those guys are yelling at each other in front of all that lava again! Ha! Ha! [sobs]
Recurring Theme: Some Old Force Guy Talks to a Skywalker About Eternal Life
Anakin claims that everything they know about the Force tells them Ghosts Aren’t Real, and Yoda basically tosses out a variant of Palpatine’s much more evilly-delivered Episode 3 spiel about how Maybe We Don’t Know Everything About Death And/Or the Force:
…and Anakin is decidedly not buying it. To which I say: what the hell, Skywalker? You think Yoda is batshit crazy for suggesting this now, but like two minutes later you’re going to be all PALPATINE’S RIGHT, DAMN IT, AND IF SOMEONE DOESN’T TEACH ME HOW TO CHEAT DEATH RIGHT FUCKING NOW I WILL MURDER EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU? Anakin, honestly: FFS.
Yoda backs off after Anakin pretty much tells him he’s crazy, and heads off to rest. Put another hash mark under “GOOD TALK, GUYS”.
Back at the Council room some time later, Yoda is laying it out there for his coworkers: he knows this sounds bananas, but he thinks he’s hearing voices and he needs to know if they can hear them too. So they all decide to get in this Jedi Council Super Meditation Huddle to find out.
What follows is one of my favorite scenes in this show ever because:
- It’s very sweet and sad to see them all band together like this, and know that they are all going to be dead soon — except for the two that will get the honor of living in lonely solitude for 20 years, before getting whined at by Anakin’s kid and then dying;
- It is completely hysterical because evidently they all huddle together like this , hunched over Yoda, OVERNIGHT. These are all somewhat older people who have been badassing their way through the Galaxy for years, getting injured and shot at and falling off of cliffs. Their poor backs! How can they STAND THIS? And all that time no one had to pee? Or get some water? Holy crap, Satine wasn’t kidding: the Jedi do NOT do anything by halves.
Eventually, in the MORNING (after they literally show us a time-lapse of like 12 hours), someone finally cries uncle and they break, with no one, including Yoda, having heard the voice. I love that the idea that maybe Qui-Gon is being kind of an asshole here and no-showing to make Yoda look crazy.
Now, they all start wildly speculating that maybe Ultimate Evil is making Yoda hear voices. They’ll need to investigate further! I bet they’ll totally figure it out. The Jedi are super good at figuring out things.
Mystery Diagnosis: GFFA Edition
Next, we see Yoda being observed in a medical examining room, where multiple scans of him reveal nothing out of the ordinary — except that his brain is very active in one particular place which is evidently noteworthy though we’re not really told why.
What could be causing all this? Well, they think it’s…
Recurring Theme: Heed These Words
Ki-Adi-Mundi muses that maybe they’re overlooking something — like, for example, that Count Dooku is evil now, and Yoda was his teacher, so…
Obi-Wan, in an amusing and extremely depressing moment, is like WAIT: you can’t hold his apprentice going evil against him! It’s not his fault! He did his best leave him alone! The writers really cannot get enough of making Obi-Wan say things like this and I both love and loathe it.
Ki-Adi-Mundi says that Dooku could be using whatever remnants of their Force bond exist to mess with Yoda’s head, or whatever, because who the hell even knows how the Force works so anything is possible.
Jedi, M.D. suggests that they try a dangerous, intense procedure that may help to identify the source of the voice. Anakin appears to inform the gang that Palpatine is asking for Yoda to swing by a meeting, and Windu agrees to attend on his behalf — telling Obi-Wan, as he leaves, to let Yoda decide if he wants to go through with the proposed procedure.
Our next scene shows Yoda, having agreed to the procedure, getting ready to be lowered into a tank, Luke-style. There he’ll be forced into a deep state of meditation, “as close to death as possible.” Yoda is determined:
As he slips into borderline-death, Yoda does indeed hear Qui-Gon again, and it’s time for our first full-on Force-Fueled Freakout of the arc, as Yoda is transported to a vision of Dagobah:
Qui-Gon tells him to go there, and he will find the answers he seeks.
Outside the tank, Obi-Wan and Anakin are having a freakout of their own, as they both lose their shit over Yoda’s vital signs perilously dropping:
Yoda gets pulled out of the tank, and comes to, and OK, I have to admit, the collective concern of Team Handsome for Yoda’s safety is actually pretty damn heartwarming. They love Yoda and it’s sweet and I can’t even snark on it.
Yoda tells them he spoke to the dead, and heard from:
Afterwards, the team gives Mace a recap via holo-Skype of what happened.
Ki-Adi-Mundi restates that they can’t speak to the dead, so Yoda must be losing his marbles, and oh look, I guess Anakin DIDN’T think Yoda was so crazy after all:
Mace tells them to hold tight for now, and in the meantime keep some Temple guards on hand to keep people away from Yoda — and to keep him from going anywhere.
Bring Me That One Grandkid That’s Always Screwing Up
Later, in his room, Yoda has called for Anakin.
I love this scene. Yoda tells Anakin he asked for him, specifically, because he’s busting outta this joint. He needs to go on a journey, to understand what’s happening, and he knows that Anakin will help him do it because Anakin loves breaking rules, hahahahaha:
He tells Anakin, further:
…And, well, in fairness, Yoda, several things set Anakin apart. Like his being an unstable crazypants and being the Jedi Messiah, for example. Moving on!
Ultimately Anakin agrees to take him “for a walk to get some fresh air”, adding:
Recurring Theme: Hero Droid
Anakin tells R2-D2 to take Yoda to his ship and get him out of there before Doctor Neema notices that he’s gone. Yoda adorably jumps onto Artoo’s back and they head out for Dagobah.
Mace et al show up as Yoda departs, and Anakin predictably gets the business for letting him leave. Anakin seems pretty OK with this, though, joking that for once the horrible idea wasn’t even his. Gotta take those moments when they come, eh Anakin?
Back to the Future
Yoda and Artoo arrive on the swampy shores of Dagobah, and Yoda leaves Artoo with the ship to seek his destiny.
He sits himself down and is like, “OK, JINN: I’m here, where you at?”
Qui-Gon speaks to him, reassuring him that he’s not going crazy — it’s really him! Follow the Force Fireflies to your next step, friend…
Force 201: Advanced Force Theory
Yoda notes that this place is pretty Force-y, for a fetid swamp, and Qui-Gon tells him that it’s one of the purest places in the galaxy. And now it’s time for Uncle Qui-Gon to break down some more mythos about the Force, so everyone get out your notebooks and pens and listen up.
So, OK. Then he goes on a bit more about why he can’t physically manifest himself in his original form so that we all understand that he wasn’t just no-showing on the Ewok Party at the end of Return of the Jedi.
Yoda asks him if he can see the future. No, he can’t. He asks him if he knows who the Sith Lord is, because the Jedi who are still alive sure as hell are not going to be able to figure it out even if Palpatine writes a song confessing to it and sings it to them in the Council room while tap dancing. Qui-Gon, again, can’t say — but he can show Yoda a place where he might be able to find out.
Recurring Theme: Let’s Go Into a Weirdass Cave
So, once again we find ourselves watching someone head off into a Dark Cave of Mystery to seek knowledge and/or become even more confused and/or get the crap scared out of them.
Qui-Gon tells Yoda to be wary as Yoda walks into said cave (which in fairness is less an actual cave and more like a little creepy alcove but whatever), and as he does, a thick black cloud of smoke starts to encircle him.
Recurring Theme: Let’s Go To The Soul-Crushing Preview
Here, just like when Anakin had his Force-Fueled Freakout on Mortis, Yoda gets a highlight reel of all the shitty stuff that’s going to happen to the Jedi soon. Among them:
The Jedi facing off against a shadowy enemy:
Mace Windu getting the Force Lightning Treatment:
And finally, the lovely visage of Darth Sidious:
So! That was pleasant. Needless to say Yoda is traumatized by this and hobbles out of the cave, collapsing to the ground. He’s roused back to consciousness by Qui-Gon, and as he rises to his feet, laments the horror show he just watched.
He asks Qui-Gon when this nightmare is going to go down, and Qui-Gon informs him that LOL, Spoiler Alert: they’re all already totally screwed! It’s happening now, it’s always been happening, and Ultimate Evil is, like, WAY more powerful right now than they even understand.
But hey! It’s not all bad. There’s still hope, sorta:
Yoda’s got a new assignment! He’s going to learn how to ghost and commune with the living after he dies:
This ghosting thing is important because, of course, he’s going to, in turn, teach Obi-Wan how to do it so that Obi-Wan can counsel Luke from the Great Beyond/haunt the ever-loving crap out of Vader (or so I presume. I hope he at least did some poltergeist-style tricks where he like, flipped Vader’s cape over his head at random times. That dude deserved it.)
We Haven’t Even Started To Get Weird
The next step on his journey to understanding how to do this is to travel to one of the origins of life itself. Sounds simple. Where is it? It’s a secret!
You know, with all these Sneak Preview Shenanigans and Ghosts and Very Special Journeys, I kind of feel like the Force just sort of delights in making these guys all go through ridiculous things for no reason. I like the Force.
Yoda heads back to his ship and informs a wary Artoo that the fun has only just begun, and with that, we hit the iris-wipe. Until next time!