The Clone Wars, Season 6, Episode 12: Destiny
This is the third part of a four-part arc. To start at the beginning, go here.
Welcome back to Yoda’s Excellent Force Adventure! In today’s episode, we continue our journey to the center of the Force (or whatever,) as Yoda seeks to discover the key to immortality. You know, I have to ask: since the life of every character in Star Wars is pretty much a total trainwreck, why are so many of them so invested in learning how to live forever? You’d think many, if not most, of them would long for the sweet embrace of the crypt at this point. (OK, yes, I’m mostly thinking of Kenobi here, again.)
Today’s moral is “Death is just the beginning”, and really, in this universe that is absolutely true — because in the GFFA, no matter what kills you, you’re coming back as a ghost, or your clone is going to come back to fight you, or you’ll get yourself some robot legs to replace the ones Obi-Wan cut off. Ahem. I digress. Time to dive in!
Yoda is on the home approach to his Mystery Destination, an ephemeral blob that looks like a cross between one of those electrostatic balls they have at children’s museums, a dandelion that’s gone to seed, and Yivo from that one Futurama movie. He’s pretty sure this is the place and tells Artoo to proceed with getting closer to whatever the hell this thing is. They start getting sucked in, and Yoda determines that Artoo’s no longer navigating them: it’s time for the Force to be in the driver’s seat.
Recurring Theme: We Are Officially Out Of New Dialogue
Yoda and Artoo both have no idea where they are, so Yoda recycles some dialogue and hands his lightsaber to Artoo for safekeeping. Artoo is Not OK with Yoda going anywhere by himself, and Yoda — really sweetly! — pats Artoo gently and tells him it’ll be OK. I love how literally everyone in the entire series, front to back, ends up accepting Artoo as a fully sentient being almost completely because Anakin just sort of willed it so. It’s adorable.
Yoda heads off in his ship, deeper into the planet, and we enter a scene that calls to mind every pre-final-boss-battle world in every fantasy RPG ever.
And Coruscant, He Says, Is The Name of the Star
He hears a female voice calling his name, and he asks if there is anyone here who can teach him anything. The voice travels towards him in the same means of conveyance used by Glinda, The Good Witch of the South, asking him a question in return:
Once her bubble lands, a figure from a Hiyao Miyazaki film appears to tell him:
How did she know he was coming? According to Mystery Lady, the beings here hang out and spy on everyone who’s strong in the Force. LOL. OK, look here, lady: are you telling me that you guys have been just chilling out, watching this slow-motion disaster happen for years, eating popcorn and laughing/crying at it while doing nothing to stop it? If so, I salute you, because that’s what I do when I watch Star Wars, too.
She tells Yoda to follow her for the next part of this journey, and they walk into an odd structure of sorts where they meet up with her “cousins” — all different personas: giddy, serious, depressed, etc.
He asks them to teach him the way to life after death. The Sisters of Our Eternal Lady of Force are divided on whether or not to teach him, because as far as I can tell no one, at any time, ever, in the history of the Galaxy, has ever willingly taken on a student.
One of the figures explains that Yoda will indeed be trained, because he is destined to be given the gift of immortality. You see, Yoda’s got a pretty steep assignment ahead of him in a couple decades and it’s whiny and wholesome and a Good Kid and it has a 70s haircut:
Force Hazing Ritual
So, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the Force from Star Wars, it’s that The Force is kind of an asshole and really enjoys jerking people around and making them go through labyrinthine obstacle courses to “learn” how to do stuff or move to some next level of Force-ification. A person might have to, say, physically sublimate into the afterlife while staring down the nightmarish, hollow vessel that once held their best friend, or face their deepest fears in a terrifying swamp cave while fighting against a cruel Empire, or salvage the one remaining Still-Edible Twinkie of Goodness out of the Rotting Failure Trash Heap that is their life in order to save their child from the grips of Ultimate Evil…you get the idea. The Force is not a game for people who like to phone it in.
The Force nuns tell Yoda that he’s going to be tested, big time, but if he’s game, they are too. Let’s do this thing!
You May Now Kiss The Force
So what follows is some delightful dialogue wherein Yoda basically…marries the Force, I guess? No one voices any reason why these two cannot be wed, and so we’re off to start his training.
He awakens back outside again, and one of the Force Sisters tells him that he is at the place where midi-chlorians come from. Yeah, I know, you all totally thought it would look like this. Me too.
Force 301: Really Advanced Force Theory
She explains a little bit more about the Living and Cosmic forces and how death plays in here, so once again, get out your notebooks:
She points at a big black Cloud O’ Doom on the horizon, and says that in order for Yoda to maintain his identity after death, he needs to know himself: to face his greatest fears and vanquish them. To overcome Ultimate Evil. Simple!
Yoda attempts to CLEP out of this portion of the coursework by claiming psshhht, I like, totally have already conquered my fears and weaknesses. Her reply:
Prove it, Yoda! And so off he goes.
Recurring Theme: Let’s Go Into A Weirdass Cave
Yoda goes into yet another mysterious cave, and this time he meets a Gollumesque version of himself — Yoda’s Evil Twin that’s been kept locked in an attic, Yoda’s Alternate Universe equivalent, whatever.
Long story short, Yoda and Evil Yoda (let’s call him, uh, Zoda,) get into it, and eventually Zoda makes Yoda say it aloud: yes, this dark side manifestation of him is real. It is part of him. But not a part that controls him. And with that, his dark side turns to dust. See that, Skywalker? It’s NOT THAT HARD.
Sister Force arrives: congrats, Yoda! You’ve overcome your hubris. Yoda admits that he thought that he’d already wiped out his own inner Evil, but he sees now he was wrong. His ego checked:
Recurring Theme: Our Ridiculously Circuitous Plan is One-Quarter Complete
His next task is going to take him to something called the Valley of Extinction, and really, if I’m ever looking for new work I’m going to see if I can get a job writing up amazing ostentatious names for stuff in Star Wars. It’s got to be a full-time position, easily.
While in said Valley, Yoda will be tempted by Confusion, Anger, Sadness, Joy and Serenity. I don’t wanna drag him too much more here, but I feel pretty confident suggesting that Anakin pretty much spectacularly failed in regards to ALL OF THESE THINGS, given that the first three are pretty much his life story and the last two largely eluded him for virtually his entire life. Is the implication, then, that he conquered all of this shit in the last 20 minutes of his life and that’s how he was able to Force Ghost at the end of Return of the Jedi? Or was he like, secretly taking Jedi Courses via correspondence for the last few years of his life behind Sidious’ back? Or did Kenobi just vouch for him at the door because he wanted them to spend eternity together? I’m not knocking the story, really, I’m genuinely interested to know.
Moving on, Yoda walks forward into his next challenge, and slowly he starts to hear someone yelling “No!”, and the next thing you know we’re warped into the Jedi Temple on an alternate version of The Worst Day Ever. This time, the bodies he sees littering the floor include Mace Windu…
..and one Ahsoka Tano, Disgruntled Jedi Retiree:
Ahsoka tells him the Sith have done this to them, and asks him why he failed her, why she’s not a Jedi, and asks:
Yoda is despondent, lamenting his failures:
Just then Katooni, one of the kids from our Jedi Crystal Quest arc, appears and tells Yoda that it doesn’t have to be this way. He can go hide in a AU where everything is happy, just like everyone who watches Star Wars feels compelled to do at one time or another.
Let’s Do the Mega-Happy Ending
He accepts this proposal and he’s off to Happyland, a version of the universe where we find the whole Jedi Family hanging around outside as a group, because in this AU everything is non-evil and safe and so I guess the Jedi just chill out and have picnics together as a group? Cuuuuute!
I would be remiss if I did not point out that even here in our “if only” universe, Kenobi is still a huge nerd, and is having some Square Bonding Time with his Space Dad and Space Grandpa:
I would also like to point out that, even in the Happy AU, Anakin still looks angry.
Yoda is initially inclined to go with the flow here and lean into the happiness, but gets a hold of himself and calls out the fact that this is All Wrong:
That’s when things take a turn for the worse:
Yoda stares down Dooku and calls him out on being an illusion. Eventually, the Fake Happy Jedi Family disappears and he’s snapped out of the fantasy and back with his instructors.
How Many More Credits Til I Graduate?
Yoda inquires as to how much more of this insanity he’s going to need to put up with before he finally gets his Ghosting Certification:
He’s told, in reply, that now:
Good news, Yoda my friend! They’re sending you on an all-expense-paid vacay to the sunny, Sithy shores of…
Yes, they tell him he must face the next round of tests at the ancient homeworld of the Sith. WHY DO SO MANY OF THE JEDI’S TESTS AND TASKS INVOLVE GETTING EXTREMELY CLOSE TO ULTIMATE EVIL ALL THE TIME. And they wonder why every other damn Jedi does a dance with Dark Side. Geez.
Anyways, Yoda heads back to Artoo and the ship, and shuffles on towards the next, and final, episode of the arc (and — sniff! — the last real episode of TCW.)
Next time, on Yoda’s Crazy-Ass Force Vision Quest, we’ll see our little green friend off to the Sith homeworld and get in some quality time with Darth Bane, jumping into canon from the EU in a dramatic and deeply amusing way. But as for now, it’s iris-wipe time!