The Clone Wars, Season 5, Episode 20: The Wrong Jedi
This is the final installment for this arc. To start at the beginning, go here.
You know, I have to level with you guys: it’s a lot easier to be sarcastic and funny when you’re recapping Obi-Wan getting grilled by Darth Vader about whether or not he ever uh, successfully negotiated a thing or two on Mandalore, or that time Quinlan Vos and Obi-Wan visited Ziro the Hutt’s mom and she called Obi-Wan “Mr. Fancy Pants”, or the fucking Holiday Special, than it is to be funny when you are recapping an episode like this one. That said, I have made a commitment to this arc, and I will do my best to give you a few cheap laughs anyways — even if I have to really stretch for them, or go back to my lazy well of bawdy commentary about everyone wanting to get into Kenobi’s pants in order to do so. I am here for you, readers. I will not let you down. (Not a guarantee.)
So: when we last left this joyless clusterfuck of an arc, Ahsoka Tano had been framed for the murder of the prime suspect in a deadly bombing at the Jedi Temple. Realizing that whoever had done this had done a really good job of making her look REALLY fucking guilty, Ahsoka took off in hopes of finding evidence to clear her name — and left Anakin behind as he pleaded with her to stay, in a move that will absolutely never come back to haunt us or Luke Skywalker. A hunt ensued to track her down and bring her home, and while that was happening Ahsoka briefly crossed paths with, and allied herself with, Asajj Ventress. Then a shadowy figure pretending to be Ventress got into a duel with Ahsoka, Ahsoka fell into a giant Pit of Damning Evidence that now made her look even MORE guilty than before, and just as this happened, Plo and Anakin showed up to apprehend her. We left things with the Jedi hoping they could get to the bottom of things yet (LOL never stop dreaming, guys!), while Anakin stared at stuff sadly and felt Ways About Things.
Wednesday Morning at Five O’ Clock, As The Day Begins
So, it’s early morning or maybe it’s early evening or whatever it doesn’t matter because we’re in the fucking Council Room, which is a phrase I have now typed so many times I kind of wish I had a key on my keyboard that said “we’re in the fucking Council Room.” The usual suspects are sitting around holo-Skyping with stupid Tarkin and his snotty little weasel face. Tarkin is ranting about how Ahsoka should be charged with treason because clearly this teenage girl is the greatest threat to the Republic of all time and probably was involved in the JFK assassination and also she’s maybe the one who was behind 9/11 too, and Yoda is like “…yeah OK whatever Tarkin, we’re going to make sure she gets a fair Jedi trial because that is how we do things here, this is a family affair so BUTT OUT” and Tarkin is NOT having it. He says that the powers that be are recommending that they boot Ahsoka from the Order so that she can be given a more impartial Republic military trial that is definitely not rigged and certainly not part of an overarching plan to make Anakin go insane.
Windu tells him that they’ll do whatever they damn well please, but as they hang up the call, everyone is having a hard time with this. Obi-Wan, because he is a good guy and he loves his daughter and also he’s the handsomest, immediately is like GUYS. GUYS. We can’t honestly be considering this right DO YOU ALL HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH BULLSHIT ANAKIN IS GOING TO PUT ME THROUGH IF WE DO THIS?!
The others agree, but they’re in a really bad spot here: the evidence against her is damning. She was literally found with the weapons used in the bombing, and not allowing the Senate to handle this could make the Jedi look like they stand in opposition to the Senate, a Bad Thing.
There Is No Self-Awareness; There is Drama
The group comes to a grim decision when they realize their backs are against the wall, and Yoda solemnly says that they’ll need to bring Ahsoka and Anakin into something that is FOR-REAL CALLED THE CHAMBER OF JUDGEMENT to discuss what happens next. The Chamber. Of Judgement. Well then, let’s not be dramatic about it or anything you guys OH WAIT THIS IS THE JEDI I AM TALKING ABOUT. You guys are physiologically incapable of not being dramatic about things, and this is made even funnier by the fact that you keep talking about peacefulness and detachment and serenity all of the fucking time. The Jedi are like that one friend everyone has that keeps saying things like “…whatever, I don’t like drama, I don’t have time for that” but who then proceeds to be involved in EVERY SINGLE DRAMATIC THING EVER.
In reaction to this decision, guess who’s having a really shitty day now? Like, even shittier than his usual shitty day? Why yes, it’s Obi-Wan. That guy just really has all the luck.
We Take Parent-Teacher Conferences Really Seriously Here
Outside of the Chamber of Drama, Anakin and Ahsoka are waiting to be called in. Anakin is, well, to borrow some internet humor…panickin’.
Eventually they are called up, and when I say “up”, I mean it, because OH MY GOD: the Jedi couldn’t even go with a regular door situation here. Nope: the Chamber of Pomposity literally has a lift in the floor that leads up into the chamber itself. WHO IS BUILDING THIS STUFF.
THEN — then! — Ahsoka, as The Accused, is brought up even higher than the rest of the group on the platform, leaving Anakin and some Temple guards behind as she rises up to see the Council. And HO-LEE SHIT, people. LOOK AT THIS ROOM:
This is maybe the most ostentatious, self-important set we have yet seen in Star Wars, and keep in mind that the canon currently includes stuff like that basement where the Sith used to sacrifice the Jedi, the Galactic Senate, Mandalore’s fancy cruise ship AND two Actual Goddamn Death Stars.
Like, who proposed this room be built? And how? “Hey guys, you know how we’re supposed to be chill Space Monks who are guardians of the peace? What I think we really need for our Temple is a giant terrifying room where we can sanctimoniously judge people while being lit from below like we’re telling someone a ghost story over a camp fire.”
We Didn’t Know It Was Wrong
Ahsoka is asked to explain the many glaring problems with her plea of Not Guilty.
She ultimately admits that she can’t be sure who’s setting her up — it might be Ventress, it might not be.
The Dark Side is clouding her sight. Yoda agrees that a whole lot of bullshit is flying around lately:
Anakin begins to pick up what’s going down here and OHHHHH BOY is he getting PISSED:
This, of course, makes Obi-Wan feel sad (as though anything is ever going to make this man happy anyways).
Finally the verdict comes down: while they are not in total agreement, Ahsoka is going to get the boot:
Anakin, as expected, is fucking furious and charges the Temple Guards, like…what did he think he was going to be able to do, here? Just kill them all on the spot?
Padme Amidala, Public Defender
In a holding cell, Ahsoka is visited by Anakin and Padme. Padme, as it turns out, is going to represent Ahsoka in her trial. So, like, I get that Padme is kind and smart and cares about Ahsoka and Anakin, but does the Galaxy not have real lawyers? Does Padme have a JD I’m not aware of? Being a good Senator does not necessarily mean you’d be a good lawyer.
Ahsoka attempts to clarify some more about her story, and I have to say: everything I’ve ever read about people’s reactions to this arc involves them lamenting that the entire Order are irredeemable assholes but that Poor Anakin never doubted Ahsoka for even a moment, but from where I’m sitting it’s actually a bit more nuanced than that in both respects. Make no mistake: Anakin’s definitely on her side, but he’s still asking her pointed questions and seems confused about a lot of things (although, LOL, this is Anakin Skywalker we’re talking about so what the hell else is new), and the Council, for all their unpopular choice-making and stupidity, shows a lot of genuine anguish about what they feel they have to do, especially in this episode. TL; DR: I think everyone is having a shitty time in this arc, including the audience, and I appreciate that as with a lot of other things in Star Wars, there are a number of things that are not starkly black-and-white going on.
Anakin decides the only way he can help now is to get to the truth once and for all, and it sure sounds like that means he needs to find Ventress.
Padme tries to counsel Ahsoka after he leaves, but she’s not feeling exactly thrilled about her prospects here:
From A Certain Point of View
On the Mean Streets of Coruscant, The Divine Miss V herself is stalking down an alleyway. She senses Anakin before he jumps down to meet her, awesomely noting who he is before he even says a single word and before she even LOOKS at him:
The two of them get into it and Anakin goes full Angry Dad, demanding to know her side of the story.
Ventress, eventually, points out that she changed her tune on turning Ahsoka in for a bounty, because she and Ahsoka had a lot in common. Anakin is disgusted by this:
Ventress twists the knife by elaborating:
So, great job, Ventress: just keep planting those The Jedi Are Evil seeds in his easily-warped doofus brain, OK? Sigh. Yes, yes, I know — they can be jerks and they have really suspiciously not-humble taste in decor but I still don’t feel like hopping on board the They All Deserved It Express.
Anakin looks utterly dismayed about this:
Meanwhile, Ahsoka’s being brought in for her trial. So, hang on: how fucking long has Anakin been gone looking for Ventress? Ahsoka got arrested, kicked out of the Order, held for pretrial processing and is now in court ALREADY? It’s been like 4 hours! Talk about a speedy trial. Holy crap.
The trial is taking place in yet another ridiculous room: this one, in fact, looks a lot like the inside of Death Star I and is easily about 689,000 times bigger than necessary. WHY IS IT SO HUGE?
In attendance, looking mightily bummed, are the sad-sack members of the Jedi High Council:
So, did the Order get their own custom-made seats? Like, are they regular attendees at these things or did Windu get here early to save a row for everyone?
Why is Palpatine the judge here? This is not how court works. The President of the United States does not typically swing by to rule over courtroom proceedings involving teenage kids (…though soon enough I suppose anything will be possible. Nothing would surprise me at this point.) And why is Tarkin, an active Admiral who is in the middle of a major war, taking time out to be the prosecutor in this case? Is Tarkin ALSO a lawyer?
So Tarkin starts in on his opening remarks, and oh my God: this courtroom has a JUMBOTRON, you guys. A Jumbotron! WHY? You know, guys, if you’d used a room that was not the size of several thousand football fields, you might not need a FUCKING JUMBOTRON to help the people here see the defendant. Just a thought.
Anyways, Tarkin grandstands about how Ahsoka is the greatest criminal mastermind of our times, and that when she’s found guilty, he’ll push for the death penalty. Again: I would like to remind everyone that this is the same guy Darth fucking Vader will be taking orders from for the next 2 decades. So, let me get this straight, Skywalker: the Jedi Council all deserved to die for their part in this bullshit, but Tarkin — the dude who literally proposed she get tossed from the Order in the first place and then tried to have her get the death penalty for something she didn’t do — well, you’ll be eating sheet cake in the Death Star breakroom for his birthday for years to come. But Obi-Wan, your actual husband who spends most of this episode on the verge of tears and who argued against kicking Ahsoka out, is going to go have to weep alone in a cave in the desert while drinking until his liver is shelf-stable. OK. Sure. Sounds like a plan.
Asajj Ventress, Key Witness
Anakin and Ventress are still chatting, and eventually she tells Anakin about the person who jumped her and stole her lightsabers:
Anakin is incredulous: there is no way it was another Jedi. Who?
That’s when Ventress provides a key break in the case: there WAS another Jedi they talked to. The one who told them to go to that stupid warehouse in the first place!
Anakin, sunnily, signs off:
And Ventress throws this back and I laugh and laugh and thank GOD she was in this episode to make it just a little bit more bearable.
OK Seriously This is Not A Funny Episode But I Laughed Out Loud At This
Padme, back in the courtroom, lays out that it’s actually kind of ridiculous for Ahsoka to have strangled Letta, because hello: it would have made her look super guilty!
As she concludes, Tarkin 100% ACTUALLY DOES SLOW SARCASTIC CLAPPING. Like, cartoonishly-evil-villain-style. When is someone evil on this show going to grow a handlebar mustache they can twirl while plotting stuff?
Guys, Kenobi’s body language is killing me in this scene. This guy looks like he’s going to be physically sick.
Recurring Theme: Not Who You Think I Am
Anakin is on his way to see Barriss, and, OK: this guy’s walk. He is SO ANGRY that he isn’t even walking like Darth Vader, really: he’s walking like Darth Vader after it rains and he needs to be oil-canned back to mobility, like the Tin Man. He is moving like an actual robot, he’s so stiff, with his hands clenched at his sides.
Barriss is inside her room, which is — in keeping with Jedi Tradition — the most depressing, sad little place in the entire Galaxy with nary a lightbulb in sight. She’s meditating when he arrives, and she lets him in.
After some “oh my Master Skywalker who could be trying to frame Ahsoka?” back and forth, he cuts to the chase:
DUN DUN DUUUUUUN! That’s right: Ahsoka’s BFF Barriss turned on her and turned to the Dark Side, and framed her for murder. Aww, Ahsoka and Obi-Wan have more in common than they even realize! *bites knuckle and stifles a sob*
Barriss busts out Ventress’ sabers and the two of them begin to fight.
I Don’t Think This Counts as Impartial
So, remember how at the beginning of this episode Tarkin made a huge fucking deal about how Ahsoka HAD to be tried by the Republic and not by the Jedi so that it could be impartial? Yeah, well, now here’s Judge Palpatine all but telling the court HE thinks she’s guilty.
Yes, well, you would know about people in the Republic getting fooled by things, wouldn’t you, pal? Sigh.
Anakin Skywalker, Classroom Crasher
Anakin and Barriss take their confrontation outdoors after Barriss jumps through a window…
…and they land basically right in the middle of a class of younglings and LOL THAT THEY ALL JUST STAND THERE. Like, OK: a fucking Darksider is dueling with the Chosen One 2 feet away from small children but whatevs, everyone just stand there and gawk!
Eventually, they get surrounded by Temple guards, and Anakin emerges victorious. I mean, I would sure as hell HOPE SO, considering that he’s the fricking Jedi Messiah and she’s a KID, but, whatever. He wins.
Anakin Skywalker, Dramatic Courtroom Disruptor
Things aren’t looking so good over in Judge Palpatine’s chambers, and just as Ahsoka’s verdict is about to be read, in bursts Anakin with The Shocking Truth!
Recurring Theme: The Jedi Are Evil So I’m Blameless for Murdering People
Ahsoka is horrified:
Barriss uses her admission of guilt to rip into the Jedi, while I suppress a giggle that this courtroom actually has TWO JUMBOTRONS. TWO!:
And, OK, she’s not wrong here but like COME ON, OFFEE: you can’t just frame your friend for murder and you know…become an actual terrorist to get your point across. I mean, you CAN, but it’s a shitty thing to do.
Barriss Offee, Telling No Lies Here
Barriss then spoils the next saga movie for all of us as she concludes:
Anakin gives Ahsoka a hopeful glance having cleared her name. She…is not looking quite as optimistic.
Stepping Outside, She Is Free
Oh, just fuck this last part, you guys.
So we are back in the Council Room and this time everyone’s falling all over themselves to apologize to Ahsoka. First up, Anakin:
Then, Famous Original Ahsoka Space Dad Plo Koon stabs me in the heart a couple times by calling her by his pet name for her:
I feel compelled to point out that it’s just Ahsoka and a bunch of pompous men in this scene who are realizing too late that they fucked up enormously and are trying to play this off as some bullshit story about how she’ll Rise From The Ashes and Emerge Stronger Because of Their Fuckup, and MAN, I FEEL YOU RIGHT NOW, GIRL. I’m pretty much done with Bullshit From The Men in Charge for about, oh, the rest of eternity.
Anyways everyone’s like WELP let’s put this all behind us and begin anew. Anakin, his eyes full of hope, hands Ahsoka her beads again:
…and, with tears in her eyes, she turns him down:
As he comes to the terrible realization about what’s happening, she tells him:
She leaves the room, and Anakin crumples:
Then Anakin goes after her and I WOULD LIKE YOU ALL TO NOTE THAT OBI-WAN THEN TRIES TO GO AFTER ANAKIN BUT PLO KOON HOLDS HIM BACK BY HIS SHOULDER AND I HATE ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW. I want everything to be OK FOR THEM AND IT’S NOT GOING TO BE. NOTHING IS GOING TO BE OK.
Everybody looks about as happy about everything as I do right now as Anakin leaves.
She’s Leaving Home (Bye, Bye)
Anakin catches up to her at the front entrance to the Temple. You know the one: that one that Anakin and the Clones strut their way in when they show up to murder everyone? Ah, good times.
He pleads with her:
She counters that this is something she has to sort through on her own.
Remember how the next time they see each other he’s gonna maybe kill her? Ah. Yeah. Thanks, Star Wars.
He caps this off by telling her he understands. Sometimes even he wants to leave the Order, like when he’d really rather be home hanging out in his underpants while Padme’s at work before going out to some charity luncheon like the Political Trophy Husband we all wish he’d be, or when Obi-Wan’s just being a real pill about something and he wants to get away from him for the afternoon.
…and she reveals that she knows he feels this way. He makes a face like he’s surprised, but come the fuck on, Skywalker: everyone knows you kind of hate your job and that you and Amidala are totally boning each other. You’re not really that subtle. About anything. At all.
So. She leaves, and that’s that. YOU. GUYS. This arc is the fucking worst. I will be billing this show for my therapy.
Then, because it senses that an iris-wipe might be too jaunty for this occasion, we get a somber fade-out on Sad Anakin Skywalker, who is now — more than ever — off on the road to disaster.
And with that, I’ve mercifully finished this arc at last! So long Snips and Skyguy. Your time together was all too short, and NO: I did not find your eventual reunion to be heartwarming in the least.
…What’s that, reader? You want me to end this on a positive note? Uh, OK: well, Obi-Wan and Anakin still have each other! And everything’s gonna work out just FINE for those two crazy kids. I’m sure of it.