The Clone Wars, Season 5, Episode 7: A Test of Strength
…anybody hear anything good about The Clone Wars lately? Hmm?
Yes, evidently the powers that be have decided they’re not quite done torturing me yet, and/or they are very tired of me and everyone else complaining about never getting to see the Siege of Mandalore in all its angsty glory, and so my beloved Clone Wars is, indeed, coming back. If you think I am not going to be sitting in a state of catlike readiness from now until whenever Disney drops this thing on us, then you have not been paying attention, my friends. Perhaps you’d better go back and read the thousands of words I’ve already written on this subject.
So naturally, with this very momentous announcement out there, it seemed only fitting that we go back to Wild World of TCW for today’s entry — one which is part of an arc I started years ago at this point, and which can most assuredly be filed under “Everything is Better With More Hondo” (er, the arc overall, I should say. He’s actually an asshole in this one, and not of his usual, more lovable variety).
Previously, we’d watched a group of Jedi kids go through an elaborate series of Personal Destiny Quests to make their way out of an ice cave with a kyber crystal that they’d use to the create their very own deadly weapon. Failing to do this successfully would have literally resulted in said children being sealed inside a giant ridiculous freezer cave for something like TWO WEEKS. Seriously, guys: I love the Jedi Order A LOT, but I have to wonder WHO THE HELL IS COMING UP WITH THIS NONSENSE OVER THERE. GUYS. THIS IS NOT VERY SAFE. YOU ALREADY HAVE THE WORST PR PEOPLE EVER, MAYBE DON’T GIVE THE SKEPTICAL PUBLIC MORE TO WORK WITH.
Anyways, each kid had had to Face Their Demons and Fears and Seek Within Themselves and Learn To Let Go of Everything They Feared to Lose and WHATEVER, and eventually they all made it out with a crystal of their very own. Hooray! Obviously everything is OK now and they will all just head on back to the Temple for a snack and to warm up. Oh wait. No, of course not. Star Wars would never let anyone off this easily.
With that — away we go, nerds!
Recurring Theme: Not Just The Men
The Jedi Kids are messing around on their ship, one of them putzing with that stupid blaster ball thing that’s like Lightsaber Training Wheels. Aww! How cute! These children are well on their way to a long life of happiness and spiritual fulfillment!
Oh ha ha, I AM SORRY, I forgot that everything in Star Wars is depressing as hell even when it’s pretending that it’s not. Yes, these kids have like 2 years, tops, before Anakin Skywalker brutally mows them all down in a tornado of carnage because of his Shirtless Nightmares and general Disasterness and also because Obi-Wan left him alone for 3 and a half hours to go to work.
Well At Least They Have One Ally
Ahsoka is running this show for some reason (don’t get me wrong, I am delighted that she’s here, but this seems like a big deal for a Padawan! I’m proud of her; did she ace a test or something and they let her do this? Or did Yoda just take pity on her and decide to give her something to do other than go on yet another adventure with Obi-Wan “We Just Stopped For Food 20 Hours Ago Also Stop Crowding Me Anakin I’m Trying to Read And I Clearly Hate Having You Try To Sit In My Lap” Kenobi and Anakin “I Have Never Been Chill About Anything Not Once Ever In My Life” Skywalker?) She tells the kids that it’s time to start the lesson on how to build their very own lightsabers, and for that, they’ll be introduced to Huyang, yet another animated Star Wars character who has spent time moonlighting as a Time Lord:
So, long story short, this dude is the robotic Ollivander of this series, and it’s time for the wand to choose its owner or whatever. He explains that he’s seen years and years of Jedi pass through, and he knows what each of them chose.
And furthermore, a lightsaber is a Very Important Thing Indeed:
…oh. I mean, I guess I already knew they weren’t awash with friends, but you didn’t have to point it out, show. Thanks.
He starts with Gungi, a Wookiee youngling:
Uncle Hondo, World’s Most Annoying Relative
The kids are all very excited to get started once they spy some of the cool stuff Huyang’s got stashed away…
…but it is just at this moment as everyone starts to enjoy themselves that we cut to an exterior shot of the ship, where there is a 50s-style flying saucer hovering nearby:
Oh yes: Uncle Hondo is here and as usual, he’s going to start shit with the Jedi. Would someone please get Obi-Wan over here and just charm this dude into submission like he does with everyone and everything else?
What’s Hondo after this time? Same thing as always: cold hard cash, which he intends to get by stealing the kyber crystals (which are misspelled in the closed captions, the horror,) on board the Jedi ship and selling them, because apparently everyone wants them:
This makes the whole bit where Obi-Wan and Anakin are like “oh my what are the Separatists gonna do with a fucking gigantic kyber crystal?” in the unaired (so FAR! !!! !) Utapau arc even funnier. BOYS: they can be weaponized and they’re worth a ton of money? Let’s take a wild guess!
OK OK FINE, I get that the point was that they didn’t know EXACTLY what they were going to do with it, to which I say that just like with everything OBI-WAN CAME SO CLOSE TO KNOWING IMPORTANT INFORMATION, but then didn’t because he got distracted by almost dying:
I…had a point here, didn’t I? I did. And that point was…oh yes, Hondo and the kyber crystals from the Wee Baby Jedi Patrol. Yes, Hondo’s motivations here are financial:
The Jedi Order, Takes Tween Arts and Crafts Time Seriously
So back on the ship, the kids are getting into working on their lightsabers with varying degrees of success. Petro, that kid who’s kind of a little shit from the last episode, is like CHECK ME OUT I’M DONE BITCHES:
LOL. OK, the fingers were definitely a cute touch. Does Obi-Wan have a tiny fanclub within the Order? Oh God, I hope so. He deserves one. Also the idea of these tiny Jedi Trainees challenging Obi-Wan to a duel is the funniest and cutest and most heart-destroying thing I have heard all day. (THANK GOD HE SAID “Obi-Wan Kenobi” AND NOT “Anakin Skywalker” or I would have thrown the tablet I was watching this episode on at the wall.)
Huyang is like “uh, not so fast hotshot, you did it wrong. Try again”:
Some of the other kids are getting very frustrated, and Ahsoka gently reminds them:
Hahaha, so, thank goodness Ahsoka was also taught by Yoda and not just Anakin, huh? Because Anakin is good at neither of these things. I just assume Anakin’s mind is constantly playing the Force equivalent of loud circus music at all times.
R2-D2, On Skywalker Leave
Suddenly, the ship is rocked and Ahsoka bolts for the cockpit, where she finds Artoo — who I totally forgot was here (sorry little buddy! It’s been awhile since I watched this one.) Ah yes, both Ahsoka and Artoo are getting a little time away from Obi-Wan McSassypants and the Angry One. They deserve it.
Artoo is beeping all frantically and then Ahsoka sees Hondo’s ship and notes:
She leaves to check on the younglings:
Hondo, predictably, is having a ball as they start the boarding process. I really need to adopt more of his arm gestures in my everyday life. I love that he looks like he should be holding a drink even when he’s not.
Recurring Theme: Punk Kid Who Doesn’t Listen
The pirates are busting onto the ship, and Huyang quickly tells the children to give him their kyber crystals for safekeeping, which all of them politely do except, of course, for Petro, who sneakily pockets his:
WHAT A SURPRISE. You know, I get that most tweens and teens are a pain in the ass from time to time, but it’s just a lot more dangerous when they are Jedi kids and can so much more easily get everyone killed.
Recurring Theme: They’ve Gone Up [Down] The Ventilation Shaft
Ahsoka spots the pirates beginning to come on board and tears off to find Huyang and the kids:
She tells them what’s going on, and I’m so with the kid who’s immediately like WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE:
The plan is made to have them hide — you’ll never guess where, no never, not in a million years:
Oh of course! The vents! WHEN HAS THAT EVER HAPPENED IN STAR WARS WHAT NEW GROUND WE ARE BREAKING.
The kids starts hustling into the vents and, big fucking surprise, Petro is being a pain in the ass again all LET’S FIGHT EM I WON’T BE A COWARD. Yikes. Look kid, there’s already a line behind Anakin for being the next most ridiculously impulsive person in the Order trying to get everyone killed, OK? TAKE A NUMBER.
Ahsoka Tano, Child-Wrangler
As they hide, the crew can hear the pirates talking above them about how Hondo wants the kids “dead or alive”. NOT COOL, OHNAKA. NOT COOL.
Ahsoka sends two kids to the cockpit, and tells the rest to go hunker down while she preps the ship to break free of the pirates and suck the interlopers into the vacuum of space:
With that, the group breaks up.
Hondo Ohnaka, Has Watched Star Wars
Hondo comes traipsing onto the ship in his usual no-frills way:
His men tell him that, uh, it doesn’t seem like anyone’s home:
Hondo, however, has seen a Star War or two, and is like OMFG you absolute dope:
Hahahahaha. I mean, it’d sure as hell be the first place I’d look, that’s for sure. Hondo further explains that he doesn’t care if these are mere children we’re dealing with here:
Recurring Theme: The Jedi Order, Is Hopefully Buying Flameproof Fabric
The pirates eventually uncover the kids, and Huyang throws this out there:
Petro mouths off to the pirates, and then produces his kyber crystal:
The blade having predictably misbehaved, Petro chucks the lightsaber itself at the pirates. Oh no!
As the guy whirls it around, showing off, sparks begin to fly and HOLY CRAP:
…um, wow? The kyber crystal basically backfires or whatever and the lightsaber EXPLODES, knocking out all the pirates in the hallway. I mean, I knew they were powerful (we have, of course, watched them blow up actual planets before,) but STILL: maybe it’s the fact that I have children and am also generally a cautious person, but I can’t shake the feeling that KIDS SHOULD NOT BE USING THESE THINGS. I don’t care how much Super Special Space Magic these kids possess. The Republic must spend SO much money insuring the Order annually, given that the whole place is just full of insanely dramatic people, some of whom are like eleven years old, flinging around deadly weapons and using telekinesis and so forth while wearing huge drapey outfits that could easily catch on fire. I feel like the average sleeve length of a Jedi robe alone has to be some kind of OSHA violation. No wonder they can’t afford to light the Temple properly. The Jedi probably max out their budget just fixing the inevitable property damage that occurs in an average week. I’m kind of surprised Anakin’s the only one who’s lost a hand.
Recurring Theme: He’s a Rebel
The kids and Huyang take off down the hallway, having subdued their assailants with this dramatic display of pyrotechnics. Once they’ve hunkered down in an enclave, Katoonie is like WELL THAT WASN’T VERY JEDI-ISH WAS IT?
Petro is unmoved: they have to show that they are The Most Brave! They won’t be scared off by pirates!
Huyang is like no no no, you can’t fight them, and also I got damaged and can’t bail you out if you do something stupid:
Katoonie ultimately sides with Petro here, though, and declares:
Ahsoka Tano, Junior Space Mom
Ahsoka, meanwhile, is doing some Super Cool System Hacking or whatever, because she’s a genius child. Anakin is probably dying of pride right now, wherever he is (which, I presume, is probably camped out in front of Padme’s TV in his underpants while eating straight from a tub of ice cream and texting heart emojis to Obi-Wan and Padme every few minutes while a droid gives him a mani-pedi. I pretty much always picture Anakin’s ideal days off to be more or less that of a completely spoiled lady of leisure, because I am a ridiculous person, and so is Anakin.)
ANYWAYS. My continuing lunacy aside, Ahsoka comms over to the younglings on the bridge: she’s got things working! But where are the rest of the kids?
Ahsoka is like “…goddamnit”, because she’s smart and also knows enough about Star Wars to have known it was never gonna be that easy, especially with a bunch of Jedi children in the mix. She takes off to investigate.
Recurring Theme: Tiny Bringer of Death
The kids have started their Takedown Plan, part of which involves setting off a bunch of those blaster balls inside a room, and trapping some of the pirates inside of it:
…so, these kids just sort of ended these dudes, huh? What a field trip this has been! They head off to sow more chaos, but things don’t work out so well:
Ahsoka Tano, Knows a Thing or Two About Negotiation
Ahsoka gloriously arrives on the scene and Force-flings some of the pirates into a wall. She walks over to Hondo and is like DUDE, WHAT GIVES? I knew you were our exhausting Criminal Uncle, sure, but you seem more murdery than usual today:
Hondo is like “eh, what do you want?”:
Ahsoka, badassily, is like “all right then”:
She’s amazing. HER DADS ARE GONNA BE SO PROUD WHEN THEY HEAR ABOUT THIS.
Recurring Theme: Hero Droid
The kids and Huyang try to get out of the line of fire, and Huyang takes on a lot of damage, which he refuses to tolerate, continuing to fight even when he’s down to just a pair of legs!
…HE’S LIVED ON THIS SHIP FOR A THOUSAND YEARS?! THIS SHIP IS 1,000 YEARS OLD??? For one thing, I am decidedly impressed that it’s still functional. That’s some quality craftsmanship. For another, CAN THE REPUBLIC NOT BUY THE JEDI ORDER A NEW SHIP EVERY COUPLE OF CENTURIES FOR FUCK’S SAKE? I get it; we’ve already established that it probably costs a LOT to keep the Order going even considering that they eschew possessions and whatnot, but COME ON, guys. This is your primary peacekeeping force we’re talking about, and you’re going to make them tool around the galaxy in the space equivalent of an old timey zeppelin to save a few bucks?
Recurring Theme: Ahsoka Tano, Best
Ahsoka and Hondo are facing off:
The kids and Huyang take shelter in the ship’s hold, and even though she’s still out in the hallway tangoing with the pirates, Ahsoka tells them to put Operation Blast Hondo Into Space into action:
The pirates fly around everywhere, and Ahsoka looks poised for victory:
…then, at the last second, one more pirate comes flying down the hall, knocking Ahsoka out of the ship and into space with the pirates as the ship jumps into hyperspace:
Recurring Theme: Hondo Ohnaka, Schemer
The mood in the cockpit is jubilant: they did it! And they’re gonna fix up Huyang just fine!
Petro is fanboying about Ahsoka: she was SO AMAZING LIKE WOW SHE TOOK ON ALL THE BAD GUYS BY HERSELF WHAT AN ICON:
…this, of course, leads to the obvious concern:
They attempt to contact her, and the grim truth becomes clear:
As things wrap up for this installment, we find Ahsoka on board Hondo’s Flying Saucer, and he is none too pleased:
DUN DUN DUUUN! Don’t worry, readers — we all know Ahsoka will be fine, because we also know that even when she is in mortal danger and within a half-second of being killed, Dave Filoni will be on hand to leap through time and space to save her. (I can’t say I blame him. I would, too.)
All right! That’s a wrap for this edition of Snark Wars. Thanks for joining me, and I’ll see you all next time, when part of the plan to save Ahsoka will for-real involve Jedi children putting on a circus act for a pirate audience. Bless this show — it really does deserve its resurrection. Until then, dear readers!