Mercenaries, Boxes, and Jedi: Part 1
A Clone Wars Marathon
In this installment of episodes, we take a look at a few mercenaries, few Jedi, and a Holocron. In total, this marathon will end up consisting of ten episodes. Here are the first five! If you have not seen these episodes, I strongly encourage you to read this after watching them.
Holocron Heist (Season 2 Episode 1)
We begin on Felucia. Not the first time. Not the last… a world vibrant, even after the constant battles waged on this world. Agriculture and location on the hyperspace route kept that planet in constant turmoil. Today? The Republic was on the losing streak and had to pull out. Not before more casualties to war. Not before disobedient Jedi almost cost so much loss of life. A Jedi too young and inexperienced to be in the position she was placed. Yet, the Jedi acted all surprised, when she tunnel visioned on the battlefield. Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano just wanted to do her duty through blind obedience and determination! Yet, lessons did need to be made. She did not pull out, when commanded. A slight misstep in the fictitious dance of war. Something she admitted after the fact. A little too late. The Jedi realized she was too young, for the “maximum effort” they had been demanding she achieve. Her respite? Guard duty in the Jedi Archives. Though, as the Force willed, trouble was afoot.
Enter Cad Bane
A mercenary bounty hunter that did almost anything… for a price. A blue skinned Duros, with a preference, for gunslinger attire, his job was to break into the Jedi Archives. Under the pocketbook of Darth Sidious, Bane, in the end, was successful in stealing a Jedi Holocron even though Ahsoka, Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Yoda failed to unlock his plot in time… Side note, a Holocron can hold many secrets. Some hold histories, lessons, grocery lists… But others hold forbidden knowledge, or lists of potential future Jedi…
Cargo of Doom (Season 2 Episode 2)
Our journey moves on to the kidnapping of Jedi Master Bolla Ropal, who held a missing memory crystal to the stolen Holocron. In other words, it was similar to a decoder ring. But wait! That’s not all. In order to put the decoder inside, and access the contents, only a Force wielder can do so. Which means, Cad Bane had to mercilessly torture Bolla Ropal!
Meanwhile, Jedi Knight Anakin and his Padawan Ahsoka chased after Cad Bane and attempted to rescue Bolla Ropal. In an interesting act of deception, Darth Sidious loaned out a small flotilla of Trade Federation ships that made it appear that Bane was working under the pocketbook of the Separatists! However, looking at the corrupt Republic, they allow the Trade Federation (a corporation) to have a continued place in the Galactic Senate… But alas, back to lightsabers and blasters!
Master Ropal found dead after Cad Bane tortured him too much, the Jedi and Clones box Cad Bane into a corner. Yet, he had a trick up his sleeve. Since Ropal did not unlock the Holocron, he puts the life of Ahsoka on the line to have Anakin get the job done. Anakin can not let go of the ones he cares about. In fact, Yoda assigned Ahsoka to Anakin to learn how to let go, when the time came… In this episode, it was not that time. Holocron unlocked, Ahsoka saved, and Cad Bane… Pay close attention to everyone at the end of this episode. From the Clones to the Jedi, the design was just wonderful!
Children of the Force (Season 2 Episode 3)
“Among the children of the Jedi, there are no innocents.” – Darth Sidious
More deception! The outro of the previous episode, and the beginning of this are the same… Yet adjusted slightly, for the narrative. The intro also wastes no time on mystery as we learn this Holocron holds the names of possible future Jedi applicants! Remember back to The Phantom Menace we learned that Jedi sought out the blood of children to test their midichlorian level? Well that database was what Darth Sidious paid Cad Bane to retrieve!
Now, the Jedi must meditate through the Force to find moments of the future that may or may not come to pass… One force sensitive child kidnapped! Another was soon taken, as Cad Bane played the wolf in sheep’s skin to kidnap another. However, he does kidnap the third child. No, his only reward was a Tooka doll and a Padawan’s vengeance! Yet, the victory was short lived as the Jedi lost Cad Bane after he lead them to the Holocron, and Anakin, with his Padawan Ahsoka, rescued the children. In the end, Sidious’ plan was foiled, but we got a glimpse into his master plan… He was attempting to turn them into Force-sensitive spies! Eek! In the TV show Rebels, there are characters that show up that are similar to this…
Bounty Hunters (Season 2 Episode 17)
Remember Felucia? Well, a medical station in orbit over Felucia loses contact, and Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka are sent in to investigate. …And after a flashy crash landing, Ahsoka (the youngest even) became the voice of reason as Anakin and Obi-Wan bitter about what to do. They found a farm (remember the agriculture comment above) that had yet to harvest their Nysillim (healing herb). Being “neighborly” they poked around until they found the farmers hiding. Turned out there were pirates afoot, but all was not lost as the farmers had four bounty hunters willing to protect the village/farm. Four bounty hunters plus three Jedi equalled seven protectors of a village/farm from pirates/bandits… It has been long known that George Lucas took inspiration from the late movie director Akira Kurosawa (hence the dedication at the beginning). The overall structure of this episode is a recreation of Kurosawa’s film Seven Samurai! My first time viewing the episode I was a little upset, but looking at it know it is a nice gesture.
We do get some great character moments! Ahsoka absorbed how Obi-Wan negotiates and Anakin teaches the villagers. We meet bounty hunter Sugi (her niece Jas Emari appears in the Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig), bounty hunter Embo (same alien species as the notorious Constable Zuvio from the story High Noon on Jakku by Landry Q. Walker), and see the return of pirate Hondo Ohnaka (best cup dodging pirate that later shows up in Rebels)! In the end the heroes win and the pirates go off to find a more profitable adventure.
Padawan Lost (Season 3 Episode 21)
For this story, we jump ahead in the timeline to where… The Jedi go back to fight on Felucia?! If it wasn’t for that kriffing hyperspace lane being so critical to the war, then Felucia would be at peace! This time for sure they will be able to hold it… (Flips ahead on the timeline to Revenge of the Sith.) Well, maybe not; however, the Jedi are resilient. Going to war on Felucia this time were Jedi Master Plo Koon, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, Padawan Ahsoka Tano, and a bunch of clones… Nothing could go wrong!
Well, things did not go as planned. Ahsoka was kidnapped by Trandoshan hunters, and dropped off onto the moon Wasskah. There she must hide, with the other victims as the Trandoshan’s hunt them for sport! Ahsoka does meet some other former Jedi, and work together to go on the offensive. The beauty of this episode is the perseverance and training Ahsoka utilities to teach the others to survive. Be that training from Obi-Wan, Anakin, Plo Koon, or whoever. Ahsoka tried her best, but not everyone on that moon lived though…
Meanwhile back at the Jedi Temple, Anakin was torn apart. Through all his training he still had yet to come to terms, with letting go. There was nothing Anakin could do except hope that his training would help Ahsoka to survive…
Before we depart
Looking at these five episodes the character growth between Ahsoka and Anakin shines brightly over the shadow of things to come. We see how Anakin’s training has given Ahsoka the tools needed to lead others. We see Ahsoka teaching Anakin to mellow out (a tiny bit). This marathon does however end on a cliffhanger, but I promise the next part ends on a little happier moment! (From a certain point of view…)