April 25th, 2020

Dim Setsuled

Fencing with Flashlights

Rarely has so very little been animated so very well. We already knew the outcome of the conflict on Friday's new Clone Wars. Rebels has already established who lives and dies. That doesn't mean the story can't be interesting--Better Call Saul and, indeed, the Star Wars prequels and earlier episodes of Clone Wars have shown just how great prequels can be. Unfortunately, Dave Filoni sticks mainly to connecting dots in an episode with a distinctly fan-fiction-ish vibe.

The episode begins without narration for once and the opening music sounds very little like Star Wars and quite a lot like the work of the recently deceased Krzysztof Penderecki, best known for his music's inclusion in the scores to The Shining, Twin Peaks, and other films. This gives the episode an eerie tone right off the bat and adds to the ominous quality of Maul (Sam Witwer) hinting at the impending Order 66. Something, again, which would be more effective if Rebels hadn't established Ahsoka's clones as having resisted the order. I hope at least some of the clones she relied on turn.

The question to ask is, what does this story add to what's already in Revenge of the Sith? Obi-Wan (James Arnold Taylor) tells Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein) about Anakin being asked to spy on the Chancellor and she's angry on Anakin's behalf. She's still loyal to him, which is certainly tragic, but we know she won't have a real confrontation with him until the very unsatisfying episode of Rebels where she meets Darth Vader. She and Maul make an interesting pairing because they're both disillusioned apprentices who have turned their backs on their respective orders. Maul reaching out a hand to Ahsoka seems as though it was meant to evoke Kylo Ren and Rey in Last Jedi--it would have been interesting to see Ahsoka work with Maul for a while. Certainly a lot more interesting than seeing them engage in a fight that goes nowhere and proves nothing. But it sure was well animated.

Even better than Ahsoka and Maul teaming up would be Vader and Ahsoka teaming up. In fact, that would be a great premise for the live action series. Why should Ahsoka be so sure the Empire is the wrong way to go? She doesn't like the Jedi Order. Vader slaughtered the Jedi Order and that's much farther than Ahsoka would go. But what if Vader and Ahsoka were stranded on a planet together or had to work together for some other reason? Maybe Ahsoka would start thinking the Empire makes life more safe and secure for people than the constant volatility of the Clone Wars. She can't redeem Vader, that's Luke's job. She and Vader need another kind of conflict to chew on.

But spare us Maul's undergrad thesis on how "justice is a construct." Oof. Star Wars dialogue is infamously bad but that's pathetic.