Carrie Finally Watches The Clone Wars – Part 3

January 28, 2021

First off, the important bit: it’s my birthday. Woohoo!

I will now summarize the entirety of The Clone Wars in one sentence:

“A strange game; the only winning move is not to play.”

I explain:

The tragedy of the prequel films is Anakin’s fall to the dark side, which has this Greek tragedy air to it because it’s pre-ordained by the original trilogy.

The tragedy of The Clone Wars is that it turns out Anakin’s fall wasn’t inevitable because Ahsoka Tano showed him a way out – you just walk away – and he didn’t take it. I think he thought about it. But he didn’t do it. The whole show then becomes about a set of characters who are so entrenched in moribund organizations that they sacrifice their own sense of self, and their principles, trying to stay loyal to them. But the show also present the alternative:  just walk away.

I know there’s a fan canon out there:  if Ahsoka had been able to get that last message to Anakin, had been able to talk to him, he wouldn’t have turned. I’m not at all comfortable with putting that responsibility on Ahsoka. It wasn’t her job to keep him from turning. He was already questioning the Council when she showed him a way out. That he didn’t follow her example is on him. In the end, he wanted the power that came with being on the Council, with having Palpatine’s confidence. He couldn’t let that go the way Ahsoka could.

The Clone Wars is horror. This is a story about people caught in a conflict they can’t escape, subject to shadowy forces they can’t defeat. In the case of the clones, this lurking evil has been physically implanted in their bodies without their knowledge. When one of them discovers the truth and tries to raise the alarm, he’s destroyed. Nobody has agency. All actions are futile. It’s a nightmare.

If the whole thing is horror, then Ahsoka is the Final Girl. The one who lives. Now, I know technically she’s not really the last one standing. Lots of people survive, from Rex to Bo-Katan to Obi-Wan and yes, Anakin. But I’d argue Ahsoka comes out of the war with the clearest vision of who she is and what they suffered. She’s the one who claims agency and thus steps out of the existential nightmare.

(She’s actually not the only one:  the first episode that made me sit up and take notice, that really piqued my interest, is 2.10: “The Deserter,” when Rex meets a clone trooper who deserted and made a life for himself as a farmer. It’s the beginning of Rex’s storyline, and another bit of supporting evidence for my thesis:  the only winning move is not to play.)

Several episodes of Rebels now become an epilogue to The Clone Wars. It’s in Rebels where Ahsoka learns what really happened to Anakin (and vice versa). Ahsoka and Rex’s reunion is that much more poignant, after everything they went through.

So yes, there’s a great story in The Clone Wars. But it’s buried, and you have to pick it out from lots of noise. Did we really need entire episodes dedicated to banking interest rates? Ah well.

I’m still working up my list of favorite episodes.


6 Responses to “Carrie Finally Watches The Clone Wars – Part 3”

  1. David Says:

    Happy Birthday !!😊🎂

  2. Michelle Garcia Says:

    Happy Birthday !!

    Have a great day.

  3. Thomas Stacey Says:

    Happy belated birthday! Hope you had a wonderful day!

  4. Carbonman Says:

    Happy Birthday! I like the War Games reference.

  5. carriev Says:

    Thanks all!

  6. David Bowles Says:

    So why couldn’t George put any such explanations into the prequels? Maybe the prequels shouldn’t have been films at all. But that was before premium TV was a thing, I know.

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