Season 1, Episode 19
Date of airing: February 27, 2009 (Cartoon Network)
Nielsen ratings information: 2.372 million viewers
Hallelujah, what a great episode this was. Anakin forces Ahsoka into a leadership position for the first time and I couldn’t have liked it any more for a half hour show like this. I even loved that Ahsoka’s first stint in a leadership role turned out to be this disastrous and she had to deal with it for a little bit before having to prove herself. That was a moment of character study for Ahsoka, and I can only hope that STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS will have a few more character-focused episodes in its future. It doesn’t always have to be about the action and visuals, every one in a while a story can do it, too, and this episode might have had the most thought-through story of them all so far. Besides that, it had Ahsoka front and center and it’s not a secret when I say that she is my favorite character of the entire franchise.
The writers did manage to waste two potentially great storylines though. The first one is indeed Ahsoka’s miserable day after she lost almost all of her platoon in the effort to break the blockade. This could have been an ongoing character arc, one which could make her uncertain about her future, let alone the war. For the first time she has come to realize what fighting in this war really is all about and how it feels when you don’t win all of the time. For the sake of a character arc, she could have started questioning the decisions of certain Generals, and maybe there could have been the potential of Ahsoka realizing how the Clones really are just cannon fodder for the Separatist army and their battle droids. She could have joined a few rogue Clones that way, who wanted to prove that they don’t just exist to fight and die in a war, and all of this could have been a dramatic way of showcasing a wholly different way of how a Jedi can separate with the Council and become his or her own. In fact, it’s kind of a cool premise for a film, making me wonder if it’s worth to do an anthology movie out of it. They might be questioned after the moderate outing that was SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY, but the anthology films are still a good idea, I think.
The second wasted idea would be a General who finds a liking to Anakin and decides. The Captain of the blockade (was he ever given a name?) was interesting intrigued by how Anakin operates as a General and was attempting to emulate him. It’s as close to a villainous story as the show could have gotten by creating an antagonist for one of the major characters who will continue to haunt said major protagonist, as he will not give up to emulate Anakin. The fact that the Captain used an escape pod before the blockade fell almost guarantees that he might return and give Anakin some more trouble in a future episode. I know that STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS is something of an anthology show that doesn’t care much about a continuous timeline, as long as everything happens within the realm of the Clone Wars, but maybe there is an idea behind the creation of a recurring antagonist with a personal vendetta, instead of using Dooku or Grievous or Ventress over and over. By the way, I am quite happy that Grievous has been taken offline since he escaped from his exposed lair. That character could have quickly grown annoying, but that’s not happening, because he hasn’t been around lately.
The space battle scenes looked slick, as always. This episode reminded me more of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA than the previous ones, especially since the heroes had to deal with a defeat first before coming to the victory. Also, Ahsoka’s plan looked and sounded like it could have come straight from Admiral Adama himself. Plus, Anakin was steering the cruiser into the blockade, which might be an intended nod to the final battle between the human fleet and the Cylons, and seeing one of the other battle cruisers function as cannon fodder reminded me of how the Galactica had stuff incoming all of the time and never broke apart in spite of it. Not to mention that Ahsoka fully proved herself as a commander here by forcing her idea through.
Best part of the episode: I liked that the Clones knew that Ahsoka was still fresh and that there might be an easier way to question her idea for battle. It shows that the Clones have the freedom to criticize their commanders and maybe even offer their own ideas, without the fear of punishment or death.
Best part of the episode, honorable mention: That scene during which Ahsoka enters the bridge and all the Clones were in attention gave me a lot of joy.
Worst part of the episode: Anakin used the situation to teach Ahsoka something about leadership, but he decided not to get into what it was like for him when he failed in the leadership role for the first time. I’m pretty sure his first commanding mission was a failure as well. He should have shared that with Ahsoka to make her feel less miserable.
Weirdest part of the episode: The Republic wanted to assault and invade a planet. Say what again?