Warning: spoilers ahead for “The Wrong Jedi,” the season five finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
After years of wondering what would happen to the little Togruta Padawan who annoyed us and then charmed us, we finally got a hint as to what her fate will be in the final arc of season five. I don't think it could have played out much better. Ahsoka's on her own path now, and I don't think there's any doubt her decision deeply affected Anakin.
Knowing Ahsoka isn't around for Revenge of the Sith left a cloud hanging over her character. I wasn't sure what would happen with her. I didn't want to see her die, but I also felt whatever was going to happen had to be drastic. It has to propel Anakin further towards the Dark side and would probably push his mistrust of the Jedi Council. She's not out of the woods yet, but it looks like there is a way for her to survive and have the necessary effect upon her former master.
I was surprised by the way the Jedi Council acted during the four part arc that began with sabotage at the Jedi Temple and ended with a wrongly accused Ahsoka expelled by the Jedi Order and targeted for a military tribune. They took a guilty until proven innocence stance with Ahsoka and given her record has been pretty spotless, I feel like they gave in to their suspicions because it was easy. Yoda even stated the great extent to which the Dark side of the Force was clouding everything so why wouldn't he push everyone to give Ahsoka more of a chance? I don't understand.
I'd expect as much from the ambitious Tarkin and the military, but I expected more of the Jedi who have taught Ahsoka all these years and watched her grow and develop. I'm looking at you, Plo Koon.
If I felt the pain of their betrayal, I can only begin to imagine how it made Ahsoka feel. Seeing the Council divided and watching only Anakin stand up for had to hurt. And it was probably confusing. Once you stack Barriss Offee's backstabbing on top of it... I don't think Ahsoka had any choice but to leave. Though the Council spun the ordeal as a trial which made Ahsoka a stronger Jedi and coupled it with an apology, it wasn't enough to make up for the way they turned her backs on her. How could a person go back to following their guidance after being a firsthand victim of their mistakes?
Besides having to process the actions of the Jedi, I believe Ahsoka was also compelled to leave because maybe – just maybe – she saw truth in what Barriss said about the Jedi (I'm putting aside the fact that Barriss came out of left field for this arc). The members of the Jedi Order are no longer peacekeepers. They're involved in a violent war and though they shouldn't even be involved in the fight, they don't appear to be backing off. I think the seeds of doubt were planted in Ahsoka's mind a while ago. Definitely by the Onderon arc earlier in the season.
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Now that she's off on her own, I expect big things. Her character development over five seasons has been nothing short of astounding. She hasn't been Snips for a long time, and she's more than capable of being a leader. I believe she can forge a heroic path for herself and perhaps this decision will keep her safe from order 66. Though I think we'll see her on her own for a while, I wouldn't be surprised if Anakin tries to track her down to try to get her to come back to the Temple.
Speaking of Anakin, think of how he will feel about losing his Padawan because the Council didn't trust her. It's just another reason to second guess them, and he's sure to channel some of the blame on himself. Asajj Ventress didn't help when she pointed out how Ahsoka was abandoned by her master, just as she was abandoned by hers.
The season finale packed a powerful punch. The final scene between Anakin and Ahsoka had me in tears. I think it's the most emotional and heavy moment the series has had. Since Anakin has thought about splitting from the Order too, he's not able to be the most persuasive. Ahsoka - who I think revealed she knows about Padmé with her response to Anakin - needed more. Though I'm heartbroken for everyone, I'm happy to see the character I love take another huge step in her journey and find her own way.
Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein, Dave Filoni, Kevin Kiner, and every person who touched any part of directing, writing, lighting, animating, and designing this arc delivered on a level that is simply unbelievable for a cartoon.
I can't wait to see what's next for The Clone Wars.
While we're on the topic: what's next for the series is up in the air at the moment. We know it's not going to be on Cartoon Network, but Disney hasn't announced it will be on any of their schedules either. Now is the time to speak up to Disney about this show you love and make your voice heard. Rebel Force Radio has been spearheading this campaign, and they're encouraging fans to send polite letters to the below addresses (you can visit their Facebook page to get letter templates and more info):
500 S Buena Vista St
Burbank, CA 91521
Attn: Bob Iger
P.O. Box 29901
San Francisco, CA 94129-0901
Attn: Kathleen Kennedy
You can call and leave a voicemail about the series at 708-320-1RFR. Rebel Force Radio will put all the voicemails on a CD and send it off to the people who need to hear them. Don't let season five be the last season of The Clone Wars we see on television.