SPOILERS AHEAD – Please watch the series or check out previous reviews on Seasons 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Not Just A Droid
Four episodes of this season are dedicated to a covert mission behind enemy lines and all of the consequential moments that follow. Featuring R2-D2, a ready-to-prove-himself Colonel Gascon, and a group of other droids, this team is expected to steal a piece of tech that will shift the balance of power.
Throughout the course of this mission, Colonel Gascon is always trying to prove to the others he’s worthy of leading this mission. Though, Gascon constantly demeans the droids and tries to divide the crew at times by getting another droid to take his side on command decisions. As a parent, this character can be used to highlight to kids the insecurities that many people might feel when attempting to achieve a goal. He wants respect from his team, and he wants “his” mission to be a success. Kids (and perhaps some adults) will learn that the way we treat others – by being kind – might garner the attention and respect that Gascon seeks. And, sometimes, success comes when we depend on others just as much as we depend on ourselves.
Listening to others, without name calling, serves as a proper way for others to feel like they have a voice – especially during a dangerous mission where everyone might not make it back. R2-D2 is a pivotal, courageous character who is willing to be put in harm’s way consistently, all to make sure the mission doesn’t fail. For an instance of “lead by example, R2-D2 takes the cake among this “rat pack.” Ultimately, R2-D2 and the other droids’ bravery leave a lasting impression on Gascon who comes to appreciate being a part of that team.
Younglings Learn, Younglings Adapt
Another cluster of episodes for The Clone Wars Season 5 is dedicated to a group of younglings. These young Jedi are hoping to prove themselves, and they are put to the test in “The Gathering,” where they must face their fears, learn patience, and understand the importance of selflessness. On this test, the younglings must find their Kyber crystals in a cavernous passage, but they must do so quickly before being trapped inside without a way to escape. The Kyber crystal is what’s used to create a Jedi’s lightsaber, so the importance of successfully retrieving them means their ability to move forward in their steps of being a Jedi Knight.
On their return trip, they encounter the infamous Hondo and his pirate crew, and yes, they have plans to steal those crystals, since they would sell for large sums of money on the black market. Unbeknownst to the pirates, Ahsoka Tano has been chaperoning the younglings’ adventure. Tano has turned into an incredible leader throughout this entire series, and she showcases her talents here. Her primary goal is to care for the younger Jedi and make sure they return home unharmed. Tano not only tells the others what to do when their ship is captured, she explains the reasoning behind it. There’s purpose behind her tactics and she’s willing to enforce the plan, even when it puts herself in danger.
Tano’s example leads the younger members of the group to take action when Tano herself gets captured. Children are often full of surprises and can do incredible things, even when their age might be seen as a negative or inexperience. Not only are they willing to sacrifice for the greater good, like most Jedi, they find a way to work together without their egos getting in the way. I believe they’ve learned this specific trait from Tano, especially when she doesn’t chastise them for disobeying orders. It’s important for kids to learn that they can make decisions for themselves, and, sometimes, that happens in the face of conflict or basing a decision off previous experiences.
Actions Are Louder Than Words
The action sequences that take place during this season of The Clone Wars are outstanding. There are quite a few, but let’s first focus on General Kenobi as he battles Darth Maul and his apprentice Savage (“Revival”). It’s an incredible sequence leading up to this fight. Kenobi’s partner, another Jedi Master, dies in battle against Savage. Left alone, with a pack of pirates (including Hondo) to join forces with, Obi-Wan Kenobi showcases why he is an amazing leader, tactician, and fighter.
As Kenobi and a few pirates escape under a barrage of gunfire, he tells them to go separate ways, so he can be intentionally trapped in with the two Sith. With Maul and Savage separated from their goon squad, Hondo and his pirates easily take control of the others. On the other end of the tunnel, Obi-Wan Kenobi faces off with a lightsaber in each hand against two of the most powerful Jedi or Sith the galaxy has ever seen. If anything, other than pure joy to watch this scene, you can point out to your kids the amazing work that goes into making an animated series like The Clone Wars. The artistry behind his fighting style, matched with pure determination, and the level of lightning fast movements highlight how incredibly talented the creators of this show are.
Next, on the darker side of things, we also see Darth Sidious battle against Maul and Savage later in the season (“The Lawless”). For parents and kids alike, this battle truly magnifies how terribly powerful Sidious is and how it would seem impossible to defeat him in any kind of battle. The animation is spectacular and the intensity of these scenes are just as great, as if you were watching a live-action version of Star Wars.
Finally, one of the greatest characters in Star Wars, Ahsoka Tano, is put to the ultimate test. She is accused of murder and she must find a way to exonerate herself, since the evidence points in her direction. Although her master, General Anakin Skywalker, believes her and tries to bring her in peacefully, he’s the only one who seeks to find the truth. What might be monumental for kids (and me) is seeing the Jedi Council fail. Granted, the Jedi are trying to tip-toe around a war, but their abandonment and lack of disbelief in the charges against Tano are quite stunning.
The Jedi Council banish Tano, leaving her to the whims of a trial from the Republic. Fortunately, Skywalker discovers the truth in time before Tano can be found guilty, but the cost is too much to bear. Most of the Jedi Masters made a decision to leave Tano without any form of Jedi protection or support, showing Tano that her years of service have been disposable. It’s a devastating moment that every viewer can feel, and despite being vindicated in the end, she realizes that she is alone. Ahsoka Tano, a great Jedi, has to make a choice on what her path must be – a Jedi or not.
Not only do these final scenes prove that life is full of difficult choices, The Clone Wars highlights through Ahsoka Tano how we have to make decisions that are best for us. Sometimes, the biggest challenges are when we are faced with a difficult choice and then making a decision that might be trying, but ultimately what’s needed.
If you’re a fan of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, share your favorite characters or moments with us in the comments below. If you like this article, don’t forget to share this with your Jedi friends or younglings on Facebook, and don’t forget to tag us on Twitter, too.
Until next time, happy parenting and happy geeking.