Clone Wars Debriefing: “Assassins”

As posted on my Facebook last night, “Assassin” was the best episode this season and one of the best Clone Wars episodes thus far. Everything just worked. The music was great, the animation was spectacular, especially on Coruscant and Alderaan (making its Clone Wars debut), the writing was top notch, the plot was excellent, and the performances were among the best I’ve seen so far. Ashley Eckstein really outdid herself as Ahsoka.

Fans of course would love the many touches that bring in the movies, whether it’s the inclusion of Princess Leia’s theme as they truck on to Alderaan, Ahsoka chatting with Yoda about her dreams a la ROTS, or Ahsoka leaping on to Padmé’s bed just like in AOTC, Padmé recounting events in TPM, or the girls playing a game of dejarik on the ship. But it’s more than that. It’s darn good t.v.. It felt like the most realized episode I’ve seen in a long time.

This time around, Ahsoka is haunted by psychic dreams of Aurra Sing’s return from the “dead.” Anakin leaves her to go on a mission with Obi-Wan and somehow, she is more bummed about being separated from her master than he is. Then even more curiously, she starts to have psychic dreams about Aurra attempting to assassinate Padmé. Those really start to freak her out. It’s almost as though she has literally stepped into Anakin’s shoes. She has become close friends with Padmé and of course, she would feel obligated as a Jedi to protect one of the Order’s closest allies in the Senate.

Ahsoka goes to see Yoda, just like Anakin did in ROTS. But Yoda’s attitude is 180 degrees different from his handling of Anakin’s Death Dreams Of Padmé in ROTS. Why is that? I figure that Ahsoka was completely open about what her dreams were about. Anakin was not. He doesn’t give too many details, only that it was “someone” close to him. I also think that Ahsoka approached it as though it was her duty to protect a Senator, not trying to protect a friend. She had specific details on what was going to happen; Anakin wasn’t about to tell Yoda Senator Amidala was going to die having a baby nobody was supposed to know about.

Anyway, I loved how Ahsoka’s friendship with Padmé has developed. I’ve always believed Padmé saw a little bit of herself in Ahsoka, another young girl who has had to shoulder a lot of crap for someone her age. She knows what it is like to feel a little unsure of yourself because of it. Ahsoka has suddenly developed an ability but she doesn’t know yet how to handle it. She insists on accompanying Padmé to a conference on Alderaan and there’s a false alarm or two.

But ultimately she is right about Aurra’s intent to kill Padmé, and Padmé suffers an injury as a result. Ahsoka knows there is more to her visions but Padmé–as per usual–is stubborn about going forth with her speech. There’s real tension as Ahsoka realizes her attempt to outfox Aurra resulted in Aurra outfoxing her. Again, Ahsoka is no Mary Sue. It’s up to Padmé to save the day, though she couldn’t have done it without Ahsoka.

There’s one wistful scene on Alderaan, where Padmé is on a palace balcony that looks like the one where her baby daughter appears at the end of ROTS. She comments on the beauty of the view. A doomed woman on a doomed planet.

But that’s not all. At the end, when they return to Coruscant, there’s a great little attention to detail when you see Anakin’s expression upon noticing Padmé was injured. Then Ahsoka plays medium again, revealing an important clue about who hired Aurra (now captured). We find out that it was none other than Ziro The Hutt. Ziro wanted revenge for what Padmé did to him in the Clone Wars movie! Here I was thinking it was the damn Trade Federation again.

Now Ziro was busted out at the end of Season One. Somehow, he was recaptured and placed back in the big house. This will undoubtedly make the continuity-conscious fan spit and cuss. But, eh, whatever. I’ve long accepted that Clone Wars takes the idea of linear continuity and throws it in the trash.

All in all, a classic. Hollywood ought to take note that this is how you write female characters.

In two weeks (boo!): Cad Bane returns!

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One Response to “Clone Wars Debriefing: “Assassins””

  1. obiwanlookalike Says:

    loved it. looks like the episode guide at starwars.com is saying that Hostage Crisis actually follows the events of this, and the next few episodes. it will be very interesting to attempt to watch these in chronological order when somebody gets around to making a timeline someday.

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