Before there was ever any Rebel scum, there was Jedi scum. You know it, I know it, General Grievous know it. (Any Space Ghost Coast to Coast fans still out there?)
When we were introduced to the notion of the mystical order of warrior monks in Star Wars: A New Hope, the Jedi were spoken of in terms of myth, or better yet, hokum. Han Solo had nothing but contempt for their ridiculous religions. He only believed in the tangible and what could be taken down with his trusty blaster. The galaxy is in ruins, and no Force ever put food in his mouth.
His contempt for Jedi was not one in the minority, as we see in this week’s episode of The Clone Wars when Ashoka Tano finds herself amongst the lower decks of Coruscant. Rejecting her acceptance into the Jedi Order, after they foolishly believed her involvement in a terrorist bombing (see season five, episode twenty), Tano flees the lofty and wealthy upper levels of the capital city and (crash) lands near the surface amongst society’s bottom feeders. With very little credits to pay for repairs on her speeder, she reluctantly relinquishes a few to pay for space in a local’s workshop.
The mechanic, Trace, quickly establishes the profound disgust the average citizens have for the Jedi above. They are seen as soldiers responsible for the war decimating the galaxy. When Tano acts befuddled by her statements, Trace leans heavier into her disdain. The Jedi don’t bother with the folks on the ground. They act high and mighty, but rarely, make that never, come down below to see the problems ailing the people. Their zen sounds nice, but what does it matter when bellies remain empty, and bullies fail to appear on their radar unless they’ve got a lightsaber in their hand.
No one is helping Trace, so she has to help herself, and that means taking jobs and opportunities that a Jedi’s supposedly pristine morality would balk against. The point is driven home when a batch of goons come to collect credits that Trace does not have. Trace attempts reason, but they’re done listening. Fists are thrown, Trace holds her own, but she’s outnumbered. Tano reveals her martial prowess and takes the henchmen down quickly.
The fight is won, but it does not solve the problem. Tano’s old ways of ass-kickery won’t halt future attacks. Trace needs money. Tano agrees to help her, and Trace’s sister Rafa, build three demolition droids, but one rebels against its inhibitor chip only to tear through the streets.
The majority of this episode’s action involves the two chasing the bot all around the Wrekin. Tano could easily cut to the chase using her abilities, but hearing everyone below spit their distaste for Jedi slows her roll. Tano’s distrust of the Jedi Order is already planted based on how they treated her, and seeing her frustration with them mirrored in Trace accentuates the feeling.
Besides, Trace doesn’t really even need her help, as she hops atop the demolition droid with little problem. Well, until she bops its off-switch, and the droid begins its tumble off the edge of a metal chasm. Tano attempts to connect her speeder’s pully to the platform, but it’s just too darn heavy. The Force is required. Only a little child onlooker catches her reliance on the ol’ Jedi superstition (the three other gawkers, Walrus Man, Greedo, and Hammerhead all dressed in their Kenner toy attire, catch nothing).
At the end of the episode, Trace and Tano part ways. Tano is lost. She knows this, but she can’t afford to hang with someone who hates where she came from, even if a similar doubt of the Jedi is spreading through her person. These two will certainly cross paths again, probably in the next episode, but until then, Tano has to stew alone for a bit.
The Jedi are fallible. We know this better than Tano does. Once again, Order 66 looms above. Darth Vader is coming. The Jedi are on the verge of being revealed as chumps, and puppets of Palpatine.
Ashoka Tano concluding that the Jedi are prone to error ranks her above most Star Wars heroes. Obi-Wan, Mace Windu, and Anakin – you should have listened to your girl. Now, she’s on a quest of self-discovery, walking a path cut by no one but herself. None of the other Jedi can claim such a thing.
Where does Tano go from here? We know she arrives in Star Wars: Rebels as a total badass Rebel agent and gets her standoff with Darth Vader in what may be the greatest lightsaber duel in the canon (Rebels, season two, episode twenty-one and twenty-two), but will she get another goodbye with Anakin Skywalker? They parted in sadness, which seemed perfectly fitting at the time, but wouldn’t it be nice if she also got an “I told you so” moment? Those rarely occur in a tragedy, and The Clone Wars is most definitely a tragedy.
Seven seasons of The Clone Wars have revealed her and Captain Rex to be the ultimate heroes of the galaxy. They’re not without their flaws, but they sensed what was coming when most Jedis were delighting in their swordplay and the thrill of popping Battle Droids. Mace Windu sure looked cool listing off his droid murders last week, but come on, killing toys is nothing to be proud of, and your butt is getting electrocuted in a couple of years anyway.
“Power!” screams the Emperor. “UNLIMITED POWER!!!!”