Final thoughts about the end of Season 5 of The Clone Wars. There was a lot going on in these episodes, but what stood out to me primarily were the clones and their reactions to the events and just how messed up the Jedi Council had become.
I always had a problem in Revenge of the Sith with Order 66 and how quickly the clones turned on the Jedi. And as I watched TCW over these few years, it seemed even more unlikely that the Clones would turn on the Jedi when they seemed to be mostly capable of independent thoughts and were quite close to many of the Jedi they served under. You could see inklings of that in Revenge of the Sith with the banter between Rex and Obi-Wan.
What these episodes of TCW helped me realize is that the key lies in the fact that the Jedi were labeled as “traitors”. In TCW, Ahsoka was labeled as a traitor for (supposedly) bombing the Temple and though Anakin gave orders to the Clones to bring her in alive, they followed higher up orders from Tarkin to stun her and I believe at one point, kill her. It shed light on how the clones were able to easily kill the Jedi in ROTS with no hesitation. “Traitor” is a word they do not suffer lightly as their allegiance is to the Republic (later Empire) and whoever is in charge of it (Palpatine). How easy it was for me to think they served the Jedi and forget that they were trained to serve the Republic. This helped me to understand the clone’s mentality better and if you watched these episodes closely, you notice that the whole arc mirrored ROTS and Order 66…probably on purpose.
Secondly, with these episodes, I got to see how involved the Jedi had become in politics. When Grand Moff Tarkin said that Ahsoka would stand a trial by the Senate, Yoda barely argued. He seemed to briefly state that he wanted to a fair trial in the order of “Jedi Tradition” (whatever that means), but Tarkin quickly overrode him. What happened to the Jedi? I was so disappointed to see them walked over, but understood it was necessary for the downfall of the Order in the Republic. Briefly Yoda mentions to Ahsoka that the Dark Side was clouding everything, but it was a lame excuse at the wrong time. Throughout all these episodes they seemed to be going along with Tarkin’s assumption that Ahsoka was in the wrong. The funny thing about Tarkin too, is that you get the impression that he was behind the attacks in some way. Unfortunately, that’s never proven but I wonder if he knew it was Barriss all along. There were plenty of evil smirks and grins coming from him whenever he accused Ahsoka. Or maybe he was just really out to prove that the council was not as powerful as it once was and the whole situation played nicely in his hands. The whole trial of Ahsoka really showed how weak and less influential the Jedi Council had become as a group.
Slowly and reluctantly, I’ve begun to realize that I like how TCW ties into the movies and fills up some back stories. Sure, I’ve had problems with it – namely Darth Maul returning from the dead, too much time on main characters, but overall I have appreciated their attempts to answer lingering questions that may not have been covered in the prequels. In these episodes, we see the Jedi slowly losing their influential power as well as the Senate/Republic/Palpatine/Tarkin gaining more ground. It’s easier for me to understand now that when Palpatine accused the Jedi of attacking him and creating his disfigurement, people of the Senate bought into it so willingly. Not only did the Clones turn against a Jedi, but it all makes a lot more sense in how this reflects back onto ROTS. As Palpatine/Tarkin folk get stronger, the Clones allegiance is tied more closely to them and further away from the Jedi. So when Order 66 is issued, it was really not that hard to execute it.