Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Clone Wars -- "Weapons Factory" (Ep. 2.6)

-- No gift is more precious than trust.

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Most of what The Clone Wars has dealt with up to this point in regards to the relationship between Anakin and Ahsoka has focused on how Anakin allows his relationship to get in the way of doing his job. Much of the relationship is there to demonstrate how Anakin's attachment issues affect his ability to live up to the Jedi code and show his slow slide to the Dark Side (rather than the sudden shift as it appears in Revenge of the Sith).

However, this episode uses Anakin's issues with attachment to show where the Jedi code is itself weak and how other Jedi could perhaps do well to be more like Anakin.

"Weapons Factory" features Luminara Unduli and her apprentice, Bariss Offee. Bariss and Ahsoka get sent on a mission together. Anakin... well, Anakin frets and doesn't want Ahsoka to go. Anakin and Ahsoka are having issues, just in general, over whether Anakin trusts Ahsoka or not. However, when the apprentices get into trouble, it's Anakin who has faith in his apprentice while Luminara, basically, writes her apprentice off with "if it's her time..."

What we see in the episode is one Jedi, one who strictly follows the code and has no sense of attachment to her apprentice other than her duty to train her, who feels no compulsion to try and save her apprentice and, thus, would have left Bariss and Ahsoka to die if it had been up to her, and one Jedi who has difficulty (unknowingly) with some aspects of the code, specifically in his tendency to form attachments, who is unwilling to give up on his apprentice until he has proof that she's dead. It this attachment that Anakin has with Ahsoka that leads Anakin and Luminara to rescue the two apprentices.

It's also a demonstration of Anakin's trust in Ahsoka's abilities. He believes that she is still alive because he believes in her capacity. Luminara immediately decides that Bariss has failed.

The episode provides an interesting contrast between the two styles and shows, at least from the standpoint of our own sensibilities, that the Jedi have a thing or two they can learn from Anakin and how to invest in those around them.


  1. Well yes, it does seem we came away with different impressions.

    1. Actually, I think it's that any strength can be a weakness, so, in this instance, Anakin's refusal to let go is a strength but, as we saw back in the episode with Bane and the holocron, it was a weakness. This episode, though, shows us how the detachment of the Jedi has come to be a weakness within the Order.

    2. Anakin is a challenging character for the audience. On the one hand, we want him to love and to feel compassion and the Order denying him his attachments seems cruel and unjust.

      But we also know what the future holds for him. We know the means Palpatine will use to manipulate him. As such, the Jedi caution against emotional involvements is, at least in this instance, vindicated. To be sure, the Order and the Galaxy pay dearly for his vulnerability.

      Obviously, the Jedi are not ordinary people. Even though they hold military ranks, they are not soldiers. Though they are politically powerful, they are neither politicians nor royals. They are more like a highly influential monastic order. The wisest among them, like Luminara and Obi Wan, know they cannot afford to live normal lives and also serve their higher purpose. Luminara demonstrates that she is not unfeeling, simply realistic.

      We all know that Anakin is never going to be quite ready to drink the Jedi Kool-Aid. Part of it is clearly arrogance, and we see some of that in this episode too. But more importantly, his ultimate loyalties are to people rather than to the cause.

      Obviously, I am not saying anything new or revolutionary here. The strength of the Anakin story is his moral ambiguity. The prequels would have done well to explore it more. You have argued before that The Clone Wars do a good job of filling in the gaps and I agree.

    3. TAS: I think some of the intent of Clone Wars is to show us that the Jedi and the Sith are two extremes on a continuum. There are, actually, good things on both ends as well as bad things on both ends. Anakin lies somewhere in between: He is the balance in the Force, to paraphrase the prophecy about him.

  2. I need to watch this series. I am in love with Star Wars Rebels and even though the movie prequels often get a bad wrap it was that which got me into Star Wars. Before I thought it was this old franchise that I couldn't get into. But when I decided to check out the last prequel in theaters I was proven wrong.

    Anakin's story shows both how being too attached can destroy and being too distant can lead you astray or missing bad signs.

    1. Sheena-kay: You do need to watch this series! It's great.
      I'm hoping to start Rebels soon.