Star Wars The Clone Wars Gone With a Trace Breakdown

Today, audiences were treated to the first installment of a brand new arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars starring fan-favorite Ahsoka Tano. “Gone With a Trace” is the first time we’ve seen Ahsoka coping with life outside the Jedi order in the brief period of time she spent after leaving the Jedi temple and the destruction of the Jedi with Order 66. This new episode shows us just how Ahsoka tries to exist in the bowels of Coruscant while trying to keep her past hidden. Let’s dive deeper.

Game of Death

After Ahsoka crash lands on a lower level of Coruscant, she’s met with something of a culture shock and introduced into a very low level version of the underworld. When an enforcer named Pintu Son-El (voiced by Bobby Moynihan) arrives to shake down Ahsoka’s new friend, Trace Martez, Ahsoka tries to stay out of the action. When she’s finally drawn into the fight against Pintu’s goons, it feels very familiar. The unnamed goons are tall, gangly aliens that fight in a way that benefits their height and reach advantage. Ahsoka, being much shorter, has to work a lot harder to take them down. The entire sequence reminded me quite specifically of Bruce Lee’s fight with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Game of Death (1978). Lee is outmatched by the much taller basketballer and has to come up with creative ways to fight him. A few of the moves Ahsoka uses, especially the kick to the groin, reminded me quite specifically of this fight.

1313

You’ll notice that Trace mentions that Ahsoka has found herself on level 1313 of Coruscant. 1313 is known as a seedy underbelly of scum and villainy and originates from Star Wars lore that we’ve rarely seen so front and center. 1313 was a location that originated with George Lucas and his un-produced Star Wars Underworld television show. That’s the show that also gave us Palpatine’s first name (Sheev.) The show never happened, though many, many hours of scripts were produced. 1313 was repurposed for a video game that was ultimately canceled:

And it finally made its first proper appearance on The Clone Wars, when Ahsoka was on the run for her life after being accused of a crime she didn’t commit. Now, here she is, making a life her, or at least trying to. Very quickly, she gets involved in shady things, like those fraudulent binary load-lifters whose rampage she and Trace have to stop.

Attitudes About the Jedi

One of the most interesting things about this episode is how it puts on display the attitudes about the Jedi from the perspective of regular people. Trace Martez is about as far away from the war as you can get, scrabbling to eke out a living with her sister, Rafa. When she and Ahsoka start to bond and Ahsoka reveals that she’s from the upper-layers of Coruscant, Trace reveals her opinion about the Jedi. The way she sees it, they’re starting wars and making things bad for everyone in the galaxy. Ahsoka tries to argue, but that doesn’t last long, as they have larger things to worry about. But it goes to show how effective Palpatine’s campaign to discredit the Jedi was. The eroded trust is not as apparent in the films, but The Clone Wars works overtime to make it crystal clear. The average public didn’t interact with the Jedi and were convinced they were the ones pressing for the war to maintain their relevance. No wonder the stories of the Jedi fade quickly into obscurity.

It’s amazing that someone like Luke Skywalker could have no knowledge of the Jedi on a backwater like Tatooine almost twenty years after the fall of the Jedi, but make them the villains in the narrative, then have this already small order vanish and they become a myth that few will hear about.

Force Fall

This episode featured a moment that’s become a veritable trope in Star Wars these days. A Jedi hiding their Force abilities is forced to save someone from falling and the only way they can do that is by making themselves vulnerable and using the Force. Kanan Jarrus is guilty of this in the book A New Dawn. Most recently it was used as an inciting incident in the video game Star Wars: Jedi: Fallen Order. It makes sense, too, right? A Jedi is supposed to rely on their instincts, to trust them and let the Force guide them. When hiding Force ability, you try to suppress that first response. But when the figurative chips are falling to the table, instinct kicks in to save the life of another and that’s what makes a Jedi tick.

Gone With a Trace

This episode kicks off with a motorcycle crash, devolves into a chase after a renegade droid, and has all the underworld action you could hope for. The Martez sisters are fascinating “normal” people in a time of great stress in the galaxy and it’s great to see how they live during it. It’s also great to see how Ahsoka is expected to live during it, which might be the most interesting question raised by this whole episode. What is a former Jedi supposed to do with herself?

It seems like next week we might get an answer and it might just be a life of crime.

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