Star Wars The Clone Wars Shattered Breakdown

The penultimate episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars takes the show into some of the darkest territory it’s seen. Order 66 is declared and all hell breaks loose. Ahsoka Tano is forced to turn on the Clones who were so loyal to her that they painted her face design on their helmets and she has to quickly unravel the mystery of Palpatine’s most dangerous machinations. Her survival is by the skin of her teeth and the truth of what’s happened is elusive to her. This episode, Shattered, written by Dave Filoni himself, is a knowledgable take on the history of Star Wars and some of the best storytelling we’ve seen in the franchise since The Last Jedi. Let’s dive in deeper.

The Mandalorians Left Behind

This episode opens with the closure of the Siege of Mandalore, with Ahsoka leaving behind Bo Katan in control of the planet. Gar Saxon, Rook Kast, and his acolytes have been arrested. Thanks to Star Wars Rebels, we know that Bo Katan doesn’t stay in power long and the Empire takes over. Gar Saxon takes command of a group of Supercommandos that are Mandalorians in Stormtrooper white who do the bidding of the Empire and Bo Katan is forced once more to go on the run.

The politics of Mandalore, when tracked from before the time of the Clone Wars and beyond into the time of The Mandalorian, is a long and difficult road. This might be one of the most turbulent periods in their history. It starts with the revolution that Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon were involved with prior to The Phantom Menace. This allowed Satine’s pacifist government to take over and maintain neutrality in the Republic. Then Death Watch under Maul took over, then Bo Katan is able to take back control here. Then the Empire enters and the Rebels liberate Mandalore. Then there’s the purge that Moff Gideon speaks up. It’s a millennium of almost unending war. 

Silence of the Lambs

The Mandalorians have crated Darth Maul up in a device that was designed by the Mandalorians of yore to contain force wielders.

“I thought your sister outlawed them?” Ahsoka asks Bo Katan.

“She did, this is the last one,” which implies things have very much changed over the years in Mandalore. 

The device itself, though, is a reference to Silence of the Lambs, where Hannibal Lecter is carted around in a similar cage and face mask with only his penetrating gaze visible. 

That’s not the only film reference in regards to Maul in this episode. As Darth Vader had his “hallway scene” in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, so too does Maul get his moment in the hallway in this episode. His might even be more impressive than Vaders, though. Where Vader has a lightsaber, Maul has nothing but his cunning and the dark side but he proves to be no less brutal or effective.

The dark side of the Force is definitely a pathway to brutality.

Order 66

This episode is what many have been waiting for, a brand new view of Order 66 from Revenge of the Sith. Kevin Kiner’s use of music and Dave Filon’s staging of Ahsoka staring out the window of the Venator-class ship evokes the same feeling as Anakin and Padmé staring out the windows of Coruscant. Then, as we approach, the show blends the audio of Revenge of the Sith into the voices Maul and Ahsoka hear through the Force. Interestingly enough, they also blend the actors, as was done in Star Wars Rebels. In Twilight of the Apprentice, the finale of Rebels season two, Matt Lanter’s voice is blended with that of James Earl Jones in his final confrontation with his former padawan. Here, Ahsoka hears Matt Lanter’s voice alternating with Hayden Christensen’s, delivering his own version of Anakin’s heartbreaking line, “What have I done?”

The staging of Order 66 also offers an additional heartbreaking layer of symbolism. Ahsoka is forced to turn her lightsaber against clones who found her so loyal that they painted her face pattern on their helmets. This is an echo of Rex having to do the same murdering of his brothers, brothers who share the same face. It’s one more thing that ties Ahsoka and Rex together as they begin the next, uncertain phase of their life. 

Fives

When Rex resists his programming long enough to tell Ahsoka to find Fives, it gives her the fighting chance to survive Order 66. It doesn’t negate Rex’s programming and it’s heartbreaking to see him firing at his favorite commander. As Ahsoka seeks clues wherever she can find them, she’s able to bring up reports about what happened to Fives and why Rex thought he was so important. 

If you watch the first four episodes of The Clone Wars’ sixth season, you’ll see everything that gets recapped. Fives actually discovered the nature of the inhibitor chips implanted in all the clones by the Kaminoans and brought this to Rex. 

Echoes of Past and Future

With Dave Filoni writing, it’s no surprise that lines of dialogue from the classic films would find themselves echoed in the dialogue in The Clone Wars. In this episode in particular, it happens at very interesting times with very specific lines. Each one adds context to its use and adds layers to the story.

The first I noticed was Yoda after the Jedi briefing. He lingers after the other Jedi have left and looks deeply at Ahsoka and says, “More to say have you”? 

This is a poignant echo of Yoda’s line to Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace after the business of the council has concluded and Qui-Gon tells them about Anakin for the first time.

The next I noticed was Maul telling Ahsoka after she frees him, “You survived.” This was a reference to Palpatine’s statement to Yoda’s survival of Order 66 in Revenge of the Sith and leads to their conflict in the senate. Ahsoka, though, is truly what a Jedi should be and wins by having no interest in fighting.

The next I noticed was Ahsoka’s use of Chirrut’s prayer from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. “I’m one with the Force and the Force is with me.” Chirrut uses it as something that bolsters his connection to the Force and somehow taps into it, allowing the Force to help and guide. Ahsoka does this as she’s searching desperately for Rex’s inhibitor chip and after her prayer is able to find it. Both are used in displays of utter selflessness.

The last line is one of the final lines of the episode and sees Rex offer, with all the gravitas you could imagine, an echo of a line Star Wars fans have been repeating in their head since 1977. The entire Grand Army of the Republic,” he says, “has been ordered to hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights.” A clear reference to Obi-Wan’s scene with Luke in A New Hope.

Each one surely gave Star Wars fans the chills.

Shattered

This episode of The Clone Wars covers ground we’ve already seen. The end of the Jedi is a story we’ve dreamt of since 1977 and have known the horror of it since 2015. To see it played out from this angle and to feel like we’ve been offered something new is really something special. We have one episode left that will leave us our last, lonely glimpse at the galaxy beyond the end of the Republic on this show and I have no doubt that it will be a beautiful coda.

The series finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars New episodes premiere Fridays, with the exception of the series finale, which will make its appearance on Monday, May 4.

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