The Clone Wars Rewatch: Evil and the “Altar of Mortis”

The dark side threatens to consume Ahsoka while the Daughter makes the ultimate sacrifice.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

60: “Altar of Mortis” (Season Three, Episode 16)

“He who surrenders hope, surrenders life.”

A scene from "Altar of Mortis."

Synopsis:

The Son takes Ahsoka captive in an attempt to entice Anakin into joining him, casting Ahsoka under the spell of the dark side. Meanwhile, the Father attempts to stave off a disastrous showdown between his children and maintain the increasingly precarious balance on Mortis.

A scene from "Altar of Mortis."

Analysis:

There’s a lesson in the Father’s failure, but one that Anakin surely fails to heed.

A scene from "Altar of Mortis."

As the metaphysical mystery of Mortis continues to ensnare Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka, the Son infects Ahsoka in a manner not dissimilar to Palpatine’s manipulation of Anakin in the future, a disease that has already begun to take hold. Spread through a bite instead of the seeds of deception, Ahsoka turns into a servant of the dark, ready to strike down her master or be killed trying.

A scene from "Altar of Mortis." A scene from "Altar of Mortis."

Obi-Wan is in possession of the means to kill the Son and end his reign. But by entrusting Anakin, too emotionally compromised and distracted to finish the task, a dagger to defeat the dark side instead kills the light, just as the Chosen One, said to bring balance to the Force, will join the dark side and extinguish the light.

A scene from "Altar of Mortis."

Selflessly saving her father, the Daughter sacrifices her own life. And so the balance is upset.

There is still good in Anakin, and his ability to hope here inspires one last great act from the Daughter who uses her final bit of energy to save Ahsoka’s life. For one shining moment in the world of Mortis, Anakin tastes the kind of power he so desperately craves in reality. For a moment, he’s the conduit able to harness the Force and control the energy to save the life of someone he cares about, seemingly reversing death itself.

A scene from "Altar of Mortis." A scene from "Altar of Mortis."

“Do not become what you should not,” the Father warns the Son. The same applies to Anakin.

They will encounter one more test in the realm of Mortis. And in the future, when Anakin has turned to the darkness, it will be Obi-Wan faced with the unenviable task of fighting his former Padawan, consumed by hate.

A scene from "Altar of Mortis."

The Father, unable to keep the balance, loses control. The light is extinguished, the dark rises, and hope is lost. These are the shades of things to come.

Intel:

  • The cathedral of the Son was inspired by Saruman’s staff from The Lord of the Rings. In the film adaptation, Saruman was played by Christopher Lee who also played Count Dooku.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when Anakin comes face-to-face with his future in “Ghosts of Mortis.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

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