Order 66 brings a devastating end to the conflict.
To celebrate the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Disney+, 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 for the weekly #CloneWarsRewatch -- you can watch this week’s episode on Disney+ now -- and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.
Maul is captured and the Siege of Mandalore is won. But evil lurks elsewhere, and the galaxy will never be the same.
There is an inherent conflict in the Clone Wars that goes far beyond the surface turmoil, the battles, and the Republic and Separatist fighters on the frontlines. It's a feeling of wrongness, something awry, that permeates the war. The Jedi can sense it, but it's true form is revealed too late, and then...all that they fought and struggled for is lost.
In Rex, it's a duality between the soldier he was born to be and the individual he has become. Fighting alongside Ahsoka and Anakin, losing so many of his brothers in arms, Rex has come to understand the nuance of the war. But at the base level, he and many of his fellow clones have mixed feelings about the state of the galaxy and the war specifically. "Many people wish it never happened. But without it, we clones wouldn't exist," he tells Ahsoka. His existence hinges on the war's inevitability, yet he struggles to maintain his sense of self amid the strife. And it's an ugly reason for being alive.
With the inhibitor chip triggered, his fight becomes something tangible. You can see it in the way his hands quake and the muscles of his face twitch and spasm. The chip is telling him to execute the Jedi, including Ahsoka -- although it's arguable she still counts among their kind. But his conscious mind pushes against the mind-controlling device. He remembers his friend Fives, who nearly exposed Darth Sidious's scheme but instead was treated like a man who had lost his mind. He must have summoned all of his strength to give Ahsoka even that tiny clue as Order 66 firmly took hold, robbing him of his autonomy. Rex had his suspicions about the inhibitor chip after he watched Fives die, but he was a good soldier who followed orders even when he had questions and Ahsoka nearly paid with her life.
Ultimately, it's not the fault of the clones; as Ahsoka says, they were programmed, their minds altered when they were young. She understands that feeling better than most. Raised in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant from a young age, all she's known is the Jedi way. And since her mid-teens, all she's known is the war. Pushing against that programming to reclaim herself and what she truly believes is an arduous task, but she's on her way to becoming the epitome of the Jedi peacekeepers, the best of the Jedi even while she's no longer among their ranks.
In her mind, Anakin Skywalker still reigns supreme as the best of the Jedi Order. In quick succession, she feels his loss as he turns to the dark side and loses her friend Rex to Order 66. If Ahsoka had reached Anakin in his darkest hour, could she have saved him? Could she have convinced him to turn back? We'll never know. But he, too, was programmed from a young age, manipulated by Palpatine and other events transpiring in the galaxy at large and in his life. He lost his mother yet rose up to become a storied warrior. He survived tremendous loss to find love with Padmé. He succeeded where most of the Jedi struggled, a legend on the battlefield who, like the clones, was turned against the Jedi and the Republic to become a servant of the Sith, all thanks to Palpatine's grooming.
At least one thing is for sure. Ahsoka, through her belief in the Force and the core teachings of the Jedi, reaches her friend Rex in time, connecting her mind to his with the simple mantra: "I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me." It's a way of centering on the energy binding all life, not for good or evil but balance and harmony.
She finds the chip. She helps save Rex from himself. And in the process, she saves her own skin.
- Even from afar, Ahsoka feels her old master turn to the dark side, a tremor in the Force punctuated by audio from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
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Next up: Come back next Thursday for the thrilling series conclusion in "Victory and Death."