The Clone Wars Rewatch: Tragedy Strikes in the “Storm Over Ryloth”

Ahsoka's first command ends in casualties, but her master uses the loss to teach a valuable lesson.

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.

22: “Storm Over Ryloth” (Season One, Episode 19)

“It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.”

A scene from "Storm Over Ryloth."

Synopsis:

While launching a surprise attack against the Separatist blockade that surrounds Ryloth, Ahsoka disobeys Anakin’s orders and ends up losing most of her squadron. But Anakin helps her learn to persevere, placing her in charge of another risky attack soon after.

Analysis:

Ahsoka’s first command may very well have been her last if not for the unwavering support of a teacher who believed in her even when she stopped believing in herself. But that’s what the best teachers do: they guide those who follow by example, they know when to lead the charge and when to sit back and observe, and they foster growth and independence sometimes through some very hard-won lessons with resolute confidence in their students.

A scene from "Storm Over Ryloth."

A scene from "Storm Over Ryloth."

The loss of Blue Squadron is a tragedy no matter how you look at it. If Ahsoka had obeyed orders sooner, perhaps a few more lives would have been spared. But as Anakin reminds her, it was a trap and she and her squadron were outnumbered.

The reality of being in charge is that sometimes you make the wrong call. And the reality of being at war is that sometimes you lose and that costs soldiers their lives.

A scene from "Storm Over Ryloth."

But instead of allowing Ahsoka time to wallow in her shame and feel guilty about letting her squadron down, Anakin tosses her right back into the fight, leaving her not only in charge of the next risky maneuver but also entrusting her with his life. There is no greater vote of confidence in her abilities than a plan that ends with Anakin floating, defenseless in an escape pod, counting on Ahsoka and her men to keep him safe and ultimately rescue him.

A scene from "Storm Over Ryloth."

By believing in her ability to emerge victorious, to shake off the self-doubt and take on the new mission with purpose and resolve, Anakin gives his Padawan the gift of regaining her confidence. There’s no time to waste on their sorrows when only a bold strategy will do. And if anyone can come up with a plan that is both fearless and inventive, it’s the student who has been watching Master Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi whose reputation precedes him.

Ahsoka will face many trials, she will be pushed to her limits and have her very nature scrutinized by the people she trusts. And this is the foundation of all that will come after, the moment that Ahsoka learns how to persevere in the face of crippling loss. For there is no victory without sorrow, no strength found without first knowing weakness. Ahsoka will become a great leader in her time, but first she must fail. As Yoda says, “The greatest teacher, failure is.” And Anakin is exactly the master she needs to become the Togruta she was meant to be.

Intel:

  • Ahsoka Tano’s tactical plan closely resembles a strategy used by Grand Admiral Thrawn in a novel from the Legends series.

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 Republic troops reach the surface of Ryloth and get a new vantage on the cost of the war in “Innocents of Ryloth.”

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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