The Clone Wars Rewatch: The War Ends in “Victory and Death”

Ahsoka must let go of all that she fears to lose.

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.

133: “Victory and Death” (Season Seven, Episode 12)

A scene from "Victory and Death."

Synopsis:

In the wake of Order 66, Ahsoka and Rex must work together to survive.

Rex and Ahsoka

Analysis:

What does it mean to let go? At different points in her life, it’s a Jedi teaching that has surely meant different things to Ahsoka Tano.

In her youth, perhaps it meant allowing herself to conform to the Jedi Order, letting go of her attachments to her family, her homeworld, and some of her individuality to absorb the practices of the Force users during her upbringing at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant.

A scene from "Victory and Death."

During her apprenticeship to Anakin Skywalker, she let go of her expectations for what a Jedi could and should be, and learned to embrace the nuance of right and wrong that came with the responsibility of leading soldiers in a war that was exceedingly more muddied as the years dragged on. She learned to let go of her ego and listen to her master, yet in equal measure she learned to speak up and stand up for herself, both valuable skills.

She learned to let go of the Jedi Order when she was confronted with the reality that the Republic and the bastions of peace and justice in the galaxy were corrupted and rotting at the core. Truth be told, the Jedi let go of Ahsoka first, but when they invited her back, she let go of everything she had known on Coruscant, her future there, and her place among the Jedi to forge her own path.

Ahsoka letting go of the shuttle to help Rex

At each turn, she became stronger, more self-possessed, and more in tune with the Force and her place in the galaxy. She upheld the values of the Jedi even when the Order crumbled and she no longer stood among their storied ranks. Ahsoka let go of everything she feared to lose and became stronger for it.

A scene from "Victory and Death."

But here, Ahsoka must let go once more. With the effects of Order 66 rippling through the Republic, and Ahsoka and her dear friend Captain Rex marked as traitors, they find themselves in a position not unlike Ahsoka faced in the bombing of the Jedi Temple. This time, at least, she’s not alone. And she no longer feels compelled to prove her innocence, or her worth, to anyone.

Ahsoka refuses to murder the newly-brainwashed clones to save her own life. “They may be willing to die, but I am not the one who is going to kill them.” Ahsoka says to Rex, who uses his helmet to hide the tears in his eyes as he recognizes he will have to fight through a battalion of his brothers if he, too, wants to escape and survive.

Maul destroying the hyperdrives

Maul, although intended to be a distraction to aid their escape, is pure chaos. His destruction of the ship’s hyperdrive consigns everyone aboard to death. In the last instant, he snags the shuttle that should ferry Ahsoka and Rex to safety, and he does so with impunity.

There is a moment where Maul is still within Ahsoka’s grasp. She has worked so hard to capture rather than kill him, and she has worked so hard to flee rather than murder the clones calling her traitor. She is holding on through the Force, yet being dragged by the sheer effort. And only when she realizes that Rex needs her help to fend off the attacking clones does Ahsoka let go.

She lets go of the shuttle through the Force. She lets go of her hopes of escaping on the ship. She lets go of whatever justice may have been meted out with the delivery of Maul. She lets go of her triumph in bringing him in. She lets go of the Republic and whatever path may have led her back to be accepted among the Jedi.

But she doesn’t let go of her friend, Rex, or her will to survive. Hurtling through the debris as the Republic cruiser is sucked into the moon’s gravitational pull, sending all aboard plummeting to their deaths, Ahsoka finds something to hold onto and climbs to safety inside the Y-wing.

Ahsoka mourning clones

Ahsoka and Rex bury their dead. They mourn the toll of the war and their brothers lost to a cause no one fighting could truly understand. And Ahsoka lets go of one final piece of her identity as a commander in the conflict. She lets her lightsaber fall to the ground, left behind among the helmets marking the graves of the men who died in the final throes of the war.

The Clone War is over. The time of the Empire has begun.

Intel:

A scene from "Victory and Death."

  • The final scene of the series is an epilogue and the first time we see Darth Vader in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animation style.

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

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Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer, host of This Week! In Star Wars, 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 the series.

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