Many fans questioned the purpose of Ahsoka meeting Trace and Rafa on Coruscant in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Now we have the whole story, and possibly an explanation.
Everyone has their favorite and least favorite story arcs in The Clone Wars. With seven seasons’ worth of content to choose from, it’s understandable that some stories that “work” for parts of an audience won’t work for others. And that’s OK.
It didn’t seem OK, though, when we first met Trace and Rafa Martez.
More from Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- Celebrating 20 years of Asajj Ventress
- 5 times Star Wars turned into a zombie horror movie
- General Grievous’ terror unmatched in Genndy Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars
- The Clone Wars saved Padmé Amidala
- Theory: Is Peridea actually the planet of Mortis?
This four-episode arc caused a lot of frustration in the Star Wars fan community, partly because we were all anxiously awaiting the Siege of Mandalore, and partly due to the fact that the purpose of these episodes just didn’t seem clear to many who watched them.
But that was before we saw the rest of the series and the details surrounding how it ended.
In explaining the arc’s main purpose, Dave Filoni explained that Ahsoka’s interactions with the two sisters showed not only the gaping separation between the Jedi and the ordinary citizens of the galaxy, but also how “out of touch” the Order had become with reality.
Now that we’ve made it through the final episode of the season — and the series — it turns out there’s actually another layer to the Martez sisters arc. And it’s even more heartbreaking.
The story with the Martez sisters wasn’t just a bridge between Ahsoka leaving the Jedi Order and reuniting with Bo-Katan. It definitely wasn’t pointless or “filler” material. And the evidence for that lies among the graves of the clones Ahsoka buried in the aftermath of Order 66.
When Ahsoka walked away from Anakin at the end of season 5, she was deeply hurt. Likely angry, confused, and lost for purpose. Her instinct to help the innocent never left her. But she most likely buried it deep after deciding the Jedi betrayed her. That’s what you do, sometimes, when you’re in pain. You close yourself off from the source. Or you try to, anyway.
Trace and Rafa were very clearly struggling by the time Ahsoka came along. Without guardians, they were making bad (in some cases illegal) decisions, barely surviving outside the realm of danger. This led to them ending up imprisoned by the Pykes, with Ahsoka alongside them.
Despite that fact, Ahsoka realized she couldn’t let her resentment toward the Jedi cloud her own judgment. Trace and Rafa still needed help, as did Bo-Katan, and Mandalore … the galaxy as a whole, not long after.
It took that experience with Trace and Rafa to fully restore her sense of compassion again. These two sisters were reckless and misguided and put her life in serious danger. And yet she still helped them.
Once again, she became someone who cared about others above herself. Someone who, despite the pain she had endured, wouldn’t simply walk away when someone in need asked for her help.
Someone who would, despite the sting of betrayal and overwhelming sense of loss, make the effort and the time to bury the remains of the allies-turned-enemies who tried to kill her.
To honor them, yes. But also because they themselves were innocent, who like her were bred to fight a war they didn’t ask to fight, forced to turn on the commander they so deeply respected because of something completely out of their control.
She briefly forgot what compassion felt like, having experienced the exact opposite from people she once thought cared about her. Trace and Rafa, whether they knew it or not, forced her to awaken that part of herself again.
You couldn’t have gone straight into the Siege of Mandalore arc with the same Ahsoka who walked away from the Jedi Order. She needed this arc to further develop her character, no matter how subtle the change.
You may have found those four episodes of this final season frustrating or annoying. You may have even hated them. That’s OK.
But we have the full story now. Ahsoka needed to move from a place of anger and resentment to one of relentless compassion, and this stop along the way was a necessary lead-in to the final arc we were all so desperately waiting for.
Nothing in this final season was done to fill time. It wasn’t a waste. It was the slowed-down, deliberate form of storytelling that made this series’ final arc that much more powerful.
I said as the Trace and Rafa arc was airing that this part of the story would pay off in the end. In a subtle but important way, it did.
Never judge a story before you’ve seen the ending.
You don’t have to love every part of it. But that doesn’t mean the significance isn’t there.
Have your thoughts on the final seasons’ first two arcs changed now that you’ve seen the third? Is it too soon to watch the entire season again?