Ahsoka: Barriss Offee’s lasting impact on Ahsoka Tano is healed

Barriss Offee. Image Courtesy StarWars.com
Barriss Offee. Image Courtesy StarWars.com /

Barriss Offee is one of the biggest lingering mysteries from The Clone Wars. She’s a vital character in the story of Ahsoka Tano, but her fate has been a considerable unknown since she was last seen in the Season 5 episode “The Wrong Jedi” a decade ago in 2013.

While Barriss’ fate is still a mystery, her lasting impression on Ahsoka still lingers today. In Ahsoka Episode 5, “Shadow Warrior,” the titular character is thrown into the past, once again a teenager. She questions her master, Anakin Skywalker, about being a peacekeeper, not a warrior. She also wonders how Anakin is shaping her future as she sees glimpses of Darth Vader.

While watching these scenes, all I could think about were two major episodes with Barriss Offee. The first is The Clone Wars Season 2 episode, “Brain Invaders,” and the second is the Season 5 finale, “The Wrong Jedi.”

In “Brain Invaders,” after surviving a brutal battle on Geonosis, Ahsoka can’t sleep in her bunk. She tells Barriss it’s too quiet, one of the earliest hints the teenage soldier was feeling some PTSD. The two young women head to the cafeteria to share a meal.

Their conversation mirrors the major points of Ahsoka’s “Shadow Warrior,” as this early in The Clone Wars, Ahsoka is sharing the same thoughts with Barriss as she did with Anakin. Here is the conversation:

Ahsoka says, “I was thinking about what you said earlier about enjoying the peace while it lasts. As a Jedi, I’m not sure I know how to do that.”

Ever studious, Barriss answers, “Master [Mace] Windu has said we are keepers of the peace, not warriors. However, once the war is over, it will be our job to maintain the peace.”

Ahsoka asks, “Yes, but will we do so as keepers of the peace or warriors? And what’s the difference?”

Barriss notes that she doesn’t have all the answers and asks what Anakin tells her.

Hesitating, Ahsoka states, “You might find some of his thoughts on the future a bit radical.” She adds, “Let’s just say my Master will always do what needs to be done. I’m not even sure how peacetime will agree with him.”

It’s impressive that Dave Filoni and his crew had this consistency with Ahsoka’s writing to carry this idea in her for over ten years now. This conversation from “Brain Invaders” hits all the major points from “Shadow Warrior.”

Character-wise, though, Barriss plays a key role in this scene: she is a trusted peer.

Ahsoka rarely interacts with people her age throughout The Clone Wars. She’s almost always around her mentors Anakin, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Padmé Amidala. The few times she’s with someone in her age group, it’s usually in a mentor role like in the Onderon arc introducing Saw Gerrera, or they are fighting to survive like in the Wookiee hunt episodes. After their battle on Geonosis, Ahsoka opens up her innermost thoughts to Barriss, ones she doesn’t seem as willing to share with Anakin or Obi-Wan, as noted by her hesitation when Barriss brings up her master. This is a very teenage thing to do, sharing secrets with each other away from their parental figures. Ahsoka opened her heart and trust to her friend, leaving her vulnerable.

This conversation possibly affected Barriss, too, as we jump forward to the Season 5 finale, “The Wrong Jedi.” In the arc, Ahsoka is framed for a murder she didn’t commit. She has been cast out of the Jedi Order, stripped of her rank, and is about to receive her sentencing from the Republic. At the last moment, Anakin brings in the true killer:

Barriss Offee.

Ahsoka is clearly stunned and shaken that her trusted friend would do this to her. Barriss’ reasoning is built on top of the blocks from “Brain Invaders” as Barriss declares to the galaxy the following:

“I did it, because I have come to realize what many people in the Republic have come to realize, that the Jedi are the ones responsible for this war, that we’ve so lost our way that we’ve have become villains in this conflict, that we are the ones who should be put on trial, all of us! And my attack on the Temple was an attack on what the Jedi have become, an army fighting for the Dark Side, fallen from the light that we once held so dear. This Republic is failing! It’s only a matter of time.”

The fascinating thing here is that Barriss is mostly correct. The Clone Wars have compromised the Jedi, they have fallen from the light, and the Republic is on the verge of failing. Every day people don’t trust the Jedi anymore, as seen in the Season 7 episodes with the Martez Sisters as Trace thinks the Jedi started the war, to Ahsoka’s surprise. While this is Barriss’ “Cool motive, still murder” moment of the show, it clearly left a lasting impact on Ahsoka.

We have yet to see her open up to anyone since other than people she was already close to, like Captain Rex. She’s guarded with the Martez Sisters. In Star Wars Rebels, she keeps Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger at arm’s length as their mentor. Clearly, something happened with Sabine Wren prior to the events of Ahsoka, but it sounds like Ahsoka wasn’t the warmest person. Ahsoka stays away from Luke Skywalker and Grogu in the other Mandoverse shows.

While there are so many other things, like Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side and the death of the Jedi Order, I think Barriss left a more personal wound on Ahsoka. It harmed Ahsoka’s ability to want to have friends and be vulnerable with other people.

Thanks to “Shadow Warrior,” I think Anakin wasn’t the only closure Ahsoka found in the episode. After her time in the World Between Worlds, she embraces Jacen Syndulla, pulling him into a big hug after she wakes up. This is the warmest moment we’ve seen out of Rosario Dawson’s performance. She doesn’t react angrily to Sabine leaving with Baylan Skoll, instead choosing to move forward to find her padawan. Ahsoka has let go of the burdens of her past betrayal, not just with Anakin. She’s ready to open her heart again, knowing that friends and found family are a good thing while understanding her attachments.

While I still want Barriss’ side of things and Ahsoka meeting Barriss is a moment fans have yearned for the last decade, Ahsoka has finally learned to let go of Barriss’ lasting impression on her. She is ready to have friends again.

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