It’s Friday, which means a new episode of The Clone Wars!
This week’s episode, entitled “Deal No Deal,” is the second in the arc focusing on Ahsoka Tano’s journey after leaving the Jedi Order. She befriends two sisters, Trace and Rafa Martez, and in this episode they wind up leaving Coruscant on a job.
Let’s dive in to the review!
As Trace and Ahsoka work on Trace’s ship and Ahsoka’s speeder, Rafa approaches them about a job. She had previously hired a pilot and crew for a job, but that fell through – meaning that she needed Trace to fly. Trace obviously loves her ship and loves flying, so she is excited about this (though not about being Rafa’s second choice), and Ahsoka tags along on the job – though Rafa is unsure about her.
Trace’s inexperience is soon evident (she has never been into hyperspace before, meaning her flying skills are largely untested) as she flies into a Republic military lane leaving the planet, along with gunships boarding a cruiser. They are contacted by Admiral Yularen aboard the cruiser, and Trace and Rafa try to talk their way out of it by saying it was a mistake on a training flight. Aboard the cruiser, Jedi General Anakin Skywalker asks Yularen about the situation, and he senses Ahsoka on board the ship. Because of this, he tells Yularen to not bother sending anyone after the ship and to let them go.
The trio heads for Kessel, arriving at the luscious green part of the planet. They are greeted by King Yaruba’s men, who invite the three women to a dinner to discuss the job. There, it is revealed that Rafa has agreed to transport spice, and Yaruba’s men insist it’s for medicinal purposes. Ahsoka knows better, however, and isn’t happy with the deal. Nevertheless, they head for the other part of the planet, where the mining is taking place, and they see the slaves laboring away. Their ship is loaded up with spice, and they head off.
As they’re flying, Ahsoka discovers that their client is the Marg Krim and the Pyke Syndicate. This finally causes her to snap, explaining how dangerous the Pykes are and how they’re far more dangerous than the gangsters on Coruscant that the sisters are used to. She says that the Pykes will take everything, including the ship, and this bothers Trace. As Ahsoka and Rafa argue, Trace jettisons the spice into space, insisting that no one will take her ship. Ahsoka and Rafa are both stunned and upset by this move, as it removed any options from them. So they continue on to Oba Diah, with Ahsoka devising a plan.
They arrive and are greeted by the Pykes, and Ahsoka uses a Jedi mind trick to convince the Pykes to give them the money and allow them to leave. This seems to work, but as they’re in the ship leaving the Pykes discover they’ve been tricked and send ships to intercept. With Trace’s ship now caught in a tractor beam, the trio appears trapped…
I really enjoyed this episode, and thought it was a significant step up from last week’s.
One of the things that really stood out in this one was just how inexperienced and naive the sisters are – particularly Trace. She simply hasn’t experienced much of the galaxy; she’s never traveled in hyperspace, and she makes a series of costly (or near costly) mistakes in this episode. So in these two episodes, we’ve gotten a decent idea of these sisters. Rafa seems to be a bit self-centered and manipulative, but all in the name of caring for and supporting Trace, and she also has acquired significant debts. Trace, on the other hand, is a kindhearted but incredibly naive individual. Both sisters, then, do things that put them in trouble – Rafa willingly, and Trace unwillingly.
Thus Ahsoka provides a much-needed level of reasonableness and experience – so much so that Rafa suspiciously asks her repeatedly in this episode how she knows about things (like Kessel, or the Pykes, etc.). Ahsoka doesn’t let on how she does, but she obviously has far more experience and knowledge of the galaxy than these sisters do. And I wonder if that factors into how we interpret these things: the Martez sisters see the shortcomings of the Jedi and the Republic, but they perhaps don’t see just how complicated and messy the galaxy really is. Ahsoka has seen both, so she recognizes that the galaxy is messed up – and that the Jedi and Republic are too. This is evidenced, for example, when Rafa and Trace don’t believe that the workers on Kessel are slaves because the Republic surely would have stopped it… and Ahsoka simply says that you would think so.
As for a couple of other notes, the mention of Marg Krim might help us place this episode timeline-wise. It was seriously implied in Dark Disciple that he was killed, and if that’s truly the case, then this arc would take place before Dark Disciple (and thus likely before the Bad Batch arc too). Another evidence of this is that Anakin Skywalker is on Coruscant, whereas in the Bad Batch arc he’s taking part in the Outer Rim Sieges. None of this is 100% conclusive, but I think it’s reasonable to infer.
And speaking of Anakin, the brief moment with him was easily my favorite moment of the episode. As Ahsoka and the Martez sisters try to fly by, Anakin senses his former padawan’s presence and tells Yularen to let them pass. This is an awesome parallel to Return of the Jedi, when Vader senses Luke’s presence on the shuttle and allows them to pass. It was really well-done. There was also another nice reference to Anakin in the episode, as Ahsoka tells Trace that she learned mechanic skills at “Skywalker Academy,” which Trace had never heard of.
It was also really cool to see Kessel. Firstly, we saw the journey to Kessel looking pretty much exactly like it did in Solo, which was neat. Secondly, we saw the mining on Kessel again, also looking quite familiar. But thirdly, we actually saw the rest of Kessel too! We saw a thriving and luscious green planet with fancy buildings where the King and his men resided. As Rafa points out, in order for people to live in luxury, there has to be a cost. It was a really nice look at Kessel, giving us both new and familiar scenes.
Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. I thought the interactions between the three main characters (and especially Ahsoka and Rafa) were really well-done, we got to see several different environments, we got a beautiful moment with Anakin that was a great nod to ROTJ, we got plenty of tension and intrigue, and we got a cliffhanger of an ending. I thought this was well-done.
My grade: 8.6/10