Star Wars: The Clone Wars: “Dangerous Debt” review!

The Ahsoka Tano arc is nearing its end, as we today got the penultimate episode of the story featuring her and the Martez sisters.

In this episode, we see the trio attempting to escape captivity from the Pykes… and we’re introduced again to a familiar face.

Let’s dive into the review of this week’s episode, “Dangerous Debt.”


SUMMARY:

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After attempting to swindle the Pykes in last week’s episode, Ahsoka, Trace, and Rafa find themselves imprisoned by the Pykes on Oba Diah. While in the prison cell, Rafa tells Ahsoka what happened to their parents, and why they don’t trust the Jedi. During a prison break on Coruscant involving Ziro the Hutt, the Jedi pursued him in an attempt to capture him. In this process, a speeder took damage and the Jedi tried to step in. The speeder crashed into a building, killing Trace and Rafa’s parents (who had managed to get the girls to safety). Afterward, a Jedi with green skin told them she had to make a choice and that the Force would be with them. Ahsoka tells the sisters that she is so sorry.

The Pykes take Rafa and torture her, and then take Trace with the same intentions. Trace, however, tricks the guards, steals a blaster, and flees. Ahsoka, back in the holding cell with an unconscious Rafa, uses the Force to open the door. Soon, the three women are reunited as they continue their escape – with Ahsoka using the Force discretely several times to aid their cause. They make it outside and split up; Ahsoka goes to open the gate, while Trace and Rafa create a distraction. Ahsoka takes down all of the guards in the tower and opens the gate, and then comes to Trace and Rafa’s aid by using the Force without them realizing it.

They flee outside the Pyke compound, thinking they’ve made it safely. Trace spots her ship and wants to return to it, while Ahsoka and Rafa have another discussion about doing what is right. They are soon spotted by the Pykes, who pursue… right past a robed Mandalorian. Trace and Rafa are soon taken captive again by the Pykes, but Ahsoka escapes. As this all happens, three robed Mandalorians watch this from afar on a rooftop: Bo-Katan Kryze, Ursa Wren, and another Mandalorian. Bo-Katan affirms that this does seem to be the Jedi she encountered on Carlac, but doesn’t know what she’s doing here and that she might be messing up their plans… but also notes that they share a common enemy, so they’ll keep their eye on her.

Trace and Rafa are taken back to the compound, where Marg Krim orders their execution. Ahsoka appears just in time, saving them. But as they turn to leave the compound, they realize it was a trap to lure Ahsoka out into the open. The three are taken back to the holding cell and imprisoned again, and Rafa tells them that she’s sorry for the trouble she has caused.

REVIEW:

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This episode was my favorite of the Ahsoka arc so far.

There was quite a bit of action and tension throughout the episode, as our heroes attempted to escape from the Pykes, but nonetheless we still managed to get some very important character development. The pacing of this episode was very good.

That includes beginning the episode with an exploration of Trace and Rafa’s backstory, and it helps add so much to their characters. They share details that we as the viewer can resonate with: during the season one prison break of Ziro the Hutt (Cad Bane is referenced as being someone with red eyes), the Jedi tried to stop but wound up having to save others rather than Trace and Rafa’s parents. To make matters worse, the Jedi who spoke to them – who I’m pretty sure is Luminara Unduli, as a Jedi with dark robes and light green skin – basically just told them that the Force would be with them and left. Knowing what we do of Luminara, she was probably as bad of a choice as possible to send to talk to these girls, but she didn’t help. So the sisters were on their own, feeling betrayed by the Jedi and the Republic they claimed to serve. Their mother believed like Ahsoka does, that they must help people in need, but Rafa has moved beyond that in the name of survival.

It’s such an interesting and tragic backstory, and it helps make sense of Rafa’s actions. It doesn’t make them right, but it gives us more understanding of them. The wisdom saying at the beginning of the episode is very fitting: “Who you were does not have to define who you are.” That’s a theme in Star Wars, but it’s one that Rafa comes to learn in this episode. Yes, it’s true that at the end of the episode they wind up in exactly the same place they were in at the beginning of the episode, as they’re back in the cell. But the events of the episode have made a world of difference to the three, especially Rafa, who finally apologizes for what she has done in putting them in this situation. She has learned some lessons along the way.

I also really liked how Trace was able to hold her own in this episode. In the first two parts of this arc it has seemed like Rafa was the far more resourceful one, but here Trace shows that she has a trick or two. She pretends to faint, briefly confusing the guards, and then makes her escape. I really appreciated that it was Trace who got the better of the guards rather than Rafa, as that was a nice touch. Rafa thinks she has to do these things in order to protect Trace, but maybe if she would work with Trace, she would realize that Trace can hold her own in some things.

The star of the episode, though, was Ahsoka. This whole arc is really about her, but this episode in particular had her take on the role of the hero. Even when confronted with the failures of the Jedi and the realities of the hardships some people in the galaxy live in, Ahsoka still maintains the morality and goodness that has marked her character all along. And she still can more than hold her own in a fight. She got a couple of really great fight scenes in this episode, especially as she took on the Pyke guards as she tried to open the gate. But one of my favorite things was how Ahsoka frequently used the Force in this episode, yet without the sisters noticing it. This sometimes led to the sisters thinking they had managed to get out of it on their own, which was kinda humorous, but it was clear to the viewer that Ahsoka was the reason they made it out of there.

I’m confident that in next week’s episode the Martez sisters will discover that Ahsoka was once a Jedi, and I’m really curious to see their reaction to that. This episode certainly set it up well for that to payoff next week.

Another thing that this episode set up that I wasn’t expecting to see yet were the Mandalorians! It was such a cool introduction to them, and I especially liked that they incorporated Ursa Wren (from Rebels) into it. From the sounds of it, Bo-Katan was already on a different mission on Oba Diah, but now has her eyes on Ahsoka. We obviously know what happens: she enlists Ahsoka’s help to liberate Mandalore from Maul’s oppression, leading into the heavily-anticipated Siege of Mandalore! I absolutely can’t wait for that, and I’m getting even more excited as the appearance of these Mandalorians remind us that we’re getting closer and closer.

But in the meantime, I really enjoyed this episode. It mixed plenty of intrigue with exciting action sequences and some really great character development – all the while making me even more interested and excited for next week’s conclusion of this arc.

My grade: 9.2/10

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