WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, streaming now on Disney+.
“Shattered,” the penultimate episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, drew fans further into the Revenge of the Sith timeline and presented a different perspective of well-known events: the last deliberations of the Jedi Council before the fall of the Republic. In the previous episode, Maul confided in Ahsoka Tano his suspicions that her former master, Anakin Skywalker, was being groomed by Darth Sidious. Ahsoka, however, chose not to share that information with a paranoid and obtuse Mace Windu. Had she done so, the Council might have neutralized Palpatine, and Order 66 would have never been enacted — or, at the very least, broadcast some kind of warning to the Jedi scattered across the galaxy.
It would have been easy for series co-creator Dave Filoni to lay the fault at Ahsoka’s feet: She didn’t speak, so the Jedi fell. However, this pivotal scene is carefully scripted, designed and acted so that the mindset of every one of the characters becomes a key part of the tragedy. Ahsoka, despite her service to the Republic, is still hurt about the unfairness with which she was treated by the Jedi. While Yoda suggests there’s an open door for her to rejoin, she refuses, insisting that, in apprehending Maul, she performed her duty as a citizen, and not as a Jedi. That prompts Mace Windu to brush off her question regarding his cryptic comment about Chancellor Palpatine, citing her “citizen” status. Given the Jedi Order’s history of judging too fast and punishing too swiftly, to say nothing of its rapid militarization, it’s understandable that Ahsoka hesitates to share information that could place Anakin in harm’s way.
But even if Ahsoka had trusted the Jedi, sharing Maul’s intelligence wouldn’t have been the most prudent thing to do. Ahsoka had no reason to believe Maul’s words were anything more than a divisive lie or, at best, a desperate conspiracy theory, as he’s a former Sith Lord, leader of a few underworld crime organizations, usurper on Mandalore, and a longtime enemy of Obi-Wan Kenobi who had only just attempted to kill her. And even if Maul were a reliable source, and if Ahsoka were on good terms with the Council, her moral compass would have moved her to confront Anakin, rather than “betray” him.
Even the composition of the scene gives away the ultimate ends of Mace Windu, Aayla Secura and Ki-Adi Mundi. Not only are their holograms a shade bluer than Yoda’s, a visual reminder of Force ghosts, but they also flicker and fade faster than the tiny master’s, who remains a little longer to speak privately with Ahsoka, and to encourage her to pass on a message to Anakin, if she so wishes to. Again, Ahsoka refuses… but even if she hadn’t, what could have Yoda done? He was on Kashyyyk, fighting alongside the Wookiees, and it’s unlikely Anakin would hear whatever he had to say, given Yoda’s terrible, terrible advice about ignoring the pain of the people he loved.
If the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker and the fall of the Jedi were always going to unfold as they did, why is that scene significant at all? Who cares about what Ahsoka did or didn’t say?
Ahsoka cares, because, in a roundabout way, it affects Rex, Maul and even herself. Just like Anakin, the three central characters of “Shattered” had been groomed since they were children to play a role in an intergalactic war. Through her quick thinking and faith in her friends, she not only liberates Rex’s mind from the control of Sidious, but she also overcomes her dislike of Maul to free him, and, in exchange, force him to create a distraction for the compromised clone troopers.
By the end of the episode, most of the Jedi are dead, their knowledge co-opted, and the bones of the Republic cannibalized by the newly born Empire. The Jedi have lost all of their influence, the clones are about to become stormtroopers, and Maul is saber-less, alone, and angry. From the defending a galaxy (or a galaxy-spanning syndicate), they have fallen to fighting just to survive another day before The Clone Wars finale.
Streaming on Disney+, the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars stars Matt Lanter as Anakin Skywalker, Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano, Dee Bradley Baker as Captain Rex and the clone troopers, James Arnold Taylor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan and Sam Witwer as Maul. The series finale arrives May 4.
A single moment in the penultimate episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars may be what ultimately doomed the Jedi.