Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited - 3.12 Nightsisters
Eleven years ago, George Lucas and Dave Filoni introduced the world to Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an animated series that filled in the gap between Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The story takes place during the Clone Wars, with the Jedi-led clone army facing off against the droid armies of the Separatist Alliance. With the announcement of a surprise seventh season by Disney, The Digital Fix will be revisiting the animated series, looking back at the most important episodes and story arcs of the show’s five seasons, highlighting the elements that made this show so beloved by Star Wars fans.
We return with the episode Nightsisters, which originally aired back in 2011...
Nightsisters is the start of an important arc in The Clone Wars for several reasons. First, this episode marks the end of Asajj Ventress' secret apprenticeship to Count Dooku that has existed since the beginning of the series. Second, we're given an extensive look into the backstory of Ventress. And most importantly, Nightsisters begins a series of events that will eventually lead to the return of Darth Maul in season four.
Darth Sidious orders Dooku to have Ventress killed because she is growing too powerful for the Sith Lord's comfort. Infuriated, Ventress flees to Dathomir to take refuge with the Nightsisters, a clan of witches who are all powerful in the Dark Side of the Force and led by Mother Talzin. Talzin is an interesting character, as her design is actually based on early concept art for Darth Maul back when they were considering making the character female (Ventress herself is also based on concept art for a female Sith assassin before Maul was conceived).
During her recovery, we learn that Ventress was actually trained for a number of years by Jedi Knight Ky Narec, who was unfortunately killed by pirates before he could take Ventress back to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Learning that Ventress was actually very close to her Jedi master really changes how you look at the character; she becomes much more sympathetic to the viewer. This revelation also turns her into a tragic figure, as she's really known nothing but suffering and loss her entire life. And if only she'd been able to join the Jedi Temple, her life could have gone in a completely different direction.
As great as this episode is however, it has one rather large weakness. In the latter half of the episode, Ventress departs on a mission to assassinate Dooku with the help of Nightsister magic that renders her invisible. The problem is, we know that Ventress cannot succeed because Dooku survives until the beginning of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Knowing this, it's impossible for the scene to generate any real tension because Ventress is doomed to fail. This is pitfall that comes when you make a series set before a pre-existing film, you're bound by that film's events.
Despite this flaw, Nightsisters is an overall good episode. The intrigue continues with the next episode: Monster.