Star Wars - The Clone Wars Revisited: 1.01 Ambush

Ten 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. 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.

And we start with the opening episode Ambush, which originally aired back in 2008...

In the first regular episode of The Clone Wars after the pilot film, Jedi Master Yoda travels to a distant moon to negotiate with King Katuunko, the ruler of Toydaria. The Republic is hoping to build a base in their territory to help in the ongoing war. Before Yoda's arrival however, the king is met by Asajj Ventress, assassin and secret apprentice of Count Dooku, leader of the Separatists. Dooku wishes for Toydaria to join the Separatist Alliance instead of the Republic. The king proposes a deal; if Yoda can reach his location, he will join the Republic, but if the Separatist droids can stop the Jedi master, he will consider joining the Separatists.

Now, given that this is Yoda we are talking about, you know how this is going to go. That being said, the show writers do a great job of creating tension and teasing the idea that maybe Yoda won't make it as Ventress sends wave after wave of battle droids to take him and the clones down. The Yoda we see during these fights is a combination of the serious Jedi Master seen in the prequel films and the mischievous figure originally seen in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. A funny moment comes when Yoda engages a squad of battle droids in tanks. Yoda slices his way into the tank from below and hilarity ensues as the tank begins violently shaking from within. Two droids come running out yelling "run for your lives!" before being dragged back in with the Force only to be thrown back out as parts seconds later.

A highlight of this episode comes when Yoda sits to talk with the clones while they briefly rest. While the clones argue to Yoda that they're all the same, Yoda insists that they are not, as they all have different presences in the Force. The Jedi Master tells each clone what is special and unique to them, emphasizing the need to work together as a unit. It's a touching moment made slightly bitter when you remember that Order 66 is eventually coming.

This is a good first episode for the series. While some might be upset that Anakin and Obi-Wan don't appear, there's plenty of Jedi awesomeness to be had. Yoda is full of cryptic wisdom as always and he doesn't hesitate to show off his lightsaber skills. Ventress doesn’t do much in this episode compared to later appearances, but the episode does show off her ability to manipulate the situation up to a certain point. Ventress was initially considered for the live-action Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones before the character of Dooku was created for the film.

The saying “Great leaders inspire greatness in others” is a saying that appears at the start of the episode and is a pattern that runs through the entire series. It doesn’t directly come up in dialogue, but it is meant to reflect either something that happens in the episode or something a character learns by the end of the story.

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