The Clone Wars gets it second end with Sacrifice. Yoda's story continues as he journeys to the Sith world Moraband (nee Korriban) as spirits of evil tempt and attempt to frighten the Jedi master. Mark Hamill does a voice, the Priestesses are back, and if nothing else it's an impressive new installment of Star Wars lore. Read on!
Yoda lands on the planet of the Dark Side and leaves Yoda to wander through the desert to find all sorts of freaky things - Sith serpents, visions of spirits telling him that there is no life awaiting him after death. This is something that would carry more weight if we didn't know the truth from Return of the Jedi, but it gives us another shot at letting us see how Yoda's nine centuries of life prepares him for such spooky things while he lights the way in a dark cave through the use of his trusty green lightsaber.
One of the coolest things in the comics over the years was Korriban mostly because it gave us all a tantalizing glimpse at the history of the Star Wars galaxy - something we've been given in bits and pieces, until recently, and now we've probably had too much of it. A whole graveyard planet of bad guys and giant statues? It's cool! Rarely does a turn in the mythos go unexplored for long, so it makes sense we'd come back here so Yoda can see a redesigned Darth Bane. This redesign of the Sith is on fire all the time, but it looks less doofy than the crystal armor version that got turned into an action figure. Ash flies off him as the dead Sith taunts Yoda to join him, which is baffling as Yoda was literally just told there was no life after death. So what's the deal here? Mark Hamill lends his spectacular vocal talents to the villain in such a way that, like the Joker, you won't really even think about it being him. He's just that good at providing the voice for this supposed illusion, the Sith being little more than a distraction before Yoda gets another visit from the spooky floating quintuplets.
This gives Yoda a chance to fight the Sith - the Sith that, remember, he doesn't really know all that much about other than Dooku so far - so we get to see a crazy ritual involving Dooku and Palpatine and bleeding and magic. It's more Skeletor than Star Wars, but whatever - it's not like we all really have a good idea of what George Lucas intended for the Sith outside the movies. The whole thing is plenty spooky, as we get to see a tortured illusion of Sifo-Dyas. Yoda isn't tricked, which is sort of necessary - but it brings into focus why this series and the prequels suffer in spots, the heroes as goody two-shoes types with little real chance of temptation or even loss makes for a boring story. Throwing Yoda in some wicked hallucination by Palpatine is really the only way we could expect him to have any sort of weakness, but even then, it seems odd that we haven't seen it before.
We see a sort of alternate Revenge of the Sith which is actually quite cool - it's the sort of thing I wish we could have seen in the movies instead of being married to turning our hero into our villain, but such is the danger of prequels. The whole illusion was just another thing to spook the Jedi master, so in other words another waste of time. It was cool! But it was pointless, other than showing that Yoda passes all the tests and gets to live after death. Yoda's brief speech at the end of the show gives us all wonderful warm fuzzies and ties in to the end of the original trilogy quite well - that the Jedi sacrifice and purge all stood for something - but the danger of economics in modern storytelling prevents a franchise from ever being able to make a final grand statement. The end of the Sith, really, once and for all is but an illusion - just like the ones Yoda saw - because Disney is going to need to make more movies. Much hay has been made about a band "tarnishing its legacy" by releasing progressively inferior art or having a bad tour over time, and while this is rarely said about the comic super hero business - which feels more like an ongoing Borscht Belt joke, being retold and reinterpreted - we're regularly asked to question if Star Wars as a franchise is worth the status we have granted it as a culture.
With The Clone Wars we saw it reinterpret the best and worst children's television, science fiction, and indeed the DNA of our beloved favorite sci-fi series had to offer. We were allowed to travel down wonderfully strange paths with Meebur Gascon and Ziro the Hutt while grazing on the ethics - barely - of creating a race of people to work as a servant class. We were also asked to suffer through debates about banking, a bum school lunch program, and fan service that ranged from delightful to the eye-rolling. I think we're better off for having had this series than we would have been without it, I'm sure many fans will view this as an expanded surrogate for the prequels in their personal canons. I hope you all got to take something important away from the series - even if it's just a farewell to the franchise as you move on to bigger and better things.
Takeaway from this week:
"Execute them, we must." Where was this Yoda in the movies?
"You cannot stop what is to come." True!
"There is another... Skywalker." I could've told you that.
Next time: I'm open to requests! Email me or leave a comment - or I'll be back after Rebels starts, that's for certain. See you next mission.