[Note: The following post contains spoilers for the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episodes, “Weapons Factory,” “Legacy of Terror,” and “Brain Invaders”.]
The episodes in this set of three are all linked by the Republic’s retaking of Geonosis, after it became apparent in “Senate Spy” that a new droid factory had been built there. They’re therefore all part of the same arc that connected the previous two episodes, and while I usually try to divide these posts up so that the mini-arcs remain intact, five seemed a bit too much to cover at once. Also, although they are loosely bound by that framework, they do each feel like their own distinct episodes, or at least the first three (including the two from the last post) certainly do, while the last are more strongly connected by the Geonosian worms/zombie connection.
2.06: “Weapons Factory”
After the Republic success in the previous episode, “Weapons Factory” brings our heroes to the very factory in question that led to one of the major necessities of battling the Geonosians all over again, and follows the recurring Star Wars theme of having to sneak in and destroy a heavily fortified enemy base, through the use of stolen intel. This one adds a new wrinkle to the scenario in that, rather than Anakin being the one to do it, the task this time falls on Ahsoka, along with Luminara’s Padawan, Barriss.
Now, as we learned in “Cloak of Darkness,” Luminara is a far more by-the-books Jedi than Anakin and it therefore makes sense that she, in turn, has trained Barriss to adhere strictly to protocol. What I love about the way Luminara is written, however, is that she isn’t so rigid as to not be able to eventually see the potential merits of another point-of-view, even if she isn’t willing to bend as far as Anakin is. Although before “Cloak of Darkness,” she might have considered Ahsoka unpolished, inexperienced, and impetuous, Ahsoka did prove herself to her in that episode, and Luminara has now come to respect Anakin and Ahsoka on a new level, even if she can’t bring herself to behave the same way herself.
And Barriss follows suit. Although the initial set-up of the episode indicates that we will get an Odd Couple scenario in which the mission pairings of Anakin and Luminara, and Ahsoka and Barriss will lead to personality conflicts and bickering, Clone Wars defies our expectations yet again. The two girls have very different personalities and have been trained very differently but unlike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer–in which the traditional, protocol-perfect Slayer, Kendra, temporarily drives our more modern, improvisational heroine up a wall and leads to a plot in which Kendra is ultimately proven wrong to stick to the rules so unbendingly/seemingly inhumanly–never once do these girls snap at each other. Each one respects the other and retains patience with her, even when each would have behaved in a different manner, had they been alone. Similarly, Luminara is as impressed with Anakin’s results as he is with hers.
Significantly, however, both Ahsoka and Barriss know that they have to risk and very likely sacrifice their lives to blow up the factory, once the droids disarm all of their weapons. They realize their friends will be overrun by the enemy otherwise, and both accepts the necessity, unlike Anakin, who simply cannot. Now, once they do manage to explode the factory but survive inside the shielded tank, Barriss is willing to lie back and let go, assuming there is no way for them to be rescued or to contact their Masters for help, but Ahsoka refuses to let that happen without a fight. She uses a trick Anakin had taught her to temporarily re-patch her comm so she could send a message to Anakin, and so in that sense, her refusal to let go does serve her well. She is right, and Anakin was, as well, not to abandon her, as Luminara was prepared to do–albeit with a heavy heart–for her Padawan. On the other hand, the show does make clear that Anakin and Ahsoka’s inability to let go is still a problem. This time, their impulses might have been correct, but this won’t always serve them as well as it did here. That thread will be explored further in the third episode of this set.