Star Wars: The Clone Wars “Destiny” REVIEW
Guided by the presence of Qui-gon Jinn, Yoda is well on his way to discovering unknown secrets of the Force. “Destiny” continues the strong start of “Voices” bringing mystery and mysticism back to Star Wars. Sorry for the delay with the final two Star War: The Clone Wars reviews. I got caught up with an interesting side project. No worries, everything is back to normal.
The episode begins with Yoda traveling to a planet hidden in a bright gas cloud in some uncharted region of space. If that was not impressive enough, the planet also has a large geofront underneath its surface. It is here Yoda meets the first Force Ghost, who informs him about the special balance the cosmic and living Force share with this planet. The visuals are gorgeous. The planet is filled with large plants, volcanic streams of force energy gushing from the surface and floating vistas afar, all soaked in a golden hue. The Clone Wars achieves its distinctive look by using a mix of hand drawn textures and painted backgrounds creating a level of detail most CGI shows cannot match. (shout outs to Tron: Uprising its closest competitor in the visually stunning department) It goes without saying; this episode is beautiful to watch.
The designs for the Force Ghost are not lacking either, inspired by Greek comedy and tragedy mask, the ghost move weightlessly through space. Jaime King provides the voices for all five ghosts and effortlessly switches between each emotion. Before Yoda can learn their secrets, he has to pass a few tests. Yoda, being a Jedi master, is like “I got this” and in a scene reminiscent of Empire, has to head off into a dark cave with only his thoughts to confront the darkness in his heart.
Recently, across genres and mediums there has been much discussion about destiny in storytelling; specifically the trend of storytellers relying on broader monomyth structures, as established by Joseph Campbell. Lucas, built a lot of the original trilogy off of Campbells work. Hell, he even produced and filmed Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces mini-series at the Star Wars ranch.
Outside of wanting to create gravitas and stick to the single word name structure of the final three episodes, it’s hard to see why this was called “Destiny.” The ghosts make it clear this journey isn’t necessarily Yoda’s destiny, but they are trying to achieve long term balance in the Force and if he fails, they will find someone else. Does this break the episode? No. Is this something to muse on? Yes.
In the cave Yoda encounters “shadow Yoda” and the two have a very brutal – physical fight. While Shadow Yoda’s mannerisms share similarities with Gollum from Lord of The Rings, his design is very menacing and he makes some valid points about the supposed darkness Jedi’s purged from their minds, especially his line about “spending your days in the decadence of war.” Shadow Yoda is Yoda. Through training and meditation he can control him, but he will always be a part of him.
The fight with himself was just the beginning, The Ghosts want to test Yoda’s spirit and see how he responds to two opposite extremes. First, the Ghosts place Yoda in a middle of a Jedi massacre. The halls of the Jedi temple are littered with bodies. Among the dead and dying is Ahsoka Tano, The Clone Wars breakout star and noticeably missing from these final episodes. Mirroring her story’s lack of conclusion because of the series’ untimely cancellation, Ahsoka “dying” in Yoda’s grip not knowing if she’ll become one with the Force, hits Yoda as hard as the audience.
The second vision is much more pleasant. There was no war, everyone is alive and Dooku never went to the darkside. However, everything here is weirdly artificial and once Yoda starts calling people out about being dead, things go to hell pretty quickly. Yoda stands firms and The Ghost salute Yoda for not giving into despair or his temptations. They agree to share with him their secrets but only after one final journey to the Sith homeworld.
“Destiny” is another excellent episode of The Clone Wars. Yoda’s final journey is taking viewers and Yoda to some interesting places and takes advantage of the lore. Plus, the trials Yoda has face are all visually striking and test him in more than just his skills in combat and knowledge of the Force.