Every time an episode of The Clone Wars lands, Fantha Tracks will be giving their responses, and here are our initial gut feelings, deep dives and thoughts on the seventh episode of season seven – Dangerous Debt. Beware of spoilerific elements in here.
“Who you were does not have to define who you are.”
Prisoners of the Pykes! Ahsoka Tano has teamed up with the Martez sisters, who live in the underworld of the city-planet Coruscant. Struggling to make ends meet, Rafa Martez scored a job running a spice shipment from the planet Kessel. Tempers flared when Ahsoka realized the spice was being sold to the Pykes, a powerful crime syndicate. As Ahsoka and Rafa argue, Trace Martez dumped the spice, hoping to end the dispute. With no shipment to deliver, the three attempted to deceive the Pykes and failed.
We now find them imprisoned deep within a fortress on the planet Oba Diah….
The third chapter of the Ahsoka walkabout arc is here and this might be the best episode of this arc, maybe the best of the season so far.
With the three heroines imprisoned by the Pykes, they are forced to confront what has caused them to be in this situation. We get a look at what caused the Martez sisters to end up in the life they have. In an emotional story, Rafa explains how the Jedi are responsible for the destruction of their home and the death of their parents during one of the Jedi’s adventures. It hits Ahsoka hard, even though she wasn’t there personally she has this situation countless times across the galaxy during the Clone Wars. I’m really enjoying how the Martez sisters are acting as a microcosm of the citizens of the Star Wars galaxy. They are caught up in the Clone Wars and have to deal with the ramifications of the Jedi and Separatists actions.
This third chapter also ramps up the action in an exciting and daring jailbreak as the trio each try a different plan to get off the planet. Unfortunately, it all ends up with them back in the cell. But in their escape, we see how each of them handles the situations differently. Rafa at first tries to give them Ahsoka in an attempt to save herself. Trace uses her head and the Pykes underestimation of her abilities. While Ahsoka uses her Jedi skills in a limited manner, struggling with how much she wants to reveal and use.
It’s a great story that finally has Ahsoka confronted with a situation where her Jedi abilities could make a major difference in helping them, but if she reveals herself she will alienate her new friends even more. The episode is made even better by a final reveal of a trio of Mandalorians watching the events transpire, giving Ahsoka and the sisters a possible ally and how this story arc will connect to the Siege of Mandalore and the larger galactic story.
The Clone Wars returns in Dangerous Debt, an action-packed episode filled to the brim with excitement and character development. The situation looks dire for our group of would-be smugglers as we watch them grapple with their incarceration, as well as cope with the sinister interrogation methods of the Pykes. Thanks to Ahsoka’s determination and sly application of the Force, something that Ahsoka is trying harder to hide now thanks to a dark revelation from the Martez sisters, they manage to escape, and the remainder of the episode follows them as they go on the run.
Throughout the episode Ahsoka repeatedly uses the Force with less and less care as to whether she is noticed, and the Martez sisters are starting to catch on. It seems only a matter of time before the inevitable confrontation on Ahsoka’s past, though this may go better than it would have earlier as it is through the chaos of their escape that Ahsoka and Raffa seem to finally have found a mutual respect for one-another.
Despite the group’s efforts to escape, the episode ends physically where it started, with our trio back behind bars. Although, with the newly formed friendship between Ahsoka and Raffa, their increased efficiency as a group, and the surprise appearance of some unexpected allies, it seems only a matter of time before they escape again, this time for good.
Overall the episode gave us some important backstory, fun action pieces and a plot-hook that has left me very excited for what is to come.
Well, this Ahsoka story-arc is a filler, and Dangerous Debt was the worst part of the first three chapters of this arc, in my opinion. We are in the same situation at the end of the episode as in its opening seconds: Ahsoka and the Martez sisters are in prison. Of course, the girls are in a bit worse situation as they wanted to escape from planet Oba Diah, and they infuriated the Pykes even more, but for an outsider, it seems, they are in the same situation.
But – and there is a huge but here – this arc is about world-building, connecting the last episodes of The Clone Wars with other productions, for example, the unmade live-action project Underworld. Or with itself, as in this episode. When Rafa Martez told Ahsoka the backstory of her and her sister, it was the most exciting and powerful part of this episode. And it mentioned Ziro the Hutt as well, the character I named my Hungarian Star Wars fansite http://Ziro.hu after.
My eyes widened when Rafa told their story to Ahsoka, not just because of the mention of Ziro, but it turned out, how the ordinary people of Coruscant saw the “Jedi business”. Otherwise, it was interesting to hear Rafa’s story, because we’ve seen some events she spoke about in early parts of The Clone Wars, but not from this certain point of view.
As I said in the review of the last episode: this story-arc has many in-universe references and connections, which made me really happy because we see part of known things as never before. That’s the power of this story-arc, and I don’t even care about the story itself.
During these strange times, a new episode of the Clone Wars has been a welcome relief to round each week. The series has certainly not disappointed in bringing us great storytelling packed into twenty-two minutes.
One of the biggest takeaways I had from this episode is the explanation of the demise of the Martez sister’s parents and their opinion with the Jedi. The relationship of the Jedi and the general population of the Star Wars Universe is an intriguing facet. It is an aspect that I have contemplated from time-to-time and offers a lot to consider. Clone Wars has provided a lot of material on the subject but I think this episode sums the relationship clearly. The Jedi’s (Luminara Unduli) explanation on why their parents had to be sacrificed is blunt with a dash of hubris. A point that Luke Skywalker would later describe as one of the causes for their demise in “The Last Jedi”. It’s not surprising the ordeal would have left a bad taste for the Jedi.
I have been really enjoying the “Ashoka’s Journey” story arc. Trace and Rafa Martez are great characters. I love the banter between the sisters and Rafa’s bickering with Ashoka. However, I have the underlying feeling of impending tragedy for the sisters. Mandalorians showing up gives a hint that things aren’t going to end well for someone.
“Ahsoka’s Journey” is a multi-layered story and each episode has added another exciting and intriguing level. I cannot wait to see what this week’s “Together Again” episode has to offer.
There are a number of ways to view this episode, some negative – filler would be one, although I don’t subscribe to that point of view – but I’d prefer to see this episode as an opportunity to learn more about out three primary characters of Rafa, Trace and Ahsoka. Indeed, while our leads escape their confines, albeit only temporarily, Dangerous Debt gives us plenty to consider.
First off, it leads us to some Clone Wars history and the final of season one and Hostage Crisis. We learn that the liberation of Ziro and the chase that ensued led to the deaths of Rafa and Trace’s parents, and a cursory meeting with a Jedi that highlights not only the Jedi detachment from the general populace of the galaxy at this time, but also how many citizens of the galaxy view them. It’s a great scene – not only does it explain Rafa’s motivations to a large degree, scrabbling to survive in a galaxy that has left them to fend for themselves, but it also allows Ahsoka to see the world from outside the ‘dogmatic narrow view of the Jedi’. It’s a key scene in the episode, all while Ahsoka is carefully trying to hide the use of her powers as she attempts to figure a way out for them.
There’s plenty of great action in this episode, as they are interrogated, escape, chased and defend themselves from the Pykes, but those actions also raise some questions regarding Ahsoka’s use of her powers. While almost all of her uses of the Force are defensive, blocking their pursuers or taking them out using her fighting skills, there is one moment where she uses the Force to shift two Pykes directly into Rafa and Trace’s firing line, allowing them to shoot and presumably kill them. It’s unclear whether the blasts kill them – they are using the Pykes own weapons, so logically they will be set to kill, not stun so to do what Ahsoka does could easily be seen as a dark side use of her powers. It’s certainly open to interpretation – the Pykes could easily be viewed as ‘evildoers’ and they certainly don’t hold back, something that could be said of some ‘good’ races as well, but in the Star Wars galaxy it’s all to do with certain points of view. We know that Han, Chewie, Zorii and Poe were smugglers and spice runners; does that make them evil?
Once again the music was superb as were the designs, especially the Pyke base which was marvellously presented, and it was a treat to once again see Bo-Katan, voiced by Katee Sackhoff who appear briefly to keep tabs on Ahsoka’s movements but I keep coming back to one thought. While Trace is a dreamer and Rafa a misguided realist, if Trace hadn’t naively and impulsively dumped their cargo in hyperspace they wouldn’t be in this position. Whether the morals of doing the job at all were right or wrong (it was explained that spice can be refined for medicinal uses other than recreational ones, so maybe the Pykes can make as much if not more money out of it that way and potentially people can be helped), it’s Trace who has put them in this spot. How much she learns about the harsh realities of life out in the wider galaxy will be fascinating to see.
Thanks to Ben Turfrey, Ben Földi and Paul DePaola for their reviews.