STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS “The Ghosts of Mortis” Review


STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS “The Ghosts of Mortis” Season 3 Episode 17 – So it was all a dream!?!? Ok, technically Mortis was probably some kind of manipulation of time through the use of the Force, but it may as well have been just a dream. The final episode of this three episode arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars ends up with Obi Wan, Ahsoka and Anakin coming away with no new significant knowledge learned from their ordeals on Mortis to take with them into their future endeavors. Thankfully, the episode managed to stay entertaining for us omniscient viewers despite the characters being frustratingly none the wiser at the end of it all.

Of the three episodes in this arc, I was most impressed with the background art and visual effects in this episode. Mortis felt different than it had in the two previous episodes. It was so detailed in it’s darkness that I often caught myself looking past the characters on screen and instead staring at the beauty behind them. Although Cartoon Network played the scene in every promotional bump for this week’s episode of The Clone Wars, the fiery montage of Anakin’s vision of his future still had a serious impact. Anakin on his knees crying out in agony before the dark helmet that represented his future as Darth Vader is without question the most effective visual storytelling in this episode.

The tie-ins to the future did not end with the visuals either. Much of the writing paralleled dialogue that evoked similar ideas later in the Star Wars time line. Anakin’s interaction with the vision of Qui-Gon was reminiscent of Luke and Yoda’s time training on Dagobah. When Luke goes into the cave on Dagobah, heavy with the dark side of the Force, Yoda explains that Luke would find only what he took with him. The same might be said for Anakin’s walk in the crater filled with the dark side of the Force on Mortis. Like the Father and Qui-Gon, Yoda suggests that the future is malleable but instead of seeing the dark potential in his future and making a determined effort to change it, as Luke would do, Anakin allows himself to become possessed by it. When the Son invites Anakin to join him in the darkness, it’s very similar to what Darth Vader would later say when inviting Luke to join him in completing his training, ending the conflict and bringing order to the galaxy. The Father later tells his Son that he always knew there was good in him, which is akin to the sentiment that Luke would eventually express to Anakin when he tells Darth Vader that he senses good in him.

All of the potential growth that could have come from Anakin having experienced that time in darkness is wiped away when the Father erases his memories with a single touch. Rather than Anakin overcoming his fears for his future, they’re lifted from him and he goes back to being exactly the same person he was before. Sure, this is fine for the Father’s purpose and it’s probably what needs to happen to avoid potential complications or implications of how those memories might impact what we all know will later happen to Anakin, but it’s still disappointing to see it all resolved with a simple mind trick.

With Anakin’s memories erased, the Father conspires with the Jedi to end his own life and take down the Son in the process. The planet collapses around them and suddenly Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka are back on their ship, floating in space, and are woken from a dream state by Rex on the communicator saying they had been lost on radar for a moment. Seeing where they are, they all kind of half halfheartedly laugh about it but rather than being astonished by the unusual events on Mortis, they’re content to dismiss it and move on.

I guess maybe that’s what bothers me the most about this particular arc. The encounters that Obi-Wan, Ahsoka and Anakin have here are unlike anything they have ever experienced before and are totally outside of their previous world of understanding. These events do not revolve around politics, scheming or the typical battles of The Clone Wars. Not only are there philosophical ideas at work here, there’s entire realms of science to be explored. For some reason, however, our protagonists don’t approach it with the same awe and urgency I would expect if a whole new realm of reality was discovered. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed this mind twisting arc especially considering how many huge ideas and suggestions were tackled in span of three, twenty-ish minute episodes.