“When I was just a little Padawan, I asked my Master, ‘What will I be? Will I be pretty? Will I be rich?’ Here’s what he said to me: ‘Que Sera Sera. Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see. Que Sera Sera.’”
Fans of Alfred Hitchcock and Doris Day would know that tune anywhere. I’m not gonna lie, I was kind of hoping Ahsoka would start singing that at some point in the new Clone Wars episode. I mean, after all, it was titled “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much.” What’s funny is how relevant “Que Sera Sera,” the song that’s so prominent a part of Hitchcock’s 1956 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, is to our little Togruta Padawan. Deep into her apprenticeship to Anakin Skywalker, she’s no longer the wide-eyed youth we first met on Christophsis five years ago. But she hasn’t completely come into her own, either. Is she a warrior? Is she a peacekeeper? In short, what will she be? And with the Dark Side obscuring everything, the future is really not hers, nor the Jedi’s, to see.
Based on Lucasfilm’s marketing of this arc, it seems that such answers are indeed on the horizon, and, even more so than last week’s “Sabotage,” “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much” seemed to set up those revelations. We began with a funeral. “Luminous beings are we,” Yoda said as he presided over the cremation of the Jedi who’d died in the Temple bombing. “But temporary vessels our bodies are.” Yeah, you can recite that over and over, but that never really gives much comfort. Palpatine was in attendance, and you can just imagine him scoffing internally when he heard that, obsessed with pursuing immortality as he is.
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After the funeral, we got a sense of just how hawkish Ahsoka’s become. Her “swift justice” attitude toward Letta, the confessed bomber, was even more hard-line than proto-fascists Anakin and Tarkin, who at least were arguing that she should benefit from due process. Tarkin, now an Admiral—by the way, whatever happened to Admiral Yularen?—suggested that the Supreme Chancellor wished to start separating the Jedi from military matters…even though they’ve been leading the charge as generals in the Grand Army of the Republic since the start of the war. Since clones were also killed in the Temple blast, the prosecution of Letta should fall to the Republic military and not the Jedi.
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I was glad to see Ahsoka bond with Barriss Offee once again. We haven’t really seen much of her since she turned into a zombie at the end of the Second Geonosian campaign way back in Season 2. Little Miss Tano could really benefit from being around someone her own age for once. What was interesting was that Barris was questioning one of the most fundamental tenets of the Jedi: the necessity of avoiding attachments. Is it right for a Jedi to move past emotion? On the one hand you avoid fear, anger, and hatred—emotions that lead to the Dark Side—but doesn’t compassion, supposedly the distinguishing characteristic of the Jedi, require some emotional commitment? Wouldn’t a Jedi be cold and callous rather than compassionate if he or she truly shunned all attachment? Wouldn’t that Jedi look and sound a lot like Count Dooku? Ahsoka stayed true to the Jedi line: yes, purging oneself of emotion, like how they rid themselves of fear when they thought they might die on Geonosis, does lead to greater clarity, she said. Of course, her actions throughout the rest of the episode completely contradict that sentiment.
NEXT: Please, if you’re a Jedi and someone in front of you is being Force Choked, don’t raise your hands like you’re the one Force Choking them.
The Separatists were launching a new offensive, this time in the Saleucami system. You know what that means: the Outer Rim Sieges! I’ve been saying for awhile that these battles that marked the last stage of the Clone Wars have been on the horizon, and now they’re really here. Order 66 isn't far behind. Obi-Wan headed to Saleucami, which was unfortunate given what was to come. Ahsoka, meanwhile, got a comm from Tarkin that the bomber, Letta, wanted to speak with her, and her alone. So she went to the military prison, a monolithic structure in the middle of a vast GAR staging ground.
The design of this building alone shows how much the Republic has changed. Whereas Classical arches, columns, and domes, even when forged out of gleaming transparisteel, used to be the defining Republic aesthetic, that’s all been replaced by hard angles and stark geometric patterns, all uniformly monochromatic. It’s like a cityscape made to look like the bridge of a Star Destroyer. Not to mention that the hallways of the prison look exactly like those in the Death Star’s detention block. There’s a line in James Luceno’s Darth Plagueis that’s a winking nod to all this polished Imperial chrome when Palpatine says that his taste in art “tends toward minimalism.” We’ve noticed!
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Once at the prison, Ahsoka had to surrender her comlink and lightsabers. She got her one-on-one with the accused, and Letta told her that she had been set up. Yes, she did feed her husband the nanodroids that turned him into a bomb, but it wasn’t her idea. Actually, it was a Jedi who cajoled her into doing this. Apparently, this Jedi was among those who believe the Order has lost its way, that they’ve become warmongers rather than peacekeepers. Still, it’s hard to imagine any Jedi who maintains a belief in the Order’s original mission of peacekeeping doing something as, you know, un-peaceful as bombing the Temple. Unfortunately, Ahsoka couldn’t get a name out of Letta because all of a sudden she levitated in the air, her hands clutching her throat in muted agony. Someone was Force Choking her, but the only Jedi around was Ahsoka, and the fact that she raised her hands toward Letta made it appear like she herself was Force choking her. This didn’t look good.
NEXT: What can parsing Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much(both versions!) tell us about ‘The Jedi Who Knew Too Much’?
And this is where we have the Alfred Hitchcock connection. In both versions of the film—Hitch originally directed The Man Who Knew Too Much in 1934 (just out through the Criterion Collection following a sorely-needed restoration) but remade it in 1956—a couple is vacationing in an exotic place. They become entangled with a foreign spy, who’s quickly killed. But before he dies, the spy tells the husband (who, in the ’56 version is played by Jimmy Stewart) that an assassination is about to take place. Of course, he dies before he can give anything more substantive, like the names of the perps. The spy’s enemies, fearing that the vacationing couple is now onto them, kidnaps their son to keep them silent. Obviously, in “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much” there wasn’t a kidnapping, but I do think whoever Force Choked Letta wanted to shut her up before she revealed anything more. Perhaps a bigger attack against the Jedi is still in the making. Also, just like the vacationing sap in The Man Who Knew Too Much, Ahsoka’s proximity to the deceased marks her as the mostly likely suspect in her death. Here’s an idea: if you encounter someone who’s been stabbed, don’t pull the knife out of the body, making it look like you were the assailant. And if someone’s being Force Choked in front of you, don’t put your hands up in the air, as if you are the one doing the choking. Anyway, check out the initial murder scene from the ’56 Man Who Knew Too Much to see just how similar this situation is to the one in which Ahsoka finds herself.
Tarkin quickly confronted Ahsoka with the evidence against her, particularly the holorecording of her with her hands up as Letta’s being choked. Not good. There were no other Jedi in the facility at the time. Really not good. And if there had been another Jedi there, why didn't she sense them? Really, really not good.
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Anakin, unfortunately, was'nt allowed in to visit her. I thought for a moment he was going to Force Choke the guard, to bust his way in. But he exercised some restraint. Nonetheless, Ahsoka suddenly saw a key card outside her cell. She used the Force to levitate it and swipe it so she could get out. She thought it was from Anakin. ‘Fraid not. She was only being set up further, which she quickly realized herself when she saw clone troopers lying about unconscious and her lightsabers mysteriously on the floor. The still-conscious clones, thinking she’d escaped and was psychotically homicidal, gave chase. And then she saw it…clones dead on the ground, obviously having been slashed apart by a lightsaber. Someone really was trying to make it seem like she was on a killing spree. Now, she couldn’t go back. But who would be setting her up like this and why?
NEXT: So just who is setting up Ahsoka and what is their motive? We think we have an answer!
Let’s think this through. Obviously, a Force User killed Letta. And it had to be a Force User who could either gain access to the prison as a matter of routine or who could remain totally undetected by all the clones stationed there. A Force User who also could enlist Tarkin as an ally. Oh, and remain invisible in the Force to Ahsoka. If Tarkin’s to be believed, there were no other Jedi there. So that leaves really only two suspects. It could be Darth Sidious, though why the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic would be at a military prison is a bit hard to explain. Unless he was using the Force to remain completely invisible even to his own troopers. Or maybe this is one of the “other uses” Sidious had in mind for Maul, and the tattooed Sith pretender was the one who Force Choked Letta, perhaps from the cell where he himself has been confined following that skirmish on Mandalore. That seems less likely, though, because Maul’s never been one to conceal his presence in the Force. The Jedi—and Sidious—could sense him from half a galaxy away. That's how big of an impact he made. But Sidious? Now he knows how to hide his Force powers. He interacts with the Jedi all the time and never have they suspected his true Sithliness. It’s gotta be him who killed Letta, especially since his confidant Tarkin would be so easy to loop in.
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But what possible motive could Sidious have for framing Ahsoka? Easy. The long game here is to isolate Anakin. Sidious plans to make him all the more ripe for seduction to the Dark Side by stripping away the people around him. First, he’ll get rid of his apprentice. Fabricate a situation that causes her to be in prison or, if she escapes, requires her to leave the Jedi Order. That’ll increase Anakin’s defensiveness, his feeling of injustice, which’ll be magnified even further when Yoda and Mace Windu refuse to make him a Jedi Master despite his seat on the Jedi Council. The subtext is kind of like, “Well, we can’t make you a Master because of that whole matter of your failed Padawan…” That’ll only increase his resentment toward the Jedi. Eventually then Sidious will rob him of Obi-Wan and Padme as well, so that all Anakin will have left is him…and the Dark Side.
But getting rid of Ahsoka is the first step toward making any of this happen. And that’s why I think Sidious has not only the means but the motive to be the real perpetrator here. To Letta, I’m sure he seemed like a Jedi. Most people couldn’t really tell the difference between a Jedi and a Sith. They both have powers that make stuff fly around and carry laser swords, what’s the diff? Anyway, that’s my theory unless all of a sudden The Clone Wars has decided to introduce a new character into the mix. But this seems rather late in the game to add an anti-Jedi Jedi like Sora Bulq.
NEXT: Yeah, about that whole “moving past your emotions” thing. Ahsoka needs to practice what she preaches.
So much for that whole thing about moving past your emotions. Ahsoka acted pretty irrational for the rest of the episode, somehow thinking that no one, absolutely no one, not even the Jedi Council, will believe that she’s innocent. So like Roger Thornhill in North by Northwest or Richard Hannay in The 39 Steps, she went on the run. The clones gave chase, including a couple K9 troopers with battle neks to sniff her out. If you ask me, though, vornskyrs would have been a better creature to use here since they can track Force-sensitive beings. Probably would have been a challenge to animate the six-legged beasts, though.
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Ahsoka headed to the industrial pipelines that feed water and fuel into the government district of Coruscant, presumably located right near the military staging grounds. These looked a lot like the massive pipelines I first saw illustrated by Ralph McQuarrie in Kevin J. Anderson’s The Illustrated Star Wars Universe. That mega-plumbing really gives a sense of the vast scale of the utilities needed to keep Coruscant running. I’m also pretty certain that those massive exposed pipes are located near The Works, an abandoned industrial area of Coruscant in which Darth Sidious maintained a secret hideout during the Clone Wars. Given his proximity, it’s all the more likely then that he was the one who killed Letta.
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Gotta love that Death Star-style turbolaser that fired on Ahsoka at one point. And there was even a Juggernaut! Finally, she sliced open one of those giant pipes and climbed inside to facilitate her getaway. She continued to elude the clones…but not Anakin. He finally cornered her in a dead end, as the pipe opened up onto a vertiginous cavern down into Coruscant’s underbelly. She screamed, “You didn’t even try to help me!” at Anakin, which seemed a bit unfair, though not as illogical as her “You know as well as I do that no one else will believe me.” Really? You can burn your bridges as a Jedi that quickly? This was a scene straight out of The Fugitive, and like Richard Kimble, Ahsoka took a leap of faith. She dove straight down into the abyss and hopped aboard a hover-ferry heading down into the lower levels…where Anakin himself obviously would dare not tread.
This is exciting, gang! We’re going to see the lower levels of Coruscant next week. Hopefully, there are some rakhgouls down there. And for all we know this could help introduce the environs of Star Wars 1313. A great set up though it was, “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much” was pretty great standing alone too, wasn’t it? Until next week, I leave you with this.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: Lucasfilm]
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So much for TV's same old, same old.
The nominations for the 54th Annual Primetime Emmys signaled a significant shift in the landscape of television's most honored series and performers, with perennial favorites like ER, The Practice, The X-Files and NYPD Blue (the latter ineligible due to a lack of new episodes) losing steam among Academy of Television Arts & Sciences voters in favor of up-and-coming shows like Six Feet Under, Alias, 24 and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
Nobody better signified the Emmy voters' changing tastes than Will & Grace star and this morning's nomination announcer Eric McCormack. After ER actress Laura Innes read off a list of names in the lead actor in a comedy category that did not include his own, he executed a perfectly timed, Jack Benny-esque slow look over his shoulder to assure he had heard correctly.
"It's just as well," the Emmy winner--and impending father-to-be--sighed. "You know how hard it is to get a sitter." The nonplussed star nevertheless beamed when his show and co-stars Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally each received nominations.
McCormack played his shut-out for laughs, but a dramatic shift in preferences marked this year's nominations. Still, despite having no new episodes of The Sopranos to submit, HBO again emerged as the network with the most nominations, an astounding 93 nods. Six Feet Under delivered the most of any series this year with 23, and the pay cable net also scored nods for its enduring Sex and the City (ten), newcomer Curb Your Enthusiasm, miniseries Band of Brothers and several of its pay cable movies.
The new crop of freshman faves include Alias (nine noms, including acting accolades for Jennifer Garner and Victor Garber), 24 (ten, including nods for best drama and lead actor Kiefer Sutherland) and comedian Bernie Mac, who got his first nomination in the lead actor in a comedy series for the initial season of his eponymous Fox sitcom. Michael Chiklis, star of the scathing new F/X crime drama The Shield, also earned his first kudo as lead actor in drama.
But in spite of near shut-outs in major categories for former Emmy shoo-ins like ER, The Practice, Ally McBeal and Law & Order, at least one principal network had plenty of reasons to be as proud as a peacock. NBC nabbed 89 nominations, bolstered by the still-powerhouse The West Wing (21 nods), Will & Grace (13) and a resurgently popular Friends (11). Indeed, this year marked the strongest showing yet by the latter show's cast members, who for the first time decided to submit themselves in the comedy lead categories rather than the supporting slots.
The gambit paid off: buoyed by this season's Rachel-Joey-Ross triangle, Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc scored nods, though David Schwimmer was edged out by Matthew Perry. Aniston's real-life hubby Brad Pitt even earned a nomination for his guest appearance on the series.
The network's graying show Frasier still snared a very respectable nine nominations, including acting nods for lead Kelsey Grammer and supporting actor David Hyde Pierce, along with guest actors Brian Cox, Adam Arkin and Anthony LaPaglia. The series is only two Emmy wins away from tying the all-time win mark set by The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
It seems that actors looking to make a bid for the winged trophies need only get their agents to wrangle them a role on The West Wing. Not only did previous Emmy winners Martin Sheen and Allison Janney (bumped up this year to the lead actress category) score approval, the Oval Office drama earned supporting nominations for regular cast members Dule Hill, John Spencer, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford, Janel Moloney, Stockard Channing and Mary-Louise Parker, as well as for guest actors Ron Silver, Tim Matheson and Mark Harmon.
Whitford and Jane Kaczmarek continue to be the favorite real-life husband-and-wife choice among Emmy voters, with Kaczmarek getting a lead comedy actress nod for her role on Fox's , while her TV hubby Bryan Cranston got his first-ever lead comedy actor nod for the series.
CBS must love Everybody Loves Raymond for turning out one of its strongest performances yet with 11 nominations, and each of the sitcom's lead actors earned a berth in their respective categories, as did guest actress Katherine Helmond. The eye net's sophomore series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, one of the most-watched shows on TV, garnered six nods, including one for outstanding drama series, yet none of the show's actors were singled out.
"Singled out" sounds like a term the Sex and the City gals would never want to hear, but while Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and even veteran character actress Frances Sternhagen (who plays Charlotte's blue-blood mother-in-law Bunny) woke up to Emmy nominations, Kristin Davis somehow slipped through the cracks again despite an emotionally weighty season.
Finally, it apparently helps you get an Emmy nomination if you already have an Academy Award, or at least a nomination, on your mantel. Among the performers previously tapped for film's Golden Guy who earned Emmy nods in various categories this year: Albert Finney, Angela Bassett, Sissy Spacek, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon, Jon Voight, Vanessa Redgrave, Laura Linney, Kenneth Branagh, Joan Allen, Michael Douglas, Anjelica Huston, Glenn Close and Cloris Leachman. Even Tom Hanks and directors Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott got acknowledged in the producer categories.
ATAS will hand out the Emmy trophies on Sunday, Sept. 22, at a black-tie ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Highlights of the 2001-2002 Primetime Emmy Award Nominations:
Outstanding Drama Series
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS)
Law & Order (NBC)
Six Feet Under (HBO)
The West Wing (NBC)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Michael Chiklis, The Shield
Michael C. Hall, Six Feet Under
Peter Krause, Six Feet Under
Kiefer Sutherland, 24
Martin Sheen, The West Wing
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Jennifer Garner, Alias
Amy Brenneman, Judging Amy
Rachel Griffiths, Six Feet Under
Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under
Allison Janney, The West Wing
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Victor Garber, Alias
Freddy Rodriguez, Six Feet Under
Dulé Hill, The West Wing
John Spencer, The West Wing
Bradley Whitford, The West Wing
Richard Schiff, The West Wing
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Tyne Daly, Judging Amy
Lauren Ambrose, Six Feet Under
Mary-Louise Parker, The West Wing
Stockard Channing, The West Wing
Janel Moloney, The West Wing
Outstanding Comedy Series
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS)
Sex and the City (HBO)
Will & Grace (NBC)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Bernie Mac, The Bernie Mac Show
Ray Romano, Everybody Loves Raymond
Kelsey Grammer, Frasier
Matt LeBlanc, Friends
Matthew Perry, Friends
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond
Jennifer Aniston, Friends
Jane Kaczmarek, Malcolm in the Middle
Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex and the City
Debra Messing, Will & Grace
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Peter Boyle, Everybody Loves Raymond
Brad Garrett, Everybody Loves Raymond
David Hyde Pierce, Frasier
Bryan Cranston, Malcolm in the Middle
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Doris Roberts, Everybody Loves Raymond
Wendie Malick, Just Shoot Me
Cynthia Nixon, Sex and the City
Kim Cattrall, Sex and the City
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace
MINISERIES AND MOVIES
Band of Brothers (HBO)
The Mists of Avalon (TNT)
Outstanding Made for Television Movie
Dinner With Friends (HBO)
The Gathering Storm (HBO)
James Dean (TNT)
The Laramie Project (HBO)
Path To War (HBO)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Albert Finney, The Gathering Storm
James Franco, James Dean
Sir Michael Gambon, Path To War
Kenneth Branagh, Shackleton
Beau Bridges, We Were the Mulvaneys
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Vanessa Redgrave, The Gathering Storm
Angela Bassett, The Rosa Parks Story
Blythe Danner, We Were the Mulvaneys
Laura Linney, Wild Iris
Gena Rowlands, Wild Iris
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Jim Broadbent, The Gathering Storm
Michael Moriarty, James Dean
Alec Baldwin, Path To War
Don Cheadle, Things Behind the Sun
Jon Voight, Uprising
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Sissy Spacek, Last Call
Stockard Channing, The Matthew Shepard Story
Joan Allen, The Mists of Avalon
Anjelica Huston, The Mists of Avalon
Dame Diana Rigg, Victoria and Albert
Outstanding Guest Actor in aDrama Series
John Larroquette, The Practice
Charles S. Dutton, The Practice
Ron Silver, The West Wing
Tim Matheson, The West Wing
Mark Harmon, The West Wing
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Mary McDonnell, ER
Martha Plimpton, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Patricia Clarkson, Six Feet Under
Lili Taylor, Six Feet Under
Illeana Douglas, Six Feet Under
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Adam Arkin, Frasier
Anthony LaPaglia, Frasier
Brian Cox, Frasier
Brad Pitt, Friends
Michael Douglas, Will & Grace
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Katherine Helmond, Everybody Loves Raymond
Susan Sarandon, Malcolm in the Middle
Cloris Leachman, Malcolm in the Middle
Frances Sternhagen, Sex and the City
Glenn Close, Will & Grace