There’s no question that the Season 5 finale of The Clone Wars left Anakin Skywalker compromised. After the angry, violent, and arguably hate-filled manner in which Anakin apprehended Barriss Offee in an effort to clear his padawan’s name, Anakin then suffered an emotional betrayal when Ahsoka refused to accept the fruits of his labor and walked away from the Jedi Order. Was that alone enough to nudge him into the downward spiral that led him to Dark Side in Revenge of the Sith, or will we see Anakin decline further in The Clone Wars, Season 7?
The feature films certainly planted the seeds for Anakin’s emotional state as a tempestuous, quick-tempered, jealous and resentful Jedi. While the films lacked the depth and breadth of writing, acting, and storytelling necessary to adequately convey the psychological manipulation and degradation Anakin suffered, however, The Clone Wars animated series was better able to delve into the deeper nuances of Anakin’s slide. And now, Filoni and company have an opportunity to bridge the gap between Season 5 and Episode III and show us Anakin decline.
The Clone Wars writers have been exemplary through the entire series when it comes to dealing with loss, from Kit Fisto watching his former padawan perish at the hands of General Grievous in Season 1, to the effects losing Steela Gerrera and Satine Kryze had on Saw Gerrera and Obi-Wan Kenobi, respectively. But perhaps no loss had greater effect than Anakin losing his padawan.
The shortened Season 6 of The Clone Wars never had the opportunity to reveal just how deeply Ahosoka’s leaving affected Anakin. Clearly he already had separation issues and anxiety from his relationship with his mother. Losing Ahsoka necessarily had to have factored in his Episode III neurosis over the possibility of losing Padme, and his ultimately false belief that she had outright betrayed him.
Now, with Season 7, hopefully The Clone Wars will illustrate the extent to which Ahsoka’s leaving, and return, will have sent Anakin down his path of destiny.