Warning. This article contains SPOILERS for Tales of the Jedi.The six episodes of Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi are filled with impactful, character-driven moments, but which episode is the best? The animated Star Wars series features an array of Jedi, focusing on two former members in Ahsoka Tano and Dooku. Additionally, several other notable Jedi like Mace Windu and Yaddle play prominent roles. The six-episode run is broken down into two three-episode arcs for Ahsoka and Dooku, respectively. With a run time of just under 100 minutes, writer and creator Dave Filoni shines again with a concise yet effective follow-up to season 7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Lucasfilm’s latest foray into animation includes the return of several familiar characters from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, with accompanying iconic voice-acting reprisals. Tales of the Jedi incorporates several new characters that contribute to a refreshing mix of new voice actors.
While Tales of the Jedi may not be the most consequential or high-stakes Star Wars content, it’s an impactful and sweeping production that still manages to feel intimate. Tales of the Jedi chronicles Ahsoka’s origins and further enriches the depth of an integral character in Star Wars animation. However, the series excels during Dooku’s arc, as he is a less-explored character in Star Wars lore compared to Ahsoka. Other than events that unfolded in Cavan Scott’s Dooku: Jedi Lost book, Dooku’s backstory is relatively untouched in Star Wars canon. Despite the short run time, the series succeeds in depicting a powerful perspective into Dooku’s turn to the dark side. Here’s every episode of Tales of the Jedi ranked from worst to best.
Episode 1 – Life and Death
The first episode of Tales of the Jedi delivers a strong start to the series. Taking place entirely on Ahsoka Tano’s homeworld of Shili, the planet is teeming with colorful life. The episode introduces Ashoka’s mother Pav-ti as well as the village elder Gantika. Ashoka accompanies Pav-ti on a hunt, as the pair encounter a threatening predator lurking in the grasslands. The predator abducts Ahsoka and carries her away from Pav-ti. In a powerful scene, Ahsoka fearlessly approaches the predator and makes a connection with the creature that was originally presumed to be a threat.
Ahsoka makes a triumphant return to her village perched atop the back of the predator after using the Force for the first time to connect with it. Her feat is heralded by Gantika, as the village elder proclaims Ahsoka is a Jedi. The episode vitally establishes the sincere tone of the series and echoes the recurring Star Wars sentiment revolving around confronting fear. Tales of the Jedi episode one, “Life and Death” provides an insightful peek into Ahsoka’s backstory and serves as a powerful thematic link for her final episode from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, “Victory and Death”. But, familiar tropes and lack of compelling conflict render the longest episode of the series the least poignant.
Episode 2 – Justice
Tales of the Jedi episode 2, “Justice” further establishes the prevalent themes of duality that persist throughout the series. The episode breaks away from Ahsoka’s arc and focuses on Dooku and his Padawan Qui-Gon Jinn. The two Jedi are in search of Senator Dagonet’s son on an unnamed distant planet. Despite the fact that Dooku and Ahsoka’s arcs are not inherently linked, there are deliberate connecting threads that aptly tie together their stories. Where Ahsoka’s homeworld is vibrant and lush, the planet that Dooku and Qui-Gon visit is desolate and decaying.
Tales of the Jedi also touches on the unique dynamic exhibited between Dooku and Qui-Gon in Claudia Gray’s book Master & Apprentice. While their relationship in the show doesn’t possess quite the same allure as it did on the page, Tales of the Jedi does an adequate job of addressing Dooku’s preliminary inclinations toward the dark side. Dooku views the Jedi as peacekeepers that have an obligation to serve the people of the Republic, not the Senate. The episode plants the seeds for Dooku’s decision to leave the Jedi Order, as his beliefs are challenged. After learning that Senator Dagonet is ignoring the suffering of his people in favor of living a life of luxury on Coruscant, Dooku snaps and elects to protect the people of the Republic over the corrupt senator. Corey Burton returns with a chilling and measured performance as Dooku, featuring a captivating look into Dooku’s dark side proclivities and an introduction to his disillusionment with the growing senatorial influence over the matters of the Jedi Order.
Episode 6 – Resolve
The final episode of Tales of the Jedi showcases Ahsoka shortly after Order 66. Ashley Eckstein returns to voice Ahsoka as she attends the funeral of Padme Amidala on Naboo, before encountering Bail Organa. Ahsoka reluctantly agrees to take a comlink from Organa, setting up her title as Fulcrum in Star Wars Rebels. Ahsoka resides on a remote agricultural planet and remains hidden after the funeral. The episode does an excellent job of highlighting Ahsoka’s innate need to help others, even when this may endanger her own safety. Ahsoka briefly battles with an Inquisitor, revealing herself as a Force user and recommitting to the fight against the Sith. While it was moving to see Ahsoka’s continual devotion to Padme and her enduring spirit, this episode covers events that already partially transpire in E. K. Johnston’s Ahsoka novel.
Episode 3 – Choices
Where Dooku’s previous episode is concerned with sowing the seeds for his eventual turn, Tales of the Jedi episode 3, “Choices” further explores the Count’s dark side before Dooku was a member of the Jedi Council. This short contains a similar storyline involving a corrupt senator but is bolstered by a richer portrayal of the relationship between two Jedi. Dooku is joined by Mace Windu to investigate the death of Jedi Master Katri on the planet Raxus. The two characters make a fitting foil, with Windu cast as the adherent rule follower, and Dooku as more of a loose cannon. This sort of dynamic is common in Star Wars animation and resembles the relationship that Obi-Wan and Anakin share in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Tales of the Jedi episode 2 unpacks more of Dooku’s separatist leanings, as he empathizes with a guard’s ideology that the Jedi are straying further from their role as peacekeepers and closer to solely protecting the rich and powerful. Another guard states that the Jedi are “Senate puppets“, a take that Dooku appears to agree with, revealing his Sith Lord ties. Despite his unconventional methods, Dooku is able to discern the truth surrounding Master Katri’s death, whereas Windu’s preference is to turn a blind eye to injustice and follow protocol. Windu blames Dooku for the death of the senator and reports his unorthodox methods, earning Mace a seat on the Jedi Council and cementing a further rift with Dooku.
Episode 5 – Practice Makes Perfect
Tales of the Jedi episode 5, “Practice Makes Perfect” is the shortest episode of the series. The terse run time is compensated by satisfying and emotionally resonant material. Ashley Eckstein returns once again as Ahsoka with Matt Lanter reprising his role as Anakin Skywalker. The reunion of this iconic duo only deepens the forthcoming tragedy of Order 66. Ahsoka passes a Padawan trial which Anakin deems to be fickle, instead electing to train Ahsoka with clone troopers. The episode follows Ahsoka throughout her years as a Jedi, as she continues to train and improve her defense against the clones.
At times, the episode is brutal to watch, as Anakin’s intense training methods begin to take their toll on Ahsoka. Anakin’s practices in training Ahsoka are often precarious, but they are devised with the sole intent of her protection. His approach may be significantly more extreme than that of the Jedi Council, but it is designed to achieve results. There’s a clear parallel on display here between Anakin and Dooku, highlighting a tendency to forgo the status quo in favor of their own preferred tactics. The episode’s adept ability to weave in these connective elements, meanwhile enriching a pivotal scene from the finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars solidifies it as one of the best episodes that Tales of the Jedi has to offer.
Episode 4 – The Sith Lord
The final episode in Dooku’s arc, Tales of the Jedi episode 4, “The Sith Lord” is the strongest in the series. While the appearance of Sidious coupled with the return of Ian McDiarmid is enthralling in its own right, much of the success of this episode rests on Yaddle’s slight shoulders. Yaddle reveals to Dooku that she resigned from her position on the Jedi Council, and sides with his views on the Council’s poor decisions. Tragically, this admission is too late, as Dooku has fully turned to the dark side following the death of his former Padawan, a passing that he rightfully blames on the Council. Liam Neeson returns to voice Qui-Gon Jinn, in an episode that’s set during Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Dooku learns of Qui-Gon’s death but elects not to attend his funeral, instead seeking out Darth Sidious.
Sidious observes Dooku engage in a duel with Yaddle, defeating her and confirming her fate after The Phantom Menace. The fight features an exhilerating flurry of lightsaber attacks from Yaddle, but the most impressive feat is her evident resilience and strength in the Force. Yaddle’s shining moment encompasses critical takeaways from Tales of the Jedi. Symbolically, the brilliant flash of light emitting onto Dooku and Sidious represents the fact that regardless of the growing influence of the dark side of the Force, the perpetual presence of the light side that is embodied by the Jedi will remain. Further, it signifies the dichotomy that is ever-present in Tales of the Jedi. Much of Star Wars animation has focused on the practical aspects of fighting, rather than the rationale behind the conflict. The repeated message is that how one chooses to fight is just as important as why. Ultimately, Dooku’s vision of a morally distant Jedi Order came to fruition, but he chose to combat it the wrong way, just like Anakin. His ego and lust for power lead him down a path of solitude and isolation. While Ahsoka shares a similar sentiment with the practices of the Jedi Order, she is able to move on, grow, and embrace the fight against the Sith the only way that they can be defeated, together.
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