'The Clone Wars' Explained: No Need of Jedi in 'Deal No Deal'

Ahsoka Tano comes of age in the gutters of the galaxy.

Clone Wars Deal No Deal Spice Slaves Screenshot
Lucasfilm

Ahsoka Tano can’t help herself. She can only help others. It’s in the exiled Jedi’s nature. Recently having removed herself from their hypocritical order, Tano plummeted to the very depths of Coruscant and discovered a grimy underworld of citizens desperately trying to make ends meet by any means necessary. While the Jedi frolic across the galaxy, commanding warships against their (fabricated) enemies, the average schmucks of the universe are starving to death. Tano cannot stand idly by; she must contribute where she can. And right now, that’s aiding the Martez sisters: Trace and Raffa.

Lending a hand is difficult, especially since Tano refuses to reveal her Jedi origins. She knows things that most don’t, specifically the dangers of operating with gangsters like the Pyke Crime Syndicate, but when the nosey Raffa pointedly inquires, Tano shuts down. The little people of the Star Wars universe have little enthusiasm for warrior monks. Rarely have Jedi ever crawled down to the depths to see how the regular folk are doing.

At the end of the last episode, Tano attempted to set off on her own, but at the start of this week’s adventure, entitled “Deal No Deal,” she finds herself trapped in the gravitational pull of the Martez sisters. Raffa is in debt up to her eyeballs. If she doesn’t pay it off, then the local hood will have her head as well as Trace’s innocent melon. She’s set up a deal to retrieve a batch of spice from Kessel and sell it to those pesky Pykes. Tano simply cannot walk away. She’s got to butt her nose in, or these ladies will wind up as fish food for Summa-Verminoth, the Lovecraftian Solo: A Star Wars Story beastie.

Ah, yeah, that’s right, we’re venturing into Han Solo land, folks. Raffa, Trace, and Tano, the spice smugglers, are trying out their version of the Kessel Run. While Raffa is eager to do business and ignore the slave operation used on Kessel to mine its spice, Tano is disgusted, and she can see the unease growing on Trace’s face. There is hope for her morality yet.

Spice is an incredible resource in Star Wars. If properly treated, spice can be transformed into a cure-all medicine, which is desperately sought across the star systems. Initially, this is how Raffa aligns their mission before revealing its ultimate destination with the Pyke Syndicate. These scumbags make their living converting spice into a horrendously addictive narcotic, equally sought after by Republic citizens looking to blind themselves of the horror outside their window.

About a decade after Tano, Raffa, and Trace snatch their cargo, Han Solo will make his name as a spice smuggler, completing the Kessel Run to the Si’Klaata Cluster in less than 12 parsecs. The appeal of the pirate life is that there is money to be had, and in a universe puppeteered by a wrinkly demon on a throne, you got to take your shot wherever you can. Scrappers like Solo and the Martez sisters never have a chance of gaining the attention of the Jedi or other would-be do-gooders. They’re dazzled by the fake war they’re fighting.

Tano had her eyes opened by the Jedi when they doubted her loyalty. She saw first-hand how they could be fooled by outside machinations when she was framed for the temple terrorist bombing in season five. If they could be so wrong regarding her situation, how can she trust their actions when leading the charge in The Clone Wars. Spoiler: duh, they cannot.

In aiding Raffa and Trace, Tano is starting to discover what should be the true mission of the Jedi: to help those in need, not in the glittering towers above Coruscant, but in the trenches of muck well below their eye-line. Jedis must get out from underneath their Temple roofs and away from the front lines. Maybe if more had fallen in Tano’s footsteps, the Clone Wars charade would have been revealed sooner? Yoda, get off your stool!

Before Trace and Raffa can deliver their spice to the Pykes, Tano stirs an argument between the two sisters. Tano won’t say how she knows, but she is adamant that bringing the drug to the Syndicate will only result in a terrible outcome. Fearing the loss of her ship, in a moment of terror, Trace dumps the spice while in hyperdrive.

Excellent. The Pykes will not be able to oppress anyone with their batch. Slight problem, though. The Pykes are still expecting their shipment, and they’ll obliterate Tano and the Martez sisters when they discover their treachery.

Quick thinking is required. Tano attempts a little Jedi mind-trick with the Pykes during their credits-for-spice exchange. It slows their contemplation a little bit, but they eventually cotton on to the situation. They’re being screwed. The episode ends on a cliffhanger as the Martez sisters, and Ahsoka Tano stares down the barrels of a half dozen Pyke fighters. Surely, Tano will have to whip out her lightsaber next week.

As far as Tano’s journey from disgraced Jedi to Rebel agent is concerned, “Deal No Deal” further expands her worldview beyond what she was raised believing. All her life, she wanted to be held equal to the heroes she adored. Anakin Skywalker was the big brother she dared to please, but the childhood dream has come to an end. Tano is her own woman, but she is still driven by the ideals of what the Jedi were supposed to represent. She wants to help, and thanks to the Martez sisters, she’s finally starting to understand just who needs said help.

While the Jedi battle robots, millions of slaves rot on the chain.

Trekkie, Not Trekker. Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects, co-host of the In The Mouth of Dorkness Podcast.