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Recap / Star Wars: The Clone Wars S1E19 "Storm Over Ryloth"

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It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.

The Separatists have occupied the planet of Ryloth and the Republic prepares to counterattack. Anakin and Ahsoka are leading the initial assault on the Separatist blockade with three Jedi cruisers, and Ahsoka has been given her first command: a fighter squadron. However, the captain of the Separatist blockade, Mar Tuuk, is quite clever, as he figures out how to defeat the initial assault. Ahsoka, overconfident, is lured into Tuuk's trap and loses the majority of her squadron due to initially refusing to retreat when ordered. The Republic ships are forced to retreat, with one of the Jedi cruisers, the Redeemer, lost in the process.

Ahsoka feels quite guilty over what happened. Anakin, however, has another plan to break the blockade: One of his two surviving cruisers, the Defender, is damaged. He orders for it to be evacuated, with the intent to ram Tuuk's flagship with the empty ship. Meanwhile, Ahsoka will command the rest of their forces in dispatching the remaining Separatist ships. Ahsoka's not sure she's up for the job, but Anakin is confident she's learned from her earlier mistake.


  • Call-Back: In "Shadow of Malevolence", Ahsoka was disappointed she didn't get to fly a Y-Wing. In this episode, she finally does fly a Y-Wing and leads a bomber squadron during the successful attack on the Separatist blockade around Ryloth.
  • Call-Forward: The Resolute is hit in the bridge by a droid fighter, which is similar to how the Executor will be hit by a Rebel A-Wing in Return of the Jedi. Admiral Yularen even reacts in the same way as Admiral Piett. Unlike the Executor, both the Resolute and Admiral Yularen survive the impact. Coincidentally, both ships happened to be under the command of Anakin/Vader.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Ahsoka gets her first command, and her actions cause the deaths of all but two of the clone pilots she's leading. When Anakin is talking to her about it, he tells her that such is the reality of command and that he's been in her position before. He then leaves to tell Mace and Obi-Wan about their failure and takes responsibility for the loss of Blue Squadron and the Redeemer, since as commanding officer, he is ultimately responsible for his subordinate's actions.
  • Competence Porn: In a setting replete with Hollywood Tactics, it's refreshing to see the heroes work together to formulate a logical battle plan and execute it flawlessly.
  • Converse with the Unconscious: Admiral Yularen is knocked out during the initial attack on the blockade. While Yularen is unconscious in the medical bay, Ahsoka apologizes to him for her recklessness that caused his injury. He turns out to have been awake and heard her.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Anakin's entire strategy for the second attempt at the blockade, which involves ramming the command ship with the damaged Defender and putting Ahsoka in charge of the rest with the expectation that she'll be able to come up with a sound plan to win.
  • Disappointed in You: Anakin starts his sad lecture of Ahsoka after her refusal to listen to orders right away resulted in heavy losses by telling her he's disappointed in her. As it's clear she's disappointed in herself for the outcome of her actions, he's not too harsh, but his approach means that she can't snap out of her Heroic BSoD by arguing at him for being angry since he's not.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: When Axe asks Ahsoka why they're retreating, she replies that they're "not retreating. [They're] just following orders." Those orders are to retreat from the battle.
  • Doing Research: Mar Tuuk asks for all the files they have on Anakin Skywalker in order to research his opponent once he realizes who he is facing. This allows him to guess (correctly) that Anakin will be resuming the attack, and probably sooner instead of later.
  • Don't Ask: A bemused Obi-Wan manages to subtly keep Mace from asking about what Anakin has done to his fleet by saying he won't even ask where the rest of the fleet is or why Anakin is in an escape pod when the invasion fleet Anakin was to clear the way for drops out of hyperspace into the aftermath of the episode's final battle. Obi-Wan evidently figured out what happened as soon as he laid eyes on the situation, given he immediately locates Anakin in the debris field without being told what Anakin has done and then convinces Mace not to question it.
  • Exact Words: When Anakin tells Mar Tuuk that he's surrendering his ship and its crew, he means what he says. However, at that point, the crew of the Defender is just Anakin himself. Also, Anakin does give Mar Tuuk the ship. He just happens to give it at ramming speed.
  • Fighter-Launching Sequence: The audience is introduced to Blue Squadron as they do their final checks and launch their fighters from the hangar for the initial attack led by Ahsoka.
  • Heroic BSoD: Ahsoka gets one after losing most of her clone pilots because she disobeyed orders to retreat out of overconfidence.
  • Hyperspeed Ambush: Tuuk has four Munificent-class frigates join the battle just as the Republic fleet closes to engage his flagship.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Anakin, arriving at Ryloth aboard the empty Defender, tells Mar Tuuk that he has been ordered to surrender his ship and crew in exchange for the free passage of relief supplies as a ruse for the ship to get close enough before Tuuk catches on to the actual situation.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: During the first attempt to break the blockade, Ahsoka, while commanding a fighter squadron, refuses to retreat when she's told, leading to the deaths of almost all of the clone pilots in her squadron.
  • Mauve Shirt: Axe, who is the leader of the squadron Ahsoka is put in command of, gets a little more characterisation than the other clone pilots. He dies as a result of being shot down moments before reaching the Resolute's hanger.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: If you make a habit of opposing the rules and disobeying orders, as Anakin does, don't be surprised if your apprentice takes that lesson to heart and has it backfire on them. Anakin clearly recognizes that he's partly to blame for Ahsoka's mistake.
  • Mythology Gag: The strategy that Ahsoka comes up with for the second attempt at breaking the blockade involves angling the Resolute so its bottom is facing at the Separatist ships to protect the bridge and hangars — in other words, this is the Marg Sabl maneuver from Legends, famously used by Grand Admiral Thrawn.note 
  • Once More, with Volume!: After being informed that scans reveal Anakin is the only lifeform aboard the Defender Tuuk gives a disbelieving "What?" that causes the droid to start repeating its report verbatim before Tuuk cuts it off as he realizes it's a trap.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Downplayed since Mar Tuuk survives, but Anakin drops this line moments before boosting the Defender to ramming speed.
    Anakin: In that case, I'll be going. Oh - you can still have my ship.
  • Ramming Always Works: Anakin's crazy plan to destroy Tuuk's flagship by ramming it with a damaged Venator Cruiser goes off perfectly.
  • Recap by Audit: Mid-way through, Anakin has to recount the losses from the failed first attempt to break the Separatist blockade over Ryloth to Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi, which hammers home just how much of his fleet he's lost.
  • Red Shirt Army: All but two members (Swoop and Kickback) of Blue Squadron are killed when Ahsoka doesn't listen to the first order to retreat.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: After being informed that scans reveal Anakin is the only life-form aboard the Defender, Tuuk gives a disbelieving "what" that causes the battle droid to start repeating its report verbatim before Tuuk cuts it off as he realizes it's a trap.
  • Shout-Out: The two pilots who survive the initial dogfight are named Swoop and Kickback, sharing their name with two Transformers with winged alternate forms.
  • Snarking Thanks: Ahsoka shoots Anakin an annoyed look and says "Thanks. That takes the pressure off" after he comes over and tells her not to be nervous about her first command, before stating the men under her are depending on her with their lives.
  • Space Is an Ocean: Averted — Ahsoka's strategy relies on remembering the 3D element, by angling the Resolute's hull to deflect the worst of the fire (turning the ship to a 90 degree angle to do so) before launching the Y-wing bombers to strike at the enemy fleet.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Ahsoka somewhat accidentally disappears on Anakin, thinking he was done talking to her about her failure with Blue Squadron when he turns to talk with Rex about an incoming transmission. When Anakin turns back around to finish speaking with Ahsoka, she's wandered off to reflect on those of her actions that got people injured and/or killed.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Played straight with Tuuk's Hyperspeed Ambush in the opening battle, but otherwise averted: Anakin and Ahsoka clearly lay out their plan for breaking through the blockade, and it works out perfectly.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Mar Tuuk is last seen fleeing the bridge of his command ship for an escape pod because the writers liked him enough that they wanted to leave an out for him to turn up in future episodes. This never occurred as he never appeared again in the series.
  • Worthy Opponent: Mar Tuuk openly respects Anakin's persistence and relishes the chance to defeat him in battle.