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Recap / Star Wars: The Clone Wars S3E16 "Altar of Mortis"

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He who surrenders hope, surrenders life.

Before the Jedi can leave Mortis, the Son takes Ahsoka captive in an attempt to entice Anakin into joining him to use their combined strength to overpower his Father and Sister. To this end, the Son casts Ahsoka under the spell of the Dark Side. Meanwhile, the Father attempts to stave off a disastrous showdown between his children and maintain the Force's increasingly precarious balance on the planet. Fearing that the Son may be unstoppable, the Daughter does the forbidden by taking Obi-Wan Kenobi to the Altar of Mortis, wherein is kept the Dagger of Mortis, a weapon capable of killing a Force-wielder. The Son steals the weapon and attempts to use it against his Father to steal his power and end his rule, but the Daughter sacrifices herself by throwing herself in front of the blade.

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Tropes:

  • Action Girl: The Daughter reluctantly steps into this role, fighting her brother in order to stop his scheme to turn Anakin and escape Mortis.
  • Always Save the Girl: In a non-romantic sense. When the Son kidnaps Ahsoka, Anakin goes to confront him, shrugging off Obi-Wan's warnings about how this conflict could have devastating effects on the universe at large.
  • Arc Villain: The Son steps into the antagonist role in this episode and the next.
  • Attack Reflector: At one point during their fight the Daughter throws the Son's Force-lighting right back at him.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: The entire plot is about how the balance between the Light and Dark Sides of the Force crumbles.
  • Berserk Button: Being called "Snips" by Anakin, for Evil Ahsoka.
  • Big Ego, Hidden Depths: After being corrupted by Son, Ahsoka, who's usually cheeky, cheerful, and prone to overconfidence, reveals that what she is scared/angered by the most is that Anakin doesn't believe in her.
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  • Big "NO!": Anakin, when Ahsoka is temporarily killed by the Son.
  • Big "WHY?!": The Son screams this after killing the Daughter by accident.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Ahsoka is saved thanks to the Daughter's Heroic Sacrifice, but the Balance of the Force is broken due to her death.
  • Bloodless Carnage: No blood is seen after the Daughter is fatally stabbed. Possibly justified, given that the Dagger of Mortis is a mystical weapon, and it's not clear whether an Anthropomorphic Personification like the Daughter would even have blood.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Ahsoka is bitten by a disguised Son, and corrupted by the Dark Side.
  • Cain and Abel: The Son vs the Daughter.
  • Call-Forward:
    • When the Son backstabs the Father with Force lightning, he screams "I hate you!". Anakin will say precisely the same thing to Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith.
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    • The Son claims to Ahsoka that "The chains are easy, it's what's in here [points to head] that's hard," which is something Maul will say about his madness next season. Bonus points for both being voiced by the same person.
    • During the duel between Anakin and Ahsoka, Anakin disarms Ahsoka the same way that he will as Darth Vader do to Luke early on during their duel in The Empire Strikes Back.
    • The Son remarks that what he has done is right or wrong, depending on one's point of view.
  • The Corrupter: The Son of Mortis to Ahsoka.
  • Disney Death: After the Son temporarily kills Ahsoka, she is healed by the dying Daughter and Anakin.
  • The Dutiful Son: Unlike her rebellious brother, the Daughter remains loyal
  • Dramatic Irony: Anakin vows to never become a Sith.
  • Emotion Eater: The Son feeds off the conflict between Anakin and the corrupted Ahsoka.
  • Evil Feels Good: When the Son corrupts Ahsoka, she claims that she feels more like herself than she ever has.
  • Evil Makeover: After the Son corrupts Ahsoka, her eyes turn Sith-yellow and gain creepy shadows around them, her skin gains a grayish undertone, and the blood vessels all over her body become highly visible.
  • Field Power Effect: This episode mostly takes place on the side of Mortis that is strongest with the Dark Side and empowers the Son. Remarkably, he and the Daughter still appear evenly matched in their fight.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: How the Son temporarily kills Ahsoka.
  • Forgiveness: Not only does the Daughter not blame her brother for mortally injuring her in his attempt to kill their father, she asks the Father to not hate him for what he did.
  • Forgot About Her Powers:
    • The Daughter could've just Force-pushed the Father away from the Son, or vice versa, instead of jumping between them. It might be justified, as she seems to have been exhausted by her previous battle with the Son since they are fighting on his terms.
    • Anakin should have just use the Force in order to pull the Dagger of Mortis out of Ahsoka's hand so that he can prevent her from giving it to the Son of Mortis.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The Daughter, twice: First by taking a dagger to the back to save the Father and again by sacrificing what little power she has left to revive Ahsoka. The first sacrifice could also be counted as a Senseless Sacrifice as it ends up breaking the balance of the Force.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Subverted; Anakin tries to snap out Ahsoka from under the Son's control, but to no avail.
  • Impact Silhouette: When the Father interrupts the Force-duel between the Son and Daughter with a telekinetic blast, they're thrown out a feature window, leaving two holes in their likenesses in it.
  • In the Back:
    • The Son's first attack against the Father.
    • The Daughter is stabbed in the back by her brother when she throws herself between the Son and the Father.
  • MacGuffin: The Dagger of Mortis is the only thing that can kill the Force-wielders.
  • Male Might, Female Finesse: The Son's attacks are direct, blunt expressions of power, while the Daughter uses graceful, fluid motions to oppose her brother.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • The Father, after the Daughter is mortally wounded by the Son. The Son turns against him upon witnessing his own true potential in Anakin, who was brought to Mortis by the Father.
    • The Son is also horrified when he stabs the Daughter, screaming in despair before he transforms and flees.
  • Neck Lift: The Son gives one to Ahsoka when he kidnaps her.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Obi-Wan and the Daughter retrieving the Dagger of Mortis provides the Son with the means to try and kill his father, which leads to the Daughter's death.
  • Phosphor-Essence: The Daughter's glowing immediately begins fading when she is stabbed with the dagger. While Anakin channels her remaining life force into Ahsoka, he is also glowing.
  • Pride: According to the Father, the Son has lost his self-control because of his vanity.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: When the Son corrupts her, Ahsoka calls out Anakin on not trusting and believing in her.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Aside from the obvious light/dark symbolism, the Daughter explicitly contrasts her nature and that of the Son: her nature is to be selfless, while his is to be selfish.
  • Shock and Awe: The Son can project red Force lightning.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Son's tower is an homage to the Tower of Orthanc from Peter Jackson's film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings, and the cave of the Altar is very similar to the Mines of Moria.
    • The scene in which Obi-Wan finds the Dagger of Mortis is a reference to a scene of Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung, when Siegfried passes through a ring of fire to find Brünhilde.
    • The scene when Father regains his consciousness mimicks the last scene of Avatar.
  • Skyward Scream: The Son's wail of "WHY?!?" after he unwittingly stabs his sister echoes across the sky.
  • Smug Snake: The corrupted Ahsoka is very confident that she can kill Anakin, and even arrogantly describes Obi-Wan's arrival as "finally, a challenge". Neither senior Jedi is in any serious danger from her, and their main concern is trying not to hurt Ahsoka before they can free her from the Son's control.
  • Speak of the Devil: When Obi-Wan wonders aloud about how to find the Father, he turns around and sees the Father's monastery suddenly very close by.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The Son gets aboard the shuttle in mid-flight without any of the Jedi noticing.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!:
    • In Anakin's dream, after he expresses his refusal to become a Sith, the Son suddenly explodes with rage (being surrounded by flames as well) that together, they would destroy the Sith.
    • The Son, during the below-quoted exchange in Tempting Fate, when he attacks the Father while yelling he's "TIRED OF WAITING!"
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Ahsoka gets these when the Son bites her and turns her to the Dark Side...
  • Tainted Veins: ...as well as visible veins on her face.
  • Taking the Bullet: The Daughter throws herself between the Son and the Father in order to protect the latter from being stabbed by the former.
  • Tempting Fate: This exchange:
    The Son: You look frail, Father.
    The Father: I am not dead yet.
    The Son: Well ... perhaps, I am TIRED OF WAITING! [attacks Father In the Back with Force lightning]
  • Throat Light: While Anakin channels the Daughter's remaining life force into Ahsoka, his eyes and mouth glow.
  • Voice of the Legion: When the corrupted Ahsoka sees the Dagger of Mortis, she flies into a rage, with the Son's voice echoing her words.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: While corrupted by the Son, Ahsoka reveals how much it hurts her that Anakin doesn't trust and believe in her.
  • Winged Humanoid: The Father spouts a pair of dark grey, bird-like wings to travel from his monastery to the Son's tower.
  • Wizard Duel: The Son and Daughter fight eachother using telekinetic blasts, shapeshifting and Force-lighting.
  • The X of Y: "Altar of Mortis".
  • Yin-Yang Clash: The battle between the Daughter and the Son.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Once Ahsoka hands the dagger to the Son, he tells her she's served her purpose and knocks her dead.


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