Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Clone Wars: Altar of Mortis

My friends and I are watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars.  Every Tuesday, we will be featuring an episode from the series which began in 2008 (as opposed to the one that started in 2003).  All are welcome to join us for all or parts of the fun.

Episode: "Altar of Mortis"
Series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Season 3, Episode 16
Original Air Date: February 4, 2011
via Wookieepedia
In last week's episode, Anakin managed to beg off becoming referee for life between the Son (embodiment of the dark side of the Force) and Daughter (embodiment of the light) on the planet Mortis.  Or did he?  As this week's story opens, Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka are heading away in their ship but the Son manages to snatch Ahsoka and hold her captive, forcing a confrontation between himself and the Jedi.

I'm going to break one of my own self-imposed rules with this post.  Up to this point, I've avoided giving away the ending of each episode.  Once we move on to the next installment in a story arc, I figure it's fair game to talk about the end of the last one.  But, on the off chance someone out there is watching along with us, I don't want to spoil anything for the current week.  This week, however, I must.  There's just too much to talk about this time.  And so...


Important note before we dig deeper: as I write this, I have not yet watched the third episode of this three-part arc.  I am sure there are other shoes yet to fall and I know I am making assumptions based on incomplete information.  We'll reassess accordingly next week.

Predictably, the Daughter sides with the Jedi against her brother.  In so doing, she takes a big risk and pays a steep price.  She gives the Dagger of Mortis - a weapon capable of killing a Force wielder - to Obi-Wan.  During the ultimate confrontation, the Son steals it from the Jedi and turns to use it against the Father.  The Daughter sacrifices herself by stepping between them at the last minute.  She dies and the balance of the Force is disrupted, for Mortis and for the rest of the galaxy.  The rise of the Sith, according to the Father, is now inevitable.

While I certainly appreciate the allegorical nature of the Mortis arc, I am not entirely comfortable with this conclusion.  As I have said before, I'm not a huge fan of the prequel trilogy but I do feel the turning of Anakin to the dark side is the part Lucas got right.  In the young Jedi's pride and arrogance, Darth Sidious saw vulnerabilities he could manipulate.  Anakin was seduced by power.  People often are.  To imply it all happened because of supernatural forces being thrown out of balance in a morality play on another astral plane is dissatisfying to me.

The Mortis story would work better, I think, without the explicit connection to the broader saga.  The metaphors would be more effective if the viewer were left to interpret them for him/herself.

And yes, I know we're not quite done with this story yet...


The Son is voiced by Sam Witwer.  Witwer was born October 20, 1977 in Glenview, Illinois.  He briefly attended Julliard before moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.
via Wikipedia
Television has been kind to Witwer.  He was Lt. Crashdown on Battlestar Galactica and Davis Bloome on Smallville.  He's gotten a lot of Star Wars voice work.  In addition to the Son, he has voiced Darth Maul for The Clone Wars and Emperor Palpatine for Rebels.  He also voiced an alien in The Force Awakens.  He is a role playing game enthusiast, especially the various Star Wars RPGs. 

If you would care to join us for all or part of our travels, sign on to the list below.  Please visit the other participants today.  Next week: "Ghosts of Mortis."



  1. I've always admired voice talents. Their job isn't easier and they give life to characters we see.

  2. So I would not say that Anakin's fall is due to what happened. The rise of the Dark Side is not related to Anakin in that way. Anakin still made his choices, choices which began before we got to any of this stuff. Things like marrying Padme and slaughter the Tusken Raider tribe. He had already put his feet to the Dark Side.

    1. After seeing the full trilogy, I feel better about the metaphorical aspect of the story.

  3. I still haven't re-watched last week or this weeks but I remember this from my first watching. I do have something to say about what you wrote in the spoiler part so i will comment next week.

    cheers, parsnip

  4. I'm enjoying these posts and your renditions of it!