Well, we’ve officially made it halfway through the final season of The Clone Wars. “Deal No Deal” is a massive step up from last week’s episode, which was enjoyable but felt like just the appetizer rather than a whole meal. In comparison to “The Bad Batch“, it was a lackluster start to the four-episode arc.
We come in on Ahsoka and Trace working on her starship. Trace is impressed by Ahsoka’s knowledge of starships and her handiness when it comes to fixing and building them. After asking where she gained this knowledge, Ahsoka fumbles and says she learned it at the “Skywalker Academy.” Which, this episode more than anything has sent a dagger into my heart at the connection to Anakin.
The moment when the Silver Angel is caught in military airspace and they’re hailed by Yularen is a comedy of errors but made heartfelt when we cut to the command ship and see that Anakin is inside. Like the “Seige of Lothal” episode of Star Wars: Rebels, this scene reiterates the point that the force connection between Anakin and Ahsoka is very powerful. The moment Anakin closes his eyes and feels Ahsoka’s presence in the force followed by a shot of Ahsoka looking up hopefully might be the closest thing we get to a reunion between the Jedi and his former padawan, but it’s like getting a glass of cold water after wandering the desert.
“Deal No Deal” kicks off when Rafa comes to find the two of them and informs them that she has a job. It was originally meant for a different crew and a different ship, but now Rafa needs Trace for the job. Trace is outraged by the fact that Rafa wouldn’t bring her along on the job, but after the trio actually starts the job, it’s clear that Rafa had good reason. While not much is clear about Rafa’s moral compass, it’s clear she will do anything for her sister.
After being abandoned by their parents, Rafa and Trace had nothing left to them except the hangar. Rafa turned to a life of crime, winning her shop in a gamble and using it as a front for her schemes. While both sisters are capable, it’s clear that their situation of living hand-to-mouth has forced Rafa to make desperate decisions and her sheltering of her sister as made Trace naive. Trace is street smart, but it’s immediately apparent she is not the star pilot she says she is and her actions force the group into a sticky situation.
When the ship — dubbed the Silver Angel by Trace — arrives at Kessel, Ahsoka’s instincts immediately kick in. Kessel isn’t known for anything good and she knows it. Rafa is continuously suspicious of Ahsoka, both of her disapproval of the job and of her mysteriously wide range of knowledge. They arrive at a luxurious estate where they are greeted by a Twi’lek named Kinash Lock, King Yaruba’s majordomo. He takes them to a banquet where he thanks them for taking the job, which turns out to be transporting spice.
Of course, while Kinash refers to this as medicine, anyone worth their salt knows that spice is commonly used as a drug and this starts ringing the warning bells to Ahsoka. It becomes clear to her that both of the sisters are underprepared for this job. Despite her confidence, this is the first time Rafa has taken a job like this. Her inexperience shows as they fly to the mines to pick up the spice and she assumes the miners are workers, while Ahsoka knows that they are slaves.
This episode really helps to illustrate just how closed off some people can be on planets. Even from a big city like Coruscant where Trace mistrusts Jedis and they don’t believe the Jedi to be the heroes they say they are, Rafa can’t imagine slaves being allowed at such a large mine. She trusts that the Republic would come in to shut it down, but Ahsoka is quick to realize that a slave operated mine on Kessel would be very low on the list of priorities for the Republic.
With the cargo on board, they make their way to Oba Diah to meet Marg Krim, the Pyke crime boss. That’s right. Those Pykes. Infamous galactic space crime lords. This shocks Ahsoka and she immediately sheds light on the Pykes to Trace. She tells Trace that the Pykes are very powerful and dangerous and they could take everything from her, including her ship.
Rafa is annoyed by Ahsoka’s ethics, saying the job is necessary if the sisters want to pay off their debt. “We can’t pay off debt with your morality.” It’s a sad reality, but Rafa is not wrong. With Pintu knocking at their doors, they need the cash. Ahsoka and Rafa argue over the spice, with Ahsoka saying they should deliver it to people who would actually use it as medicine and Rafa saying that won’t actually get them paid. Annoyed and terrified of losing her ship, Trace rashly just releases the cargo out into hyperspace.
Which, of course, is basically the worst thing she could have done. And Ahsoka and Rafa make sure to tell her as much.
Now they are indebted to the Pykes and they don’t have the cargo necessary. Ahsoka comes up with a weak plan to trick the Pykes, relying on her Jedi mind trick and they almost manage to get away with it. Meeting the gangsters, she manages to get the Pykes to pay Rafa without examining the cargo but the trick doesn’t work perfectly when one of the other gangsters demands that they inspect the spice.
Caught in a tractor beam, the Silver Angel is trapped on Oba Diah and the trio is in for more peril.
Like I said before, the episode does a good job of showing just how inexperienced the Martez sisters are. When faced out in the galaxy, you can easily see how this job could have roped both Rafa and Trace into a permanent life of crime. Rafa realizes this and so does Ahsoka. It’s a dangerous path but perhaps with Ahsoka’s presence she can keep them fro
m being trapped in a life of crime and servitude to the Pyke crime syndicate.
The Clone Wars streams Fridays on Disney+!