Original Air Date: October 3, 2008 (Premiere episode)
Production No.: 108 (Season 1; Episode 8)
Written by Stephen Melching
Story Editor: Henry Gilroy
Directed by Dave Bullock
Key Characters: Yoda, King Katuunko, Count Dooku, Asajj Ventress
Key Locales: Rugosa
Tom Kane as Yoda / Narrator
Dee Bradley Baker as the clone troopers
Brian George as King Katuunko
Corey Burton as Count Dooku
Nika Futterman as Asajj Ventress
Matthew Wood as the battle droids
Episode Brief: Jedi Master Yoda and three clone troopers -- Jek, Thire, and Rys -- must face off against Count Dooku's dreaded assassin Ventress and her massive droid army to prove the Jedi are strong enough to protect a strategic planet and forge a treaty for the Republic.
Notable: Yoda in action; series premiere; series introduction of Ventress
"Great leaders inspire greatness in others."
A galaxy divided by war! Peaceful
worlds must choose sides or face
the threat of invasion. Republic and
Separatist armies vie for the allegiance
of neutral planets. Desperate to build
a Republic supply base on the system
of Toydaria, Jedi Master Yoda travels
to secret negotiations on a remote
On the dried coral moon of Rugosa, the Toydarian monarch King Katuunko and his retinue await the arrival of their Jedi envoy. They are met instead by Asajj Ventress, who brings a holographic message from Count Dooku. The Separatist leader hopes to sway Toydaria to his cause by illustrating that the Republic offers little protection -- as they cannot even protect themselves.
In space above, a Republic frigate carrying Yoda and his troopers are suddenly surrounded by Separatist warships. Cannonades pummel the frigate, forcing Yoda and his troops to escape their ship aboard life pods. The frigate launches all pods, and while the battleship blasts a few of the lifeboats, Yoda makes it to the colorful moon's surface alongside three clones: Lieutenant Thire, Rys and Jek.
The Republic frigate leaves the system, a move that Asajj Ventress spins to the king as a sign of weakness. Her attempts at persuasion are interrupted by a holographic call from Yoda: the Jedi Master has survived.
Asajj suggests a deal. If Yoda survives Ventress' attempts to capture him, then Katuunko is free to join the Republic. But, should the Separatists prevail, Toydaria's allegiance is theirs. Though Katuunko does not like this turn of events, Yoda agrees.
Yoda and his troops march through the coral underbrush as a Separatist landing ship carrying a full battalion of droids arrives. Yoda leads the clones away from the enemies and the rendezvous point he had agreed to reach by nightfall.
In the thick of the coral, the battle droid armored column has difficulty negotiating the tight confines. The infantry droids proceed on foot, and the clones outflank them. Sniping from the underbrush, Thire and his men blast through several droids, splitting up the squads.
Yoda hops around them, cutting the droids down one by one. A squad of super battle droids pushes the clones back. Thire is wounded in the cross-fire, and the clones are pinned. Meditating on the Force, Yoda lifts one of the advancing droids into the air, and spins him about, causing it to open fire on its fellow droids. This gives Yoda and the clones the time they need to retreat, narrowly avoiding pursuing droidekas.
Though the battle droids report their successes to Asajj, Yoda too resumes communication with Katuunko, indicating he's not having any trouble at all. Yoda and the clones make it to a dried gulch lined with caves to rest and recover.
Inside a cave, the clones take stock of their grim position: low on ammo, Thire wounded, with only two grenades and one rocket for the launcher against a battalion. Yoda's spirit never flags, however, and he speaks to each clone in turn. He advises Rys to take inspiration not from wanting to crush the enemy, but from himself and his comrades. He tells Jek that his most powerful weapons are not the hardware he lugs, but rather his mind. He tells Thire to have patience, rather than rush headlong into battle. The clones meditate on Yoda's counsel, but the sound of approaching droids interrupts them.
Yoda ventures into the canyon to confront the armored column. He sits, cross-legged, right in the path of the imposing tanks that aim all their weaponry straight at the little Jedi Master.
The battle droids report in to Ventress, who orders them to open fire on Yoda. Dispatching Yoda is no easy task. He darts past the enemy guns, cutting down hapless battle droids and slicing through tank armor. Katuunko grins at this reversal, but Asajj will not give up; she orders a reinforcement squad of droidekas to tumble into the gulch. Yoda is too occupied with the main column to spot the droidekas in time, but the clones see them from atop the ridge.
Thire fires the squad's last rocket into overhanging bluff, sending an avalanche of rock crashing down on the droideka reinforcements, saving Yoda from the attack. Yoda is proud of his troops, and they move on to rendezvous with Katuunko.
The Toydarian king, impressed by Yoda's performance, opts to join the Republic, and tells Count Dooku so. He is further disgusted by Asajj's breaking of her promise of a fair fight. The holographic Dooku orders Ventress to assassinate the king, but the would-be regicide is stopped mid-swing as Yoda uses the Force to telekinetically freeze Asajj's strike. Yoda greets Katuunko and dismisses Asajj with a simple display of Force. Rather than surrender, Ventress triggers an explosion that causes a rockslide, distracting Yoda while she escapes in a solar sailer.
Katuunko pledges his loyalty to the Republic, and Yoda vows not to fail their new allies.
Trivia & Details
- The targeting display screen for the Republic frigate appears to have a tried and true Corellian design; it's the same orange-against-red grid seen aboard the Millennium Falcon in A New Hope.
- The aurebesh legend at the bottom of Thire's macrobinocular viewplate reads "infrared mode". The top reads "regular mode."
- The little creature that perches on Yoda's finger on Rugosa is a baby neebray.
- The script and earlier iteration of this episode had this as the "Jedi Fortune Cookie" message at the start of the episode: "Great leadership comes in all sizes."
"Ah well. It's my programming." -- Battle droid gunner
"Okay clankers, suck lasers!" -- Trooper Jek
"He'll be the small, shriveled green one... with a lightsaber!" -- Asajj Ventress
"Smaller in number are we, but larger in mind." -- Yoda
"Die, Republic dogs!" -- super battle droid
"Left behind, no one will be." -- Yoda
"Deceive you eyes can. In the Force, very different each one of you are." -- Yoda, to the clones
"Get out of the way, all of you! I'm having a serious malfunction! Don't shoot! I'm on your side." -- A super battle droid spun about through the Force by Master Yoda
"That's a lot of smoke for a surrender." -- King Katuunko
"But I just got promoted!" -- Ill-fated battle droid
"In the end, cowards are those who follow the dark side." -- Yoda
Related Article Links
- Video Preview A short introduction to the episode.
- Video Commentary Supervising Director Dave Filoni discusses the design origins of the moon of Rugosa.
- Yoda Strikes Back in Ambush! A preview article, with quotes from the director and writer of the episode.
- Tom Kane: Mastering Yoda Voice actor Tom Kane discusses his triple duty as Yoda, Yularen and the series narrator.
- Red Clone Trooper at StarWarsShop You've seen what the red-branded clone troopers can do; now add this exclusive to your collection.
- Online Comic: Prelude See Rys and Jek receive the assignment to protect Yoda in this exclusive web comic.
Key Databank Entries