Original Air Date: March 13, 2009
Production No.: 119 (Season 1; Episode 19)
Written by Henry Gilroy
Supervising Writer: Scott Murphy
Directed by Rob Coleman
Key Characters: Wat Tambor; Mace Windu; Cham Syndulla
Key Locales: Ryloth
Terrence "TC" Carson as Mace Windu
Robin Atkin Downes as Cham Syndulla
Matthew Wood as Wat Tambor and battle droids
Dee Bradley Baker as the clone troopers
Matt Lanter as Anakin Skywalker
Phil LaMarr as Orn Free Taa
Corey Burton as Count Dooku and Gobi Glie
Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano
Tom Kane as Yoda, Narrator and Admiral Yularen
Ian Abercrombie as Chancellor Palpatine
James Arnold Taylor as Tae Boon
Gary Scheppke as TA-175
Episode Brief: With his forces stretched thin, Mace Windu must convince Twi'lek freedom fighter Cham Syndulla to help him save the capital city from the droids' destruction.
"Compromise is a virtue to be cultivated, not a weakness to be despised."
Republic victory is at hand! Clone
troopers under the command of the
Jedi have successfully invaded the
Separatist-occupied world of Ryloth.
Anakin Skywalker battles the enemy
in the skies, while Obi-Wan Kenobi
frees villages from the grip of vile
Separatist leader, Wat Tambor. Now,
Jedi General Mace Windu leads the
attack on the enemy lines in the final
offensive to liberate the capital city
On the treacherous, winding road that snakes along the lip of a plummeting canyon, a column of Republic AT-TE walkers make their plodding way to the capital city of Lessu. Across the other side of the canyon, Separatist AAT tanks lob cannon-fire at the exposed walkers. The tanks concentrate their fire on the lead walker, collapsing its leg assembly and grinding it to a halt. A hatch opens at the rear of the fallen walker, and out emerges Mace Windu and several of his clone troopers. Mace dashes to the front of the walker, and uses the Force to shatter the canopy viewscreen. He reaches into the cockpit and rescues the unconscious driver.
The entrenched battle droids commanding the tank assault from a bunker order the AATs to concentrate fire on the last walker, essentially boxing in the entire armored column. Clone Commander Ponds runs past the falling debris and incoming blasts to arrive at the head of the column, where he reports to Mace Windu that the entire force is pinned down. At Mace's command, Pond calls for Lightning Squadron to come to the front.
Cargo compartments within the AT-TE walkers open to release agile AT-RT walkers that weave and dart to the head of the line. As Ponds and his troops move the injured away from the front, Mace Windu uses the Force to push the wrecked lead walker off the cliff-side, opening up the mountain road again. Mace takes over the first AT-RT from a clone operator, and then leads Lightning Squadron's charge up the road. A total of five AT-RTs, including Ponds, leap past incoming fire and race towards the droid command bunker and the AATs. They overrun the bunker and destroy the AATs with well placed blaster fire and thermal detonators.
Mace and Ponds assess their losses: 32 soldiers, including the command crews of three walkers. This was a costly battle, and Mace is going to need reinforcements if he is to take Lessu from the Separatists.
A recon droid spies on Mace and Ponds, transmitting its signal back to the Separatist command center on Lessu. Wat Tambor and tactical droid TA-175 review the intelligence. Mace's push is breaking through the Separatist lines at an alarming rate; they will reach the main gates by morning. TA-175 advises retreat, but Tambor won't have it. He will bunker within the city, drawing in his forces.
Aboard one of the lead AT-TEs, Mace Windu enters a holographic conference with other Jedi leaders and Republic officials. Present are Chancellor Palpatine, Senator Orn Free Taa, Master Yoda, Admiral Yularen, and Anakin Skywalker. Skywalker reports that the Republic has secured orbital space above Ryloth, and the Separatist cruisers are retreating. Mace reports that Obi-Wan Kenobi has taken the Jixuan desert, so the southern hemisphere is effectively in Republic control.
That leaves the capital city of Lessu, where Wat Tambor has holed up. It is a fortified stronghold; a siege would take too long and be too costly. Mace favors a surgical strike, but he will require the aid of Cham Syndulla, the leader of the local freedom fighters.
The politicians are hesitant. Palpatine explains that Syndulla was a radical before the war, and Orn Free Taa warns that Syndulla seeks to gain power. They were political rivals before the war. Windu dismisses the politics; his mission is to free the people of Ryloth. Palpatine looks for another solution, a way of perhaps sending reinforcements to Ryloth so that Windu would not need to ally with the resistance, but Admiral Yularen reports that no reinforcements are available.
Later, in the cratered flatlands of Cazne, Mace and Lightning Squad disembark at the site of a major battle. There are a number of simple Twi'lek graves in the area. Mace spots a fresh animal track, and recognizes it of the native blurgg that the Twi'lek freedom fighters ride into battle. Mace hears the sound of a blurgg, and orders the squad to move ahead quietly.
Inside the Lessu command center, the holographic form of Count Dooku reprimands Emir Tambor. TA-175 has informed Dooku of Tambor's strategic shortcomings. Tambor argues that the droid exaggerates and that not all is lost, but Dooku has no faith in the emir's skills against General Windu. He orders Tambor to not be too greedy and evacuate with whatever valuables he can. He will instead order the sundering of Ryloth, to have the Twi'lek homeworld serve as an example just what the horrible cost of a "Republic victory" can truly be.
Deeper in the Cazne battlefield, amid the shattered hulks of Separatist transports, a group of battle droids are on the lookout for a missing patrol. Mace and his clones hide in the shadows, watching the droids pass. As the droids leave view, they are suddenly attacked. Mace, Razor and Stak follow the sounds of the ambush, cresting a rise to find only the blasted remains of the battle droids.
Just then, Twi'lek resistance fighters emerge from the shadows and hold Mace and the clones at gunpoint. Cham Syndulla is in the lead. Mace states he has come for Syndulla's help, but Cham isn't ready to offer it just yet.
Separatist forces prepare for attack nearby villages -- a courtyard full of hyena bombers stand at the ready. TA-175 has also readied Wat Tambor's means of evacuation, but the stubborn Skakoan will not abandon his post just yet.
Meanwhile, Cham Syndulla as his fighters lead Mace Windu, Stak and Razor to their hideout -- an underground lair hidden beneath the wreckage of a Separatist landing craft. Syndulla recounts the details of the Separatist invasion. The Republic was unable to spare any aid for Ryloth, and Syndulla's people surrendered to the Separatists, but where nonetheless rounded up for extermination by droid forces.
As this somber conversation takes place, Trooper Stak examines an animal paddock containing a feisty blurrg. Syndulla's second-in-command, Tae Boon, asserts that the riding animal is faster than an AT-RT, though Stak has his doubts.
Whatever misgivings Syndulla may have about the Republic, they are secondary to him carrying out Twi'lek tradition -- he offers what little food and hospitality he can to his guests.
The Republic armored column continues its trek to Lessu. It passes a quaint Twi'lek village carved into the hillside. Republic scouts report to Commander Ponds that there are no enemy droids in the village -- it is mostly inhabited by Twi'lek women and children. Ponds orders his men to see if they can spare rations to the hungry village. Just then, a threat sensor sounds. A squadron of hyena bombers flatten the village with a sudden bomb strike. Ponds stares wordlessly at the flaming ruins of the village before contacting General Windu.
Mace and Cham continue their discussion in the rebel hideout. Mace presses Cham as to why he won't join forces with the Republic, and Cham voices his distrust of Senator Orn Free Taa. Mace insists the Republic is here to help and will remain to help Ryloth rebuild. Cham fears he may be trading one armed occupation for another.
Their discussion is interrupted by Ponds' report from the hillside villages. News of the droid firebombing campaign hits the Twi'lek rebels hard. Cham knows time is running out. He agrees to speak with Senator Taa.
Back at Lessu, Wat Tambor monitors his droids and Twi'lek slaves as they load his shuttle full of stolen riches from Ryloth. A battle droid reports to him that they are still awaiting two more transports loaded with plunder from the south. Rather than leave, Tambor greedily decides to wait for the last of the treasure. This goes against Dooku's orders -- he wants Tambor as far away from Lessu as possible. When Mace Windu's forces attack the city, the Separatist plot to bomb it from afar. TA-175 is set to carry out Dooku's exact words, though Tambor has different priorities.
Mace Windu and Cham Syndulla make holographic contact with Senator Orn Free Taa. The two Twi'lek leaders immediately start sniping at each other, but Mace tries to keep them focused and cooperative. Just then, Anakin Skywalker radios in to Mace. His fighters are doing what they can to blast the hyena bombers, but they are woefully outnumbered.
Mace prompts Orn Free Taa to promise a Republic military presence will not remain on Ryloth after its liberation, appeasing Cham's concerns. Likewise, Mace gets Cham to promise he will not make a bid for political power. With this agreement, Mace and Cham join forces. Syndulla rallies his soldiers for the forthcoming fight.
The city of Lessu is built to withstand attack. Surrounded on all side by immense canyons, its only point of access is a plasma bridge -- a projected span of energy that can support the weight of vehicles and people. The bridge is controlled from within the city, and periodically deactivates to secure the city's borders -- as experienced by a dimwitted battle droid left stuck on the vanishing span; he plummets to his demise.
As further precaution against a Republic siege, Wat Tambor evacuates the civilians to encamp along the city's outer wall -- thus preventing long range bombardment with a screen of innocent Twi'leks. Cham Syndulla and his men watch this disturbing development from afar through electrobinoculars. With the populace outside, Mace knows that the safest option for the people is begin the assault within the city walls. The key is getting control of the bridge.
The Twi'lek freedom fighters and Mace's mechanized clone forces have now merged. Tae Boon quips at an AT-RT rider to keep pace with his surprisingly nimble blurgg. Cham spots the last few Separatist MTTs hauling treasure up the winding road to the city. This is the chance to make it across the bridge.
Mace, Stak and Razor sneak up on the second of the two transports. Mace neutralizes its STAP-riding battle droid escort and then uses his lightsaber to cut his way aboard the vehicle. Mace signals to Commander Ponds that he will need a diversion. Ponds readies the rest of the troops, and they hold position slightly over a kilometer away from the city.
TA-175 urges Tambor to leave, but the greedy foreman awaits the arrival of the last of the treasure. The battle droids activate the plasma bridge as the two outstanding transports make their way across the chasm. Battle droids carrying handheld scanners inspect the MTTs. As soon as they detect an anomaly aboard the second transport, the hatch opens and Mace and his troops charge. Ponds and his men open fire on the inspection team.
The battle droids begin powering down the bridge. Mace uses the Force to carry Stak and Razor safely to the other side, but he's caught in the middle. The bridge dissipates, and the transports fall into the canyon. In a superhuman feat of agility, Mace bounds off their plummeting hulls and uses the Force to leap atop a nearby STAP, using it to propel himself onto the city-side of the crevasse.
Battle droids spill out of the citadel. Mace holds them off while Stak and Razor run inside to reactivate the bridge. Cham orders the charge, and Republic and Twi'lek soldiers race across the battlefield to the city, trusting the bridge will appear in time.
Stak and Razor blast their way into the bridge control room and take out the droids on station. They turn the bridge back on just as Cham and Ponds' charging forces arrive, allowing them to enter the city. Stak and Razor are momentarily waylaid by droid commandos, but the clones emerge victorious.
TA-175 no longer waits for Tambor and leaves aboard his shuttle without him. The droid reports Tambor's failure to Dooku, who orders the hyena bombers to destroy Lessu immediately. Mace cuts his way into the courtyard and holds Wat Tambor captive at lightsaber-point. Rather than surrender, Wat Tambor resolves to perish in the incoming bombardment, but the sudden arrivel of Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano in their starfighters destroys the approaching hyena droids.
Cham arrives in the courtyard with his forces, and demands Wat Tambor's unconditional surrender. With no options, the Separatist leader concedes. In short order, they celebrate their liberty, with Orn Free Taa standing beside Cham Syndulla on a free Ryloth.
Trivia & Details
- The original script for the episode describes Mace Windu using his lightsaber to cut open the fallen walker's canopy. In the final episode, he uses the Force to shatter the glass instead, consistent with his expanded universe talent for finding and exploiting shatterpoints.
- The Lightning Squadron AT-RTs have "BEA" written on the side of them in Aurebesh letters.
- An earlier version of the story had Mace rescuing captive Twi'leks from a prison suspended over the caldera of a volcano, however the production paintings of such an apocalyptic setting ended up looking too similar to Mustafar.
- Clone Commander Ponds has an Aurebesh phrase written on the back of his helmet that reads, "some guys have all the luck."
- This episode is rather heavy with peculiar Aurebesh phrases. One of the Republic display screens in the background reads: "TROUBLE ON THE HORIZON: Status report of advance trooper recognition therapy syndrome evaluation team current phase of experiment proceeding satisfactorily according to projected schedule." This same screen includes the following notation: "second most important sport right after football."
- Among the treasures being hoarded by Wat Tambor is the Ark of the Covenant, slightly modified to have Twi'lek cherubim atop the box.
- "Look, it's RB-551. No wonder he got blasted. He's one of those older models programmed by a central computer.
- "Not like us; we're independent thinkers.
- "Roger, Roger."
- "Roger, Roger."
- "Roger Roger." - Battle droids.
"Another armed occupation is not a free Ryloth. How long before I am fighting you, Master Jedi?" - Cham Syndulla to Mace Windu.
- "General Windu! Perhaps we can come to a compromise."
- "Not when I hold all the cards." - Mace Windu and Wat Tambor
Related Article Links
Video Preview A short video introduction to the episode.
Video: The Ryloth Trilogy Trailer Revealed at New York Comic-Con, a trailer for the collected Ryloth story-arc from episodes 19-21.
Video Commentary A look at Cham Syndulla and the Twi'lek resistance.
The Clone Wars: The Ballad of Cham Syndulla An exclusive web comic that tells the tale of the reluctant Twi'lek legend.
Mace Windu Concludes Ryloth Trilogy A behind-the-scenes article, with quotes from the writer and director.
Maced Out A showcase of Mace Windu collectibles.
Terrence "TC" Carson: Voicing Mace Windu A short interview with the animated voice of the Jedi Master.
Say Wat? Matthew Wood Talks Tambor The voice of Wat Tambor discusses the character.