Spoiler Level: High
Well, that was very...
...what was that?
This may have been the most unStarWarsish Star Wars thing I've ever seen. No, no, I take that back-- Marvel's Star Wars #38 comic still holds that title.
Which is not to say it's bad. Like Star Wars #38, it's actually quite interesting, exotic looking and feels fresh. Not only is it great to have Qui-Gon Jinn and Shmi Skywalker make appearances, they're actually voiced by Liam Neeson and Pernilla August!
And I do like that The Clone Wars is going to take advantage of being able to delve deeply into what makes Anakin Skywalker who he is, and in turn the whole prophecy surrounding him. Forgive me if I've gone on about this before, but I always felt the Jedi totally misunderstood the Prophecy. The assumption has always been that Anakin would "bring balance to the Force." George Lucas says on one of the bonus features on the Episode III DVD that Anakin fulfills this prophecy by turning back to the light and destroying Darth Sidious in the end.
But from the get-go, I always got a different interpretation. There are only two Sith and hundreds of Jedi. So logically, if things are going to be in balance, there should be only two Sith and only two Jedi. And that's exactly what Anakin helps bring about-- Sidious and Vader on one side, Obi-Wan and Yoda on the other. (And then Luke and Yoda on the other, after Vader kills Obi-Wan.) Thus, he fulfills the prophecy.
Add to that the fact that the Jedi Order as we see it in the Prequel Trilogy does strike me as something that needs to be replaced. The Jedi themselves are manipulated into becoming generals and fighting a civil war "for the good of the Republic," an institution they know has become corrupt. Everything the Jedi do is motivated by fear of the dark side-- children are taken from their parents as infants, and Jedi are not allowed to love. When I was 12 I wanted to be a Jedi. If I had known at the time that would mean I had to have never known my mom, had to give up my dreams of getting married someday and oh, by the way, it's a members-only club based on a blood test, I don't think I would have been interested. So in many ways the new Jedi Order as built by Luke is far superior to the order as it stood before Anakin brought it down. Which lends itself to my interpretation of the Prophecy-- Anakin was meant to wipe the slate clean so something better could rise from it.
But from there I start to have bigger problems. See, I'm not big on fate as a concept. Yes, we know Anakin is going to fall to the Dark Side, but that doesn't necessarily mean he was destined to fall. The fall itself comes from bad choices on Anakin's part; it's only seems destined to us, because we came into the story after the fact and we know it's going to happen. But to Anakin, it should still be a future in motion. When he says "I'll never turn to the dark side," you can hear in his voice that he believes it.
But this episode seems to take the approach that Anakin is destined to become Darth Vader, and his only hope of avoiding that destiny is to stay on Mortis and take The Father's place. Now, we know The Father is correct; if Anakin did take that offer, he would be saved. But we also know that Anakin won't do it, because this is Chapter 2.5 in a 6 Chapter story, and we've seen the ending. But The Father acts as if he's seen the ending too. Maybe he's the only one who fully understands the Prophecy, and that yes, Anakin will eventually bring balance to the Force by turning back to the light and killing Sidious, but the cost of everything leading up to that moment is too high.
One last thing I'm curious about is Ahsoka's vision. I assume we get to see a future version of herself because she has no past to speak of, at least not one that would be instantly recognizable to viewers. But this future self is certainly more than 3 years older, which would be the furthest point possible before Order 66 is given. Now I'm assuming Ahsoka's fate after Order 66 will never be addressed, and there's no reason to believe this was her actual future self talking to her. (In fact, we flat-out see that Shmi is The Son in disguise trying to turn Anakin.) But this makes me wonder if they might address Ahoska's fate at some point after all.
The way the episode closed, with our heroes in their shuttle flying away, I figured that was the end of it, but it thanks to the previews we now know that this episode is actually part 1 of 3. I'm actually kind of relieved... the doors it opens and questions its bringing up are too big to be resolved in 22 minutes. I'm looking forward to seeing how it unfolds from here, and even scrapping my entire interpretation of the Prophecy if necessary depending on what we learn.