Jedi Fallen Order Part 20: Careful With That Thing

By Shamus Posted Thursday Jan 14, 2021

Filed under: Retrospectives 115 comments

This is the player’s third matchup against Second Sister, but Cal’s fourth. The first one was cutscene-only, so the player didn’t participate. Then a few minutes after that, we got our tutorial duel where Cal escaped with the help of Cere. Then at the end of Zeffo part 2 we got a rematch that was cut short by a forcefield. And now here we are near the end of the game. Both sides have been indirectly fighting for the holocron, but now the two sides are going to fight over it directly.

Cal is Improving

If the writer wants us to care about Trilla's redemption arc, then they need to give us a way to empathize with her. So far she's been an ultra-smug evil-and-loving-it FemHitler. Trilla's face is almost as irresistibly punch-able as Cals.
If the writer wants us to care about Trilla's redemption arc, then they need to give us a way to empathize with her. So far she's been an ultra-smug evil-and-loving-it FemHitler. Trilla's face is almost as irresistibly punch-able as Cals.

Like I’ve belabored earlier in the series, there’s a tension between the story and the gameplay. You’ll get better at the game as you go, but that’s not always going to line up with how good the writer thinks Cal should be right now. Maybe you’ll breeze through the fight and then get a cutscene that shows Cal is outmatched, or maybe you’ll struggle with this fight and be treated to a cutscene where Cal seems to be far stronger than Trilla. 

I suppose in an ideal world, we’d have a couple of different cutscenes to reflect who had the upper hand when the writer stops the fight. 

At any rate, Cutscene Cal is way ahead of Trilla in this exchange. He tosses her away and takes her lightsaber. However, as soon he grabs her lightsaber he’s frozen in place.

Will You Put That Thing Away?!

Cal is now holding a double-bladed lightsaber in each hand. All he needs to do is turn them both on and he can pass into legend as the most obnoxiously OP Jedi in the EU. Which he doesn't. The coward.
Cal is now holding a double-bladed lightsaber in each hand. All he needs to do is turn them both on and he can pass into legend as the most obnoxiously OP Jedi in the EU. Which he doesn't. The coward.

At the start of the story, it’s established that Cal has the power to absorb memories from an object. The first time he comes aboard the Stinger Mantis he picks up Cere’s guitar and is instantly able to play a song that she wrote. Throughout the game, this power is used to justify collectible “audiologs” where Cal can absorb memories from lore-relevant items to find out the backstory of his current location.

I love that the writer was thoughtful enough to invent something non-violent that Cal can do with the Force so it doesn’t feel like his entire relationship with the Force revolves around murder. Even better, this power justifies and even improves existing gameplay tropes regarding collectibles. In other games it seems like such a ridiculous contrivance that someone would stop and record a podcast of themselves as their experiment goes horribly wrong and kills them. But in Star Wars? Big emotional moments like that are exactly the sorts of things that are likely to leave behind a mystical impression / echo / vision that can be sensed by a Jedi. This is such a brilliant creative decision. 

Well Cal, you started the fight without putting the holocron in your pocket like you should have. If you'd listened to me when I shouted advice at the screen then you wouldn't be in this predicament. Loser.
Well Cal, you started the fight without putting the holocron in your pocket like you should have. If you'd listened to me when I shouted advice at the screen then you wouldn't be in this predicament. Loser.

Unfortunately, he can’t control it. As soon as he grabs Trilla’s saber, he’s overwhelmed by her years of torment and trauma. It’s a bit like Rey grasping Luke’s old lightsaber in The Force Awakens, except not as random, contrived, and poorly justified.

Although, there is still a bit of contrivance here. As soon as Cal locks up, Trilla says, “Careful with that thing. It’s been through hell!” Apparently she immediately understands…

  1. …that Cal has this unique power of sensing the history of objects.
  2. …that he can’t control when it happens.
  3. …that he’s currently being overwhelmed by her memories and not (say) a vision of what the Empire is about to do to all those kids.
  4. …that he’s effectively locked up so that she’s free to walk away with the prize and doesn’t need to worry about recovering her lightsaber.

Is she able to see all of these things in an instant, or is she just reading the script?

Anyway, Trilla leaves with the holocron and Cal is sucked into yet another vision.

Long, Long Ago…

Here we see a flashback from Trilla's perspective, where she comes to confront Cere and instead Cere uses THE DARK SIDE OF THE FORCE to escape.
Here we see a flashback from Trilla's perspective, where she comes to confront Cere and instead Cere uses THE DARK SIDE OF THE FORCE to escape.

We jump back in time and see the purge from Trilla’s perspective. I want to congratulate the author from having this cutscene be in first-person instead of doing the dumb Hollywood thing where everyone remembers their own life in third person.

We see Cere leave Trilla with the younglings, promising to lead the Empire away. Then we cut to a later scene where Trilla is converted to Sith via torture.

Anyway, converted-via-torture Trilla appears before broken-under-torture Cere, and Cere has her big freak out where she obliterates the troopers, destroys her restraints, knocks Trilla down, and is able to escape. She doesn’t check on Trilla, but instead just runs out of frame without making any effort to see if she’d just killed her former apprentice.

I Hate This So Much

Here we're in Trilla's POV and she's shoved into the Torture-O-Matic. There's nobody around. Nobody in charge. Nobody making this happen, running the show, or whispering in her ear. Conversion-via torture is central to this story, yet the writer refuses to engage with the idea.
Here we're in Trilla's POV and she's shoved into the Torture-O-Matic. There's nobody around. Nobody in charge. Nobody making this happen, running the show, or whispering in her ear. Conversion-via torture is central to this story, yet the writer refuses to engage with the idea.

I know I keep coming back to this, but I just can’t accept this idea on a thematic or philosophical level. I know I’ve voiced a lot of gripes with this game, but most of them are trivial little things that boil down to “That’s not how I would have done it” or “I wish we explored this idea in more detail”. But this idea where everyone is converted via torture is the one thing in the story I honestly hate. It yanks me out of the experience every time it comes up, and all I can do is catalog all of the ways this bothers me. 

This story seems to embrace the notion that the Dark Side really is significantly stronger. Cere was held prisoner for a long time. They captured her, tortured her until she broke, then they captured Trilla and tortured her until she broke, and then brought Trilla to Cere. Cere couldn’t free herself with the Force during any of those months or years, but then she instantly and effortlessly escapes when she finally succumbs to the Dark Side or whatever. 

This attacks a pretty foundational element of Star Wars lore and contradicts things that Yoda made explicit in Empire Strikes Back. It takes the story away from the Hope of the original and towards a more dire reading of the material that darkness is actually stronger than light. It’s also less interesting because it involves the writer pushing a “BECAUSE I SAID SO” button rather than having our characters make choices that they can regret / learn from. And finally, it deprives our story of a coherent villain. Trilla is our main adversary, but she’s a brainwashed drone and not someone that chose these actions of her own free will. Therefore none of the characters are fully responsible for all of this evil. Cere and Trilla didn’t torture themselves. Where’s the guy who did? It seems like he would be featured extremely prominently in their memories.

Trilla's POV again. Cere suddenly unleashes the DARK SIDE and shatters the Torture-O-Matic. I have to say, the visibility in Trilla's helmet is TERRIBLE.
Trilla's POV again. Cere suddenly unleashes the DARK SIDE and shatters the Torture-O-Matic. I have to say, the visibility in Trilla's helmet is TERRIBLE.

This is like a version of Lord of the Rings where Frodo becomes a badass by learning to use The One Ring responsibly, or a version of Spider-Man where Peter is a tall, handsome, cool, confident chosen one, blessed by genetics to become a powerful hero. My gripe goes deeper than pedantic arguments over plot holes and established lore, my problem is that this is fundamentally opposed to the sensibilities of the original on a philosophical level. This idea does not fit into the universe as I understand it, and no degree of lore-patches or fan-theory can close that gap.

Even if you want to argue that people are always responsible for their actions, even after brainwashing – something I’d philosophically disagree with but I’m willing to entertain for the purposes of story analysis – this still doesn’t fix this story because none of these people are the originator of the problem. In a storytelling sense, these people are all victims, with no central figure to represent the bad guysAnd no, the surprise cameo at the end doesn’t fulfill this need.. Yes, in the real world you’ll find people that (say) escaped Nazi prison camps without ever defeating the guy in charge on the way out. But this is Star Wars, and this universe is designed around the idea of having people in fancy costumes to embody the forces of evil. 

For this to work, we needed some central inquisitor figure to stand as the mastermind in all of this. During these torture scenes, the victim is always shown as being aloneThere are a couple of stormtroopers around, but they’re obviously not running the show.. It’s like this torture is just some abstract thing that doesn’t come from anyone in particular. If you’re going to make torture such a major force in the story, then at least give us a Head Torture Guy to act as the avatar of all this evil. There needs to be someone there exerting psychological  force on the victim. There needed to be some guy pulling the lever on Trilla’s torture machine while telling her that all this pain was actually Cere’s fault. 

Is this conversion the result of a personality flaw on Trilla’s part? Is she too weak? To proud? Or are we supposed to feel sorry for her and see the conversion as inevitable? Shouldn’t we have a Head Torture Guy here to offer her a deal, or power, or whatever? That would show us who this character is and what drove her downfall. Every single hero in this story in converted by tortureCal and all of his students are converted in the future-vision we just saw.. This conversion is completely central to the actions of everyone in the story, yet it’s left unexplained. None of them FELL to the Dark Side as the result of personal weakness. They simply embraced the Dark Side in response to torture at the hands of nobody, to no particular end.

Why did Palpatine waste all those decades manipulating and lying to everyone if you can turn any Jedi into a supremely powerful and perfectly loyal slave like this? Whatta chump!

Back to Reality

That's right, Cal. Trilla took the holocron and left. Evil will always triumph because good is dumb.
That's right, Cal. Trilla took the holocron and left. Evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

The vision ends and Cal finds himself alone in the temple. I guess it was sporting of Trilla to not use his moment of vulnerability to dispatch him. There are a baker’s dozen troopers waiting outside, and if they’d stormed the place while Cal was on yet another fantastic voyage then they could have finished him off with little trouble.

I’m sorry for nitpicking and over-thinking this. This scene isn’t that bad. But the way this writer handles the Force makes me suspicious, obstinate, and unwilling to just go along with things.

Anyway, the player regains control and you need to hack your way through another few soccer teams worth of troopers to make it back to the shipWhich Trilla and the troopers made no effort to attack, despite it being parked in the open.

Back at the ship Cal finally apologizes to Cere, acknowledging that he had no right to judge her and that he didn’t really understand what she went through. This is probably a good moment, but since it’s inextricably bound to the whole idea of “The Dark Side is stronger and also you embrace the Dark Side against your will via torture” I just can’t get into it. I’m glad Cal finally came around, but I thought he was being a dumbass in the first place. He’s already experienced much more dramatic and emotional transformations when he made peace with his former master and began treating Merrin like an equal, so this one didn’t feel particularly interesting. It doesn’t feel like character growth, it feels like Cal finally put down the idiot ball the writer gave him after his first fight with Trilla.

In any case, here we are at the crisis point in the story and I just can’t get into it because of my fundamental disagreement with how the writer is interpreting the source material. I can’t say the author is objectively wrong. I know this isn’t the only Star Wars story to interpret the Dark Side / Light Side conflict like this, and I’m willing to bet that the majority of players shrugged and went along with it. But this just didn’t work for me.

 

Footnotes:

[1] And no, the surprise cameo at the end doesn’t fulfill this need.

[2] There are a couple of stormtroopers around, but they’re obviously not running the show.

[3] Cal and all of his students are converted in the future-vision we just saw.

[4] Which Trilla and the troopers made no effort to attack, despite it being parked in the open.



From The Archives:
 

115 thoughts on “Jedi Fallen Order Part 20: Careful With That Thing

  1. Joe says:

    Funny, dual-wielding double sabres has been done. There was a four-armed Jedi in TCW, the same species as Dex from AOTC, who did that. One Jedi from the TOS trailers briefly used a single and a double, but he turned one of the double blades off. Maybe because he only had two arms.

    You know what would make for a really creepy torturer? One who enjoyed his work. Whistled the Imperial March while getting everything set up. Made smalltalk with an assistant. Kind of, the ordinary face of evil makes it that much worse.

    1. MerryWeathers says:

      Whistled the Imperial March while getting everything set up.

      Could work, the Imperial March is the actual in-universe anthem of the Empire albeit more festive, funnily enough.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      You know what would make for a really creepy torturer? One who enjoyed his work. Whistled the Imperial March while getting everything set up. Made smalltalk with an assistant. Kind of, the ordinary face of evil makes it that much worse.

      Too clever, sadly. Too subtle. Definitely for modern Star Wars. And probably for the prequels, too…
      Maybe even the originals, though at least in those films the stormtroopers and imperial officers seemed like ordinary people, instead of comically over-the-top cackling madmen, or rabid fascists.

    3. Baron Tanks says:

      Your description immediately conjures up images of Hans Landa, probably because he was referenced recently* on the site as well.

      *was it even a previous Fallen Order entry? Probably.

    4. Daimbert says:

      You know what would make for a really creepy torturer? One who enjoyed his work.

      I mentioned it below, but the ones in “Intersections in Real Time” from Babylon 5 are more creepy than that not because they seem to enjoy it, but instead because they seem to be treating it precisely like a job and don’t care one way or the other about what they are doing or who they are doing it to. A torturer who enjoys his work is a sadist, but what’s a torturer who treats it just like another job, no different than, say, having to negotiate with a company for the best prices on sedatives?

      But there is a torturer who enjoys his work in an early episode of the new Doctor Who (Eccleston’s run). He’s torturing a Dalek, and that’s part of what’s used to make us feel sympathetic to the Dalek by the end.

    5. Xander77 says:

      Nah, it’s been done.
      “”Massaraksh!” The prisoner wiped his tears with his shoulder. “Some threat!” He turned to the civilian. “But you, you’re still a young man. You must learn to do your job coolly, officially — for the money. It makes an enormous impression on the victims of your inquisition. What an appalling state of affairs when you find yourself being tortured not by an enemy but by a bureaucrat. Take a look at my left arm. His Imperial Majesty’s specialists sawed it off in three stages; and each order was accompanied by a lengthy official correspondence. Those butchers were just doing a disagreeable, boring, unrewarding job. While they were sawing off my arm, they cursed their wretchedly low pay. And I was terrified. I had to strain my willpower to keep from talking.”

  2. MerryWeathers says:

    In other news that I’m surprised wasn’t at least acknowledged in this post, LucasArts is back, kind of! Now rebranded back to it’s original name before the Schafer era (Lucasfilm Games) and also now a publishing arm instead of a straight up developer.

    Two new games were announced in development by Machine Games and Ubisoft Massive, a Indiana Jones game and a Star Wars open-world game. EA said they’re still developing Star Wars games which means while they definitely no longer have the exclusivity deal, they’re probably still developing Jedi Fallen Order 2 and Battlefront 3.

    Hopefully we get a Willow game developed by Square Enix and directed by Yoko Taro.

  3. Gargamel Le Noir says:

    Instant conversion via torture already bugged me all the way back in KOTOR. Bastilla gets captured by Darth Moron and flips instantly. It was a damned shame because the rest of her character arc was super solid. She was bugging us constantly about the dark side because 1) she knew something about us we didn’t and 2) she was most likely projecting her own feelings of inadequacy. I think Bastilla, a padawan put in charge of saving the Republic, had major impostor syndrome and the self loathing that came with it. But she still wouldn’t have flipped because of a few hours in a pain inducing force field. Darth Moron should have at least offered her something (sparing people she cared about for example).
    And after that she also became a perky hot topic villain, which didn’t work for me either. I think she should have been shown as a self hating tragic villain who was stuck in the dark side because she genuinely believed she was never good enough for the light side.
    So yeah, big missed opportunities whenever that narrative shortcut is used.

    1. Zaxares says:

      Huh. I always thought that Fallen Bastilla would have gone with the opposite justification. Darth Malak corrupted her by telling her how she’s special, she’s powerful, she’s UNIQUE. Why is she playing obedient little soldier to Jedi Masters who are far weaker than she is? She’s the ONLY thing keeping Malak from winning, you know, so why not join him instead? Then she would be finally respected, venerated, FEARED. Second only in status to Malak himself (with the unspoken promise of one day killing him and taking over herself, as all Sith seem to do). If this was a D&D game, I’d assume that the Sith embrace of a philosophy of being Evil with a capital E and that it is their ultimate destiny to betray and be betrayed; it’s just how they do things. They know that the torture will engender a deep hatred among their Sith apprentice against them, just as their own Master once did to them, but it’s “just how things are done”. By killing each other, only the strongest Sith will ever be on the throne at any time.

      1. Gargamel Le Noir says:

        That never made sense to me either. Why do Dark Side followers, people who promote self interest above all, nurture of culture of betrayal by their very pupils? Why would Malak want Bastilla to just murder him whenever she gets the opportunity?

        1. Fizban says:

          I don’t remember if I spoke up last time this conversation rolled, but I could see it put as being part of a tradition. Some people embrace objectively self-destructive traditions, because they like the feeling of being part of something bigger than themselves, knowing that people did so before them and will continue doing so after them. As long as you only pick apprentices who are like you in that way (via psychological skill or force analysis), the line will maintain itself.

          1. galacticplumber says:

            My problem with that is that the jedi are hyper traditionalist to a fault to the point it’s shown to be the primary thing that killed their order every time their order was killed.

            The dark is the opposite of the light, and thus the likely first proponents of the idea that tradition is just peer pressure from dead people.

            1. Fizban says:

              They could be. Or they could just fail to recognize hypertraditionalism as a problem for the survival of their “order,” and blame all the jedi’s failures on the refusal to Evil things. Making the sith an equally failed mirror. Bad guys usually aren’t much for introspection, and even bad guys who act like it are nearly always shown to have some obvious glaring failure in the conclusions they reach.

              1. Daimbert says:

                It’s probably more of a Social Contract thing a la Hobbes: someone questions the tradition and the others point out what it would mean for them if everyone was exempt from the traditions. For the most part, all of them stay alive longer and live better if the traditions are followed.

        2. Alex says:

          If you are strong, a Sith apprentice makes you stronger. Your apprentice will only kill you if you are weak, and what kind of Sith Master ignores the promise of power because they think they are too weak to wield it?

    2. John says:

      Knights of the Old Republic at least has the decency to show that Bastila is tempted by the Dark Side before she gets captured and tortured by Malak, though how much it shows depends on the player’s actions. If the player character is Dark-aligned, Bastila will straight-up ask him if it feels good to do whatever he damn well pleases all the time. If the player character is Light-aligned, Bastila will hint that she’s been tempted but assert that it’s wrong of her to think these things. It’s also not clear exactly how much Bastila got tortured or whether it was the torture that caused her fall. Malak tells Bastila that the point of the torture isn’t to break her but to tempt her with the power of the Dark Side. “Torture, dear Bastila? No, this is merely a taste of the Dark Side to whet your appetite.” In any case, after she turns, Bastila doesn’t seem particularly brainwashed or crazy to me. She’s not even loyal to Malak, since she’ll drop him for the player character in a heartbeat if the player character shows an interest in the Dark Side.

      To sum up, Bastila was tortured and Bastila did turn, but it probably wasn’t the torture that did the turning and even if it was Knights of the Old Republic has a lot more nuance than Fallen Order seems to.

    3. jurgenaut says:

      Yeah, Bastila’s dark side character was so terrible. She went from self doubting prodigy to mustasche twirling comic book villain. She even cheered you on for forcing big Z to kill Mission.

      I remember growing up, I thought ‘falling to the dark side’ was like a magic spell or curse that someone put on you, that only worked for force users. You’d essentially become a different person, an evil you. In that type of scenario, Evil Bastila makes some sense.

      At some point after I had to face existential questions myself, I thought that ‘falling to the dark side’ was more of an existential thing, when the bad qualities each person carries (whichever those may be) intensify to overtake the good qualities. And the only reason anyone cares when a force user falls and not when a muggle does is the order of magnitude of destruction that gets unleashed. This would make more sense – it has happened before that people get stuck in destructive spirals and eventually take it out on the world around them. I wouldn’t have to suspend my disbelief at all for such an explanation.

      But then Anakin killed the ‘younglings’. Judging from that, even the canon seem to go for the ‘curse’ explanation.

      1. Chad Miller says:

        But then Anakin killed the ‘younglings’. Judging from that, even the canon seem to go for the ‘curse’ explanation.

        I recently rewatched the prequels and I think one of the overarching problems with it is that things move too fast (or too much time is wasted on extraneous nonsense) for huge character beats like “became willing to murder children” aren’t set up well enough.

        For a non dark-side related example, consider Luke’s Jedi training in A New Hope. Obi-Wan starts teaching Luke about the force as soon as possible, and even then we don’t have Luke carving his way through stormtroopers halfway through the movie. He only barely escapes after being captured, because the villains literally allowed him to, and his first notable use of the force comes at the climax of the movie and is only augmenting skills that he was already established to have.

        Meanwhile, in The Phantom Menace, Anakin has never won a pod race. He’s never finished a pod race. So of course Qui-Gonn Jinn bets everything he has including the spaceship he rode in on that Anakin will win the race, and he does because these are the heroes and the heroes win. Bah. Imagine if Qui-Gonn, having figured out Anakin’s force-sensitivity after stealing his blood under false pretenses, had decided to train Anakin in the force. And imagine that little bit of training was just enough edge to let Anakin win. That would have felt earned and maybe given that sequence a purpose.

        I feel similarly about Anakin’s fall in Revenge of the Sith; it’s like, okay, you’re married when you’re not supposed to be, which I can 100% buy. Palpatine goads you into killing a disarmed (heh) prisoner, but that guy was a dick so it can be rationalized. I’ll even support the killing of Mace Windu (from a story perspective); you tried to do the right thing by telling Windu about a Sith Lord (one who just up and told you “herf derf I’m a Sith lord” without properly grooming you first, something else that could have worked a lot better if fleshed out properly), and only when Windu decided he was going to carry out an extrajudicial execution did you stop him. But going straight from there to “welp, guess I’ve got to murder children now” is indeed a gigantic leap.

        So the TL;DR is – I agree that was abrupt, but I don’t think it was on purpose (yeah, yeah, death of the author and all that but my point is that if I assume other plot points were set up the way they should have been then I can imagine a fleshing out of Revenge of the Sith that makes the “kill the younglings” bit far more plausible. It’s all but fanfiction though)

        1. The Puzzler says:

          Don’t forget Anakin already murdered children in Attack of the Clones. From that point on, I considered him already fallen.

          1. Chad Miller says:

            Fair enough. That was clearly meant to be part of his fall, and is an even worse look now that we’ve seen sympathetic Tusken Raiders.

        2. Daimbert says:

          Anakin didn’t kill Windu because he was killing Palpatine extrajudicially, but because if Windu just killed Palpatine outright Anakin would never learn what he needed to know to save Padme (he cries out before doing that that he still needs Palpatine as a way to get Windu to let him live). From there, Palpatine could — and likely did — simply say that he can’t spare the time and energy to train Anakin until the Jedi are eliminated and the civil war ended, which then lets him push Anakin to do it through rationalization than through just being evil and enjoying doing that sort of thing.

          1. modus0 says:

            I saw it also as an inversion of the Obi-Wan/Anakin vs. Dooku fight, with Anakin realizing that he shouldn’t have killed Dooku, so shouldn’t kill Palpatine. Which was why he was still stating that there should be a proper trial for the Sith badguy, while someone is instead insisting that the Sith had to be executed.

            And both times, Anakin makes the wrong decision about whether to listen to that figure encouraging execution, even if he’s trying to rectify the initial mistake the second time around. The first time just gets disapproval from the Jedi Council, IIRC, the second is fairly major part of his fall to the Darkside.

          2. Chad Miller says:

            Anakin didn’t kill Windu because he was killing Palpatine extrajudicially

            I wouldn’t say it’s the sole cause, but it’s also not irrelevant as presented. Here’s the dialogue leading up to The Moment:

            PALPATINE: (stammering) I can’t hold on any longer.

            WINDU: I am going to end this once and for all.

            ANAKIN: You can’t. He must stand trial.

            WINDU: He has control of the Senate and the courts. He’s too dangerous to be left alive.

            PALPATINE: I’m too weak. Oh, don’t kill me. Please.

            ANAKIN: It’s not the Jedi way. He must live.

            PALPATINE: Please don’t.

            ANAKIN: I need him.

            And, we know that by any reasonable interpretations Anakin did come in wanting Palpatine arrested. Keep in mind that Windu is only there, and only knows he’s a Sith, because Anakin tipped him off, something he did immediately after finding out himself. The idea of defending Palpatine didn’t seem to cross his mind until Windu threatens his life, and he didn’t take action until Windu wound up for the killing blow.

            Yes, you could make the case that Anakin’s last line is the “real” motivation but that’s exactly my point; if the Dark Side is a tempter, if you become a Sith by taking reasonable-seeming actions that carry you down a slippery slope, then this is exactly the kind of thing you would expect to see. We can argue about what part of the slope he’s on, but my contention is that if the rest of the prequel trilogy had been on par with this scene then we’d be talking about Anakin’s inevitable and tragic fall rather than how easily he took to butchering good guys.

            1. Daimbert says:

              That’s fair. Anakin might be both reacting to the violation of Jedi principles as well as to his own need. My main point there is that needing Palpatine is a major motivation for Anakin, and so the motivation that Palpatine can use to push him on to more heinous acts if doing so wouldn’t fit in with Anakin’s idea of good.

        3. MerryWeathers says:

          I think one of the overarching problems with it is that things move too fast (or too much time is wasted on extraneous nonsense) for huge character beats like “became willing to murder children” aren’t set up well enough.

          I just thought that scene was edgy. Like the movie was trying too hard to convince you that Anakin is evil now.

        4. Joshua says:

          My interpretation upon watching Revenge of the Sith when it came out is George Lucas going “Oh shit, we’re now 2.5 movies into this 3 movie trilogy, and Anakin hasn’t fallen yet. Time to speed THIS SHIT UP!”.

          IMO, one of the problems with the initial structure is that they should have skipped TPM and made Attack of the Clones the first movie (with some adjustments), which would have allowed more time to pace that arc over three films.

    4. Liessa says:

      It wasn’t a few hours though, it was a week? I distinctly remember her talking about “a week of endless torture” or something to that effect. So hardly ‘instant’, even if Shamus’ basic point still stands.

  4. Baron Tanks says:

    Ohhh, I have a new favorite caption :)

    Cal is now holding a double-bladed lightsaber in each hand. All he needs to do is turn them both on and he can pass into legend as the most obnoxiously OP Jedi in the EU. Which he doesn’t. The coward.

    And more Spaceballs references later on. While the narrative is morphing into a bit of a snooze fest (the setups were more interesting than the payoffs, where I feel the lack of a proper compelling antagonist definitely plays a role), these captions are a blast :)

  5. Olivier FAURE says:

    Cal is now holding a double-bladed lightsaber in each hand. All he needs to do is turn them both on and he can pass into legend as the most obnoxiously OP Jedi in the EU.

    Nope, The Clone Wars Did It First.

    Pong Krell, of the “Carnage on Umbara” arc. He’s the same species as the diner guy in episode 2, which means he has 4 hands, to wield his two double-lightsabers. (I suppose having 4 one-blade sabers had already been done by Grievous)

    His fight scene at the end of the arcs feels like what Order 66 in Episode III should have looked like. Some moments are pretty silly, but overall he goes through clones like paper until they overwhelm him by ruse and sheer numbers.

  6. Jay says:

    The idea that the Dark Side is stronger has been a subtext of the series for a while. Yoda says that it isn’t, just quicker, easier, and more seductive. OTOH Yoda after many centuries of training got curbstomped by the Emperor, who is human and so presumably much younger. It doesn’t seem like the patient path leads to success.

    1. Thomas says:

      The light side won in the end, but it took the long way round and didn’t rely on fighting ability

      1. The Puzzler says:

        I see the Dark Side as stronger in terms of combat power, but the Light Side has strengths of its own, which made it possible for Luke to win anyway.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      I mean, when’s the last time Yoda created an entire fleet of Star Destroyers by pulling them OUT OF HIS ASS using nothing but the Force?

    3. Rariow says:

      The way I’ve often interpreted the “easier, not stronger” line is that the Dark Side IS more “powerful” in the sense that it lets you do cool things like shoot lightning and choke people (basically combat prowess), but it’ll eventually be its own undoing because it’s all about letting your emotions control you, which ultimately leads to bad decisions. Sith are shown to be deadlier than Jedi in the original trilogy (every duel is lost by the Jedi except when Luke is drawing from the Dark Side in RotJ), but Luke’s ideals and morals ultimately lead to the two Sith killing each other and he wins. It is more powerful in the short term, but it’s doomed to fail in the long term.

      That said, this is from the perspective of someone who was born only 3 years before Phantom Menace came out and who grew up reading a lot of the EU, so I don’t know how much that’s colored my perception. Me having absorbed a lot of Star Wars goes a long way farther back than me being able to think analytically about Star Wars (or really anything else).

      1. Daimbert says:

        There’s also a potential issue in that most Dark Side abilities require the person to channel a LOT of Force power directly through their bodies in … interesting ways. That CAN’T be good for you physically in the long run, whereas Light Side powers don’t seem to, at least in general, require that kind of strain.

      2. Fizban says:

        It can also be interpreted as a reverse causation: if you’re winning a fight by being angry, then you are by definition using the dark side. The only way you can win a fight using the light side is if you fight with nothing but serene/positive/whatever emotions the whole time, meaning you have to be so skilled you can win while your body is using less than peak adrenaline and safety-suppression.

        Thus the dark side is more powerful, because if two *equally* skilled (and physically able) people fight, and one is willing to use their fear and anger based survival mechanisms while the other is trying to be all serene about it, then one is at a clear disadvantage.

        Considering Yoda is a tiny muppet, Ben was an old man, Luke (and presumably Rey, haven’t seen ST) has barely any training, Qui-Gon dies, Windu dies (and I’m pretty sure was being angry when he was winning), Dooku gets double-teamed, grievous is nearly all robot (no endocrine boosters), I think that all checks out for OT and PT.

    4. John says:

      The idea that the Dark Side is stronger has been a subtext of the series for a while. Yoda says that it isn’t, just quicker, easier, and more seductive. OTOH Yoda after many centuries of training got curbstomped by the Emperor, who is human and so presumably much younger.

      No it isn’t, or the original trilogy would have had a very different ending.

      Also, that’s not how the Force works. The Force isn’t a battery or even a muscle. It’s not something that charges up over time nor is it something that gets stronger the more you exercise it. An individual Force-user can become more skilled at using the Force–see Luke, for example–but there’s nothing to suggest that the Force-user gets stronger–whatever that means–or that one side of the Force is stronger than the other. The fact that Palpatine defeated Yoda signifies that Palpatine defeated Yoda in a fight once, not that Palpatine is stronger than Yoda–again, whatever that means–or that the Dark Side is stronger than the light side.

      1. MerryWeathers says:

        Did Yoda even lose to Palpatine? I took the outcome of battle as being a draw.

        1. John says:

          No, not really. Palatine held the field, so to speak, and Yoda retreated, but neither of them were seriously hurt. Also, Palatine had reinforcements coming in, so it wasn’t a one-on-one fight.

    5. Syal says:

      who is human and so presumably much younger.

      …you think being much younger cuts against you in combat?

      1. Mark says:

        Well, they’re “magic users”, so they are assumed to ripen like a fine wine and get stronger as they get older. As opposed to warriors who peak at like 30. Jedi are kind of a mix of the two, but in my head Palpatine vs Yoda is a lot more of a force battle than a lightsaber one.

  7. BlueHorus says:

    Cal is now holding a double-bladed lightsaber in each hand. All he needs to do is turn them both on and he can pass into legend as the [first Jedi to cut himself in half while trying to overcompensate and/or look cool]

    Fixed that for you.
    Though, Joe says that dual-wielding lightsabers has happened? Bah. What HASN’T happened in some point in the EU?

    1. Thomas says:

      Lightsaber wolverine claws already exist.
      https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Lightsaber_gauntlet

      In a world where lightsaber wolverine claws already exist, everything else has already happened too.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        Goddammit.

        That picture is JUST a Star Wars-themed Predator knockoff. Even the face looks kind of similar!

        1. MerryWeathers says:

          Be careful or else Dave Filoni will hear and go after you in your own house while dressed in his Plo Koon costume!

          1. Henson says:

            Don’t mock the StarWars, children, or the Filoni will come get you!

      2. Nimrandir says:

        Did this predate the Franzibald wand-claws, or are the Star Wars people stealing ideas from Penny Arcade?

    2. Melfina the Blue says:

      Heehee! My first thought on that line was the 4 armed guy from Schlock Mercenary wanting to use 4 guns at once and being told nope, you only have 2 eyes.

    3. John says:

      I believe that in one of the old EU novels there was a guy whom the text described as having lightsaber blades extending from not only his wrists but also, I kid you not, his knees and elbows. (Possibly a few other places, too. I forget. I never read the novel myself and it’s been years since I saw the fan art somebody drew of the guy.) Dual-wielding double-bladed lightsabers is silly–and, I’d guess, very dangerous to the wielder–but it isn’t half as silly as that.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        You know what? I want a suit of lightsaber armor. That is, the metal plates have mounted lightsabers that run along them, so that the wearer can block lightsaber blows with their forearms or shins. And then they have lightsaber punches and kicks as well!

        1. Henson says:

          Lightsaber porcupines. Good grief.

        2. baud says:

          so that the wearer can block lightsaber blows with their forearms or shins

          well, that’s more or less what a few materials from the Star Wars universe do, like the beskar, most commonly associated with the mandalorians. For example in episode 5 of season 2 of the mandalorian, we get to see this.

    4. Chad Miller says:

      first Jedi to cut himself in half while trying to overcompensate and/or look cool

      In the level where you don’t have a lightsaber, I instinctively pressed one of the combat buttons and managed to get the lightsaber to turn on. He didn’t draw his lightsaber, so I couldn’t use it, but instead spent a large chunk of the level running around with a double-bladed lightsaber clipping into my face and legs.

  8. Narkis says:

    This is like a version of Lord of the Rings where Frodo becomes a badass by learning to use The One Ring responsibly

    So, is this where I remind you that Shadow of Mordor is a thing that exists?

    1. Nope! says:

      I mean, even Shadow of War, while exploiting it all for a cool game mechanic, does ultimately go “You can’t use it responsibly, you will either falter to Sauron or replace him.”.

    2. John says:

      Well, you could do that, but I’m not sure what you’d be trying to accomplish if you did.

      Man, am I torn about Shadow of Mordor. Sometimes I get a hankering to go back and stalk some more orc captains. Then I remember the plot, which is bad at both Tolkien lore and Tolkien themes, and some of the deeply annoying story missions. It hurts me to see a game with such fun mechanics undone by, y’know, everything else.

      1. BlueHorus says:

        Yep.
        Think I’ve said it before, but if someone were to take the gameplay of the Shadow of games and put it in a different setting, it’d be so much better! It’d be perfect for Warhammer 40,000, or Warhammer, or any other similar ‘Who cares why, just get back to the action!’-style setting.

        It was always baffling to me how much effort was put into actively butchering Tolkein’s lore in the Shadow of Mordor games. Looooong cutscenes. Unskippable in-game conversations with NPCs. Collectables with lengthy lore entries.
        And all in the service of…a really basic revenge plot, that shits on Tolkein lore.

        1. Nimrandir says:

          Wow — that’s a solid idea. Why hasn’t Games Workshop made this happen yet?

          1. Sleeping Dragon says:

            Seconded, this is such a good idea, even Warhammer (either type) orks would be so much better suited to this type of entertainment than Tolkien’s orcs.

            And what really got me rolling my eyes were the SoM devs talking repeatedly about how much they loved Tolkien’s world and were so excited to create games in it… and then yeah, basic revenge plot and sexy Shelob.

  9. Moridin says:

    Re: Being empowered by dark side, I would think it’s more a case of it being really damn hard to find the calmness of mind to channel the light side of the force while being held prisoner and tortured, while channeling dark side is all about your negative emotions, and thus would be made much easier by having recently suffered a traumatic experience. So Cere could have escaped using light side had she been allowed to achieve the proper state of mind to do so.

    1. Henson says:

      So…then torture is less about convincing people to join the Dark Side, and more about preventing them from being able to feel the Light Side? Is torture a deprivation tank for Jedi?

      1. Daimbert says:

        My view of how torture works here was like Moridin’s, and the idea is that it does multiple things:

        1) It puts the Jedi in pain, so they can’t calm themselves enough to use Light Side solutions.
        2) That method tends to create strong negative emotions in the Jedi, which are the ones that you use to generate Dark Side powers.
        3) Since it creates strong negative emotions, the Jedi who acts on them will be spawning Dark Side powers that are as strong as they have ever spawned any power.
        4) Since the Dark Side powers tend towards overwhelming force, the results will be visually impressive and will provide a direct and dramatic way out of their predicament.
        5) Since they will be so powerful under such extreme conditions, the Jedi will receive a surge of power that can be intoxicating.
        6) This will be combined with the strong sense of satisfaction from getting revenge on those who were responsible for hurting them so much.
        7) The Jedi will, from that, feel so GOOD about being Dark that they will potentially want to feel it again. In addition, it will always be in the back of their mind that they can have and use that power again if the calm, Jedi approach isn’t working for them.

        So, really, torturing a Jedi puts them into the ideal condition where they will be tempted by the Dark Side and unable to focus enough to use their Light Side techniques to temper that temptation. There are more subtle ways, but all of those would require knowing the person you were trying to convert and so knowing what will tempt them, and also will take more time. The downside of using this method is that generally there their first act of Dark Side power will be to try to kill the person or thing that is torturing them, which is generally the Sith trying to convert them. Which might explain why there was no specific tempter here to risk having powerful converted Jedi trying to kill them.

        1. lawgnome says:

          All of this seems really reasonable, except for one thing: why would all of that turn them into loyal servants of the Empire/Sith?

          Really, it seems more like this would be more likely to create Grey Paladins than it would create Sith. The tortured Jedi isn’t going to suddenly go “Gosh, this power source sure is nice. Guess I will immediately turn on all of my friends and everything I have ever believed in! Woo! Hurray for sudden personality replacement!”

          This seems like a terrible idea for creating loyal servants. It only makes sense if all Sith (and thus all Jedi) are actually controlled by the Force, rather than having any agency of their own. Once you start using one side or another, it takes over your body like a parasite, giving you power and taking your will. There are no individuals – only the Force hive mind. OBEY!

          1. Daimbert says:

            Well, not Grey Paladins, since the reference I found for them is that they tried to minimize their use of the Force and this method actually ENCOURAGES the use of Dark Side powers because of how they feel.

            Additionally, I guess there’s a step I missed, which is that all of his is in flat contradiction to the Jedi philosophy. As I think at least one source explicitly stated (probably an EU one, or it might have been Jaessa from TOR), the Jedi say that you have to control your emotions and act from calmness and that passion is bad. And then not only is the only way that the Jedi could get the power to end their torment was to reject that philosophy showing that that way is “more powerful”, it also feels incredibly good and gives them feelings and sensations that they may never have had before, and also gives them an outlet for all of those “bad emotions” that the Jedi had been telling them that they need to suppress. From there, it’s easy to get them to see that the philosophy of the Jedi at least feels really, really wrong, and so to reject it and then embrace the philosophy of the Sith, which not only lets but ENCOURAGES them to indulge those emotions, and so at a minimum they come out of the experience rejecting the Jedi, and often can end up HATING the Jedi for keeping them locked into the wrong Jedi philosophy for so long when they could have been experiencing all of this for all of their lives.

            There’s a reason that so many Sith try to corrupt others by telling them that embracing their emotions is key and that the Jedi are wrong to deny them, as the experience of indulging in emotions, to them, is the best possible argument against the Jedi philosophy.

            Ironically, someone not Jedi trained would be more likely to stay as a Grey Jedi type instead of turning completely, because they wouldn’t have the entire philosophy to reject and to instill bitterness in them. They thus could at least come to believe that there are times to use Dark Side and times to use Light Side powers. Still, the Dark Side still ties into emotions that, at least in humans, it feels more directly pleasurable to indulge in which then would always create the temptation to lean Dark Side rather than Light.

            (The tendency of strong emotions to suggest actions and overwhelm reasoning is in fact one of the main reasons the Stoic philosophers reject the use of emotion entirely, similarly to the Jedi but with a better explanation of why).

          2. RFS-81 says:

            It only makes sense if all Sith (and thus all Jedi) are actually controlled by the Force, rather than having any agency of their own. Once you start using one side or another, it takes over your body like a parasite, giving you power and taking your will. There are no individuals – only the Force hive mind. OBEY!

            After reading Darth Bane, I came up with a (not serious) fan theory like that. I present

            The Horseshoe Theory of the Force

            The midi-chlorians are mind-controlling parasites. If you let go of your attachments and emotions, become a Jedi and follow the Force, they win. If you don’t, they convince you that your attachments to anyone and anything are holding back your power, until all that’s left is the Force, and then they also win.

        2. John says:

          There is no such thing as a Dark Side power. Take Force Choke, for example. Force Choke doesn’t really exist. Force Choke is just the name that Bioware gave to telekinesis used with the intent to harm or kill. When Darth Vader murders an Imperial officer with his mind, he’s using the exact same power that Luke uses on Dagobah to lift rocks in the air. It’s the emotional state and the intent of the user that makes a use of the Force Dark, not the specific effect produced.

          I really, really hate the tendency of certain fans and spinoffs to treat the Force as a discrete set of individual magic spells, each with a hard-coded moral alignment. It’s tolerable as a video game convention, but we should always remembered that that’s not how the Force works and not how the Force is depicted in the movies.

          1. Daimbert says:

            Force Lightning is probably a counter-example to your claim, and is the sort of Dark Side power that I was thinking of.

            1. MerryWeathers says:

              I dislike how using lightning is classified as a dark side ability and how that’s only the case because Palpatine constantly uses it.

              There’s nothing inherently evil about it, it’s just something you can do with the Force like telekinesis. As John said, it’s the emotional state and the intent of the user that makes a use of the Force “dark”, not the specific effect produced.

              1. Fizban says:

                Making lightning with magic has plenty of perfectly benign uses. But as I found out from a friend’s response when Legend of Korra aired and there were benders charging up batteries with lightning for quick cash, such a pedestrian use of what is supposed to be a rare talent offends some viewers.

                And since electricity is clearly not in short supply in the Star Wars universe, that leaves only powering up discarded equipment, or damaging things. Contriving a situation where there’s a vehicle or droid or something that’s out of power (or piece of electronics so big it can’t be telekinesed but *must* be destroyed) and requires a “non-dark-side” bit of force lightning, can only be interpreted as what it is: a deliberate statement from the writer about the underlying morality of the mechanics or lack thereof. Which goes against the general movie suggestion that it should all be intuitive.

              2. baud says:

                If you hold to what’s told in the old EU as cannon, there are some nominally light-sided jedi who used force lightning, including Luke, so there is some background for force lighting not being an exclusive dark side power.

                And I agree that force powers are neutral, but I think force lighting would nearly always be used with the dark side of the force, since its main uses are painful killing and torture, which aren’t exactly light side activities. Perhaps one could argue that cranking up the power level so that the target is killed instantly/disintegrated painlessly would allow to use force lighting with the light side (or mostly neutral, depending on how you view the thing), but that’s a bit of a stretch.

                1. Daimbert says:

                  Canonically, we also know that some Light Side Jedi dabble in Dark Side powers, as that’s how Mace Windu fights with a lightsaber, so that Jedi have used it on occasion doesn’t mean that it isn’t Dark, just that sometimes you can act with Dark Side intent without completely falling.

              3. Philadelphus says:

                I wanna see someone use Force Lightning to restart someone’s heart now. Just a little jolt…

              4. Daimbert says:

                The only characters that use Force Lightning in the movies are Sith (Palpatine and Dooku). Yoda knows how to defend against it, but doesn’t seem to use it, nor do any of the other Jedi. What has been suggested is that in order to generate Force Lightning you need to be in a Dark Side emotional state, which is why only Dark Siders ever use it. For the most part, this is how Dark or Light side powers would work: the power itself may be neutral or be able to be used in neutral ways, but to generate the ability at all requires the user to be in a state that leans one way or another (having to be calm for things like healing, say, or having to be angry for Force Lightning, etc).

                Force Choke is an exception because as John noted it can be just a specific application of the neutral power of telekinesis. But there’s no evidence that Force Lightning is that way.

            2. John says:

              Electricity is morally neutral. It’s not the lightning that makes the Emperor’s Force lightning Dark, it’s the fact that he’s deliberately using it to torture someone to death.

              1. Daimbert says:

                As noted, canonically only Sith use it. That could indeed very much suggest that it’s a Dark Side power, and it has been suggested that that’s because you need to be in an emotional state that leans Dark Side to do it. This is how we would get Dark or Light side powers as opposed to neutral ones, and Force Lightning is different from Force Choke in that Force Choke, as you noted, is a specific application of a neutral power, while there is no evidence that that’s the case for Force Lightning (we can’t see any other power that it’s a specific application of).

                1. John says:

                  Look, if you can tell me why producing lightning from the fingertips and then not using it to hurt someone is inherently evil or Dark, I’ll shut up. I don’t think it is, and I can’t think of a compelling argument as to why it should be. Force lightning–or, if you prefer, electrokinesis–is no different in principle than telekinesis. As for the fact that the only characters we see use electrokinesis offensively are Sith, well, that means less than you seem to think it does. Jedi can control lightning–and do!–in the prequels. How else do you think Yoda and Mace Windu defend themselves from Dooku and Palpatine’s lightning attacks? Like good Jedi, they’re using the Force for defense rather than to attack.

                  1. Daimbert says:

                    Dark Side does not have to mean evil or evil in intent, as we see with Mace Windu who uses a lightsaber technique that channels Dark Side power canonically but is not evil. So, yes, you can use Dark Side powers for aims that are not evil (a Dark Sider could, for example, certainly use Force Lightning to charge a capacitor if they needed to, and in KoTOR Force Lightning can indeed be used exclusively as the equivalent of the Light Side “Destroy Droid” power). The idea is that in order to use certain powers, you have to be in certain emotional or mental states, or at least that the powers are easier to use and far more effective in those states. This, again, would be PRECISELY why Windu’s lightsaber style is Dark Side influenced even though he’s not a Dark Sider: you need to tap into Dark Side emotions to do things they way he does in combat. That the only people who use that power in the movies are Sith is a pretty good indication that it is that sort of thing.

                    As for Yoda and Windu, Windu blocks it with his lightsaber, and Yoda never GENERATES lightning, but only shapes and redirects it, which would a form of energy absorption/manipulation, which in general requires that there be energy there to manipulate. Those are both different abilities than generating the lightning, and generating the lightning is the hallmark of Force Lightning. So there is no equivalent power for Force Lightning to be a specific application of.

                    At any rate, you insisted that there could be no such thing as Dark or Light Side powers, and Force Lightning strongly suggests that yes, there could be. That’s really all I need to show.

                    (As an aside, I recall the RotJ novelization suggesting that Luke was using a similar power to Yoda’s to deflect the lightning, but wasn’t strong enough to stop it entirely).

                    1. John says:

                      There is no evidence at all in the films, which are the only sources that I care about, that you have to be in a specific emotional state to generate sparks from your fingertips. Nor is there any evidence that you have to be in a specific emotional state to produce any other effect through the Force. Yoda tells Luke that the key to avoiding the Dark Side is being at peace. He doesn’t say “Make lightning you must not; automatic 30 Dark Side points that is.” Palpatine similarly focuses on emotion and intent when he talks about the Dark Side. Neither of them seem to think that the Darkness or non-Darkness of specific effects are worth mentioning. And they aren’t. It’s emotion and intent that are relevant to the Force because it’s emotion and intent that are relevant to the story. The Force is not a checklist of Dark Side and non-Dark Side powers because checklists are not dramatically satisfying.

                    2. Syal says:

                      Mace Windu who uses a lightsaber technique that channels Dark Side power canonically

                      Where is this canonically

                      The idea is that in order to use certain powers, you have to be in certain emotional or mental states

                      Where is this canonically

                      which would a form of energy absorption/manipulation, which in general requires that there be energy there to manipulate. Those are both different abilities than generating the lightning,

                      This is an arbitrary restriction by people who want the Light Side to be weaker than the Dark Side. It’s not reflected in the movie.

                    3. Daimbert says:

                      Replying to both Syal and John here:

                      Windu’s Force Form is canonical (from the official canonical books/conversions, not directly mentioned in the films themselves): https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Form_VII

                      The sole Form VII variant to have gained recognition by the Jedi Council, Vaapad was only created in the final decades of the Jedi Order. The key architect of Vaapad was Jedi Master Mace Windu, who developed the form to address his own weakness by controlling his inner darkness and channeling into worthy ends. For this purpose, he refined advances from the preceding centuries and in the minds of some, finally perfected Form VII as a true lightsaber form in line with the tenets of the Jedi Code.[2]

                      Only a handful of Jedi trained in Vaapad prior to the enactment of Order 66 and the destruction of the Jedi Order. Even Windu himself was wary of allowing others to study the form, outside of his own Padawan pupil, well aware of the danger it posed. Practitioners of Vaapad drew on their anger and passion, but never gave in to them. Compared with the other lightsaber forms, which directed warriors to master their emotions, Vaapad’s approach was dangerous. However, it was not as reckless as Juyo’s manner of employing unchecked aggression.[2]

                      Despite its refinement over Juyo, Vaapad was clearly Form VII at its core when seen in battle. The Form VII practitioner fought with controlled fury, laying about with a combination of frenzied, rapid strikes and powerful blows. Both variants of the form were as demanding physically as they were emotionally, and in some ways hark back to the direct, kinetic simplicity of Shii-Cho.[2]

                      That’s clearly using Dark Side emotions for Light Side purposes, and the very existence of the Form says that you couldn’t get the same effects without using those emotions (or else the Form would have been
                      completely banned and would have been useless). So right there are examples where the emotions are Dark while the intents are positive, but the risk of falling to the Dark Side still remains (almost all practitioners of Juyo fell, and Vaapad is considered risky).

                      As for the energy manipulation vs energy generation part, from the movies NO Jedi generates lightning, no matter how advanced. Yoda explicitly DOESN’T generate lightning of his own, and only redirects and returns Dooku’s. While that doesn’t prove that he CAN’T, the fact that Sith do generate it and no Jedi does even when it would be useful — for example, Yoda doesn’t generate his own lightning to block Dooku’s when that would be the more obvious way to safely confront his use of it — is suggestive. And they are not the same thing.

                      And finally, Syal, my comments are not meant to argue that the Dark Side is stronger, as I’ve pretty much argued against that in this thread. It’s just different. The Sith focus on overwhelming enemies with displays of raw power, so the techniques that they use will indeed focus on that, while the Jedi will focus on more subtle abilities that can be best used while calm. That they are different doesn’t make one better than the other, or stronger than the other. But it does suggest — and I think it’s the most sensible conclusion — that there will be certain abilities that you simply CANNOT properly use when working from one of the overall philosophies, because you have to be calm, say, to use it which a Sith cannot properly do, or you will have to be swept away by passion which the Jedi cannot properly do.

                      And to John, you could argue that those are all still applications of the same underlying principles. Since those underlying principles will be tapping into the Force, that is indeed hard to argue with [grin]. But that doesn’t mean that classifying those things that are nearly impossible for a Light Side Jedi to do as a Dark Side ability and those things that are nearly impossible for a Dark Sider to use as a Light Side ability doesn’t make sense. It very much does if the philosophies are going to have any real meaning at all (and it leaves open the argument from those who are Grey that the problem is not the Force, but is instead with the philosophies themselves).

                    4. John says:

                      Okay. One last try.

                      Daimbert, do you have any non-spinoff reason that to believe that it is impossible for a Force user to generate lightning without drawing on the Dark Side other than the fact that we only see Palpatine and later–or earlier, depending on how you look at it–Dooku do it? If that’s all you’ve got, then I suggest that you’ve have constructed an elaborate edifice on some thoroughly inadequate foundations. You might as well argue that Palpatine can only generate lightning when he’s in a fight with a Jedi because never see him do it at any other time. If you want to argue that it’s impossible to use Force lightning to deliberately hurt someone without drawing on the Dark Side, then that’s a slightly different matter–although even then it’s the “deliberately hurt” part of that statement that’s relevant rather than the lightning part–but I will never accept that simply making lightning is somehow Dark on the basis of guilt by association.

                    5. Daimbert says:

                      John,

                      Remember, YOU were the one insisting that there cannot be any such thing as Dark Side or Light Side powers. I’m disagreeing with that specific formulation and saying that, yes, the interpretation of many other works that there are such is indeed reasonable and, I believe, more reasonable than the interpretation that there aren’t any. Force Lightning is an example that really looks like that. Vaapad is an explicit example of that, and is in the official canon, which is all I care about. So there is no reason for you to be so insistent that there can be no such thing. So you need to provide reasons, then, for why you are so certain that there are no such distinctions.

                    6. John says:

                      Daimbert,

                      I do not acknowledge Vapaad. It has no bearing on the content or the lore of the films, which existed prior to and independently from whatever spinoff Vapaad originates in.

                      I stand by my claim that there is no such thing as a Dark Side power. I have already made the case quite clearly. There is simply no evidence in the films that powers have fixed Force alignments. No one in any of the films ever talks about any of the various powers that way. On the other hand, there is a multitude of evidence that it is the emotional state and the intent of the Force user that determines the Force alignment of his actions. If, however, you are determined to ignore everything that Yoda says in The Empire Strikes Back then I can’t stop you. Your claim, that Force powers can have inherent, fixed alignments, is much stronger and more remarkable than mine. You assume many things which are not evident and you jump to what I feel are unsupportable conclusions.

                      And with that I give up.

                    7. Syal says:

                      So fan sites obviously aren’t canon. The sources listed for the Form are a videogame, a card game, a roleplaying game, and three trivia books. The games need to make stuff up to have game mechanics, the trivia books have apparently all been rewritten at some point and seem to be post-hoc explanations that don’t get backed up in future stories. Is there any actual story that says using a lightsaber in a certain way is a Dark Side power?

                      Yoda doesn’t generate his own lightning to block Dooku’s when that would be the more obvious way to safely confront his use of it

                      …I completely forgot about the standard procedure of clearing electical current by hitting it with additional electrical current. For some reason I was thinking you used an insulated metal rod to ground it. Don’t know where that came from.

      2. Sleeping Dragon says:

        So leaving the whole “are there Dark Side powers” thing aside. I believe the shortest rationale for torture conversion would be something like this:
        1) As a dark side user I’m able to capture you and torture you, therefore demonstrating I’m stronger than you, this alone may be enough to turn some, particularly those whose natural tendencies would lead them towards wanting to be more powerful;
        2) Your suffering will lead you to fear and anger, eventually causing you to lash out, thus “falling”, this may be enough to turn some making them believe they are irredeemable (“oh no, I have destroyed this torture device in anger, I am pure evil”), again leaving aside the whole “are there dark side powers” just compare it to lunging at an abuser with everything you’ve got in a blind rage and then thinking you’re as bad as them because you also attacked them (guess what, when you think about it there is a lot of, well, dark stuff with the whole dark side thing);
        3) If you’ve managed to make some progress freeing yourself, but you are weakened by torture, new to this whole dark side thing and probably hesitant to use it I am quite likely to still be able to sudbue you afterwards, thus again proving that dark side is more powerful, however even with the dark side I am more powerful than you are, thus your only hope is the chance I’m giving, that is being my slave and apprentice;

        Even if they’re not themselves prone to hunger for power the tortured is still effectively trapped in something of a dilemma. If they wanted to defeat their torturer they’d have to turn to the dark side, but the only person capable and willing to teach them the dark side is their torturer. You will notice that this does mean that the master can only hope to control the student through corrupting them more (“I did this because it was the only way to show you, if the Jedi didn’t blind you to the truth it would not be necessary so you should turn your anger against them”), gaining further leverage or staying more powerful (or at least having the student believe/be afraid that this is the case). From here on things largely depend on whether the master wants a tool, a partner or a (potential) successor, at least with some Sith they accepted the students eventually betraying them, letting the prowess and cunning decide who was the more worthy,

        The real problem is “torture conversion” is treated as a given. Even ignoring that it should not work every time when it does we should see how and why it worked for this particular person, if not for any other reason than because that’s exactly what would give that character dimensions. Did they accept their position as apprentice because they were broken and wanted the pain to end and now follow their master out of fear? Do they believe they’re “fooling” the master and waiting for an opportunity and need to “maintain cover” in the meantime? Do they believe they went “dark but not evil” and are just obtaining tools to fight actual evil? Did they embrace the “might makes right” idea and now revel in being able to do unto others what was done to them? I can understand writers not wanting to go into torture porn, especially in wide appeal media, but hey, maybe they shouldn’t use torture if that’s not what they want to do.

  10. Melfina the Blue says:

    Um, seeing memories in 3rd person isn’t just a Hollywood thing. My brain does that fairly often, generally when a memory is sparked by a picture I’m in. Best I can figure out, if I’m remembering a space it’s first-person since I’m remembering traveling through it, and personal interactions can either be first or third person but my third-person visualization of myself isn’t clear (placement’s right but features, clothing, that sort of thing is not unless I’ve just seen a picture).

    Of course, that could just be because I’ve grown up in the age of movies and video games, who knows?

    1. Higher Peanut says:

      I do the same sort of thing. If it’s just scenery it’s first-person, but once it involves placing myself or others within an area then it becomes third-person. I have no idea why, but it’s always been this way.

    2. Fizban says:

      The less time you spend directly staring at a person or people, the more the memory will shift to third person, I expect, as well as the more location is required for context. One on one face to face interactions generally go down as first person, because the point is to remember their reactions, much of which are on the face. The less face time and more people, the more the view will shift out. At three or more people besides yourself, it’s extremely unlikely you had all of them facing your face the whole time, so it’s basically guaranteed third person.

  11. Crimson Dragoon says:

    I can definitely agree that Trilla’s conversion was poorly executed. I’m honestly surprised that they didn’t bring in the Grand Inquisitor (a villain from Rebels) for those scenes. He would have been perfect for it. Maybe they didn’t want these cutscenes running too long, as an extended dialogue with her torturer would have, but something was definitely missing.

    However, I actually kind of like what they did with Cere. Seeing her apprentice fall to the Dark Side enraged her enough that she was able fuel her Force powers with her own anger, which is a very Dark Side thing to do. The Dark Side isn’t something that’s inherently more powerful, but it is easier to use, especially in a moment of weakness. As for why she wasn’t able to escape earlier, she may not have been powerful enough on her own. Or she may have been so physically and emotionally weak from torture that she couldn’t do it. And afterwards, I can understand why she’d be afraid to use the Force again, since she clearly hasn’t gotten over what happened. So I don’t really have issues with her story line, even if the inciting incident (Trilla) wasn’t handled well.

  12. Clive Howlitzer says:

    I am reminded of the Star Trek: TNG episode Chain of Command and how much the interactions between David Warner and Patrick Stewart made it all work. I am imagining a version without David Warner and just how awful it would be.

    1. Daimbert says:

      “Intersections in Real Time” from Babylon 5 is one that probably works better than even that one, actually, especially given how business like the interrogator is, and how the person who replaces him seems to be pretty much exactly the same.

  13. Dreadjaws says:

    I guess it was sporting of Trilla to not use his moment of vulnerability to dispatch him. There are a baker’s dozen troopers waiting outside, and if they’d stormed the place while Cal was on yet another fantastic voyage then they could have finished him off with little trouble.

    Anyway, the player regains control and you need to hack your way through another few soccer teams worth of troopers to make it back to the ship [Which Trilla and the troopers made no effort to attack, despite it being parked in the open.].

    I know you’re angry at the whole “conversion through torture” thing, but I find the stuff quoted above far more infuriating, perpahs because it’s so ubiquitous and it doesn’t just happen in Star Wars games.

    There’s no two ways about this, it’s just bad writing. It’s the writer wanting to have their cake and eat it too. They want to show the villains being powerful so they look like a threat, but they also don’t want them to use their power because they know they’d easily win, so they have them hold the idiot ball and just refuse to attack the heroes when they could easily achieve victory (see: Thanos punching Iron Man a lot instead of turning his armor into bubbles as he’s shown he’s capable of doing).

    Once in a while a writer tries to justify this by giving the villain a more elaborate vengeance plan (“No, we can’t kill them yet. First we will destroy everything they hold dear”), showing that they know the hero can still be useful to them, or just having their ego play a role (The Joker wants Batman dead, but he must be the one to do it, and it has to be in what he considers a humorous way, so just shooting him won’t cut it). This can be derivative, but at least it’s an attempt. I find it profoundly infuriating when they don’t even try. Trilla gets absolutely no benefit from not killing Cal and destroying his ship right then and there. They could have at least pretended that her light and dark side were in conflict and that she was trying to sabotage herself, but the story never even suggests this could be a possibility.

  14. Syal says:

    Man, references are messing with my ability to read normal words anymore. Been watching a bunch of Pitch Meetings since someone mentioned them recently so it’s “Careful with that thing” “Oh sure let me get offa that thing!”

    Although with several paragraphs of aside on the torture stuff, “Back To Realtiy Whoops There Goes Gravity” fits quite well.

    1. eaglewingz says:

      There are several ads and commercials with, “It’s super easy…”

      My brain doesn’t skip a beat filling in, “Barely an inconvenience!”

      1. Daimbert says:

        For a while, a new city recycling thing started its ad with “This is no ordinary paper bag.” I could NOT get a certain Let’s Play out of my head.

  15. I have a different take on the torture thing and I think it’s because they were trying to focus on a different aspect of the Star Wars mythos, the idea of making mistakes and redeeming yourself–which is actually made explicit during the game. See, there is no real “bad guy” because the bad guy is not some external force . . . the bad guy in this game is *what you might become*. The torture is incidental and treated as such because the whole theme of the game is about “all right, a bad thing happened. What are you going to do about it?”

    The characters aren’t being treated as *victims*. They are being treated as the *authors of their own destinies*, even under the worst conditions that anyone could possibly imagine. They are treated as always having a choice, and if they make a mistake, as being able to move forward and still make better choices.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I think it is a good point as the theme of choice is central to many, if not most, Jedi stories. However, I would argue that in this context the torture is not so much incidental as detrimental to that idea. Again, I understand the argument is “there is always a choice” but I think that would be stronger if Cere made her mistake in a moment of selfishness, if they had shown how Trilla found some semblance of sisterhood in the inquisitors and latched onto it. At the very least if just one of the characters was converted under torture rather than making it a universal go to convertotool.

      Also, in that context, the cameo that Shamus aluded to either exemplifies the theme, or is an 11th hour “oh crap we need a big baddie to show up” panic move.

      1. Yeah, to be fitting the cameo kinda depends on you knowing that the character does eventually end up getting redeemed.
        Granted, that’s a (fairly) reasonable expectation for anyone playing a Star Wars video game.

        I think they used torture because it’s a quick and lazy shorthand for “this is the worst thing that could ever possibly happen to someone” without having to do lots of character-backstory-building work. There ARE other characters who were NOT tortured, though, had terrible situations, and made choices–Merrin and Malicos.

        Greez makes his bad choice due to being in debt and that whole section was so rushed and badly-presented that it didn’t really work.

        There’s certainly an argument to be made that if I’m right about their intended theme, they didn’t do a particularly great job of being consistent with it. I think the following changes would have made more sense:

        1. Cordova needed to be fleshed out more as a character and Cal needed to find out that the ultimate reason why Cordova is making Cal do all this running around is because Cordova once screwed up and had his own “fall” and he’s terrified not that the information will fall into Imperial hands (which would be bad), but that it will fall into the hands of an UNPREPAPRED Jedi who will make bad decisions with it and be just as bad as the Empire.

        2. Cal needed to find out that his mentor wasn’t some perfect god but also a flawed person who had his own internal struggles and made some mistakes with bad outcomes, then came back from it. You could further tie events together and hang some lampshades by mentioning that Cal’s Mentor and Cordova worked together and that’s why Cere and Greez came charging in to rescue Cal–because Cal might have vital information that could help them find out where the heck Cordova hid his information.

        3. Set up and pay off Greez’s personal fall better. There needed, at least, to be some sort of setup that “he’s in debt, realistic threats have been made”. He needed the equivalent of the scene where Vader tells Lando “I’m altering the deal, pray I don’t alter it further”, which instantly transformed Lando from an asshole to a potential ally.

        4. Use the psychometric messages to set up little mini-stories in each location of Jedi who panicked and fell and that resulted in the Empire getting power in that particular area. For the most part, the Jedi didn’t end up being killed by the clones and letting the Empire take over because they were *surprised*, but because they individually made their own personal mistakes when under sudden, violent stress. If they could have regrouped and reorganized, they might have had a chance, but they reacted like squawking chickens and created their own chaos that misdirected their efforts to fight back. That could actually play back in to #2 up there, in that the mistake of Cal’s Mentor was in fleeing and blowing up their ship instead of rallying the other Jedi to take the ship back–it resulted in the mentor’s death, the loss of a ship that might have been extremely useful, and Cal being stranded alone with no guidance. It would have been a seriously horrifying moment if, during his vision quests etc. Cal learned not only to stop blaming himself for his mentor’s death, but that his mentor actually made a BAD CALL in that moment and Cal’s five years of terrified hiding were the MENTOR’s fault. So Cal could then, in that moment, forgive not only himself, but his mentor, and come away with a much more complex and mature view of people and decisions.

  16. Tohron says:

    You think dual-wielding double-bladed lightsabers is the most obnoxiously OP you can go? Witness the might of Darth Edge:
    https://i.postimg.cc/JRyvRmm3/Darth-Edge.png

    Dual-wielded double-bladed… lightsaberchucks! Maximum odds of self-dismemberment!

  17. Dev Null says:

    Ah but you see, Trilla also has a unique force power, which is that she can read the script.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Come on man, surely you’ve seen enough Star Wars movies to know that power’s far from unique…

  18. Ruined says:

    this idea where everyone is converted via torture is the one thing in the story I honestly hate. It yanks me out of the experience every time

    Do you want to know what pulls me out of the experience? Seeing famous people being used for characters. The character named “Cere” has the voice and face of a comedian from an old TV show. I could not enjoy this game because of constantly being reminded of the comedian. The same problem affects Cyberpunk 2077. I wouldn’t enjoy it because it contains Keanu Reeves.

    I believe video game characters should not be more than video game characters. I don’t want to be reminded of real people because it would ruin my enjoyment of the game. And, if a voice actor becomes famous in real movies later, that person should not be accepted for future game roles. The same situation would happen during the opposite scenario. If I love a game, I won’t want a movie version to be created later. I would forever hate the actors who play my favorite characters and ruin them for me.

    If all future games will be filled with the faces and voices of famous people, I’ll be very sad.

    Am I the only person who feels such revulsion during these situations? Am I a crazy person?

    1. Syal says:

      Typecasting’s been a long-running problem for actors since acting became a thing and is definitely not just a videogame-to-movie thing. “Oh, you played Superman? Well we’ll let you know if a movie needs a Superman, because no one’s going to believe you as anything else anymore.”

    2. Husr says:

      I do think there’s something to be said for casting people with the intention that their reputation has an effect on the audience’s impression of the character. In cyberpunk, for example, famous beloved actor Keanu playing the famous rockstar both immediately slots him into the role of a well-known figure, and helps explain how people gloss over how awful he is. Better analysis here: https://toatalireviews.com/2021/01/06/toatalis-musings-vol-1/
      Scroll down to the picture of Mads Mikkelson.

      If you’re not getting something out of the recognizability of the actor though, you’re just losing immersion and gaining nothing. As it stands now, that appears to be true with this game, and it certainly was with Death Stranding.

      I do think it’s possible that it was done to make those characters appearing in live action at some point easier, since they’d be instantly recognizable if they showed up on the Mandelorian or a movie. But still might not be worth it, and you’re certainly not alone in the practice bothering you as a general rule.

    3. MerryWeathers says:

      I’m just going to copy and paste something I said about this topic a while back:

      In the case of Star Wars, the purpose is to make it easier for the character to appear in a movie or live action TV show just in case someone wants them to. They even do this for the cartoon shows, some characters are modeled after their voice actors. Instead of having to find a new actor to cast for the character, they can just have the motion capture performer/voice actor reprise their role.

    4. Sleeping Dragon says:

      This actually makes me grateful for my IRL low perception scores. As in, I have real trouble recognizing faces and voices so I almost never have the problem of “this character sounds/looks like this other character”. I mean, I would recognize Keanu, probably, without the marketing campaign but unless it’s one of those really, reaaaaally famous ones it’ll probably go completely over my head.

      The one time I have issues is when the styles don’t mesh, like with the ME Miranda.

    5. RFS-81 says:

      Maybe we’re both crazy.

      In the German version of Witcher 1, every other dwarf was voiced by (the German voice-over artist of) Dr. House, and he has a very distinctive voice. It drives me crazy hearing him in anything except Dr. House.

      (HK-47, the murder robot from KOTOR, is Dr. Wilson. That was hilarious.)

    6. I think you’re right, and I hope making the character a copy of their voice actor is a trend that vanishes quickly. Basically, I think they’re doing it NOW because this is the first time it’s been a reasonable thing to DO and it was actually possible to create a reasonable simulacrum of a real person in a video game and not have everyone who plays the game immediately go “eww, wtf?!”

      The whole POINT of voice acting is that the voice actors can play characters who IN NO WAY physically resemble the actor. If you want live-action movies in your video game, then just film some live-action movies. It’ll be WAY cheaper and have PERFECT fidelity. Don’t use video games in an attempt to very, very expensively re-create live action. It’s just dumb.

      Granted, in movies the boundary between “live action” and “computer animated” is becoming increasingly blurred as well. I think the main reason for this trend is just that they’ve only had the tools to actually do insanely high fidelity animations for a relatively short time and everyone is still seduced by the tools.

      1. Henson says:

        I imagine many actors might prefer to use their own faces for video game roles nowadays, to enhance their profile. Unless you intend to do voice acting exclusively, having your own face on screen might be good to get you noticed by a casting agent.

  19. Sabrdance (Matthew H) says:

    I keep catching these things 80 comments in.

    I got the game for Christmas and am currently working through Zeffo 2 -just finished the Trillia reveal.

    Maybe I’ll get further in the game and be able to do a full comment before the series ends, but I wanted to say that I appreciate this review series. It is one of the things that got me interested in the game.

    However, I also disagree with a lot of it. I think Jennifer Snow absolutely has this right -the enemy of the game is the characters’ future actions. I am loving watching Cal’s development. Just finished the Trillia reveal, and did not find Cal’s reaction to be scandal at what Trillia is saying -he knew the story already, more or less. Nor is he scandalized by the reveal that Trillia fell. Trillia’s only line that affects him is that Cere’s unreliability as a master might lead to his fall -which he rationalizes by saying he’s better off alone and can take care of himself. He’s mostly worried that Cere didn’t trust him enough to tell him this -and because of the way he idolizes his master (this has already been made clear, even though I haven’t gotten to the Order 66 flashback yet) he worries that Cere is going to abandon him or screw up so that he falls.

    I suspect this fear is what leads to his vision in this and the previous entry: remember what Yoda says about the cave. There is only in there what you bring with you. Cal brings fear of falling with him, and so that is what he sees.

    I haven’t gotten to this part yet, so I can’t speak to it, exactly -but I wonder if Cal seeing what happened to Trillia, and seeing how little of it really had to do with Cere, is what helps him understand better.

    Regarding the torture -like others above, I have long seen the torture as serving the purpose of getting the Jedi to lash out in anger and fear, repeatedly. Pardon the analogy, but think of it the way traffickers get their victims hooked on narcotics. However brutal and violent the process is, the resulting drug high feels good -and screws the victims up mightily. But the result is a person who will do what their abuser wants because they need the high. Dark side torture works pretty much the same way -the torture leads to repeated anger and fear and lashing out, which the Dark Side makes feel good. It becomes addictive, and results in a person who -even if they one day want to kill their new master -can’t do it yet because they need more of those dark side hits.

    In this analogy, Cere’s response is to immediately adopt the Narcotics Anonymous plan of never getting close enough to drug to be tempted to use it again -and that’s why she cuts herself off. It’s also probably why she doesn’t tell Cal. Even discussing it may be a temptation for her.

    And despite this mechanism being pretty much what I’ve thought all the way back to KOTOR -I don’t mind that being mostly off screen. I don’t really want a few chapters of “Without Remorse” being dropped in my Star Wars.

    Anyway -to conclude. I really appreciate this review. It got me into the game, and I’ve really liked it, and I think the writing is much more nuanced than the review does.

  20. PPX14 says:

    It’s like Captain Kirk – Trilla has eyeliner on so you know she’s evil.

    1. Nimrandir says:

      Concept art shows that at one point, Trilla also had the patented Evil Spock Goatee, just to make sure the audience got the point. The lack of time for proper facial hair modeling blocked the implementation of this feature.

      An eye patch was temporarily on the table but was scrapped after multiple team meetings devolved into the old ‘Is Sagat a bad guy?’ debate.

  21. RamblePak64 says:

    I’m actually curious if LucasFilm has a page or two in their lore bible that officially states torture as a method of conversion during this time period. Which, honestly, would be lame, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    I think what always annoyed me about Cere’s whole shtick is that it feels very “My First D&D Character”. What’s that? You’re a good character but you used evil powers once in your backstory so now you’re emotionally tortured? Oh, how special you are… The execution of it just feels ham-fisted and… Rushed? I dunno, like they had an idea and just slapped it together rather than thinking it through.

    Which adds to Trilla’s whole conversion. How do you get someone to fight on your side? Well, I’m actually reminded of the film Swing Kids, and how a far more gentle education program was capable of programming and converting people into loyal soldiers. It would have been far more interesting if they used Ceres’ betrayal to create a sense of isolation and vulnerability in Trilla (keeping her imprisoned with little contact), only to then begin conversing with her. To try and “educate her” on how broken the Jedi Order had become, how Cere was willing to sell her and the other younglings out, so on and so forth. So when Trilla stood before Cere, it wasn’t because “Oh you betrayed me I hate you”, but because “You lied to me, lied to all of us, and now… now I’m going to make a real difference”.

    Instead, they tried the 1984 method, but the whole point of that method was to have two broken people that had become so broken that they never knew if they both betrayed one another under the cherry tree, or if they, personally, were the traitor. This is… not getting that.

    Of course, when you get towards the final big spoiler, I’ll have far, far more to say about my disappointment in Trilla’s arc.

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