Right, so I finished rewatching my season one bearing in mind Imhotep’s suggested order and mindset last night.
He emphasised using Duchess of Mandalore as the episode where they all ‘regroup on Coruscant’, which on review I think doesn’t quite give us a punctual enough moment to make it worthy of bringing forward just for that. However, using Duchess to return them to Coruscant does work - but I feel it belongs a little later.
My main change to Imhotep’s idea and my own original ordering is that I think I don’t quite need to force Maul’s plotline (starting in Nightsisters) to be the ABSOLUTE earliest possible, so after The 501st Legion (my Domino Squad arc) I’m going to play the Ryloth episode then Nightsisters.
This gives us a better pacing of Ahsoka, and also implies that her schooling and the events with Luminara and Ventress has now earned her her first battle command. Ryloth’s space battle is also smaller and slightly lower stakes than the Sullust shipyards seen at the start of Nightsisters.
This also works nicely from the villains angle. Grievous and Ventress are involved in the attack on Kamino in The 501st, then it’s a good strategic move for the Wat Tambor / Neimoidian fleet to also be attacking the strategic/political target of Ryloth almost at the same time, or just after. There’s a real sense now that Dooku’s pulling the strings, and using all of the Separatists to attack as many targets as possible, to keep the Republic off balance. (I’ll also, in the crawl, emphasise Ryloth’s ‘refineries’, since we see an ‘Imperial Refinery’ as a strategic location on Ryloth in the Bad Batch.) Then, there’s enough time for Ventress to regroup before her appearance at Sullust.
The other benefit of this ordering is that King Katuunko is now killed in the right order. Previously, I had to fuck about with having Katuunko die in Nightsisters, then Bail Organa in the Ryloth episode have to deal with random Toydarians. Now, Katuunko provides his aid to the Ryloth crisis, and as soon as Dooku’s tested Savage he sends him off for revenge and to remove that tactical threat. This means I’ll be able to use more of the original Bail-Katuunko scenes, which smooths over Ryloth, and also takes off some pressure from Christophsis.
During Nightsisters I might mention that as Obi and Anakin join the Sullust crisis, Ahsoka’s off with either Luminara or Plo Koon establishing a small defensive force on Felucia, to pay off in our next episode.
After those two episodes, we’ll drop into Duchess of Mandalore (NOW bringing them all home, but with the inclusion of the Felucia escape from my Holocron episode, as per my previous post). Then they’re all back in Coruscant properly as the Republic now rethinks things after that initial phase of the war, and Ahsoka’s being disciplined. Then we get the Holocron crisis, which I think will feel a lot better paced without the Felucia content as that episode’s main plot only really got started halfway into the episode previously.
So now then, the seasonal ordering would be:
- THE NEW PADAWAN - (Re)introduces Ventress, introduces Ahsoka. Separatist target is the crystalline ray shield factories of Christophsis. Ahsoka mentions an “emergency”.
- MALEVOLENCE - (Re)introduces Grievous, gives Ahsoka’s Plo Koon background, gives us a taste of caring about clones. Separatist target is wounded clones and clone medical facilities. (This is the “emergency” mentioned last episode.)
- THE DEATH WATCH (from the first two Satine/Mandalore episodes on Concordia and the Coronet) - Introduces Satine, focuses on Obi-Wan, puts Ahsoka in school, hints at Anakin’s darkness, and kicks off the Mandalore subplot. Separatist target is alliance with Mandalorians, postponed as Mandalorians are kicked off Concordia, but leaving the threat of Mandalorians hanging over the season. In the crawl, explain that the Republic are how hunting for Grievous. [I think I want to rename this to THE DUCHESS OF MANDALORE even though that’s an existing episode name, since she’s really the core of the episode, and it implies a very different Mandalore to the one you know from other media.]
- CLOAK OF DARKNESS - Faces Ahsoka alone against Ventress. Separatist target is to stop Gunray from revealing Grievous’ location/plans. In the crawl, explain that Anakin and Obi-Wan are now spearheading that effort. [I might rename this episode to ASSASSIN, to emphasise the Ventress angle.]
- THE 501st LEGION - Introduces the key clones, and pits Anakin and Obi-Wan against Grievous and Ventress after their large introductions. This is now the first episode where Ahsoka doesn’t appear at all (it’s too dangerous for her and/or she’s busy wrapping up her last episode), but we’ll go Ahsoka-heavy in the episodes before and after this one. Separatist target is Kamino, enhanced by milking the hunt for Grievous a little in the prior episodes.
- THE BLOCKADE OF RYLOTH - Gives Ahsoka’s first failiure at a cost of many lives. Bail Organa and Cham Syndulla appear, and Katuunko helps the Twi’leks. Separatist target is the refineries (and people) of Ryloth, enhanced by this attack coming immediately after the Kamino one.
- CHILDREN OF NIGHT - Explores Ventress more, introduces Dathomir, kicks off the Maul subplot, and gets more Sithy. Separatist target is the shipyards at Sullust, and later revenge against Katuunko. In the crawl, explain that Ahsoka’s with the 501st establishing a force on Felucia.
- DUCHESS OF MANDALORE (from the third Satine/Mandalore episode originally called Duchess of Mandalore) - (Re)introduces Padmé, gives more Obi-Wan/Satine, and gives Ahsoka’s second failiure at a cost of being formally disciplined. Separatist target is Felucia and mainly the alliance with the Mandalorians again, which properly fails this time, closing the potential threat of a Separatist/Mandalorian alliance but keeping the Mandalorians on the board. [I might rename this episode to THE DEATH WATCH, to keep that name as a title in play, and since we now know who the Death Watch are so we can anticipate their return.]
- A STRIKE AT THE HEART (pt1) introduces Cad Bane, and brings all our main characters together. Separatist - no, SITH - target is the Holocron/Children, via a distraction and competent bounty hunters.
- A STRIKE AT THE HEART (pt2) has all our main characters chasing Bane, with some bonus Mace Windu and showing how much Ahsoka’s come to mean to Anakin. It gives us Ahsoka’s patience, her moderating influence on Anakin, hints at Ahsoka’s future direction as a wise teacher, and gives us the first chronological hint at Sidious’ multi-generational plan for an army of force-sensitive agents and other forcey plots. [I might rename this episode to THE FUTURE OF THE FORCE. (1) The kids are the future of the force, (2) Ahsoka training the next generation is the future of the force (see Mandalorian), and (3) Sidious fucking about with force sensitive DNA is the future of the force (see TROS).]