By now, you’re probably on a Star Wars high thanks to The Rise of Skywalker and The Mandalorian. And while those are over (for now), The Clone Wars Season 7 is right around the corner. Since it’s coming to Disney+ in February, right now is the perfect time to rewatch the series. And if you can remember, Season 5 is a tear-jerker. With Ahsoka leaving the Jedi Order, it changed Anakin Skywalker. It was just another thing he could add on his long list of grievances with the Order. It’s also a great arc. But there are more reasons Anakin was so hurt by her leaving, outside of him losing his trusted Padawan.
Barriss’ framing of Ahsoka shook Anakin and his Padawan
To recap, Ahsoka and Anakin were in charge of the investigation into a bombing at the Jedi temple in Episode 17, “Sabotage.” But Padawan Barriss Offee set it up, so all the blame fell on Ahsoka. During this time, the public’s faith in the Jedi faded because a lot of Clones, workers, and Jedi died in the bombing.
Ahsoka escaped custody when no one was taking her word that she was innocent, and the only people to outwardly believe her were Anakin, Padmé, and Rex. Obi-Wan and Plo Koon had their doubts that she did it, but weren’t as outwardly accepting of her innocence. The chase for Ahsoka goes on for a couple of episodes. She’s named a killer and traitor.
Skywalker eventually finds Barriss and brings her in to confess, leaving the Jedi to welcome Ahsoka back. But the damage was done by this point, and she decides to leave because she doesn’t trust the Order or herself anymore.
Anakin and Ahsoka had a tight bond
The show takes place before Revenge of the Sith, so Anakin isn’t at his darkest yet. However, this arc shows just how close he is to the Dark Side and how much Ashoka’s leaving affected him. The Clone Wars, as a whole, does a great job of bridging Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. But these specific episodes do an even better job at showing Anakin’s anger and hate, and his inability to let go of attachments.
The attachment Anakin has for Ahsoka comes out of their strong bond. From their taunting nicknames for each other — Skyguy and Snips — to them learning from each other, they were really like siblings. Some even compare Anakin to being a parental figure to Ahsoka. Anakin’s cockiness and recklessness did, of course, get in the way of him actually mentoring her time and again. But Ahsoka brought out the best in Anakin and allowed him to be a teacher. And she was someone who he could care for just as much as rely on.
Anakin connected Ahsoka’s choice to leave back to him
This is why it hurts the most that Ahsoka chose to leave. As Tumblr user soccialcreature pointed out, Anakin asks, “What about me?” when Ahsoka leaves the Jedi. This line highlights his tendency to “misinterpret people’s actions by thinking that everyone was out to get him” or that everything was his fault. The Jedi weren’t the best teachers when it came to emotions, and Anakin is undoubtedly one of the worst when it comes to dealing with them. “Ahsoka left for herself, but his first reaction was thinking she was leaving him, while in reality, he was probably the biggest reason that leaving was so difficult for her,” the user writes.
Skywalker does not handle the whole “Jedi can’t have attachments” rule very well. His bond with his friends and wife might be typical for an average person, but as a Jedi, it’s a significant flaw. And because he does have such attachments, he cannot let go easily. It also doesn’t help that the Jedi Order makes him repress it all, and he’s left with this big bundle of feelings he can’t cope with.
So even though Anakin Skywalker lost a beloved friend when Ahsoka left, he also felt like he failed her. Combine that with his continued disillusionment with the Jedi, and it eventually leads to Darth Vader.