Since the Ghost crew took last Saturday off, you know what that means… it’s back to the Freemakers! And the episode we’re digging into today just so happens to be one of my favorites (even though they’re all my favorites), The Maker Of Zoh! Grab a hot cup of
motor oil kaffe and read on!
NOTE: Contains spoilers from The Clone Wars “Siege Of Mandalore” arc, Rebels episode Twilight Of The Apprentice, The Yoda Chronicles, The New Yoda Chronicles, and Freemakers episodes Crossing Paths, The Test, The Kyber Saber Crystal Chase, and The Maker Of Zoh
Things have been pretty tough for the Freemaker fam these last couple days. A certain dark side-wielding Imperial is to blame. But perhaps things might not’ve been so difficult had they known R0-GR’s transmission pack had a tracking device the whole time. Roger knew about it but never considered it might have been the source of Naare’s constant one-step-aheading. Unfortunately this discovery is too late to make much of a difference — the last crystal’s on Hoth and Naare already knows this. So it’s either the Freemakers go to Hoth and she kills them or they don’t go and she finds the crystal and the Emperor kills everyone. But there is a third option, and it’s on Zoh. Rowan recalls what Maz Kanata told him about this person they could go to when things got desperate, and I’d say this whole situation qualifies. The uninhabited trash planet doesn’t sound promising, but hey, it’s not Hoth! That’s already a win! Oh, we’re off to see the Maker, the wonderful Maker of Zoh! *shot*
At first glance, Zoh isn’t terribly spectacular, but as they land the StarScavenger, the Freemakers come upon a fascinating array of massive, eclectic, but incredible scrap sculptures towering above them. The rest of the crew’s not sure what to make of it, but Rowan’s got a good feeling about this… which doesn’t last long when suddenly droids rise from the mechanical refuse. Lots of droids, from super battle droids to astromechs to pit droids and all the others I can’t rightly name. And they don’t like the Freemakers’ presence here. Zander sends Roger out to speak to them, but the instant their skeptical leader eyes the battle droid’s dismembered transmission pack, everydroid and their brother pulls out their weapons on the humans. Surely they would’ve made quick work of the family… had a voice not commanded them to cease their fighting… a voice I felt I recognized from somewhere but wasn’t sure where. With a wave of his hand, the mysterious figure disassembles the boulder of scrap metal that nearly was used on Rowan. The being must be Force-sensitive, but I still couldn’t place who this was. But then his left hand… it glows blue with the pure power of four kyber crystals. I squee-gasped with surprise: IT’S JEK-14. JEK is the one these droids address as The Maker. Oh my gosh you guys this made me so insanely happy I could hardly breathe! Considering how close-to-canon The Freemaker Adventures is, I wasn’t sure if the events of previous Lego SW specials were canon in this near-canon-ness. OK I’m not sure that made sense. What I mean is, one of the things that stands out most about TFA compared to previous Lego SW is that they strive to keep it as true to Star Wars as it gets, with the exception of some fun Lego stuff here and there. The older ones weren’t bad or any less fun by any means, they just mostly kept it light and played around with a lot of jokes that don’t quite quite fit the canon. Because of this, I wasn’t sure if they would consider both The Yoda Chronicles and The Freemaker Adventures in the same boat. I mean, I always kinda did, as I consider most Lego SW stories canon and take it all as seriously as the rest of SW. But whatever the case, they brought JEK-14 back and in the most amazing way. Anyway, JEK apologizes to the Freemakers for his overprotective shootystabbycrushy friends. Bossdroid N-3RO argues he has a right to overreact, looking at the lightsaber wound on one of the super battles, but JEK gets mouse droid Fixer right on it. The old clone gives the young scavengers full reign to take whatever scrap they need, but it’s not scrap they need, it’s help. And seeing how The Maker is a Forcewielder, Rowan believes he can help him with his Jedi training. But that’s exactly what JEK doesn’t want to do. “But the fate of the galaxy is at state!” “That’s what they all say… ‘One last battle to end all battles’, but there’s always another.” OK this just got so deep and so real I can’t even.
Let’s talk a brief history of JEK-14 for a minute or two. JEK-14 began life as a full-grown clone trooper, enhanced by kyber crystals and intended as a Separatist weapon by Darth Sidious. His first words were “I am ready to fight… for the Sith”, and without question he used his own brand of Force lightning on Jedi masters Mace Windu and Yoda. However, when commanded to actually kill Yoda, he couldn’t do it. Both the Jedi and the Separatists wanted JEK on their sides, but JEK refused, and the Force-sensitive clone fled for Hoth, where he found solace in using the Force to build works of art. However, the Separatists found him and cloned his Forcewielding self until he was barely alive. Miraculously, JEK-14 fought back and destroyed the dark side clones. Ultimately he chose to leave on a peaceful note, but intent on never again getting involved with the war. He went from there to Endor, where he helped build things for the ewok community. When the Jedi needed help, they sought him out, and it was only the kindness and innocence of Yoda’s padawans that convinced him to do so. In fact, had he not had such good relations with the younglings, far worse things might’ve happened. Some years later at the end of the Clone Wars, Yoda’s padawans convinced him to come back and help them get back the holocrons from the Jedi Temple. I don’t know for sure what he was doing in the time in between, but as I noticed watching this episode, the decorative clasp on his outfit has the Mandalorian beast-skull icon on it. Hehe I was actually right when I surmised he might’ve gone there! He clearly spent some time one what he assumed was a peaceful world, probably to be highly disappointed when the Siege of Mandalore occurred right before the war’s end. It was thanks to him that the Jedi made it safely offworld, and with the holocrons that Obi-Wan intended to use to train Luke someday. JEK spent the next 20 years in peace on Naboo before Yoda summoned him to Tatooine, where he would briefly join the fight against the Empire. He helped the Alliance for some time, before finally leaving them likely after they established their base on Hoth. And now, he’s made a home on Zoh, where he has all the building material he could ever want, all the friends he could ever need, and no one on his doorstep asking him to fight their battles. Until now. It’s only when Rowan explains how the Sith used him that JEK puts his pride and hurt behind him. Because once upon a time, the clone was used the same way. He’s not a Jedi, but he decides he will teach Rowan everything he knows about the Force. The Freemakers’ll be hanging out here for a while looks like. But N-3… bro’s not a fan…
Meanwhile, Graballa’s fleet was waiting outside Hoth. And waiting… and waiting… and waiting some more. Naare knows they’ll come. Graballa, however, is bored out of his mind. Both get slightly more than they bargained for though when their bosses come on the holo. Naare and Graballa are two very different varieties of scum and villainy, but the one thing they both have in common is that, for all their scum and villainy, they’re still pretty low on the food chain. Jabba doesn’t approve of his cousin’s latest harebrained scheme and Sidious is (as per usual) quickly running out of patience waiting for that Kyber Saber. Unsurprisingly, both Hutt and Imperial Agent are unsuccessful in convincing their higher-ups of their plans. We’re reminded in this scene that there are greater evils at work here and it’s terrifying. I do find it interesting that Naare approaches the Emperor this time not irritated or angry, but honestly kind of… afraid. Many times before, she’s addressed him with a prideful confidence we often see in second-rate darksiders, but it’s almost as though something happened recently to shake that foundation a little. Perhaps Sidious did something to remind her of her place, and what consequences await her if she fails. Maybe I’m reading into this too much, but if you’ve been reading these TFA posts for any length of time, you know I do a lot of that. But can you blame me? They are telling great stories here and I’m super curious about the things left unstated! But yah she feels ya, Graballa.
Watching JEK-14 training Rowan is basically one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my life. Like seriously. JEK has always been amazing with kids, and seeing him teaching his understanding of the Force to Rowan his just… wow. It’s something real special. I love his angle on the Force: the dark side destroys, but the light side creates. It’s a really great unique angle that feels appropriately Lego but also perfectly Star Wars. A very tangible point of view that perhaps no other Jedi master could offer… one that could only be explained by a Force-sensitive clone trooper who desired only to create. And perhaps someday Rowan will take these lessons and impart them on another young Forcewielder. FEELS FEELS FEEEEELS. Buuuuut again… N-3 is not a fan. The bossdroid’s convinced that The Maker might join the Freemakers and leave them if something’s not done. And if he leaves, they’ll be back to being useless, purposeless scrap. That does bring up a good question: do they truly see JEK as their friend and simply don’t want him to leave, or are they concerned mostly about being purposeless? Or are they concerned that, without The Maker, they will be have no one to protect them from any scavenger looking for a few spare parts? Or maybe it has something to do with him being “The Maker”, in that to the droids, he’s kind of a deity. IDK Maybe I missed something but any way you spin it it’s an interesting thought. N-3 is a very very desperate droid… and also very very convincing.
Elsewhere, Zander and Kordi hadn’t had much luck salvaging. Not a useful piece of junk in sight, it seems. Roger was trying to help, but after nearly crushing them with a toppled junk sculpture, the sibs give him the slip. It’s then when N-3RO makes his move, inviting his fellow “unappreciated” droid brother for a nice long oil bath. N-3 suggests that, perhaps, the battle droid should remain on Zoh, in paradise, away from ungrateful, uncaring masters who’d eventually scrap him. R0-GR won’t allow himself to believe the Freemakers would ever do such a thing, but considering recent events, there’s perhaps a niggling of doubt. Oh poor sweet Rogerrrr… 😦 Whatever the case, N-3RO’s got other plans for Roger’s masters… plans like leading Zander and Kordi into a trap.
So Rowan’s lessons were going quite well, thanks to JEK, he was able to construct a perfect speederbike out of spare parts. Which, true to his nature, Ro immediately hopped on and rode off. With a smile, JEK-14 follows on his own construction. Again AHHH I LOVE THIS. If Luke doesn’t become his official master then JEK totally should! It’s a good thing Rowan and JEK went for a ride, though, because they soon found Kordi and Zander chained up with a half a TIE hovering above their heads. N-3R0 insists that these trespassers have corrupted The Maker’s mind and that he’s doing the right thing by destroying them. Rowan expertly puts together a crate to shield them and attaches it to the speeders to get them to safety. Now if he and his master can stop the revolt without destroying the droids or getting killed themselves, it’llve been a good day! The two hold their own really well for a while, but when Rowan gets captured and JEK in turn lets his guard down, the droids get the better of them all. Roger returns from his oil bath to find his masters surrounded at all ends as N-3 has decided to “deactivate” them all, including JEK, who he now considers “beyond saving” O.O The bossdroid promises Roger complete freedom once the humans are out of the way. However, the old clanker’s come to a different conclusion. N-3 tried to convince him that the Freemakers’ frustration with him would ultimately end in a garbage disposal, but Roger has no doubts where he stands with his masters, because they’re not just masters, they’re family. In families, people make mistakes, they get mad at each other, but temporary frustration doesn’t turn their bond into scrap; they forgive each other, they love each other, they fight for each other. He might be a droid, but first and foremost he’s a Freemaker. And he takes that transmission pack with the family insignia on it and puts it back on. Now those droids are gonna have a whole ‘nother problem to deal with. OK I’m sorry I botched that moment but it’s truly amazing how strongly Roger cares for his family. In the past, he’s had a tendency to come off a little… I hate to say “jerky”, so let’s just say… “highly opinionated” with the Freemakers’ decisions and ideas. Oh wait “self-centered” that was the word I was looking for! Yeah he sometimes comes off like he cares more about himself than the others, but in his heart he truly considers them family, and he loves them even if they sometimes get on his nerves and force him into dangerous adventures… and vice versa 🙂 But oh yeah now here comes Graballa’s ship! Nuts I wish I knew its name so I wouldn’t have to keep calling it just “Graballa’s ship”. In the midst of the chaos, the Freemakers are able to make their escape. JEK remains behind to protect the droids, even after all they’ve done. But that’s not the last noble thing he’ll be doing today. Just as the Freemakers got out of the frying pan, they walked into the fryer as Naare pulled her red-blade out on them. Rowan was ready to take her on, whatever it took, but JEK-14 stood between them, urging Rowan and his family to go on. Oh man I’m getting all teary-eyed writing this. As Naare addressed him as the “failed experiment”, my respect for her dropped a few points. It’s an amazing duel though, as she fights with her lightsaber, while JEK fights with nothing but the pure Force running through his blood. He creates obstacles to throw in her way, but she just as easily tears these structures apart. Had this been a fair fight, I believe JEK was the stronger of the two, even without formal training. But it was not so… using every inch of darkness in her soul, Naare began to form a mountain of refuse around the clone. Rowan watched in horror as The Maker of Zoh was slowly buried in the scrap. Before going down, JEK called out to his apprentice “Trust in the Force. Be a builder, Rowan!” and I started bawling here, crying out “HE DONE PULLED AN ‘AHSOKA’!!” Because of JEK-14’s sacrifice, the StarScavenger was able to get offworld and away from their enemies’ grasp. Over the transmission pack, Rowan makes very clear to Naare that he will be getting that final fragment. JEK not only taught Rowan a new understanding of the Force, but I believe he’s also heavily inspired bravery in his apprentice, and in the rest of the Freemakers as well, in their most desperate hour.
On Zoh, a recently reconstructed N-3RO (post being blasted by Graballa’s fleet) wakes up to a world without The Maker… and also a restraining bolt because bro was well overdue for one of those. BL-OX now knows they never should’ve listened to him, as now, their master is no more. I started getting weepy again as I recalled all of the amazing things JEK had done and the incredible man he was. And then…
An arm shot out of the scrap.
The spark of the Force still electric in his veins, a blaze of pure Force shoots from his hand.
So I basically drowned in feels the rest of the day. Happy feels that JEK is alive. Sad feels that Rowan believes he lost his friend. Nostalgia feels from seeing JEK again. Really all the feels. I so so much love this episode and, again, this series. It felt awesome writing about them again. And I certainly will soon! Whenever the Rebs go on hiatus I’ll bring some more Freemaker follow-ups until I hit the season finale! As long as I live and breathe I’m never gonna wanna stop talking about Star Wars 😀
Keep The Peace,