Part 47: Dantooine - I'm Glad You All Voted to Save the Jedi Masters
No seriously, if we didn’t save them, this update would have been much different. This is the big payoff for all the restraint. First off, here’s the video of the whole update:
Screenshots are a nice medium, but this time the custom camera work and the voice acting makes it worth watching.
It’s time to bring Act II to a close then.
Off to Dantooine for the last time.
As we turn the corner, we see the Jedi Enclave has been miraculously rebuilt.
Well, the mortar holes are still there, but at least it looks like someone shelled out for a drywall crew to come around.
With everything rebuilt, we can enter the upper levels of the building again.
You’ll see it in the video, but the camera does a slow pan around the centre of the Enclave; it’s one of those moments you had to have played KOTOR 1 to appreciate, having been in the place during its heyday. If you pay close enough attention, it’s one of the first moments in the game when you see a glimmer of hope amidst all the depressiveness.
The symbolism is in the trees – before Malak bombed the place, there use to one of those big trees growing in the centre of the courtyard. You can still see the dead black stump of it there, but right beside it, two new trees have sprouted up. It’s like the White Tree of Gondor from Lord of the Rings.
Have you ever heard of the term ‘Face-ism Ratio’?
Psychology work done in the 70’s found that in photographs, the amount of a person’s face shown in ratio to the rest their body completely changes our perception of the person. When only a person’s face (nothing below the chin) is shown, it emphasizes personality-related attributes like intelligence and ambition. When the rest of their body is shown, we stop paying attention to their cerebral qualities and what they’re saying, and instead we focus on their physicality.
I bring this up because KOTOR basically has two standard camera angles that the game switches between in conversations. The close-up, where we can only see their faces as they’re talking, and the midrange shot where we can see to their waist.
They did a lot of custom camera and animation work during this sequence to achieve a different effect. They wanted to communicate how completely ancient Kreia really is, something she had been hiding up to this point; so they pulled the camera way back to emphasize her frailty. As my old English teacher said, “Don’t tell it. Show it.”
"Yes, afraid for you. As I always have been. I will be fine here... whatever answers the Council have are for you alone."
"Is there anything wrong?"
Alright well, go ahead and sit there then.
I understand. It’s kind of like when you’ve been shoe shopping with a girl at the mall all day; after a while you just want to sit down and not move.
"And if you find you cannot trust me, trust in your training. Trust in yourself. Never doubt what you have done. All your decisions have brought you to this point."
Kreia is a proud character, but her ego isn’t rooted in her own strength; she’s a teacher, and like any good teacher she takes her pride in the success of her students. She’s spent the entire game training the Exile, and now she’s about to show off her prize pupil to the Jedi Council.
The first outright lie Kreia told the Exile was back on Peragus – that the Jedi Council was responsible for cutting him off from the Force. She knew it wasn’t true. However, she didn’t know where the Jedi Masters were, and by giving the Exile a reason to hunt them down, she figured he would be able to find them. The entire journey has been orchestrated by Kreia so that it would culminate in this one final moment, with the last of the Jedi gathered in one place. Why?
"We were wondering when you would arrive."
Oh hey, Vrook is even more of a dick than usual.
There are two missing scenes interspersed here with Handmaiden and Visas, but I think they were removed so that the sole focus would be the confrontation between the Exile and the Council.
"Did you not go to join him?"
"No, it is a battle he must face alone."
"But Atris, she has not come."
"Of course she has not. It is for the Jedi alone.”
“And now the exile shall see their blindness for himself. It is what we have fought against, for centuries."
"Oh, yes. At last you see. And what was Jedi is Sith, and what is Sith is Jedi."
With that, the Handmaiden finally realizes what Kreia is.
This is what we came for, right?
As the Jedi Masters have said all along, the Sith have revealed themselves, and now they can gather and decide on how to react.
“No. We will do as we have done - we will wait. There is nothing else we can do.”
“What? But the Sith are attacking the Republic!”
“We have seen their soldiers, the remnants of their fleet, but those are symptoms of a disease. It is more bait to attempt to draw us out.”
“The attack on Onderon... something was attempting to use the planet itself, to feed on it, to draw on the power there. You prevented it, but it was a stalling measure. The next time will be critical.”
The Exile tries to reason with them, but it doesn’t look like they’re going to listen. Speaking to them individually previously, they seemed to be rational and remorseful enough; but once they got together, the stubbornness quotient seemed to have gone way up. It’s like the old saying, “None of us are as dumb as all of us.”
“Whatever this thing is, it must be fought by those strong in the Force - it cannot be fought in any other way. It knows this, and that is why it is killing us.”
And that, in a nutshell, summarizes the downfall of these Jedi.
They knew the mistake they made in not entering the Mandalorian Wars sooner; they opted to wait and see while millions died, and that decision split the Jedi Order in two. Here, they’re presented with the same problem; the Sith have finally revealed themselves, and it was time to take action. And what do they do?
They decide to wait some more.
“I see you have failed to grasp the nature of the enemy we face. Where Jedi gather, Jedi die.”
“But not just Jedi... all things touched by the Force.”
Those were two of the former masters here on Dantooine.
“A Jedi doesn't care if he dies. Everyone does, but when we fight, when we sacrifice ourselves, it is for others, for the greater good.”
“But our presence must not endanger others. And as long as we were visible targets, we were a threat to everything around us.”
“Why didn't you track down this threat?”
“We have been trying... for years, without success. Whatever disturbance in the Force that would cause death on such a scale also clouds it from our sight.”
“It is like a scream in the Force, and finding its source is difficult. It has cast many echoes.”
“So we sought out places touched by the Force, by such events.”
“We went to Dantooine... to Telos... to Dxun.”
“And some of us just left.”
“We thought the enemy might show themselves. They were Sith, that much was certain. But where they were striking from, we did not know.”
“There was a gathering of Jedi on the planet - when we realized that something was attacking us, we resolved to meet secretly to attempt to find this threat.”
“Then... Katarr was no more.”
“When we felt Katarr die, there is something we felt, something we'd felt once before. An echo in the Force. We'd felt it before when you stood before us. Whatever this threat, whatever this hunger is, it is something tied to you, something you have experienced directly.”
“So it is me?”
They’re not sure how exactly it’s tied to the Exile, but they’re perfectly willing to blame him for it anyway.
“I felt it on Dxun.”
“And it was in the ground at Dantooine.”
“It echoed in the ruins on Korriban.”
“And the wastelands of Telos.”
"And so you wait, as a shadow."
"Yes, we are alike that way, blinded one."
"I would have thought you would walk with him amongst the Jedi."
"But that is not the way of the Sith, is it?"
"Do not speak to me of the ways of the Sith. You of all of us have no conception of what it means to be Sith. I have watched you hunger, and doubt, and drown in fear, and I have born it all silently. I have felt your lusts, and your longing, and that spark of hope... and longed to crush it. You could have been strong. There is a core in you where light shall never touch."
The scene fades to the black, and we hear the sound of Visas hitting the floor while Kreia walks away.
It’s not true, but Vrook never misses a chance to stick it to someone.
I hate him so much.
“You were no longer a Jedi. But we could not tell you why - some explanations mean nothing unless the one who suffers comes to the answer on their own. What had happened to you was punishment enough... and the Jedi do not kill their prisoners.”
“And if you had stayed, you would have changed us. And that we could not allow.”
“Changed you? What do you mean?”
Just saying what we’re all thinking. It seems to be something more than that though; the Jedi Masters are tiptoeing around the subject, almost as if they’re a little… scared of the Exile.
“Have you noticed that when you act, others follow?”
At this point you would have read the minds of your party members. I suspect this was removed because again, it detracted from the tension between the Exile and the Jedi.
“+2 pazaak makes 19, -2 pazaak makes 17, +1 pazaak... Something's wrong here... and where's Kreia?”
“Do not let them hurt him...”
“There is something wrong here... a disturbance in the Force.”
“This has the makings of a military council...”
“I only see one Jedi here...”
“Against their instincts, and sometimes against their sense.”
“It is because you are a leader... but that still fails to grasp the meaning of what I am trying to tell you.”
“Perhaps not. But it is not that to which I am referring. Surely you are familiar with Force bonds. It is the bond that develops between apprentice and Master, when one truly understands another. It is developed over time, through understanding of each other. Yet you do it so easily, and we do not know why.”
“You make connections through the Force, and it resonates with those who travel with you. The resonance is even greater when they, too, are Force Sensitive.”
“Your actions affect others more than you know. You draw others to you, especially those strong in the Force.”
“When you suffer, their spirit echoes it. And when they are in pain, their pain becomes yours.”
“Is this going somewhere?”
“This bond - it travels both ways. When you feel pain, or strong emotion, it resonates within you.”
“Are you telling me you weren't responsible for my loss?”
“Their lives still scream across the surface of that dead planet - and within you. To hear the Force over such pain... it is not possible. It was too much for any Jedi to endure... and it is a wonder that you did not die there when thousands perished, all those you had fought with and struggled with.”
So that’s the truth about the Exile’s condition.
The council never did anything to him; he did it to himself. All the Force bonds he had created with his troops – when they all died simultaneously at Malachor V, he had to cut himself off from the Force in order to survive.
Kreia, who’s been listening in the whole time, finally understands the answer she’s been looking for.
This will all make sense soon, I promise.
“When you returned to us, we saw what had happened. You carry all those deaths at Malachor within you, and it has left a hole, a hunger that cannot be filled.”
“My connection to the Force is even stronger than before.”
“Yes... you can feel the Force, but you cannot feel yourself.”
“It is the teaching of these new Sith, to feed on others, on other Force Sensitives. They are symptomatic of the wound in the Force. You are a breach that must be closed. You transmit your pain, your suffering through the Force.”
The Exile… worse than the Sith?
Well, this just has the effect of making us feel better regarding what’s about to happen.
“So you think. It is not the strength of a Jedi you feel.”
“He's right. It's... all the death you've caused to get here. You feed on it, and you grow stronger. You're like Malachor... it's in you, it's what you are now.”
Because that’s how RPGs work?
And that’s at the heart of what makes the Exile special.
He’s no longer a Force user in the traditional Jedi sense; he never really regained his ability to feel the Force on his own. Instead of channeling the Force himself, he forms Force bonds with others unconsciously, and uses them to fuel his own powers. He’s become a sort of Force black hole.
Once again, the Jedi Council proves they can’t learn from their past mistakes and start blaming the Exile for everything. What happened to the Master Zez we talked to on Nar Shaddaa, who regretted sending the Exile away? And the amiable Kavar on Onderon, who was starting to admit they fucked up? They did a complete 180 here.
“What if other Jedi went to war as you did, suffered the same events, and emerged as you did. What if there was a crucible that trained such Jedi to consume and kill?”
“For you, Malachor was that crucible.”
“What's worse, is these Sith that we face... I fear that they have learned the lesson of Malachor all too well. It is what allows them to prey on Force users, to become stronger when Force Sensitives are near.”
“Somehow, they have learned their hunger from you. And so you have brought about the end of the Jedi, and perhaps all the knowledge of the Force.”
That’s pretty much the fullest explanation we’ll get out of these guys as to why the Exile was cast out. It wasn’t really because of Revan, or the war; it was because the Exile came back, and when they saw what he had become, they were afraid of him and what he represented.
“You are a threat to living creatures, and all who feel the Force.”
“You will lead the Sith here. And that we cannot allow.”
Oh no, not again.
Outside the chamber, Kreia makes up her mind about what she has to do, and she doesn’t like it.
Even Kavar, the Exile’s ‘friend’, has turned against him.
Wow, fuck these guys.
The mother arrives to protect her son from the bullies picking on him.
Throughout the game, she’s managed to shield herself from detection from the other Jedi Masters. She had every intention of hiding from them yet again, but they forced her hand by threatening to harm the Exile.
It’s at this point Kreia was suppose to remove her hood and reveal herself to the Jedi Masters, both in the physical and the spiritual sense.
It’s sad because this moment was foreshadowed from the very first 5 minutes of the game. When Jesus woke up from his fish tank back on Peragus and met Kreia, what was the first thing she did?
Yep, she pulled her hood on.
I’ll let you read into the symbolism of a hood on a character who likes to lie, but it’s these two moments that form the bookend to her time with the Exile.
“You will not harm him. You will not harm him ever again.”
“As you would pass judgment on him, I have come to pass judgment on you all.”
This might have been more climatic if Vrook’s green lightsaber hadn’t bugged out.
Kreia has extra lines where she taunts each of the Jedi individually.
“Did you not hear its call on Dantooine, Vrook, on its scarred surface and in the minds of the settlers? I have endured your corruption of my other students - you shall not have this one.”
“And you, Kavar, so close to the call of Dxun - tell me you did not feel what poured from the moon, what had taken place there.”
“And Zez-Kai Ell, to hide upon Nar Shaddaa, yet blind yourself to all that happens there. So close to understanding the Force... so close to giving it up.”
There are techniques within the Force against which there is no defense…
This might be misinterpreted as the scene where Kreia kills the Jedi Masters. It’s not exactly true, as she didn’t kill them per se. You get this from her dialogue, but she did the same thing they were about to do to the Exile, and the same thing Nihilus did to her – she cut them off from the Force. The shock of not being able to feel the Force, after depending on it for so long – that’s what really killed these Jedi Masters.
Kreia gathered the Jedi Masters here for a purpose: revenge. But for her, revenge didn’t mean killing them. If the Exile had gone Dark Side and fought each of the Jedi Masters, Kreia would have berated him for being such a murderous idiot and not learning anything from her.
Kreia was cast out of the Jedi Order for her beliefs. The council disagreed with her teachings, and the fact that most of her students ended up going all evil and whatnot didn’t exactly help her case. All this time in exile, she schemed to find a way to get back at them, to show them the error of their ways. For her, victory would have been the Jedi Council admitting they were wrong.
She never intended to kill them, since it would have been a hollow victory that way. But they were stubborn idiots and they forced her to act. That’s why she sounds so regretful here.
“There is a place in the galaxy where the dark side of the Force runs strong. It is something of the Sith, but it was fueled by war. It corrupts all that walks on its surface, drowns them in the power of the dark side - it corrupts all life. And it feeds on death.”
“Did you never wonder how Revan corrupted so many of the Jedi, so much of the Republic, so quickly? The Mandalorian Wars were a series of massacres that masked another war, a war of conversion.”
And with the death of the Exile and the entire Jedi Council, the game ends.
Mini-update: Here's the video for the Dark Side confrontation with the Jedi Council scene, which happens if you kill all the Jedi Masters at the end of each planet. I stand by what I said earlier about liking this version of the scene as well. They don't try to coddle you and justify anything, and you basically get what you deserve. Also, a pissed off Kreia is awesome.
"You have failed me. Completely, and utterly."