I too just finished season 5 (the show goes off Neflix on March 7th). And damn. Season 5, with the droids episodes excepted, were a tour de force. And it does some amazing and subtle things too. Like watching the events on Coruscant, and seeing the changes to the buildings, iconoraphy, overt symbols of military power and nationalism? They seed the ideas of how a republic falls with stunning deftness.
And it’s not something they belabor, or even make references to. It’s all subtext. The trial was a brilliant bit because it delivers some amazing character developments, shows the corrupting of democracy that militarism is bringing, gives homage to The Fugitive of all things, and carries an emotional punch.
One thing I said before, in passing during the podcast with Tom, and in depth after in the thread, was how it takes the ideas and premises of the prequels, and gives them life. It sets the relationship of Anakin and Padme into a form that makes sense, and one that you can see how it drives his dark side turn. In later seasons this isn’t much brought up (past season 3 it basically no longer gets any mention), however it is replaced by more deeper cracks. It creates legitimate flaws, weaknesses, and shows subtly how the jedi have gone off the path. There are dozens of small incidents that are given, large and small, to sew the seeds of distrust that bloom in Anakin. And it does so in a manner that trusts the audience. Never once in the series is Anakin anything but a hero, well mostly. He is a strong and noble leader, one who truly does believe in the good of the jedi, and seeks to earnestly work for the good of society.
He embodies the best, he’s a hero, and he is inarguably a good person at hear. Yet you also see the things that bring him over to the dark side, and they make sense for both the universe, him, and his relationships to others. And that ending to season 5 is the perfect way to create that fatal rift. It gives that final opening in a way that does not betray the character, or his past. Hats off to them, it was a monumental task, and they nailed it. Because the prequels never came close to making him feel like the hero or general he supposedly was, nor do they make his fall feel earned instead of a betrayal of character, or monumentally stupid. Seriously Anakin of the movies is neither the great Jedi he supposedly was, and his fall made him seem like an entitled twat, stupid and lazy, and really just plain further diminish his standing as the supposed hero.