The original run of Clone Wars cartoons ended long before this blog started, and while I hope one day to go back and look at them, I am happy to review the “Final Season” that just finished airing on Disney+. Comprised of three four-part stories that were planned but never created, it’s safe to say that this season is the final four episode arc, “The Siege of Mandalore”, and the rest are sort of there. Still, let’s take a closer look anyway!
Synopsis (of the first episode of “The Siege of Mandalore”):
Ahsoka and Bo-Katan contact Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, asking them for help in apprehending Darth Maul in his new hideout on Mandalore.
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Maul gets angry at fighting yet another Jedi who he can’t beat. You have to wonder is Qui-Gon was a fluke by this point…
Well, I’ve mentioned it already, so let’s get straight to it: Episodes 9 to 12 comprise a story known as “The Siege of Mandalore”, and boy… it lived up to the hype. Ahsoka reunites with Anakin and Obi-Wan in order to get a bunch of Clone Troopers to help with capturing Maul, who has set up shop on Mandalore. She gets her old buddie Rex and a platoon, and soon she and some rebel Mandalorians, including Bo-Katan, are off to Mandalore. There are some good moments, particularly Ahsoka not being as welcoming as Anakin was expecting, and her giving Obi-Wan an earful when she hears that he and Anakin would be heading off to save the Chancellor rather than help a planet of struggling people.
She arrives and after some large scale battles and a chase in the sewers, she eventually comes face to face with Maul. He reveals that he wanted Anakin here because he’s found out Darth Sidious’ plan involves turning him into his apprentice and he wanted to kill him and stop his old Master’s plan (probably so he can become his underling again, let’s face it). Instead he tries to tempt Ahsoka to be his partner but she eventually resists and the two have one hell of a duel, both in the Mandalorian throne room and high above the city. It just ends with a win for Ahsoka and Maul is taken into custody. Sadly for the Jedi, during the ride back her clones receive Order 66 and turn on her, including Rex, in a brilliant scene that was nearly entirely silent until the order came in, just to build up tension. She escapes, frees Maul for the sake of distracting the clones, and manages to disable Rex’s inhibitor chip before the two make a dash for the hanger. Maul meanwhile destroys and disables the ship and sets it on a collision course to the planet below, and soon escapes on the shuttle Ahsoka and Rex were planning to leave with.
“Why are you sad, Ahsoka?” “I have a bad feeling…” “Oh you Jedi always say that…” “Yeah, you’re right. I’m sure its nothing!”
Cue daring escape, lots of blaster fire and lightsabre deflecting, and Ahsoka free-falling onto a Y-Wing Rex had taken to escape her ship’s crash into the planet below. It was certainly a thrilling end, even if we knew the two characters survive thanks to Rebels. Ahsoka and Rex bury the dead Clones, while the former also leaves behind her lightsabre, and head off. We then get a final scene set a few years later where Darth Vader arrives at the crash site, picks up Ahsoka’s lightsabre and then walks off, his reflection in the glass of a fallen clone’s helmet, the perfect bit of symbolism that the Clone Wars era (otherwise known as “The Prequel Era”) is over. It’s the kind of four-episode story that makes this show worth watching, and any fan of Star Wars owes it to themselves to watch, even if they “don’t like kids cartoons”. Properly epic, dramatic and well directed, and gives the Clone Wars series a proper send off.
*Phew*… What’s that? Eight other episodes? Oh yeah! The first four, known collectively as “The Bad Batch”, was fun. It had a group of mishmash “failed” clones that have ended up with special abilities. One looks like Rambo and can track anything, one is a sniper with crazy accuracy, one with super strength and one who’s a tech wiz. They all have quirky personalities to match. They were a fun group, and they get paired with Rex and Anakin, the former eventually becomes convinced his old buddy Echo is alive because of the tactics the enemy were using included far too knowledgeable about their usual methods. Turns out, with the help of Anakin and “The Bad Batch”, that he was right, and Echo was alive and half cyberised. They rescue him and eventually free the planet they’re on thanks to the renewed Fives’ abilities to hack into the Separatist networks (and a fun scene with Obi-Wan and Mace Windu). Echo joins the Bad Batch because he too is now a “wrong” clone. It was fun, and had some good moments sprinkled about. It does make me wonder what happened to the Bad Batch after Order 66…
“Don’t take this personally, but YOU three are drug smuggling for us? Really?”
While calling the middle quartet “Bad” is going a bit far, it’s more … average? Ahsoka, fresh from leaving the Jedi Order, ends up falling to the lower-levels of Coruscant and meeting a pair of sisters named Trace and Rafa who are always getting caught up in money making schemes and such. One such scheme gets them involved with the deadly Pyke Syndicate and drug smuggling, and includes a few prison stays, escape scenes, recapturing scenes, and re-escape scenes (what is this, classic Doctor Who?). The highlight is how the sisters perceive Jedi as once noble but now just the pawns of the rich, which shocks Ahsoka at first, but by the end it’s clear they’re right, and it effects how she deals with Obi-Wan in the next batch, as already mentioned.
It’s a harmless four episodes, but not very memorable. If this were a full 20-odd episode season it might stand out as better than some of the filler you sometimes got, but in a season of three stories, this story stood out as by far the weakest.
Smart One, Sniper, Rambo, Partially-Machine Echo, Strong One.
The Clone Wars Season 7 was really all about the final story, and it was more than worth reviving the series for, and stands alongside the very best from the series and its sequel (not sure if it edges out the Rebels Season 2 finale, though…) The Bad Batch was good fun, and the other Ahsoka story was… fine. I guess I’ll have to rate them all individually, there really is a clear gap in quality, but none of it was bad and therefore it was worth bring it back for the big finale.
Episodes 9 – 12 “The Siege of Mandalore”:
Episodes 1 – 4 “The Bad Batch”:
Episodes 5 – 8 … Erm, I’ve heard it called “Ahsoka’s Walkabout”, but that sounds a bit crap… Oh well, let’s go with that… :