The Clone Wars treads water with intriguing ideas that go unrealized, killing time until the cool stuff happens later on.
This episode of Clone Wars saw Ahsoka and her partners in crime attempt a desperate escape from the Pyke gangsters. It’s just a shame that not much of consequence is accomplished. By the end of the 22-minute runtime, the characters are right back to where they started; they’re recaptured by the Pykes and scheduled for interrogation just like the end of the last adventure.
The only real progress here came from the character growth. As Ahsoka gets to know the Martez sisters better, she begins to understand their lifestyle and why they’re so reluctant to trust anyone. However, even this is hampered by the clunky dialogue, which is so on-the-nose at times that it sounds like a CW show. The only moment that really lands is when Rafa tells the story of how their parents died. Not only does this exchange feel more organic than the rest of the conversations, but it also sheds more light on why the common people may mistrust the Jedi.
No accountability is an unsettling concept, especially with a party as powerful as the Jedi Order. Focusing mainly on matters of war and remaining impersonal when their actions inadvertently cause damage and death would naturally fuel a disconnect between them and the little guy. It really goes to show George Lucas’s strength as a conceptual designer and overarching storyteller, if not a scriptwriter. Through political machinations, the Emperor used the Jedi’s obligation as peacekeepers to draw them into a war that robbed them of a potential ally in the populace. Without public opinion on their side, it would have been easy to frame these saber-wielding generals as power-hungry zealots who needed to be wiped out.
Less smooth in worldbuilding was the inclusion of Bo-Katan and a few other Mandalorians. They come out of nowhere, contribute nothing to the escape, and have no given reason to be here. It would be one thing if they’d mentioned sabotaging the Pykes as part of some grander scheme, but they instead seem content to just stand around and contemplate recruiting Ahsoka to their cause.
Granted, even with the randomness of their appearance, these armored warriors will likely make for a more engaging storyline down the road. For one thing, their group includes Ursa Wren, the mother of Star Wars Rebels protagonist Sabine Wren. Considering how important her family supposedly was in the Mandalore hierarchy, it was nice to see her here. It leaves one wondering if the upcoming episodes will show us how these people transitioned from their aristocratic society in The Clone Wars to a more tribal existence in the subsequent show.
On another positive note, the visuals remain as impressive as ever. The hand-to-hand fighting that Ahsoka is forced to engage in looks fittingly fast and fluid. You definitely get the sense that she’s in a whole other league in terms of combat prowess and awareness. She may not have her lightsaber, but she’s still able to sense what her opponents will do. In addition, the planet that they’re on is oddly appealing in spite of how dark and dirty it is. The detail of this industrial nightmare, as well as the striking spots of green and red used to light it, gives it a fairly stylized aesthetic. It looks like a world out of Ratchet & Clank, and that’s no bad thing.
Unfortunately, this did little to lessen the feeling of pointlessness that permeated the episode. Although it looks great and once again shows glimmers of more compelling material in the future, this week’s Clone Wars is ultimately undone by sloppy writing. In the end, it comes off as a placeholder to tide us over until the final arc.
What did you think of this episode? Do you feel that the season is losing steam?
Star Wars: The Clone Wars is available for streaming on Disney Plus.