Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, Episode 9: That’s more like it

Photo: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Episode 709 “Old Friends Not Forgotten” - Image Courtesy Disney+
Photo: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Episode 709 “Old Friends Not Forgotten” - Image Courtesy Disney+ /

Affecting reunions and impressive action ensure the final arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars starts with a bang. The Siege of Mandalore begins.

After two (albeit abridged) seasons, Star Wars: The Clone Wars finally reunites Ahsoka Tano with her former master, Anakin Skywalker. Working with armored warrior Bo-Katan, she has discovered the location of the Darth Maul, the elusive Sith Lord who seized control of Mandalore and slaughtered its previous rulers.

Unfortunately, a sudden Separatist attack on the Republic capital prevents Anakin and Obi-Wan from coming to Ahsoka’s aid. Not wanting to leave his wayward apprentice with nothing, Skywalker sends Rex and a detachment of clone troops with her to bring Maul to justice, trusting that they’ll see each other again soon.

The first thing that might strike you about this final arc is how cinematic it feels, even in comparison to other episodes. Instead of the up-tempo Clone Wars theme, we hear the traditional Star Wars movie overture during the title screen. In addition, the episode as a whole is structured and paced like the intro of a feature film.

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To top it all off, the scope and energy of the battle scenes are every bit as impressive as you’d hope. Throwing jet troopers and Mandalorians into the mix makes combat a much more mobile affair.

We get several exhilarating tracking shots as they weave in and around the transport ships, and the number of people and skirmishes on-screen at one time further elevates the action beyond even previous Mandalorian sequences in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Rebels.

The heightened production values and direction make this arc a standout from others in terms of presentation. You get the sense that the Siege of Mandalore is meant to be viewed as a movie; we’ll see how well the creators accomplish that mission once the season concludes. However, it makes sense to go this route considering how close we are to Revenge of the Sith. Throughout this episode, it’s hard not to feel a gnawing inevitability. Not only we see several Jedi on the planets where they’ll eventually be gunned down, but the attack on Coruscant signals that viewers will be taken right up to the opening of Episode III.

The fact that this is all about to come crashing down makes the already strong character interactions all the more meaningful. Anakin and Obi-Wan are reestablished effectively and concisely, sniping at each other in their usual brotherly rapport and proving themselves a perfectly balanced team in battle. Rex and the other clones treat Ahsoka with the respect of an old veteran, even painting their armor to match her markings.

Most poignant, though, is the reunion between Skywalker and his student. Of course, we have cute moments like giving her a “better” version of her old lightsabers (blue instead of green), and those are always nice.

Photo: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Episode 709 “Old Friends Not Forgotten” – Image Courtesy Disney+
Photo: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Episode 709 “Old Friends Not Forgotten” – Image Courtesy Disney+ /

What’s more intriguing, however, is the feeling that these two friends are now on completely different wavelengths. Anakin is predictably ready to welcome Ahsoka back with open arms, but she’s more emotionally distant. Some of that naturally stems from the independence of maturity, but we know it can also be traced back to the fresh perspective she’s gained.

She no longer believes the Jedi are the defenders of the downtrodden, having separated themselves from the common people to focus on the war and political machinations. Anakin’s continued loyalty to that system keeps him and Ahsoka from being of one mind like they once were. It’s subtle yet effective, and it’s a definite highlight of an episode that was enjoyable to begin with.

The only area where the characterization falters somewhat is during the debate over which planet to reinforce. Obi-Wan, despite his history with Maul, decides to go thwart the attack on Coruscant and rescue the Chancellor. Ahsoka lambastes him for “playing politics” and ignoring the people who truly need them, but she seems to be oversimplifying the situation. There are plenty of innocents on Coruscant, too. It’s not like the Jedi are only playing bodyguards to this one political leader.

Photo: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Episode 709 “Old Friends Not Forgotten” – Image Courtesy Disney+
Photo: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Episode 709 “Old Friends Not Forgotten” – Image Courtesy Disney+ /

The writers could have justified this attitude in a few ways. First, the people on Coruscant are merely being threatened by outside forces while the citizens of Mandalore have already been living under tyranny for a while. As such, they are in more urgent need of help. Second, Kenobi and Skywalker are not the only ones able to help the Chancellor.

There are other Republic forces, both in and out of the capital, who could fend off the Separatist attack. Granted, we hear that they lost contact with Jedi Master Shaak Ti, who was assigned to protect the Chancellor. Still, we’d assume that our heroes are primarily lending aid to keep face. After all, they don’t want to be the ones who abandoned the Chancellor in his time of need.

Delving into such details would have lent some interesting complexity to the issue, but the characters appear to look at the scenario only on a surface level. It still works, but it’s not as potent as the creators want it to be and causes Ahsoka to come off as a bit unreasonable.

Luckily, that is only a minor flaw in the grand scheme of things. This episode remains a highlight of the season, juggling storied character dynamics, satisfying action, and cinematic flair to set The Clone Wars on a promising path to victory in its home stretch.

Next. Why was this episode such a breath of fresh air? Find out here.. dark

What did you think of this episode? Are you pumped for the Siege of Mandalore? How do you feel about Star Wars: The Clone Wars truly coming to an end?

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is available for streaming on Disney Plus.