‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ Starts the Final Arc With Throwbacks to Its Beginnings, and The Siege of Mandalore Starts, Episode 9 — Review
If you weren’t aware that Star Wars: The Clone Wars was nearing a climax and an end, the beginning of this episode does its best to remind you. The gravitas of this entire arc is literally breathing down your neck as you settle in to watch this episode unfold, and it is thrilling. Everything that has made The Clone Wars what it is is jam-packed in this episode, proving that it’s definitely been worth the wait. [Spoiler alert: Spoilers ahead for The Clone Wars Season 7, Episode 9 ahead].
The beginning of the end gives major throwbacks to the original ‘The Clone Wars’ movie
Again, the structure of the beginning is definitely a reminder that it’s the end. There’s no title card with a meaningful lesson or moral. And the typical logo is turned red. Not to mention, the usual music intro for The Clone Wars is instead replaced with the iconic Star Wars fanfare. And to add to the feel that you’re watching one of the films, the title card that is shown says, “Part I: Old Friends Not Forgotten.”
The opening narration sets the audience up: Separatists are hitting the Outer Rim hard. And so the Jedi and Republic troops go to those outlying planets to try to end the Separatists’ hold on them. This aligns perfectly with right before Revenge of the Sith, which is where this episode falls in the timeline.
And what better way for Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker to make a fabulous return as a team than to bring them back to their roots? While aiding Commander Cody on Yerbana, Obi-Wan and Anakin banter as they have countless times before in The Clone Wars. And their assault on the Separatist droids is almost exactly like the Battle of Christophsis from the 2008 The Clone Wars movie. Both attacks happen on a bridge, and Anakin comes in with flying Clone troopers to save the day. It’s really a perfect way to introduce the final arc; by going back to their very first battle in the series. Of course, with the animation being insanely more epic, that is.
Ahsoka is finally reunited with Anakin, but it’s a bit more strained than expected
Of course, after what viewers saw last week and where the show’s headed, anticipation for Ahsoka’s call was mounting. While Anakin and Obi-Wan didn’t know who was on the other end of the Fulcrum transmission, audiences did. And also, it’s a nice tie-in with Star Wars Rebels, when Ahsoka goes by Fulcrum full time as a Rebel spy.
There was a lot riding on Anakin and Ahsoka’s reunion. Their bond is the strongest in Ahsoka’s life, and even though she left the Order, viewers were reminded of that in Episode 6, when Ahsoka and Anakin shared a Force connection moment. Now, seeing them face-to-face after years of waiting — on the fans’ ends — it’s almost painful for viewers to see Ahsoka try to hold some distance between them.
Anakin is so worried about her. There’s no doubt he has been ever since she left him on the steps of the Jedi Temple. And now that she’s back, he doesn’t stop himself from outwardly showing how concerned he is about her well-being. However, Ahsoka, as a way to probably push back her own emotion and personal feelings, really puts her foot forward to quell his emotional reaction. Anakin is really struggling with being the protective master he was before, to being more neutral now that she’s no longer his Padawan. But that’s Anakin; he’s always been very open with his strong emotions, which gets him in trouble time and again. It also makes him choose more personal routes in his actions.
Ahsoka gets her own company of Clone troopers
While it’s great to see R2-D2 and Anakin so excited to see Ahsoka again, her stoic attitude is also a reminder of what’s at stake here. Maul has a stronghold on Mandalore, and Bo-Katan is in dire need of assistance from the Republic. Even though Obi-Wan is very set in his Jedi ways — meaning that he won’t give assistance since it will disrupt a treaty — Anakin goes ahead and shows Ahsoka what part of his 501st Legion has been working on.
As Ahsoka and Anakin are walking through the halls, other Clones are saluting her and still using the term “commander” and “sir,” which is what they called her when she was in command. She surprisingly states that they shouldn’t do that, but Anakin says otherwise. For the Clones, “loyalty means everything,” and those terms are a way to show respect, considering all the years Ahsoka fought with them in the war. This goes to show that the Clones have more loyalty than the Jedi Council, and it’s just another reminder that Order 66 is going to hurt the Jedi severely. It will also go against the very morals of each and every Clone.
Captain Rex and part of the 501st — now the 332nd Company when they join Ahsoka — hand-painted their uniforms to match Ahsoka’s facial markings, as a way to honor their favorite Jedi commander’s return.
Anakin also returns Ahsoka’s lightsabers to her, which he’s taken care of since she left. The fact that her aura has changed enough to turn the sabers blue from their previous green is notable. It’s not talked about, but maybe she’s closer to Anakin’s wavelength now, and that’s why they turned. This also reminds viewers why her lightsabers in Rebels are white.
Ahsoka proves she’s very different from the Jedi now and has a somber goodbye with Anakin
Right as Anakin tries to give Ahsoka the lightsabers the first time, the alarm sounds since General Grievous is attacking the capital of Coruscant, which hardly ever happens. This is when he kidnaps Palpatine, and why Obi-Wan and Anakin go to save him in Revenge of the Sith. Even though Anakin wants to give Ahsoka the 332nd Company to aid in the Siege of Mandalore, Obi-Wan is still unsure.
This is when Ahsoka goes in on Obi-Wan. She lets her anger at his refusal to help come forward. She tells him, “This is why the people lost faith in the Jedi Order” including her. But then highlighted that helping others is essentially the Jedi’s first objective. Seeing her and Obi-Wan go head to head, and then Anakin becoming the mediator, is a very new dynamic, but shows that she’s not the Ahsoka that left. She’s grown up a bit more and become an individual away from the Jedi Order.
Regardless, he lets her go with the 332nd to Mandalore and leaves with the advice that Maul “doesn’t seem to stay dead,” which he knows from experience. Then it’s Anakin’s turn to say goodbye to his former Padawan. Even though he wishes her luck, she lets him know that Obi-Wan doesn’t believe in luck. “Good thing I taught you otherwise,” Anakin tells her, which is so bittersweet when this is probably the last time they ever see each other before he turns.
And so the Siege of Mandalore begins
Well, even though that’s quite a bummer to think about, onto the Siege of Mandalore. This is quite literally what fans have been waiting for and even though it only takes place in the second half of the episode, it is so good.
Bo-Katan is not going to let her chance to take control of the planet go and doesn’t shy away when Almec tells her she’s breaking the treaty. She is going to fight tooth and nail, and that not only excites Ahsoka but also lets her appreciate and admire Bo-Katan more. “You’re nothing like your sister,” Ahsoka tells her, and it’s definitely in awe, not an insult.
Ursa Wren, Sabine’s (Star Wars Rebels) mother, is also on the attack with Bo-Katan, and the 332nd is bombarded with Mauldalorians. It’s one of the best fight scenes the show has given fans thus far, and it’s very cool to see the Clones fight alongside Mandalorians, considering their armor was styled after theirs.
It’s also amazing to see Ahsoka fight with Rex again. And she can’t help herself from competing again as she races him to the surface. When she beats him, he tells her, “Some things never change.” Epic doesn’t begin to describe seeing Ahsoka kick more Mandalorian butt (which gives an exciting flashback to Season 4 when she decapitated four of them at once).
This marathon of an episode ends with Ahsoka and Captain Vaughn falling into Maul’s trap. He wanted to lure the Jedi with Bo-Katan down into the underpart of the city, only to ambush them. However, Bo-Katan brought the “wrong one” and that’s when the trap springs. All of Ahsoka’s team is dead, a failure she hasn’t seen since Season 1. And now she’s face-to-face with Maul. What a cliffhanger indeed.