This review is a continuation of our previous ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7’ review, covering ‘Episode 1: The Bad Batch’. Click here to read this first part: https://www.facebook.com/finalthoughtsreviews/posts/198594034882593?__tn__=K-R
Episode 2, titled ‘A Distant Echo’, continues the story of ‘Clone Force 99’ also known as ‘The Bad Batch’, a squadron of specially mutated clones enlisted by ‘Commander Cody’ to assist himself and ‘Captain Rex’ discover how the ‘Separatist Alliance’ are anticipating the battlefield strategies of the ‘Republic’. Spanning until Episode 4, ‘Unfinished Business’ (with Episode 3 titled ‘On the Wings of Keeradaks’), this arc revolves around several dark themes such as betrayal, war crimes and espionage. Although these touchpoints have been featured across the show’s previous six seasons, this particular narrative has a larger emphasis on these themes.
At the centre of the arc, is the ambiguity that surrounds the presumed dead clone ‘Echo’ and his potential involvement in the Separatist’s schemes. This plot had the foundation to be one of the greatest narratives in the show’s history. A fan favourite character possibly alive, darker tones for an ageing audience, as well as the resurrection of a script/animation that has been surfacing around the internet since the show’s cancellation in 2014. Unfortunately, these episodes don’t capitalise enough on these factors, and instead a relatively typical series of The Clone Wars episodes is delivered. This is not to say that the narrative is bad, as the standard quality of this show is still relatively great. The ‘Techno Union’ were a great set of antagonists, who showcase their twisted approach to the war to great effect. Additionally, a new spin on the ending to these Bad Batch characters (in comparison to the ending that was originally intended for 2014), is tremendously respected and highlights an awareness amongst of the show’s creators to improve original ideas. The greatest determinant of whether this arc and more specifically these Bad Batch characters then were a success, is whether we would want to see them again in Season 7. It is almost safe say, that the fan-base would love to the see the likes of ‘Wrecker’, ‘Sergeant Hunter’ and the rest of Clone Force 99 appear in later episodes and assist the Republic as they inch closer to the end of the war and as such the events of ‘Revenge of the Sith’.
Following on from this Bad Batch narrative, is Episodes 5 and 6, ‘Gone with a Trace’ and ‘Deal No Deal’. Marking the return of ‘Anakin Skywalker’s former apprentice ‘Ahsoka Tano’, these two episodes continue the story of this fan-favourite character who was first introduced to the ‘Star Wars’ universe in the 2008 tie-in ‘The Clone Wars’ film and last seen in the show in Season Five in which she walked away from the ‘Jedi Order’. Although not yet completed, this arc already pales in comparison to the above described. The addition of the lacklustre characters; ‘Trace’, a mechanic and her shady sister ‘Rafa’, provide Ahsoka little to play off, reducing her long-awaited impact to the show. There are however fantastic moments of world-building in this arc, in particular in Episode 5, in which Trace highlights to Ahsoka that the Jedi are more interested in conducting an army than returning to the peace keepers they once were. This kind of storytelling is why Star Wars fan rave about this show, as small dialogues between few characters such as this example with Ahsoka and Trace enable the ‘Prequel’ films to a much deeper narrative substance. Hopefully, the next episode(s) can improve the arc by better developing the Trace and Rafa characters with what appears to be an interesting challenge ahead for the trio including Ahsoka.
At the halfway point of The Clone Wars final season, although the show has returned with a solid volley of Star Wars goodness, much has been left desired from a show that many fans of the series agree is the best content outside of the original films. The Bad Batch arc is at its core a blast and finally gives fans the chance to see a badass rogue clone squadron tear the Separatist’s forces apart, however it would have benefited with a deeper use of its darker themes. We eagerly await the conclusion to this early Ahsoka arc in Season 7, hoping that it can better what has already been provided and catapult the show above and beyond before its final ever episodes.
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