I have a kind of love hate relationship with the Clone Wars. Parts of it are amazing and others less so. I found the opening speech annoying and childish… which well is probably because it is a children’s programme. I think that my other problem is the animation style. I didn’t like the anime style of the first clone wars and I wasn’t too impressed with this series, I much preferred the more cartoon like Rebels.
The Clone Wars strength came in its personification of the clones themselves. The films never really focused on them and so it was hard to care when Cody turned on Kenobi. Having seen all the missions they ran and what they had been through makes that scene on Utupau even more distressing. It also adds even greater weight to every Jedi’s death during Order 66. The worst for me which was K-Adi-Mundi, one of my favourite Jedi of all time. Charging forward only to realise the clones weren’t following and then being gunned down.
The final season of Clone Wars finished on Star Wars Day this year and boy did it round the series off. The final few episodes focused on Ahsoka which was a brave move given how Anakin was always portrayed as the lead hero. Ahsoka shows quite a character arch through the series, going from youngling to new padawan in the movie all the way up to nearly becoming a Jedi Knight herself. She counterpointed Anakins struggles. Here was a Jedi that could acknowledge its flaws and walk away. The order didn’t fit her ideals and so she sought new meaning, meanwhile Anakin brooded and fermented in his own bitterness and pettiness until eventually he came to the conclusion that if he couldn’t be a Master then the order didn’t deserve to exist. Had he sided with Ashoka it is doubtful he would have fallen to the dark side and the two could have been a driving force to see the Jedi reformed. Only Yoda in the Clone Wars seemed to have an awareness of the pivot point but seemed unable to fathom a way around it. Mace Windu knew only one approach, adherence to doctrine and brute force, that was never going to save the Order, especially as the Order didn’t realise it needed saving.
The Clone Wars allowed us to see the Jedi as reluctant warriors some less so than others. Yes, the dark side was blinding them to much of what was happening but they lost that compassionate side which was even more swiftly eroded as they were forced to make harder choices and see their fellows die around them.
The Siege of Manadlore focused on Ahsoka and Bo Katarn fighting to wrestle the planet from Mauls grip. We got great action scenes and some moral depth. Maul was in many ways a mirror to Ahsoka, abandoned by the dark side and left to fare for himself. You can see echoes of the diad in the force or the idea of balance stated in the films in these two characters. Maul extends a hand to Ahsoka, he has some notion of what is happening and how to stop. His motive is of course revenge not altruism but Ahsoka cannot lay down the light sides opposition to the dark side to see where that might lead. Even trapped on a Destroyer with Clones trying to kill her she cannot bring herself to use Maul as anymore than a distraction, I don’t blame him for running and leaving her. Her was a chance for light and dark to meet to battle a bigger foe.
It was easy to feel for Ahsoka in those last few episodes, we had seen she struggled not to involve herself in others affairs and that a very big part of her wanted to return to the Jedi. The fact that her last interaction with Anakin was so perfunctory was telling, it illustrated that there was already a gap between them and she was great chiding Obi-wan for not being able to help.
Her escape with Rex was excellent if a little prolonged with too many get out of that then’s, solved by swift elevator movements and it was great to see the droids help even if sadly they each died. It is also evident how we get to the character of Rex in Rebels and the more assured and confident Ahsoka.
The final scene with Vader finding Ahsoka’s lightsaber was moving. It was impossible to tell what Vader felt at that moment, did he think her dead? Did he wish that? The pause did indicate some contemplation but that was all.
Overall, the series has many more highs than lows and was an incredibly enjoyable series. It was a testament to the work of Dave Filoni that this series succeeded so well that a final season was created after the show was axed, and although this chapter has closed another opens with The Mandalorian. One thing is clear though, we need more Ahsoka Tano and we need it now.