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Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Season 7 - Review: So Long, Farewell

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The Clone Wars as a whole will forever be remembered as one of the best parts of Star Wars. While it certainly wasn't always perfect, it has given us several of the best stories to come out of the Star Wars world period. The detailed animation, weaving plot threads, deepening of the lore, and the fantastic characters it has brought us made for some truly unforgettable Star Wars moments, and the series will be remembered for years to come as an essential part of the Star Wars universe.

For this season, it's best to look at it in terms of its three separate story arcs. The first arc centers around the "Bad Batch" Clone squad as they help the Jedi and the greater Clone Army retake the planet Anaxes from the Separatists. This lasted throughout the first four episodes, and it was a solid opening to the final season. It was more or less standard Clone Wars fare, with the Clones being the driving protagonists and the main plots revolving around specific stealth/reconnaissance/infiltration missions. While it didn't offer up anything too groundbreaking or jaw-dropping, it was a good way to get fans back in the mood for Clone Wars again. The Bad Batch themselves were definitely the most intriguing part of the story, with their quirks and defects (by clone standards anyway) offering up fresh new takes on the Clone soldier while also serving as the "best of the best" when it comes to combat. One of the show's best strengths was its ability to act as a sort-of character study on the Clones, and it was great to see that on display in the opening episodes. Of course, we also got plenty of fantastic action and interactions between all of the Jedi. Primarily, we got to see more of where Anakin's headspace was before he turned, which is always great.

Unfortunately, the second arc of the season did not fair as well. Focusing on Ashoka in the immediate aftermath of Season 5, it was a story that actually should've been both engaging and surprising. For most viewers, what exactly happened right after she left the Jedi was somewhat of a mystery (I say some because there are books that detail what happened, that to my knowledge actually contradict what happens in the show). This was a great chance to capitalize on that. Also considering the fact that In general, aside from the opening episodes, this season was at its heart an Ashoka story, makes the middling beginning to it that much more disappointing. Instead of thrilling new twists and standout character moments, we got a story that was primarily centered around Ashoka's interactions with new characters Trace and Rafa. Those characters were a bit dull and didn't bring anything fresh to the table, and overall it just felt bizarre that the writers decided to go in this direction. There were some good moments here, like Ashoka struggling with whether to completely cut herself off from the force or not and the beginning of Darth Maul's final arc, but they are few and far between. I am not going to say this middle section here was completely horrible, but it just simply didn't land as hard as a final season story should. It probably wouldn't have been as bad if it showed up in a different season.

Despite the sluggish 4-episode Trace/Rafa arc, the season bounced back big time for the final episodes. It was evident as the classic John Williams theme plays as we see both the LucasFilm logo and the show title in red, that this was gonna be a very different set of episodes. And oh boy, were they. This is peak Star Wars, and quite possibly the best four episodes of the entire show. Everything just clicked here, from Ashoka's reunion with Anakin and Obi-Wan to the massive attack on Mandalore, to Ashoka having to fight her own Clones as Order 66 began, to the final shot of Darth Vader looking at Ashoka's saber in the snow. Filled with excitement, emotion, and gravitas, it's a masterclass in ending a story. It does the bold thing of closing the series off in a really dark way, and in all honesty, it would've done the Star Wars saga at large a disservice if didn't. If I had to pick a favorite episode, though most would pick the finale (and I wouldn't argue if they did), I personally felt that Ep. 10, "The Phantom Apprentice" was the best all-around. Ashoka had her "dark side temptation" moment with Maul, right before she began what might very well be the best battle in the show's history. The way that battle played out with The Siege Of Mandalore as the backdrop, elevated the scene to a level that can only be described as a tragic epic. After the entire engagement is over, there's a lingering sense of dread in the air, as Darth Maul desperately cries out a warning of what is to come. And we all knew exactly what was coming.

Overall, aside from a disappointing middle section, the solid opening salvo and the perfect final four-episode mini-epic made this season a success. As always, the show worked wonders at making the prequel-trilogy better than it ever was on its own. With Ashoka returning in The Mandalorian, I'm truly excited to see where her story goes and what the future of Star Wars holds. Until then, may the force be with you.

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