Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7 Episode 12: “Victory And Blood”

The Clone Wars is over. It’s end is bleak and terrible and sad, unbelievably poignant and conclusive. Of course having watched Rebels, we know how this ends for these characters and because of Star Wars we know how this ends generally.

But, I’ve never really bought into “The Prequel Problem,” a tale well told is worth it regardless of if you can guess the ending, and The Clone Wars is, if nothing else, a tale well told. And this final chapter, where Rex and Ahsoka save one another, after everything they’ve been through and more importantly those final images.

Despite the betrayal of Order 66, Ahsoka and Rex bury each of the clones that died on their ship, marking their graves with their helmets, and leaving her light sabers behind. When Vader finds the scene he picks up the saber and looks to the sky walking away.

It’s over, and as far as anyone knows, Ahsoka Tano is dead, the only Jedi who truly understood Anakin Skywalker, (Not a Jedi) and Anakin himself is about as gone as possible right now.

This show has come to mean so much to me over these past few years. It’s deepened my love for this world and these stories that have always been with me, that will always be with me.

And so much of that comes from Ahsoka. From this girl who learned her own code and morality, who will help people when they need it, no matter what. I’m so grateful for her, thank you to Dave Filoni and Ashley Eckstein for her. Seriously, watching her story unfold has been the greatest pleasure, and seeing this chapter close properly was wonderful.

Star Wars will always be my favorite fandom. It is home, even when it’s at it’s worst I love it so much. These past eleven weeks have been such a gift, and I’m tremendously happy to have had them.

Next week we talk about the Darth Vader comics. Which I very much enjoyed.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, Episode 11 “Shattered”

“Execute Order 66,” I actually cannot hear those words without taking a big ass inhale of breath. It begins a long slide into weepiness that last for the next half hour of movie in Revenge Of The Sith, rivaled only by Return of The King and Avengers: Endgame for absurd blockbuster blubbering for me.

So I held my breath as Ahsoka sensed what happened between Mace Windu, Anakin and Palpatine, leading to the execution of Order 66. It’s devastation and also important to note that Ahsoka might be the most powerful force user in the series, before Rey? She’s not fully in her powers yet, that doesn’t come until she passes through time with Ezra but she’s still strong here. Strong enough to connect while looking for Anakin, something we’ve only ever seen Yoda do with such specificity.

Anyway, after this moment of darkness, she turns to Rex, who is shaking, talking to himself, refusing to follow his programming and kill Ahsoka. Unfortunately the rest of the Troopers don’t have will and try to fight her. Of course she wins and gets away, taking Rex’s warning, “Find Fives” to heart and searching for a file on Fives, learning that his malfunctioning inhibitor chip caused his death. Rex sent himself a message in this file, which is why he was able to resist.

Ahsoka practices some “cogninative recalibration” on Rex, and also, to get the two of them away, releases Darth Maul, to spectacular effect. She reminds him that she doesn’t trust him and also that she kind of hopes the clones kill him which is great. I know I talked about it last week but it bears reiterating, Ashley Eckstein and Sam Witwer are doing unbelievable work here.

OK, we’ll finish up tomorrow. I’m not sure I’m ready. How far will we go into Episode III, where will we end?

I don’t know, but I bet I’ll be crying, and crying a whole lot.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7: Episode 10: “Phantom Apprentice”

It’s kind of crazy how sometimes two things I’m working on can dovetail nicely, or maybe it’s just my liberal arts brain trying to make less reading for myself that connects things that way, but the fact that this episode aired the same week that I was reading Erik Larson’s truly brilliant history book In The Garden Of Beasts, about the American Ambassador to Berlin during the years leading up to World War II, William Dodd.

The book is mostly about how Dodd kept saying, “HEY HITLER IS DANGEROUS AND WE CAN’T TRUST THE NAZIS,” and everyone in the American state department and establishment kept saying, “ehh, Dodd’s overreacting, I’m sure it will be fine.” (Narrator: It was not fine)

How does this connect to “Phantom Apprentice,” you might ask?

This is all about how Darth Maul has been shouting that, “HEY I KNOW WHO DARTH SIDIOUS IS AND YOU’RE ALL JUST PAWNS!” and everyone reacts by saying, “Boy, that Darth Maul sure is crazy, huh? Anyway,” and moves on. It’s even more present in this episode, where he and Ahsoka have several beautifully animated confrontations and he tries to convince her to join him and stop Sidious, because he knows this is all about to fall down on their heads.

What’s really fascinating in this run of episodes is that they are running parallel to Revenge Of The Sith, and that’s all the more chilling. Everytime Ahsoka checks in with Obi-Wan and Anakin we know exactly what’s going on with them and how horrible the next steps are. I keep holding my breath waiting for the moment that the clones turn on her. We know Rex helped get her out, but Order 66 has broken my heart every single time I’ve watched the movie, all the way back to high school when I first watched it. I don’t think whenever this hits in the next two weeks will be different.

The real showcase of this episode were those fights between Maul and Ahsoka, and frankly, they were some of the most stunning visual moments the show has ever had. Ray Park, who played Maul originally did the motion capture for them, so the physicality is perfect, and while the fight is exceptional there are also a pair of excellent performances from Sam Witwer and Ashley Eckstein here. Ashley has done incredible work all season showing Ahsoka’s growth and Witwer is always a joy, but this particular “We’re not so different, you and I,” “I’m nothing like you!” back and forth was a true joy to hear. (Granted, I’m a sucker for the trope)

This was my favorite episode of the season so far and I can’t believe we’re only two out from the finale. I’m going to miss this show so much. (Although, let’s face it, I’ll probably just watch ROTS and then Rebels again as soon as it ends.)

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, Episode 9 “Old Friends Not Forgotten”

This is going to be a very difficult month when it comes to Clone Wars (and you know, other things too…)

But man, the reunion of Ahsoka, Rex, Anakin and Obi-Wan was wrenching. Not to mention Boe Kattan bringing Satine up every five seconds and pointing fingers at Obi-Wan about her death.

What is nice is that even after having seen how she’s grown and changed how quickly old rhythms established themselves. Anakin finding a middle path between his master and apprentice, the great politician, Obi-Wan trying to hew to ideals that are clearly dying, Ahsoka embracing a new ideal. The Clones establishing their own loyalty rallying beside their old commander.

And then there’s the moment where Anakin returns Ahsoka’s sabers to her. It killed me. Anyway, after Anakin and Obi-Wan find a loophole compromise (divide the 501st) that allows Ahsoka a command, Ahsoka and Bo head to Mandalore with Rex to catch Darth Maul. Obi-Wan warns them that capturing him is a better plan than trying to kill him because he’s hard to kill. (I’LL SAY!)

While laying siege to, Bo goes after the Prime Minister and Ahsoka and Rex hunt Maul. They find him, and he’s waiting, but not for Ahsoka, she’s the wrong Jedi. He wanted Obi-Wan (I mean, obviously.)

It was all building the this, the previous two arcs were meant to remind us who Rex and Ahsoka were, what they’re made of, why they fight, and show us how far they’ve come in the past few years.

It’s going to be quite a ride.

 

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7: “Gone With A Trace”

It was a big day for Ahsoka on Friday so this is going to be a longish entry.

First we get the newsreel, reminding us of Ahsoka’s decision to leave the Jedi order (As if we could forget!) We then get a thrilling free fall, as the engine on her speeder bike, brings her to the lower levels of Corruscant. She quickly meets a new mechanic named Trace and they become fast friends because who wouldn’t want to be friends with Ahsoka?

Trace and her sister are trying to scrape by in the lower levels and the war makes that tough. Ahsoka is still knee jerk defending the Jedi and the war, but her protestations don’t have the heat they used to. Trace’s sister has made a dangerous deal to build some droids and the three girls do so, even though it goes wrong. Ahsoka feels uneasy about the whole situation but helps anyway. (OF COURSE SHE DOES.)

I’d missed Ahsoka, so I was happy to see her back, finally, and doing what she does best, participating in barely controlled mayhem while offering compassionate help to people that really need it. This set up reminded me a lot of the novel Ahsoka where she winds up in a similar entanglement. (I’m sure that’s where they got the idea for this storyline.)

In other Ahsoka news, our girl is coming to The Mandolorian! And she’s going to be played by Rosario Dawson. Now, y’all know how I feel about Rosario, I think she’s great! And I do feel like she’ll do an exceptional job as Ahsoka. (Man, I can’t wait for her to call Baby Yoda “Little One!”) I do know that my nerd rage is going to bubble when people meet her for the first time here and it’s not Ashley Eckstein doing the work. She’s been Ahsoka’s voice, heart and protector for the past decade. Also she’s a kind and lovely person who’s been very nice to me over the years and who makes stylish clothing I like quite a bit.

But part of fandom, especially long running, multi author fandom like Star Wars is seeing new interpretations of the things you love. If I stamp my foot and whine that Rosario Dawson isn’t “the real Ahsoka,” aren’t I just as bad as all those fanboys who go crazy every time we get a new Batman? I’m sure she’ll be wonderful and Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni will write her very well. This will be Ahsoka The White, remember, who has passed through time and space at Mallus and been hunting for Ezra for five years, after all. She’s different. She will be different.

Can’t wait to see what next week brings. Again, I hope you all are keeping safe. STAY HOME if you can. Drink drinks, eat food, video chat, watch Star Wars, the Force will be with us during this.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 7: Episode 4: “Unfinished Business”

Hi everyone! Sorry this is a day late, like everyone pretty much, I spent the weekend spiraling a little bit about COVID-19, so I completely forgot to write this post. I hope everyone is doing OK, practicing social distancing, and taking lots of deep breaths. If you want to talk about what you’re reading, watching and eating in these super weird times, please reach out to me on any social media. (I’m hanging out on Instagram a lot these days! @thefangirlsdilemma)

Moving on! “Unfinished Business,” is the end of The Bad Batch arc, which as I noted, I’m not crazy about, but I liked this episode a little bit more. There’s a really great Mace Windu moment that really seals the deal, but overall I enjoyed it.

Echo has to prove to the others that he can get back in the game, and that The Separatists aren’t in control of him. He does so, through a series of very cool action sequences. Also Anakin has a BIG Dark Side moment in his reactions to Spider-Monster Admiral Trench, Obi-Wan does some in command stuff and I mentioned Mace right?

The moment that made me fall in love with this episode is when he steps in front a batallion of battle droids and recites his stats, reminding them, and us all that HE IS A BADASS.

Next week apparently we’re going to be finally getting some Ahsoka stuff, which means I will probably have a lot more to write about. But here’s the thing, theses episodes have been very action heavy, which is GREAT for watching, and not so much for writing, which is why these recaps have been so short.

Anyway, I hope everyone is healthy and safe, I love you all as much as I love Star Wars, maybe even more! I’ll be doing a bunch of reading, watching of Disney movies and other stuff as I’m stuck home, I’m hoping to get back to a regular 5 post a week schedule. So something good can come out of all of this.

 

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 7 Episode 3: “On The Wings Of Keeradaks”

First, a correction, I thought Echo died last week, he didn’t! He was liberated, A LA Jean-Luc Picard from the Borg! (We’ll get to ol’Jean-Luc soon! I’ve been selectively binging Picard.) Now, Anakin, Rex, The Bad Batch and Echo have to escape from the Techno Syndicate, with some help from the natives of the planet that they’re on.

The Tecno Syndicate are furious, obviously that their “experiment” has been stolen. That experiment is of course, Poor Echo, who is in really bad shape.

Not going to lie, I’m not overly enamored of this arc. It’s visually interesting but it isn’t doing much for me story wise and not really deepening any of the characters. We already know Rex would do anything for his brothers, that Anakin recklessly dives into danger heedless of the consequences and that the council is basically useless. There’s nothing new here. Except the bad batch, who really are pretty great, just not super compelling to write about.

It’s emotionally satisfying to do more with the clones. Clone episodes have always been among my favorites, but this arc, until I see how it plays out just has not delivered so far. It may also just be my impatience to get to the SIEGE OF MANDALORE FOR GOD’S SAKE.

I wish I was more engaged and had more to say here, but I really just don’t. The show is as ever visually stunning with compelling action and decent character work, this arc just seems a little repetitive from a story and development standpoint.

Anyway, another week without any Ahsoka. This is getting tiresome and I do not care for it at all.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 7 Episode 2 “A Distant Echo”

The forking show man.

After returning to base, with no proof of Echo’s actually being alive, Rex is more determined than ever to figure out what’s going on here. He pleads with Anakin to continue the mission, and Anakin is like, “OK bud, sure, but first, I gotta call me wife…I mean Senator Amidala, for REASONS, that have nothing to do with us being in love or married. This is definitely a secret and no one knows about it at all.”

Of course everyone knows, including Obi-Wan who is basically catches Anakin in the Holo-call act, and calls him out on it.

This strengthens my very strong belief that LITERALLY EVERYONE KNEW about Anakin and Padme it’s just with all the war and fascist regime rising and Anakin being the chosen one, decided it wasn’t worth the confrontation.

Moving on from the not a secret love of Anakin and Padme, we get to Rex and The Bad Batch hunting for Echo. They track the signal they found, beat the crap out of some droids. (I am not doing the action of these episodes justice because I am bad about writing and talking about action sequences, but they are very very good.)

Eventually, Rex does indeed find Echo, who is alive, but barely. His brain has been hacked and it’s really bad and he dies in Rex’s arms. It is rough, but Ooh, boy, it’s good stuff.

I think the Bad Batch might be the most interesting invention of these shows for a while. They’re incredibly designed a fun concept and great for complicated the Clone narrative. Remember, when we first meet them, Yoda is the one tells the clones themselves that they are individuals, not a collective, that this is a good a true thing. This takes that even further, and it rules, it’s so good.

I’m so happy this show is back.

Still no Ahsoka, but Ashley’s been instagramming some interesting shit.

I’m hoping this week.

We’ll see.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7 Episode 1 “The Bad Batch”

Hello There!

We’re back brothers, it’s time for us to dive back into weekly bulletins from a Galaxy Far Far Away, in what, during my months long deep dive, became my favorite part. (All apologies to Poe Dameron and Baby Yoda.) We’re back into The Clone Wars. When last we left our marionette computer animated heroes, Yoda had talked to a bunch of ghosts, learned that the Jedi were most likely doomed and learned the secret of immortality. Anakin and Padme’s marriage was pretty strained but they decided to stick it out. The Clones started suffering from rage black outs and Tup and Fives had “brain tumors” that lead to their deaths. Also there was a thing with a bird lady and Jar-Jar Binks.

Oh right, and Ahsoka left the Jedi Order, and no one has heard from her for a bit.

We pick up mid battle, Anakin and Mace Windu are losing, bad to the Separatist forces. Rex and Cody come to them with a plan, they’re going to infiltrate and figure out how the Separatists are one step ahead of them. They don’t share Rex’s theory, that clone trooper Echo is still alive and helping the enemy.

They get permission to go on the mission and call in “The Bad Batch,” a group of genetically “off” Clones who use their differences to be an elite, A-Team style squad.

Y’all.

Y’ALL.

The Bad Batch RULES. They are the coolest. Rex doesn’t like them much, but then they save Cody a few times and everyone comes around. They get some battle plans that seem to reveal things and then they hear a Droid Commander over the com, calling out a CT number. It’s Echo’s number.

Echo is alive, and he’s working with the Separatists.

I AM FLOORED y’all. I am so excited to be back here, to be hanging with the Clones again, and I knew coming right out the gate we weren’t getting Ahsoka back right away, but at this point it’s just a countdown for me. I think starting Clone centric was smart. Clone Wars was about a lot of things, but mainly it was about these characters, faceless mass in the movies, made individual victims and heroes here. So it’s cool to start with them. Also, I love Rex. A lot. (I’m also watching Rebels again right now, and I just got to his return, and he totally rules.) It’s a strong start to a new seasons.

It’s going to be weird to watch this show week by week. I’m used to binging it. Every time (4?) I’ve watched it, I’ve binged it. So we’re watching. We’ll check back in next Tuesday! Are y’all excited? I’m so excited.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: Rebels: Season 2

Ahsoka’s great right? Like she’s really great. I feel like I could write this whole essay about her. (Except I already wrote that essay back the first time I watched this season.)  

So instead we’re going to focus on something else this season.

We’re going to focus on Kanan Jarrus: Mediocre Jedi Knight.

Kanan’s a pretty shitty Jedi. But he’s a great character. Freddie Prinze Jr. does excellent work too. But Kanan is a different kind of character for Star Wars which is after all, the joy of both Clone Wars and Rebels, and, at least on paper the Story series, exploring different corners of that galaxy, far far away. Kanan isn’t a hero. He’s not a great warrior like Anakin. Or the best teacher ever like Obi-Wan. Or a wise sage like Yoda. He’s not the savior like Luke. Or power awaking anew like Rey. He’s just, a guy, who got lucky one time, and has been surviving on his wits since then.

He’s got his issues, (guilt mostly) but he’s in love, he’s doing his best to make the galaxy a better place, and he doesn’t really think he has what it takes to whip this kid into shape but he’s giving it his all anyway.

You wanna know who else comes back this season? (Besides Ahsoka? And again, she’s great.) Rex. Rex is great too. Kanan doesn’t care for him. (The thing about seeing everyone you care about getting murdered, it does a number on you and when a guy with the same face as the murderers shows up, you might not love having him around.) Ezra likes him though. Ezra is still super annoying. I forgot about the internet calling him Space Aladdin, but he is that. Also, back? Darth Maul. Dave Filoni loves bringing back Darth Maul so much he wants to take the concept out behind the middle school and get it pregnant, but he’s good here too, since his appearance at a Sith Temple eventually leads to that most devestating of showdowns. (That had me sitting on my couch rocking back and forth with tear streaming down my cheeks.)

That brings us to our villains! Hooray! Kallus is still around and still kind of a shit. But mostly this season is centered around The Seventh Sister, a new inquisitors who answers directly to Vader, who is also around. The Seventh Sister is eery and bad ass and, BEST OF ALL, voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar. Listening to Sarah and Freddie fight/flirt is super cute and also, there’s the whole Buffy factor adding to her badassery. And Vader being more directly involved so that he can kill Ahsoka is a necessity.

The moment where Ahsoka shouts, “I am no Jedi,” and declares her refusal to leave Anakin behind again is stunning. Ashley Eckstein is really wonderful. And knowing Ashley a little bit, I’m even more impressed by latter day Ahsoka, as she’s so straightforward and badass and Ashley is so giggly and bubbly and huggy. (Seriously I’ve met the woman four times and she always greets me with a “Reenie! IT’S SO NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN! OMG YOU LOOK GREAT! HOW ARE YOU?” and a giant hug. She’s amazing. I would follow her into battle.)

Next week we’ll deal with season 3, which will be fun, because I remember watching a few episodes, but little about them.