More and more, it’s beginning to feel like the final season of The Clone Wars would have been better off structured as three feature-length films rather than 12 episodes. Within each story arc, the episodes flow so closely from one to the next that there’s little point in even interrupting them with credits sequences. A feature-length approach definitely would have helped with this arc. Ahsoka’s new team-up adventure picks up quite a bit in Chapter 2, but it’s a shame we had to deal with such a forgettable setup episode first.
Even the way Admiral Yularen’s narration recaps the events of “Gone With a Trace” highlights how empty and dull that episode is. It served its purpose as far as putting Ahsoka in the path of sisters Trace and Rafa Martez, but that’s about it. But again, now that the setup is out of the way, the series is able to do something much more exciting with that partnership. That includes revisiting Kessel, a world we’ve heard about for decades but only recently saw brought to life in 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story.
[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=star-wars-the-clone-wars-final-season-gallery&captions=true”]
The introduction of Kessel is one way in which the long gap between Seasons 6 and 7 winds up working in the show’s favor. Had this episode aired pre-Solo, it’s doubtful The Clone Wars would have even been able to include the world. It certainly wouldn’t have looked the same. “Deal No Deal” helps further flesh out this world and the staggering inequality separating the wealthy aristocrats living in luxurious jungle palaces from the rabble stuck mining the spice. This, in turn, plays right into Ahsoka’s ongoing character arc. She’s already grown disillusioned with the Jedi, but now she has a firsthand look at the evil they’ve allowed to flourish right under their noses. Thanks to this episode, the series has already taken a critical step forward in bridging the gap between Season 5 Ahsoka and the older “I’m no Jedi” Ahsoka of Star Wars Rebels.
Episode 6 also helps further develop the Ahsoka/Trace/Rafa dynamic quite a bit, enough that there’s now more incentive to care about the two sisters and their struggle for a better life. There’s a sense of unease building around what’s clearly a toxic relationship between Trace and Rafa. Rafa talks a big game about family and sisters needing to look out for each other, but it’s clearly all a noose designed to trap Trace in a life of grift and bad decisions. It helps that Ahsoka isn’t simply played as the angel on Trace’s shoulder here, but rather a negative influence in her own, well-meaning way. With Rafa urging Trace toward a life of crime and Ahsoka naively arguing that the drug cartel’s precious shipment should be hijacked to make medicine, you can’t really blame Trace for snapping and sending it all hurtling into hyperspace. Ahsoka may be woke these days, but she’s not exactly wise yet.
In short, this episode is a much better followup to what was a pretty lackluster debut. That said, the strongest scene in this episode revolves more around the broken Ahsoka/Anakin bond. Ahsoka’s close encounter with Anakin is a lot of fun to watch, both in how it offers silent acknowledgement of their friendship and in how it calls back to iconic Original Trilogy moments. Seeing a Clone Wars-era riff on the Endor approach from Return of the Jedi is a welcome treat. It’s telling how Anakin so consistently steals the show despite playing a relatively smaller role in Season 7. Even more than reconnecting with Ahsoka, the real joy of this final season has been in seeing him drift further down the path toward becoming Darth Vader.