The beginning of the end

The final season of “Clone Wars” is here

On Feb. 21, the first episode of Season 7 of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” dropped on Disney+. Fans of the series have certainly had a long wait, as season 6 ended in 2014. Despite the time gap, the show hasn’t lost any of it’s charm. While it is technically a children’s show, it does not shy away from more mature storylines — a delicate balance which the seventh season strikes perfectly. Episode 1, “The Bad Batch,” follows Captain Rex as he teams with a group of experimental clones who were given useful mutations such as enhanced strength and intelligence. They must learn to work together in order to successfully infiltrate a Separatist base and recover a key strategy algorithm. While there is initially tension between the regular clones and the Bad Batch, they eventually manage to live up to the opening message of the episode —  “Embrace others for their differences, for that makes you whole.” Throughout the episode, Rex is also struggling emotionally with the fact that his friend Echo (who was thought to have died in Season 3) may still be alive as a prisoner of the Separatists. Rex’s emotional struggle highlights another proficiency of the show: the ability to make the identical clones stand out as individuals. Despite the clones all having the same DNA, their individuality is a constant focus of the show. The clones distinguish themselves from one another by tattoos, hairstyles and other visual cues, but more than just their appearances make them unique. Each clone is treated as an individual with his own personality, not just another mindless drone. This episode in particular brings to light this contrast, with the members of the Bad Batch wondering why Rex cares so much about Echo — to them, it’s just another mass produced product. However, they learn just as the audience has had to over the past six seasons that every clone has value.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a “Clone Wars” episode if there wasn’t plenty of humor mixed in with the emotional angst — at one point, a battle droid asks when an attack is coming, only to have its head immediately shot off. Yet the humor never overwhelms the plot— there is always a perfect mix of humor and seriousness. This ability to balance intense plots with moments of levity is a hallmark of the show, and part of what has kept fans hooked for so long.

While the return of the show is exciting, fans who might have been hoping to see the return of Ashoka Tano will have to wait just a little longer. Anakin Skywalker’s spunky Padawan left the Jedi Order (and essentially the show) at the end of Season 5, and many fans are eager to see her character once again. Based on the trailer, the final season will show Ashoka facing off against Darth Maul, as well as dealing with the repercussions of leaving the Jedi. The coming episodes will also involve more of Anakin’s descent to the Dark Side, and of course, the beginnings of the infamous Order 66. Some have also speculated that the events of the final season will overlap chronologically with “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,” the film which follows it in the Star Wars timeline. One thing’s for sure: if the first episode is anything to go by, the final season will be every bit as excellent as the ones preceding.

~Peri Costic, Staff Writer~

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