Star Wars: The Clone Wars 07×12 “Victory and Death” (Review)

May 5, 2020

Spoilers Ahead

The Clone Wars Delivers a Character-Driven Finale Focused on The Cost of War

The End

The final episode of The Clone Wars has arrived. From its inception, the show has cast the prequel films in a new light and has been praised by Star Wars fans. While George Lucas originally intended for the show to bridge the gap between the prequel films, over the years, the show has become a favourite of fans due to original characters and engaging storylines. The show has accomplished so much during its run including giving Anakin an apprentice, Ahsoka, and casting Maul in a new tragic light. The Jedi and the failure of their ways have long been a focus of the show which saw its climax during Ahsoka’s trial. Since then, the Jedi have been on a path to destruction with Anakin beginning his fall to the dark side and with Order 66 on the horizon. The Clone Wars was raring to tell more stories in 2014; however, the show was unfortunately cancelled by Disney. All those remaining stories lost forever. Or so we thought.

In a surprise move, Disney announced their plans in 2019 at D23 to bring back the show for a 12-episode Season 7. Disney had heard Star Wars fans and so had decided to give Dave Filoni and his crew a chance to properly wrap up the show. Fans have seen the return of Rex, Ahsoka, and even Maul as The Clone Wars brought together these fan favourite characters for a final explosive arc. Now crossing over with Revenge of The Sith, the show has reached its end. Order 66 has arrived. The show now only needs to show what happened to these non-film characters. Fans can either take this as a good or a bad thing. Bittersweet as it may be, the end of The Clone Wars is here.

The Story of The Clones Takes A Tragic Turn

A strength of The Clone Wars in previous seasons was its treatment of the clones. The show humanised the clones in a way in which the movies had neglected to do so. In the films, we hardly had the opportunity to care for the clones before they betrayed the Jedi and executed Order 66. On the other hand, in the show, we saw their loyalty, bravery, companionship, and most importantly their humanity. The clones could no longer be treated as mindless, disposable soldiers but instead as people beneath the helmets. Rex and Fives were given special attention as the show dived deep into what makes each clone unique. For Fives, it was his persistence to get to the truth about Order 66 that cost him his life in the end.

The finale does well to remember who the clones were and what they have become. Rex tearing up about his fellow soldiers is a great example. He is saddened by seeing what his once friends have become. Himself having been brainwashed by Order 66, he knows how they have become mere puppets for Darth Sidious and shadows of their former selves. The finale perfectly balances these reflective moments with necessary action since Ahsoka and Rex have to find their way out of this situation by fighting the clones. The clones stand as one hostile force united under Jesse’s command against Ahsoka and Rex. They are imposing and have no qualms about killing our heroes. 

Ahsoka and Rex Have Mixed Feelings 

Events from Revenge of Sith have been cast in a new light by these latest episodes of The Clone Wars. Order 66 not only spells the doom of the Jedi but also is a tragic development for the clones. When they served the Republic, they were soldiers, but they still had autonomy to some extent. Now Palpatine’s orders have stripped them of even that and they have become the ultimate weapons. This turn of events endangers the lives of Ahsoka and Rex but furthermore they are emotionally affected. Rex has lived his whole life as a clone and these men were his comrades in arms. It is devastating for him to see the clones stripped of their autonomy and used as mere pawns by Sidious. Ahsoka has only just returned from her exile to help the Republic and received the warmest of welcomes from the clones. These were soldiers who supported her even after she left the order since they modelled the design of their helmets after her.

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While Rex has lost hope and wants to fight his way out, Ahsoka is determined not to kill any clones in order to honour who they once were. Rex is arguably right: The clones are not who they once were and have become completely brainwashed. Nevertheless, The Clone Wars does not take the easy way out by now simply treating these soldiers as disposable. None of this is the fault of the clones. The Clone Wars is going back to its emotional centre as Ahsoka and Rex reflect on their predicament. Aside from Maul, they are the last two standing. The Jedi have fallen; the galaxy is in chaos; Sidious has emerged triumphant. Our heroes stand in their darkest hour and have to face up to their new reality. Everything has changed for them and it will never be the same. 

Maul Gets Agency

On the topic of Maul, the once Sith lord gets more to do here than in the last episode. His raw power is on display in this episode as he uses the force to destroy the ship’s hyperdrive. Maul is even given agency in this episode instead of being a mere distraction since he escapes with a smaller ship. Maul’s escape is of course setup for his appearance in Solo as a crime lord and then on Rebels where he is found on Malachor. The only point of contention about Maul’s role in this episode and the previous one is that Ahsoka freed him to distract the clones, yet she claims to value the lives of the clones. Even Rex is surprised that Ahsoka freed Maul. Maul clearly is killing clones and causing general chaos. Maybe Ahsoka just does not want to be directly responsible for the death of the clones and desperate times do call for desperate measures.

Lost Opportunities?

My only qualms with the final arc are how it moved on from Mandalore and its disregard for other key characters. After a grand conflict on Mandalore was teased, The Clone Wars never showed it to us. Maul’s troops offered futile resistance to the Republic forces and were easily defeated. Surely the Empire taking over Mandalore is the grand conflict, but The Clone Wars never showed it. When the show departed from Mandalore, it was bittersweet knowing what would come next. Maybe that was enough, yet one cannot help but want to see what ultimately happened to the planet after Order 66. On the other point, this final arc has largely disregarded key characters such as Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, Palpatine, etc. That is probably because their stories were wrapped up in Revenge of The Sith. Then again purely focusing on Ahsoka, Rex and Maul only wraps up a part of the show instead of providing a proper conclusion that took the other characters into account. The final season of The Clone Wars would likely have benefited from more episodes stretching out this storyline to focus on more of its characters and to wrap up their storylines.

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The finale wraps up Rex’s, Ahsoka’s, and Maul’s storylines as much as it can but ultimately their stories are not ending but continuing. This should be taken as a plus for the show highlighting just how far The Clone Wars has come from its debut cementing its place in the Star Wars canon. 

The Outcome

An era has ended. The Clone Wars is no longer. What has the show left in its wake? The key takeaway message of the last episode is the cost of war. All these clones were invaluable in helping the Jedi yet ultimately, they became disposable due to Order 66 and laid down their lives for a flawed cause. The fate of the clones is the true tragedy of the war. Whether the war was ever really just is something that the show has always grappled with. What has made this final arc really stand out is how cinematic it has been. The cinematography, music, opening logo – everything has been so well constructed that The Clone Wars could very well be a film. Ahsoka looking out on the remains of the ship and all the helmets of the clones is a masterful moment as she pays her respects to these fallen soldiers. This episode wraps up the latest arc really well concluding the Order 66 storyline and advancing our heroes’ character arcs.

Another amazing scene concludes the episode; Vader finally appears in the episode and visits the place where the ship crashed. Vader steps out from his ship onto the snowy landscape and he finds Ahsoka’s lightsaber on the ground and the helmet of a fallen clone. Anakin’s transformation is complete – He has lost so much in this war and now leaving everything behind, he has become Lord Vader. The final shot perfectly encapsulates this with Vader reflected in the clone’s helmet on the ground. Time has not been kind to the clones. Everything has moved on and changed for the worse. Only remnants of the war remain – A war defined by loss. 

Conclusion

This arc has been a triumphant return to form for The Clone Wars capturing what makes the show so special. This final episode wraps up the arc and the overall show in the best way possible. The Clone Wars delivers an episode that is at the same time thrilling, heart-breaking, and satisfying. The finale is character-driven and explores the cost of war. The long conflict has ended with slaughter, death, and once-loyal soldiers gone bad. A new era has arrived – One of the Empire. The Clone Wars could have certainly done more with its final season and surely deserved more episodes. Nevertheless, this final arc has been incredibly cinematic, to say the least. And the finale is only the cherry on top. The show has gone out on the highest of notes with a bang, not a whimper.  

Pros:

+ The clones

+ Rex and Ahsoka

+ Maul’s actions

+ The cost of war

+ Vader

+ Cinematic

+ Neatly wraps up the arc

Cons:

– Other storylines not wrapped up

Star Wars: The Clone Wars 07x12 "Victory and Death"

9

9.0/10

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