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Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Victory And Death (The Clone Wars - S07E12) - Animated Series

Series: The Clone Wars

Title: Victory And Death

Season: Seven

Episode: 12

Original Air Date: May 4, 2020

Runtime: 22 minutes

Credits: Review & Text: Thomas; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

Maul rips out the hyperdrive

The final episode of The Clone Wars is relatively light on actual plot. However, all the necessary pieces are in place already, the story has mostly been told. Thus "Victory And Death" mostly focuses on one question: how do you escape a Star Destroyer with hostile clones who want to kill you without asking any questions? The final episode is a fight for survival.

Rex sheds a single tear for his former friends and comrades

So we are treated to some intense action, interrupted by some tender character scenes, one of them a short moment between Rex and Ahsoka in the hangar bay control, when Rex sheds a tear for his former comrades. Ahsoka tries to comfort him and is intent on not hurting the clones, since they, just like Rex, are good soldiers. But in the end it turns out that all hopes of sparing the lives of the clones and to avoid unnecessary bloodshed are rendered moot. Because Maul is on a rampage, creating all the diversion Ahsoka could ever ask for, maybe even a lot more than she asked for. Because Maul brutally rips out the hyperdrive of the Star Destroyer, stranding the vessel in the gravity well of a small moon. And the Star Destroyer begins to plunge towards the surface. But with all escape pods jettisoned the only hope to escape from the falling Star Destroyer is a shuttle. However Maul bests everyone else once again as he manages to snatch the shuttle away from Ahsoka and Rex and disappears into hyperspace. I want to point out here that the episode shows how incredibly powerful Force users can be and what an immense threat they pose to their enemies. There's no stopping Maul and even though the clones have blasters and Maul has no weapon at all, they are no match for him. The carnage and destruction Maul causes is really impressive.

The Star Destroyer is slowly plunging to its death

Ahsoka's plan to avoid further bloodshed is actually quite interesting. She tells Rex to bring up a point that had been brought up by fans before: technically speaking Ahsoka is no longer a Jedi. So she should not be affected by Order 66. But Jesse, now commanding the clone troopers, doesn't fall for that kind of reasoning and still wants to exterminate both Rex and Ahsoka. But Ahsoka's droid allies manage to incapacitate the clones by manipulating hangar bay elevators. Two of them get executed a short while later for that by the clones. Eventually Rex gets hold of a Y-Wing, the Star Destroyer is already in free fall in the Moon's atmosphere and things are getting really chaotic. Rex manages to launch the ship, but Ahsoka is free falling towards the ground, with the Star Destroyer slowly getting ripped apart by the atmosphere. But in the end Ahsoka manages to catch up with the Y-Wing and she and Rex land safely on the surface. The clones on the Star Destroyer however, are not so lucky.

Victory and Death

The clones, including Jesse, who was just saved from Maul a few episodes before, all perish. Rex and Ahsoka bury them on the moon. Ahsoka, now donning her Rebels cloak, drops one of her lightsabers to the ground. Leaving the past behind.

Clone Wars style Stormtroopers

But the episode is not done yet. There is a time jump. The surface of the moon is now covered in snow. And Snowtroopers, Stormtroopers and Probe Droids are roaming the area, looking for something. And it turns out the Stormtroopers are not alone. Because Darth Vader enters the frame and he finds Ahsoka's old lightsaber in the snow.

Old friends not forgotten?

Vader then watches a bird in the sky, we can only guess what's going through his mind right now. Is it remorse? Anger? Hate?

When your life choices turn out to be really bad

After watching the bird for a while Darth Vader turns around and goes back to his shuttle. Leaving behind a reflection in a fractured clone trooper helmet painted with Ahsoka's colors. A symbol for all the shattered hopes and dreams and all the lost friends.

Shattered dreams

And with that final shot of the fractured helmet The Clone Wars ends.

In my opinion the final Order 66 arc alone was reason enough to revive The Clone Wars for one final season. It makes up for some rough episodes before and arcs that didn't really do all that much for the bigger narrative perhaps. Actually, I believe that the final 100 minutes or so of The Clone Wars were a more satisfying and much more coherent experience than The Rise of Skywalker. Whether you agree or disagree with me certainly hinges on the fact if you like Ahsoka or not. Some fans do not care for her all that much. But if you do, then the seven seasons of The Clone Wars, plus the movie, told Ahsoka's and also Rex's very rewarding story and it all paid off in the end. The epilogue with Vader was the icing on the cake here. We can only guess what's going through his mind at this moment in life. Is there any remorse at all? Or is he just trying to find Ashoka, so he can kill her like all of the other Jedi? It's probably the latter, given what happened later in Rebels.

And even without all the prior knowledge, even if this had been a stand alone movie, I feel that the final episodes provided a better experience than The Rise of Skywalker. It had gravitas, there was no unnecessary humor and the little humor there was didn't feel out of place. The action was epic and still meaningful, there was no need to throw 1,000,000 ships at the screen. The lightsaber fight choreography for Maul and Ahsoka was also much better, instead of Rey and Kylo wielding the sabers like baseball bats or clubs, you had the feeling that two people are actually using the lightsabers like actual sabers or swords. Just as the lightsaber choreography in the prequels was always much more elegant and agile.

And once again the cinematography and art has to be pointed out. The Clone Wars never looked better.

What's also really interesting is the fact that Ahsoka becomes a very tragic heroine. In hindsight it turns out Ahsoka may have been able to save the Republic almost single handedly, she might have been able to prevent Anakin's tragic fall. If only she had been able to talk to him before he went to Palpatine, telling him that he had been groomed by an evil Sith Lord, warning him that he had been manipulated all these years. All things would have pointed to Palpatine. Maybe Anakin would have supported Mace in the duel with Palpatine knowing what Ahsoka had just told him. And if only Ahsoka had told Yoda about Maul's revelations to her. It would be interesting to find out how much all of that weighed on Ahsoka's shoulders later in life.

The final four episodes of The Clone Wars may be what Rogue One was to A New Hope. It actually improves and enriches Revenge of the Sith. We now have two movies (if you consider the final four episodes a movie, which I do) that show us two sides of the story. Anakin's tragic fall and loss of everyone and everything he loved and Ahsoka's loss of almost everything she cared about. There's so much duality here. Both Anakin and Ahsoka (and Rex and Maul too) lose everything. The telling difference is that Ahsoka still has her best friend after Anakin: Rex. The two carry on, there may be some despair, mourning, sadness, but they fight for a better life, Anakin is only redeemed in the very end after almost two decades of living a hateful existence and Maul never learns from his experiences and is devoured by his lust for revenge which eventually kills him. So we have four characters that lose (almost) everything, two of them make really bad choices facing that situation, the other two however come out on top in the end and prevail. Perfect symmetry.

So if those were the final moments of The Clone Wars, then the show went out on the highest of high notes. Thanks to everyone involved for making this final season possible. Every new (animated) project will now have to live up to the legacy The Clone Wars leaves behind.

Added: May 13, 2020
Category: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Reviewer: Thomas
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