This week’s episode of The Clone Wars was the best of this season, and might’ve been one of the best episodes of the show as a whole. With only a few episodes left in the final season the epic finale has finally begun. Let’s dig in.
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS AHEAD!
This episode starts off hot and heavy with Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Commander Cody in a heated battle. Obi-Wan wants to fall back, but Anakin insists they take action against the Separatist droids. Anakin walks toward them alone, and tells them he wishes to surrender, allowing for Captain Rex and his clone battalion to catch the Separatists off-guard.
Anakin and Obi-Wan word from base that they’ve received a transmission from the “Fulcrum” line. They return to the ship, where Ahsoka and Bo-Katan, via hologram, are waiting for them. Anakin, speechless, listens while Ahsoka tells them that she’s located Maul and thinks they can catch him if they move quickly. Obi-Wan is “cautiously optimistic” about capturing Maul.
Ahsoka arrives on their ship with Bo-Katan and the other Mandalorians. Anakin wants to catch up with her, but Ahsoka shuts him down, clearly there for one thing: business. They explain to the Jedi that Maul is on Mandalore, but they need soldiers from the Republic if they’re to take it. Bo-Katan insists they have no time, but Obi-Wan decides they won’t aid without approval from the Council.
Anakin takes Ahsoka to see the 501st battalion, all of whom have painted their helmets to model Ahsoka’s face. Anakin says he has one more surprise and begins to offer Ahsoka a box. Before she can open it, alarms blare and Obi-Wan runs in, explaining that General Grievous has attacked Coruscant and they’re preparing to jump to light speed. Ahsoka is upset that they’re seemingly abandoning Mandalore for the sake of Chancellor Palpatine. Anakin wants to divide the 501st, promoting Rex to Commander and letting him take men with Ahsoka to Mandalore. Ahsoka opens Anakin’s gift: her two lightsabers, both blue now. They separate, Anakin headed to Coruscant.
Ahsoka, Bo-Katan and Rex’s men approach Mandalore. Almec, Prime Minister of Mandalore, readies his men, all in Maul-colored armor. They attack as the Republic enters the airspace. Ahsoka battles her way from ship to ship, eventually making quite the epic landing on the surface. Almec’s men fall back into the Undercity. Ahsoka and her gang split, leaving her tasked to find Maul.
Captain Vaughn informs Ahsoka that they engaged Gar Saxon, but he escaped into the underground tunnels. Meanwhile, Bo-Katan storms the throne room, and Almec reveals that Ahsoka’s walking into a trap, but Bo-Katan can’t reach her.
Ahsoka and her men continue to search the tunnels, but she gets separated from them. Captain Vaughn falls and dies in Ahsoka’s arms. She’s surrounded by Mandalorian troops, and Maul approaches from the shadows. He tells her “I was hoping for Kenobi, why are you here?” and the episode ends without fanfare.
We’ve made it. The final arc of The Clone Wars is here, and this episode is the best of the season yet. With the Siege of Mandalore finally underway, and the events of Revenge of the Sith seemingly starting to bleed into the show, things are heating up.
It’s not an understatement to say that Old Friends Not Forgotten is one of the best episodes of television Lucasfilm Animation has delivered. It’s that good. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that longtime Clone Wars fans have been waiting on the Siege of Mandalore for years, or maybe it’s due to the fact that Anakin and Ahsoka have finally reconnected. Either way, it’s true.
This week’s episode is gripping from start to finish, without a single lull. At 27 minutes long, it surpasses the typical episode length of the show, but all for the better. From the fun, charismatic beginning to the sinister ending, this episode is perfectly paced and perfectly written.
Director Saul Ruiz and writer Dave Filoni were posed with quite the challenge in crafting this episode. The expectations for this finale are massive, and they certainly delivered. Although Clone Wars has always been notably episodic, after its cancelation and revival thereafter, fans have been clamoring for a finale. As Revenge of the Sith seems to age better with more and more time amongst fans, the promise of its events bleeding into The Clone Wars couldn’t be a more exciting premise.
With Anakin and Obi-Wan sent off to aid Chancellor Palpatine, it’s up in the air whether or not we’ll see Ahsoka will see Anakin again pre-Vader. Revenge of the Sith opens up with Palpatine kidnapped by Grievous, with Obi-Wan and Anakin sent to rescue him. Old Friends Not Forgotten closes with Obi-Wan and Anakin dispatched to stop Grievous from capturing Palpatine. It’s certainly plausible that Ahsoka may have truly said goodbye to her master for the last time.
This season of The Clone Wars has been fun thus far, but we all know it’s been leading to this. With only a few episodes left, fans are growing more and more hyped for the finale. Due to Revenge of the Sith, some questions are answered. But so many are not. We can’t wait to see what Filoni and Co. have up their sleeve in the next few weeks.