The Clone Wars returns with a good, clone centered arc, that focuses on Captain Rex and what he has lost! I really enjoyed the first four episodes of season 7, so lets just jump right into it!
What’s it about?
The first four episodes of Season Seven of The Clone Wars features Captain Rex as he works with a unique group of Clones called “The Bad Batch.” The end of the Clone Wars is upon us, Anakin and Obi-Wan are based on Anaxes, a planet created for The Clone Wars but previously seen in Rebels, during the Outer Rim sieges. In these epsiodes, Captain Rex must lead a group of four genetically advanced troopers to find an old friend long gone.
The episodes are titled “The Bad Batch”, “A Distant Echo,” “On the Wings of Keeradaks,” and “Unfinished Buisness.” The four of them were released previously on StarWars.com, but there were some major changes made to the overall story.
Instead of breaking down every episode, I want to give you my general thoughts on them as a whole. THERE WILL BE SOME SPOILERS!
“This is where the fun begins!”
First, I just want to say that I am so happy that The Clone Wars is back! These first four episodes felt like a true continuation of the story.
Visually, they were amazing. One of my favorite scenes comes from episode three where the Bad Batch and the natives of Skako Minor fight Separatist Tri-Droids (those big three legged walkers) and a number of newly designed battle droids. Visually, it was spectacular and did not feel like a budget TV show, but like a return to the large scale battles of the Clone Wars. I mist admit, before these four episodes I was concerned about the show’s quality, for instance, when the first few trailers came out I wasn’t a big fan of Anakin’s character model. I liked how it was the same as his Revenge of Sith look, but something felt off. In the end, I found that the issue wasn’t in the animation, but rather in me and how I had to adapt to his new design very quickly. After “A Distant Echo” I was completely sold on the new look.
Anakin and Rex
Anakin in particular had some very important moments in this arc. Two scenes stand out to me. In one, Anakin speaks to Padme via hologram, and tells her that he is unsure about Rex’s plan to rescue Echo, a clone presumed dead since season 3, saying that he feels that it is reckless. Padme, reminds Anakin that Rex stood by his side many times before, and that now it was time for Anakin to do likewise. While this happens, Captain Rex, who now apparently knows Anakin’s secret, tries to keep Obi-Wan from walking in on their conversation. This was not in the original episode arc but was a beautiful addition to the final season. It also gives us a hint at how much Obi-Wan knows about Anakin and Padme. There was also another scene in the fourth episode showing a glimpse at Anakin’s darker side.
While Anakin had a larger role in this arc, the highlight was Captain Rex, who starts it by lamenting his lost comrades, and then goes on an uncertain mission to get one of them back. In the end, he finds Echo only to lose him again, though perhaps not permanently. Once again, The Clone Wars manages to show the clones as individual people which feelings, as opposed to property (something that the Separatists fail to see). I also thought that this arc was a good reminder of how much Rex has grown as a character throughout the series. He started as a by the books trooper, but by the end of it he begins questioning if the war is even worth fighting. I’m excited to see where his character goes in the final episodes.
Things That Could Be Better.
All of this isn’t to say that these episodes were perfect. There were times where the episodes felt ‘surface leavel’, such as the Bad Batch questioning whether Echo is a traitor or not, which I feel could have been fleshed out more. Personally, Echo was the most disappointing aspect of these episodes, which is a shame because his rescue is what they are built around. I would have like to see him struggle to rejoin the battle instead of having him jump onto a Keeradak immediately after rescue (Keeradaks are the flying creature that sounded oddly like an Acklay). There was also something missing between him and Rex could have been fixed with a simple conversation or two (like, for instance, he has to be wondering what happened to Fives). Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy seeing Echo again, and I don’t mind his return, but with Dave Filoni and the crew taking extra leaps to make this arc more character driven and Rex focused, I wish they fleshed out their comradery better over the last two episodes.
The Bad Batch A Good Batch
With that said, there is still much to love about this arch, including “The Bad Batch” themselves. The Bad Batch, also called Clone Force 99, may have been the stereotypical ‘Ninja Turtle’ like troopers, but they each had little quirks that made them unique, and very, very entertaining! Tech is a master of technology, Wrecker is comedically buff, Hunter is a master tracker, and Crosshair is a flawless sniper. I loved how the first episode showed their unique abilities, as well as their conflict with “the regs,” that is, normal Clones. Each of them had great moments throughout these four episodes, my personal favorite was Crosshair’s trick shot. Hopefully we see get to them again in further animation (I’m just saying, Disney, if you ever want to release the Yoda and the Wookiees Arc as a bonus episode for some extra money, you would make a lot of people happy! That and the Ventress and Voss Arc, Son of Dathomir , Under The Jedi Temple, Crystal Crisis, Boba Fett and… hmm, maybe I’m getting ahead of my self).
Overall, these episodes were very good. I don’t think they are not “top tier” or “TCW’s greatest hits” but in my opinion they are an excellent inclusion to The Clone Wars, and a very good way to kick off the final series!
Tune in next time for “Ahsoka’s Walkabout!”