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"Victory and Death"
Compared to what I had hoped, and slightly expected, this wasn't the huge finale that I thought we were going to get. It was a very personal finale, mainly set on explaining how Ahsoka came to the place that she was in "Rebels." To see Ahsoka and Rex fight together one last time was so satisfying, and their journey has definitely been the heart of this four-part finale arc. I don't think it is a perfect finale, because I do think that it should have shown a little bit more of everything else going on, to give the viewers who may not be entirely familiar with Order 66, an idea of how wide this is. Sorta like they did in the first part of the finale, where they showed Anakin and Obi-Wan fighting one of the Clone War's final battles. I also think that Ahsoka, someone who didn't complete her training, had a little bit too much strength in this episode, going up against an entire army of highly skilled soldiers all on her own at some points in a wide open space. But with all that said, this was still a finale that I found extremely satisfying, and which ended on such a chilling note that I really wish we would get just a little bit more.
The ending of this episode messed me up. Because I didn't want it to end. For so long, we've known what was eventually going to happen to some of these characters that we've grown to love over the years. And I always wondered if they were going to deal with the events of Order 66, and now, we've finally made it to that point. To see Rex, a character that we've come to admire so much, get in the position where he has to kill some of the Jedi Knights, was a heartbreaking moment, but also one that left the episode with a strong emotional hook. The character of Ahsoka Tano has really grown into her own through this entire series, and to reach this crescendo in her development, was powerful and honest. I am still a little disappointed that we didn't get to see some of the "Revenge of the Sith" moments recreated with this beautiful animation, but the episode had its own story to tell, and everything that it told felt true to the roots of what "Clone Wars" actually is. To think that we only have one episode left is almost excruciating, but on the other hand, it's also so SO exciting.
"The Phantom Apprentice"
First of all, I am a little sad that we didn't get to see the Battle of Coruscant. Second of all, this episode justified why we didn't want or had to see it. This episode was all about leading the audience into what is to come. And we all know what's left to happen. It was such an exciting piece of an amazing series this week, with a lot of truly aw-inspired moments that will make everyone both excited and afraid of the finale a few weeks from now. Maul reminded us why he is one of this show's greatest achievements, having turned him from a cool apprentice to a formidable antagonist. His character arc has been incredibly consistent and he still wants the thing that he can't have, which is to be accepted by Sidious or beating him. The themes throughout the entire episode makes it one of the series' finest, and a great preparation for fans to go through some heartbreaking tragedy come the next two episodes. It would be sad if we didn't get to see some of the other characters, but if it meant to be that Ahsoka is the one leading us into the grand finale of the Republic, I'm more than excited to follow along.
"Old Friends Not Forgotten"
We are officially in the final stretch! It is very clear that this was always considered to be a big production and the entire feel of this episode gave some big film vibes, which I like. The quality is definitely there, and after the arc that they had given Ahsoka in the previous few episodes, I'm glad to see them finally put in the work to make something for her that was exciting and awesome. All the moments in the episode came together to give it a good feel of nostalgia. It was a great blend of humor and darkness, even though I think there was a little too much fluff in it, but that was such a minute aspect that it almost didn't bother me at all. The Siege of Mandalore was awesome to see, and I'm glad that we still have more to go. Plus, the idea that we might be getting the Battle of Coruscant makes me burst with excitement. This entire finale seems to be coming to a big point, and it makes me happy to see that they are doing such a fine job of connecting this to some of the other properties that we have grown to love. And to get a chance to see the series go to the finish line is great and I'm so excited.
This arc has been a weird one. I get that the idea of it was introducing Ahsoka again, and getting her to a point where she'd have to get involved with everything going on, but to do that in a storyline that was so incoherent and boring, seems like a missed opportunity. The Martez sisters were interesting characters, but they didn't get nearly enough do to in these last few episodes. This episode literally started off exactly where the last episode did, both literally and metaphorically. All of that combined led to a final scene that didn't feel quite earned. However, this episode did have a lot of good ideas and a lot of cool action. I like where they are going with Ahsoka, and they are starting to plant the seeds for what we can expect in the final episodes. The reintroduction of Maul was exciting and I'm looking forward to see how far they're going to go with him as an antagonist. Is it for the rest of the season, or only for the next few episodes. Hopefully, a lot will be explained in the coming weeks, and even though I wasn't particularly excited about this storyline, I am excited to return to Mandalore and enter the final run.
At this point, it seems like the creative team behind this show are using these episodes to try and reintroduce Ahsoka into the fold. If that was the overall idea behind it, then I think they're mostly successful, but if they were planning to give us some kind of nice storyline with her and the Martez sisters, they haven't delivered on that yet. This episode had a lot of fun elements to it, with some emotional weight to the story and some great action sequences, but it was mostly an episode that clearly didn't have an idea of where it was going. The entire idea of the episode was to set up what was coming in the next episode, so their escape plan obviously fails, and they are back to where they were in the beginning. I obviously found it frustrating that they would have the nerve to waste something that could have been a perfectly good episode, had it just had more thoughtful writing and a better ending. I have no idea where they want to take this storyline, and honestly, I don't really know if I care. I love Ahsoka, and she is getting some nice development here, but that is the only thing they've got going right now.
"Deal No Deal"
Did anyone ever want to see Ahsoka smuggle spice? If anyone did, this is the episode for you. The premise of the last episode felt like it would be leading somewhere. Unfortunately, this episode didn't run with that at all, and instead decided to go on a completely different route. The episode didn't feel like it connected with the last at all. The sisters were different this time around, with Trace being more of an idiot and someone with no idea of how anything works, which might actually be a good thing if they'd just done that from the beginning. The episode had its share of weird cameos, some of which felt incredibly forced. The idea of setting the thing on Kessel could have been a good premise, but it didn't really have any role to play at all. As a continuation of the last episode, this didn't go the direction I thought, nor the direction it should have gone. It didn't remind me of an episode for this series at all, even though I did ultimately find it enjoyable enough to like it. Ahsoka is still an interesting character, and I hope that we're going to see more of that classic Ahsoka in the future episodes.
"Gone with a Trace"
So, after Ahsoka left in the fifth season, and the series was cancelled, I honestly thought we were done with her. She didn't have a single appearance in the sixth season that was released on Netflix, and her only other appearance outside of this show was a guest role on "Star Wars Rebels." However, we are getting her back in this season, and this was her first episode back. While I don't think the episode ranks amongst the top, I do think it was highly entertaining. It had some nice action sequences, starting off with a malfunctioning speeder bike that made for a visually stunning sequence, as well as a hunt through the lower levels of Coruscant that was really impressive. The new characters are fun and seem like they could become regulars going forward, but I do think that the episode was missing that component to really make it memorable. Maybe it was the lack of other characters, or maybe Ahsoka just isn't a fully-developed lead yet. Nonetheless, I found the episode entertaining and I did appreciate the new characters and the gorgeous animation that this new season has.
"Family Reunion - and Farewell"
As good this series ever was, it finished off with a great finale. Bringing all the emotions to the forefront in an episode that carries all the weight of the best "Star Wars" films, while also bringing the action and character development that we've come to expect. This was Ezra's finest hour, and the episode where he really showed that he was a Jedi. The big action sequence brought a lot of satisfying conclusions to the series, and a lot of characters had some great moments to shine. The Emperor was brought back for a last stand with Ezra, and even though it wasn't a huge fight, it was an emotional conflict that is a great example of "Star Wars" at its best. The ending brings a lot of the characters into the lore once and for all, setting their places in the history in stone. The only thing about the episode is that some dialogue indicates that there are still surviving Jedi out there, even though that contradicts a lot of the thíngs in the original trilogy. Other than that, this was a perfect finale for a series that couldn't have landed better than it did. Truly a great piece of "Star Wars" history.
Star Wars: Rebels: A Fool's Hope (2018)
"A Fool's Hope"
Before their finale, "Game of Thrones" would always have a big battle episode that was dedicated to a specific battle. This episode felt a lot like that. The start of the episode was a great way of connecting the entire series again and prepare us for the last stand. Then, the battle on Lothal became the most impressive action sequence I've seen in this series. All characters got a chance to shine, even Chopper getting a little scene for himself. It feels like they're ready to bring us to the end, and to end it where it began was a great idea on the creative team's part. Lothal has always been a center in this series, and it feels like that we're back here, defending it against the Empire one last time. The inception of the battle didn't really work for me, mostly because it seems like such a cliché, and it ends up being pretty much that. It also felt like the writers desperately wanted Thrawn to be absent from this battle, since he could have probably won it. However, those a small things. As a penultimate episode of the series, I thought it brought a lot of pieces together and sets up and exciting finish for a great series.
"A World Between Worlds"
Epic! That's really the way to describe this episode. This franchise has always been about the Force, and whenever someone tries to do something new and excited with it, it brings me a lot of joy. This episode shows a completely different side of the Force. An incredible opportunity to visit other points in the galaxy that we have no knowledge of yet. The creators found a unique way to explain some plot threads that had been left hanging a few seasons ago, and brought back some characters that I didn't think we were ever going to see again. It had an epic appearance by the Emperor, bringing his incredible powers to the game and proving to be a challenge for even a fully-learned Ezra. All the possibilities that this episode opens up for are endless, and with the new era of the "Star Wars" history coming down the pipeline, this seems ripe for more exploration. I loved this episode, and it is definitely one of the series' very best. I can't wait to see the creators bring it all full-circle and do something that brings "Star Wars" fans all over to a huge and epic conclusion to this series.
"Wolves and a Door"
As someone who was a big fan of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," this episode felt like a bit of a nostalgic fan trip. The idea of bringing back the legacy of Mortis into the fold was something that I thought they might do, but never expected. The deeper parts of "Star Wars" lore are about to be explored and whether or not it may be a little late for that, we will have to wait and see. This episode was fun and exciting, and even though it didn't offer a big action sequence, which I had expected it would, there was a lot of tension as Ezra and Sabine were constantly running from detection. The episode featured a triumphant return of the Emperor, who we haven't seen in figure yet, but have heard before. This time, Ian McDiarmid is back in the role and it's just a treat to listen to him talk. I think the episode needed a little more to it, and it felt kinda short even though the pacing wasn't that fast. It was a great episode, nonetheless, and it sets up a lot of exciting aspects of the mythology to be explored in the final episodes. Hopefully, that includes a little more of the Emperor coming into the fold too.
Star Wars: Rebels: DUME (2018)
This episode was dedicated to the mourning of Kanan's demise. All of the characters dealt with it in different ways, and I loved to see how it all came together to craft a very sincere episode. It wasn't only the characters sitting around having fun memories about him amid their grief, but an episode that also progressed the plot by giving Ezra's an important storyline that is going to bring us back to something that was left unfinished a few seasons back. Meanwhile, Zeb and Sabine had dealings with the Empire, and I do think that their storyline was probably the weakest even though it gave us a cool fight with Rukh. Hera didn't really have a lot to do, but given the fact that she has been through a lot in the past episodes, it felt right for her to take a backseat this time around. I'm excited to see a return to the Jedi Temple, and I'm excited to see what secrets it might hold. There is going to be a lot to get done in these last few episodes, and if the season so far has told me anything, it is that they are going to bring it all the way, and hopefully end on a great and satisfying note.
Star Wars: Rebels: Jedi Night (2018)
In many ways, this is really the episode that I've been waiting for. This signals that we are now entering the final strech of this series. The ending brought such an emotional punch and delivered a fatal blow to the group that we have loved for so long, also breaking the hearts of multiple fans. To have such dedication to the completion of a storyline is remarkable and Dave Filoni and the creators deserve so much credit for it. Other than the end, the episode had a lot of great action sequences and moments that reminded me of why I fell in love with the series to begin with. Great character moments, and some long-awaited revelations all contributed to the episode's greatness. The only thing I can really say as a negative was that I found the episode to be a little too short, especially for an episode that ends up meaning so much more to the overall series than it first seemed. Other than that, this was an emotional episode and one that the series has been heading towards for a long time. We are in the endgame now, and it seems like it could be a heartbreaking end to a great series.
Star Wars: Rebels: Rebel Assault (2017)
After the underwhelming nature of the last episode, they came back with an explosion. The episode began with an epic space battle that did justice to the great nature of the show. We saw the grand return of Grand Admiral Thrawn and his role in the episode was that of a great antagonist, something we have been missing ever since last season. A lot of the episode was focused on Hera and her attempts to escape the Empire, and usually, I like the episodes where the entire crew are together, but with this episode being a lead-up to the finale of the series, I accept that they'll have to focus a little more time on the individual characters. And Hera is one of the best, so to see her for an entire episode was not a bad thing. I felt like the battle had an ending that was a little too abrupt for something of that importance, but it didn't do much to ruin the episode for me. The episode was strong and had some great action sequences, and Hera really stepped in as a leader here. I'm excited to see what's going to happen next, and I hope that something good will come for our heroes in the future.
As much praise as I given this season for being coherent and progressing the story with each episode, this might be the time where I have to eat some of those words. This episode didn't necessarily have a whole lot to add to the narrative, but while the storyline wasn't really useful, it was quite entertaining nonetheless. It was a lot of fun and there were some cool action sequences, but the pacing of the episode wasn't up to par with what we have come to expect. It felt like a longer episode, even though it is roughly as long, even shorter, than most the other episodes, so it might have simply been the premise and the execution that didn't quite interest. Hera's arc was the only thing that really had anything to say in regards to the plot, and it gave some nice dilemma for Hera, even though they weren't spending nearly enough time on her. It was an enjoyable episode, but also a highly forgettable one. It didn't fit into this particular season, given that they have done such a great job so far of adding more to the legacy, while this was simply something that will be overlooked by the history books.
A big part of "The Clone Wars" has always been the big battles. While the other episodes had battles, this feld like one of those big episodes. And it ended up being the best yet of this new series, telling a great story of trust and helping these characters find a great place in the legacy of this universe. The action has never been so completed as they are here, and the new animation is breathtaking and beautiful in those sequences. I was happy to see some more development given to Anakin, as he hasn't had a big arc yet. However, this episode gave him a lot of moments to lead him into the peak of his storyline. There is a lot more to be done with him before then, and I hope that they are going to dedicate a little more time to his turn. A few of the episodes elements were clichés, but for the most part, they actually managed to dedicate the entire episode to this awesome battle without involving a lot of weird side stories to fold it out. I love the route this is going, and I hope that they are preparing for what is going to be an epic finale to this incredible piece of "Star Wars" history.
"On the Wings of Keeradaks"
While this is definitely the weakest of the new episodes yet, this new series is still off to a great start with a storyline that is so worth getting invested in. I have praised the clone-focused narrative, and this episode added a lot more to that. The final shot is a great reminder that nothing lasts forever and that there is way more to come in the future, but also a reminder that this is the end of something that has been a great bright spot for "Star Wars" fans ever since it began back in 2008. That is also why I was a little bit taken aback by the weird pacing of this episode. It was filled with a lot of great action sequences, but it almost try to do too much too fast, and didn't give the characters enough time to find each other again after their escape in the beginning. I also thought the bad guys were a little bit too much like they would have been in the prequels, and for some that might not be a bad thing, but I would have liked a little more nuance. I also hope that they get a better hold of the tone, because the episode had some weird humor, but overall, a good episode and something that got me excited for the future.
"A Distant Echo"
So far, this new series is on a good trajectory. The idea of starting it off with a clone-focused arc was great, as that was the spirit of the entire series when it began. And putting Rex in the forefront isn't a bad thing, as it adds some great character development to him, ultimately leading him into becoming the character that we have since seen in other material. The action sequences are terrific, and the fluent animation adds a lot of nuance to something that was once a little bit rough to fully appreciate. It is clear that it is made by Disney, so there are a few light moments and while some of them land, there are some that seem a little too Disney-like. I am also skeptical about where this storyline might be going and I believe that there are a few ways to actually lead this this in the wrong direction, but for the moment, I think that they are going down a good path and setting the stages for the final run of this incredible series. So far, I haven't been disappointed, and I am more excited than ever to see what comes next, especially knowing what is ultimately coming down-the-line.
Star Wars: Rebels: Kindred (2017)
The most interesting part of this universe has always been the mystical aspects, and with the last episode, the loth-wolves became some of the most intriguing beings in "Star Wars." This week, that was expanded on, and the things that we got were great. Their connection to the Force is so interesting, and it is kinda sad that we haven't been introduced to them before this, but it's also a cool way to bring the show to the end. The other part of the episode was the introduction of Rukh, a canon character who made his first animated appearance here, and he was pretty awesome. Very clever, despite his primitive status, and probably more competent than a lot of the other Imperial officers. The action sequences were good, but it felt like they cheated themselves for a big awesome sequence at the end of the episode, which isn't that bad, but a little disappointing taking the great feel of the episode into consideration. This provided some great moments for the show, and I hope that the next few episodes can keep the momentum going before we reach the finale in a few episodes.
Flight of the Defender
It definitely feels like we are stearing closer to the end. This episode gave a lot of insight into what's coming for Ezra, and his destiny might not all that set. His interactions with this loth-wolf might suggest that he has some sort of connection to a different realm and that could be an interesting idea to explore upon. The entire episode was very interesting, and even though it mostly surrounded around them infiltrating this Imperial base, they found a way to make it cool and action-packed, with a lot of great action sequences, including a badass moment for Thrawn, of which he has had too few of. I thought the episode could have been a little more spread in setting, because it felt a little too tight, but that might have been exactly what they needed. This season in general feels very tight, which actually isn't a knock against it. It means that they are focusing on what's important and are giving this season an overarching narrative, and I can't wait to see what they have in store for us, and how they are going to bring this exceptional addition to the universe all the way to the end.
Star Wars: Rebels: The Occupation (2017)
One thing that I will definitely say about this season, is that it is showing great signs of having a narrative that goes through the entire thing, which I've been missing a bit from previous seasons. It feels like more relevant things are happening and that everything is leading to something. This episode, however, wasn't the most exciting one. I thought the throwbacks to previous seasons were great, and I loved the idea of going back to Lothal, especially because of the circumstances. The idea of the Empire ruining the world because it was sorta the world where the rebellion started is a great aspect. The episode did also call back to some specific things that never interested me. I've never found Vizago that interesting, and his inclusion in this episode simply looked like they needed someone to stand in for Lando, because they weren't able to get Billy Dee back. I didn't think the episode was bad, but it didn't necessarily blow me away, largely due to its childish tone at times, and it's specific throwbacks to things that never really interested me in the first place at all.
The Bad Batch
Finally! This is the Disney+ content that I've been waiting for. A lot was riding on the back of this return, but I have to say that I thoroughly believe that the nailed it with this first episode. The animation has reached such a delicate level, and it seems way more fluent this time around. The cinematography has been improved a whole lot and through that, they were able to craft some truly magnificent action sequences in this episode. I think it was a smart move to start out with a clone-centric episode as that has always been the heart of the show and we have it to thank for giving the clone troopers more personality. Clone Force 99 was a nice addition, but I did feel like they were a bit superhuman at times, which their "mutations" almost seemingly turning them into beings with superpowers. Other than that, this return was everything that I could have hoped for, and it sets up an interesting arc for the first few episodes of the season, and I'm truly excited to see what Dave Filoni and the amazing creators behind this has in store for us, because I believe it is going to be a great addition to the legacy of this great show.
Succession: Celebration (2018)
Jesse Armstrong makes his big return to television after "Fresh Meat," doing so with a satirical drama about a big media family. In an age where Donald Trump is the leader of the free world, it looks like Armstrong has made a series that could end up being more relevant than the first look would suggest. As a series, it presents a collectible of unlikable characters that all become interesting in their own ways before the final name has passed the screen during the end credits. It sets up a possible outcome from the very beginning and without noticing it, crafts an environment that could bring something extraordinary to the table. While not being the new pinnacle of TV, "Succession" starts off strong and interestingly enough to keep viewers wanting to watch the next episode, both through interesting storytelling and a huge ensemble cast, led by the brilliant Brian Cox. Adam McKay also brings a lot of his trademarks to the series, and as a fan of that style, it seems like a match made in Heaven. This could turn out to be the next great thing, or it could turn out to be a complete waste of time and energy.
In the Name of the Rebellion: Part II
Definitely an improvement over the last episode in regards to tone, this was mostly focused on a private operation led by Saw Gerrera. I felt like some of those old infiltration flicks that I've always enjoyed, and I think that the characters were greatly suited for an operation like this. I do think that the rescue aspect of the film, as well as where that subplot ended up was a bit weird and unnecessary, however it did give Chopper some great moments of heroism that he didn't have in the first part. Again, Saw is someone who stays true to the character that we know from both of his appearances outside of "Rebels," and his actions seems like they were motivated by a love for the rebellion and deep hatred and loathing for the Empire, so that's good. The action sequences were very creative, and especially the scene with the smoke grenades was creative and the way the animation has developed from the first season is truly remarkable. This was a great episode and it does offer a great deal of insight into what's coming, as well as teasing that the end might be near.