Knowing what the mission is and knowing the right action to take has always been at the corner crux of what makes Ahsoka Tano tick. She knew what her Jedi Master was doing. She could see the cracks…but she likely thought that he was simply operating outside the box. However it was in the aspect that Anakin got too close to people and he couldn’t control it until it spun out of control. In the continuation of her final season story in Episode 6: “Deal Or No Deal,” Ahsoka tries to help newfound friends against her better instincts and watches as she has to adjust them and help much like she did at lesser points with Anakin. The difference is that his instinct was mostly correct and helped her and supported her in balance. The balance of her new friends and their ambitions is an aspect of operating in the dark.
Ahsoka’s instincts are still good but she doesn’t know what she wants. She had the right temperament for a Jedi, better than many, but that is why her post-Jedi path needs to make sense. We see, in a sense, down the line in “Rebels” and perhaps beyond, where she ends up but it all needs to fit together correctly. Mostly it is trying to realize and help others to the best of your ability but if they are headed down a certain path, one can only try to cushion the blow, and not stop the trajectory. There is one moment when a connection happens across space. It is a great moment though nothing is said. The intersection plays out but it is able to breathe which it seems within this new iteration/continuation works better than its predecessor. These little character beats say so much more and at times exceeds the plot that the season might ultimately be aiming for.
By Tim Wassberg
The continual force of The Bad Batch is based within the idea of whether or not a certain member of the group can be trusted. The idea is sticking to orders but also thinking outside the box. In this 4th episode: “Unfinished Business”, the question becomes one of trust or betrayal, either internally or externally within certain characters. Having rescued Echo, there is a possibility for dealing a blow for The Republic because of the information within this detached trooper’s head. The idea of what dictates loyalty is one that comes to bear for more than one character. Anakin’s forward momentum, especially in how he sees his path within the Jedi, seems to waver a little in this episode. However, the tendency and what it is occurring at this specific time is another issue entirely. We are also seeing in a flip tendency much more of Mace Windu’s hubris in terms of how he is approaching his mission. Whereas in earlier seasons of Clone Wars, his actions might have been seen as tongue-in-cheek, there is almost a vindictiveness here which is interesting to behold. The resolution also speaks to a division of sorts, not necessarily in idealism but ideology which is separate. It closes the door to a point on one possibility but opens up possibilities of internal strife to another.
By Tim Wassberg
The progression of “The Clone Wars”, even in its original incarnation, was revealing deeper mythology-based arcs within the greater story. What this new iteration seems to be doing is adding in some interesting character moments in between the plot. The 2nd episode entitled “A Distinct Echo” works on a couple different levels though the progression of where these series of episodes is going seems to be moving towards a certain path…or seemingly might be trying to introduce the world to new viewers. That said, the story is still pretty densely populated to those who have seen the previous seasons of the series from a couple years back. What the beginning of this episode tends to do is speak to inherent natures, whether it be a clone or a Jedi. In a scene that might not have happened a few years ago before “Rebels”, Anakin speaks almost in secret to Padme with Rex, who undergoes a crisis of self doubt in this episode, protecting him. It speaks to a deeper friendship but also the essence of privacy, one which through one line Obi Wan says shows a breathe of knowledge. It is a small element of perspective but one that adds immense layers to later stories and also lends credence or at least weight to doing a live action Vader series showing doubt within Hayden Christensen’s portrayal of Anakin.
The story continues in this episode to follow The Bad Batch as they seek to find Echo both to protect Republic strategy but also unearthing what might be an algorithm at the center of the identity of the Clones which again speaks back to the eventual General Order. Without giving too much away, the team led by Anakin integrates with local aliens who attack because they don’t want the war brought to them. The resolution speaks more to guilt than a sense of redemption. The animation continues to add different angles including close up and fluidity of lightsaber moves. Before this might have been done extremely quickly but now the scenes seem to take their time to give a sense of pace beneath the moves. In earlier animation, it might have been done quickly to cover up frame jumps per se. It is a small technical thing but one that makes all the difference. “A Distant Echo” also speaks to the shortcomings of the past but without understanding those consequences for these characters in the future.
By Tim Wassberg