The Clone Wars returned with another episode on Friday, the second in the four-episode Bad Batch arc. I’m a bit behind on getting this posted, but it was another stellar episode in the show’s triumphant seventh and final season.
Let’s dive in to our review!
In the wake of the stunning reveal that Echo might be alive, Anakin Skywalker prepares to head off on a mission with Rex and the Bad Batch, attempting to discern whether Echo truly is alive while finding out crucial information about the Separatists’ ability to predict Republic military strategy. Before they can head off on this mission, however, Anakin says that they must wait for permission from General Kenobi and the Jedi Council – and uses this as an opportunity to speak with Padme, while Rex stands watch outside. As Rex awkwardly tries to keep Obi-Wan from entering, Anakin talks with Padme about how he’s worried Rex is acting impulsively in following his feelings – which Padme lovingly reminds him is what he so often does. Padme says that Rex so often has Anakin’s back, so maybe it’s time for Anakin to have Rex’s. Having thus decided to trust Rex’s instincts, Anakin no longer waits for Kenobi’s approval. As he walks away from his master, Obi-Wan says that he hopes Anakin at least told Padme that he said hello.
Anakin, Rex, and the Bad Batch set out for Skako Minor, following Echo’s signal. Upon arrival, however, they are ambushed by the local Poletecs, riding Keerdaks, and one of them grabs Skywalker and flies away with him. Hunter follows close behind by hanging on with a grappling hook, and the other clones follow to the Poletec village. There Tech is able to translate and explains to the Poletecs their situation. Upon hearing this, the Poletecs agree to give transport to the Techno Union station. Shortly before entering the station, Tech says that he no longer can trace Echo’s signal, furthering the Bad Batch’s belief that it is a trap. They suggest that Rex is feeling guilt for leaving Echo behind at the Citadel and is thus responding impulsively. This leads to a fight between Rex and the Bad Batch, which is broken up by Anakin. The General orders the Bad Batch to prepare to infiltrate the station, while he talks privately with Rex, telling his Captain that he might not like what they find.
The heroes take a lift up into the station, and Skywalker reminds his team that it is a stealth mission. Upon arriving, however, the Bad Batch springs into action and destroys the droids in the hangar. Tech, again having lost Echo’s signal, develops a new theory that Echo’s signal is only traceable when sending a transmission. Not wanting to wait, the team splits up to search every room. Anakin and Crosshair encounter some droids and fight them off, while Rex, Hunter, Wrecker, and Tech find the source of Echo’s signal. Wat Tambor appears on a video message and tells them that it was a trap, and droids arrive and surround the clones. They begin to fight back, and they are aided by the arrival of Skywalker and Crosshair. Together they fight off the droids while Tech gets the door open for Rex.
Once inside, Rex and Tech find what they came for: Echo, in stasis. Rex greets and comforts his old friend while they begin freeing him.
This episode really revolved around the emotional beats for Rex, and I thought that was a wonderful touch. With this being the final season of the show and a chance to give it a proper goodbye, we’re going to be seeing a lot of Rex and Ahsoka. And since the next two arcs figure to heavily focus on Ahsoka, I like that this one focuses heavily on Rex. The emotional plot of Echo possibly being alive drives Rex in this episode, and it’s something for us to relate to as the audience. Rex is confident that Echo is alive, and in the end, he’s right.
One of the highlights of the episode was the scene between Anakin and Padme, as it was a beautifully written scene by Dave Filoni that perfectly captured their relationship, furthered the plot of the episode, and was a touching moment between husband and wife. Anakin explains to Padme that the Outer Rim Sieges are taking longer than expected, meaning that we are very close to Revenge of the Sith now. But it was also a really cool touch how Padme helped Anakin see that he needed to trust Rex and help him, just like Rex had with him. That pays off throughout the episode, from Anakin declining to wait for permission for this mission to Anakin defending Rex before the Bad Batch to Anakin leading an infiltration behind enemy lines – all because he trusted his Captain and had his back. Again, Anakin’s loyalty to those he cares about is on full display. And I can’t move on without mentioning the reveal that Rex knows about Anakin and Padme, but also the clearest pre-ROTS indication yet that Obi-Wan knows too.
I continue to be incredibly impressed by the animation of this season, and that is noticeable in so many little ways – particularly with Anakin, I noticed in this episode. Everything is so smooth and realistic, and it just looks so good. The action sequences are good too (I especially liked when all of them came together right at the end), but this episode wasn’t really about the fighting. It was about the emotional pull, and the intrigue therein, behind Rex’s desperate attempt to find Echo, and Anakin’s support for Rex. The reason this episode worked wasn’t necessarily the plot or the action; it was the heart. And in many ways, that’s why The Clone Wars works in general; it’s what makes it special.
And that heart led to the pain upon seeing Echo in an almost lifeless state. He has been kept in stasis and is so unaware of what’s going on, assuming that he’s being rescued from the Citadel. It was really hard to see Echo like that, but Rex was proven to be right, and he came through for his friend.
My grade: 8.5/10