As has always been the case with The Clone Wars, the show is broken up into a series of episode arcs, and the first arc of the seventh and final season season wrapped up today!
The fourth episode of the season, “Unfinished Business,” wrapped up the four-episode Bad Batch arc with a thrilling and action-packed finale as the Republic and Separatists battled for control of Anaxes!
Let’s dive in to our review.
As Jedi Generals Mace Windu, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Anakin Skywalker discuss the dire state of their efforts on Anaxes – more than a dozen active battlefronts and losing every one, according to Windu – Echo approaches with an idea. He suggests that if he can get to Admiral Trench’s capital ship, he can continue to feed battle plans to the Separatist army, only this time while working for the Republic rather than against them. The Jedi agree to this plan, and Anakin sets off with Echo, Rex, and the Bad Batch on a stealth mission to infiltrate Trench’s cruiser. Echo transmits friendly codes to the ship, allowing them to dock.
Meanwhile, Windu and Kenobi launch a massive offensive against the Separatists at a key facility on Anaxes. Once their gunships make it over the target, the Jedi and their clone forces drop in to face the droid army. Windu at first tries to negotiate their surrender, but the droids attack. On Trench’s ship, Echo plugs into the database and gives Trench a plan: to send all of the droids to that facility, since the Republic would put all their faith in the Jedi. Trench eagerly does this, and Echo plans to send a pulse to shut down all the droids at once. The Bad Batch, however, isn’t sure they can trust Echo, since he used to help the Separatists and is sending more droids at the clone army, but Rex and Anakin maintain their trust. Sure enough, Echo sends a signal that destroys all the droids.
Trench is shocked by this, but then reveals that he isn’t totally dependent on the algorithm, as his strategy is total annihilation. He reveals that he has hidden a bomb in the facility large enough to devastate Anaxes, and Echo intercepts this transmission. Anakin heads off to confront Trench while Tech contacts Windu and alerts him to the bomb’s presence. Kenobi oversees the evacuation of the clones while Windu heads to the lower levels of the facility and finds the bomb. He needs the code to de-activate it, and Echo manages to give him most of the digits… but discovering that the pulse came from his own ship, Trench manages to cut off Echo before he can give Windu the final digit.
Anakin arrives to face Trench, who refuses to give the codes out of fear of Count Dooku, who will kill him if he fails. Trench knows Anakin won’t, however, since he’s a Jedi, but Skywalker says he doesn’t have such weaknesses, cutting off Trench’s arm. He manages to get the Admiral to tell him the final digit, which he transmits to Windu, who disarms the bomb. Trench attempts to surprise Anakin by shocking him, but Skywalker fights through this and stabs Trench through the chest. He takes a detonator and leaves.
The Bad Batch clears a way out of the ship, and as they fly away, Anakin allows Wrecker to detonate Trench’s ship, resulting in a massive explosion. Back on Anaxes, the Bad Batch, Echo, and Rex are commended for their service, and Kenobi says that they have medals coming their way. The Bad Batch prepares to leave, however, saying medals aren’t their thing, and they make Echo an offer to join them. Rex speaks with Echo and says that, since they’ve been friends a long while, he wants Echo to do what he thinks is best. Echo leaves to join Clone Force 99, but before boarding the ship, he and the Bad Batch turn and salute Rex, who reciprocates.
This was a really good and exciting episode, and it was probably my favorite of the Bad Batch arc. There’s a lot to talk about both from this episode and the arc as a whole, so let’s dive in.
Much of this episode revolved around Echo, as the arc has. He’s the one who comes up with the plan, wanting to work for the Republic this time rather than against them. It’s cool to see him being his old self again, and how the Jedi are willing to trust him. And his plan makes perfect sense too: he’ll essentially send the Separatists into a trap. (By the way, if you’re wondering why Wat Tambor didn’t tell Admiral Trench of Echo’s disappearance, that’s actually easily explainable: he didn’t want to look incompetent. He cared more about his appearance than standing – just like those on the dark side often do.) I thought it was a really good touch to have the Bad Batch initially be very distrustful of Echo, since they don’t know him or his past like Rex (and us) do. But all this does is force the Bad Batch to learn the same thing that others have had to learn about them: you can’t just judge a person by their differences. And, of course, Echo’s plan works. He’s lauded as a hero. And he winds up joining the Bad Batch, Clone Force 99. That’s a tremendous development, and that final scene between him and Rex was beautifully done (and a change from the original unfinished reels). It has been revealed a few years ago that the Bad Batch was planned to return in an arc on Kashyyyk, and that Echo would be working with them. I hope we’ll get more stories of the Bad Batch – with Echo – one day.
This episode also showed us some interesting things about the Jedi too. Firstly, it was just really cool to see Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi fighting alongside one another, and the animation for this is just so noticeably improved (that entire battle sequence was stunning visually). But secondly, it was interesting that Mace tried to reason with the droids first (maybe he should have let Obi-Wan “The Negotiator” Kenobi handle it), and he calls himself “Jedi General.” Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but Mace Windu over the years has become the representation of how the Jedi were too rigid and lost their way, and so it’s interesting to me that he identifies himself as a Jedi General – something that should be an oxymoron that highlights how the Jedi lost their way by becoming warriors. Thirdly, though, we saw the dark side of Anakin Skywalker. As he demands Trench give him the last number to disarm the bomb, Trench says that Dooku would kill him for failing – but that Anakin wouldn’t, since he’s a Jedi. But Anakin responds that he doesn’t have such weaknesses, and before long winds up killing Trench anyway. Now, Anakin’s strike against Trench was largely in self-defense, so it’s hard to characterize this as simply an action of the dark side. However, Anakin’s line is far more interesting: he seems to view it as a weakness that the Jedi would refuse to kill someone like Trench. He obviously struggles with those feelings not too long after that when he kills Count Dooku, but it’s very interesting to see him articulate it here.
I also wondered whether in this episode we’d actually see Anaxes destroyed, since we see its’ devastated state in Rebels, but that didn’t happen. However, I do wonder whether the destruction of the planet is tied to the bomb that was diffused here, maybe even accidentally and several years later? Just a thought.
And I do want to mention the action of this episode, as it was awesome. The fight scene on Anaxes between the Republic and the Separatists was beautiful, while the Bad Batch springing into action as they escaped the ship was epic too. Wrecker and Crosshair both got their moments to shine, impressively taking out tons of droids with ease.
As a whole, I thought this arc was well done. The Bad Batch is a tremendous group of characters, and I’m glad to see them get their chance to shine here. I hope we see more stories of them, with Echo, in the future. I know some have been a bit disappointed that this was one of the three arcs included in the final season, but it makes sense. This show introduced a ton of beloved new characters to the Star Wars universe, but by far the top two are Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex. Much of the rest of the season will focus on Ahsoka, and she’ll be reunited with Rex in the final arc. But this arc focused heavily on Rex, as he gave us the emotional beats that propelled the story forward. Because of that, I think it’s a worthy addition to this final season, and I really enjoyed this arc.
My grade: 9.2/10