This review contains full spoilers for Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 7, Episode 2. If you need a refresher on where we left off, here’s our review for Season 7, Episode 1.
Disney+ may still be an empty wasteland as far as new, exclusive Marvel content goes, but never let it be said the service isn’t giving Star Wars fans exactly what they signed up for. The second episode of The Clone Wars: Season 7 is another reminder of what was lost when this series was canceled back in 2013, and why it’s such a gift to Star Wars fans that it’s finally returned.
If these first two Season 7 installments are any indication, the final season may be more akin to a trilogy of movies than 12 serialized episodes. The season premiere introduced us to the oddball clone commandos of the Bad Batch and set the stage for the surprise return of Echo, and this episode picks up right where “Bad Batch” left off. There is a certain sense of familiarity or “been there, done that” to the latter half of “A Distant Echo.” Both episodes have focused a great deal of screen time on Rex and the gang navigating Separatist outposts and gunning down legions of droids. Even having Anakin tag along for this second mission doesn’t shake up the formula as much as you might expect.
[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=star-wars-the-clone-wars-final-season-gallery&captions=true”]
To be fair, that problem is definitely more pronounced watching the two episodes back-to-back rather than spaced apart. As much as the idea of Disney dropping all 12 episodes in one bingeable delivery sounds appealing, and as much as this arc is beginning to feel like a movie broken into four parts, there is a lot to be said for the weekly, serialized approach.
Even if Anakin’s role in the mission itself is pretty straightforward, the early portions of “A Distant Echo” really take advantage of the characters in this late, “nearly upon Episode III” timeframe. The scene with Anakin surreptitiously contacting Padme while Rex plays lookout is a real treat. There’s a nice blend of comedy and tragedy fueling this scene. Seeing Padme in the uniform she wears on Mustafar and reflexively clutching her stomach while bidding farewell to her husband is a poignant reminder of the horrible fate awaiting these two lovers. It’s also a reminder that, among other things, The Clone Wars has actively improved the prequel trilogy by actually making the Anakin/Padme romance feel genuine.
There’s a lot to unpack with this scene. When the Anakin/Padme shot first appeared in the Season 7 trailer, Padme’s pose and apparent knowledge of her pregnancy made it seem like this moment was happening during the course of Episode III. That doesn’t seem to be the case, given that Anakin never acknowledges what’s literally staring him in the face. The hope is that this final season might find some room to explore Padme’s reaction to her pregnancy and the struggle over when and how to tell her husband. Similarly, the brief Obi-Wan appearance makes it clear he knew more than we realized about Anakin and Padme’s romance prior to Episode III. It would be very interesting to learn more about his thoughts on the subject, though it doesn’t seem as though this season is going to be particularly Obi-Wan-heavy.
Season 7 is definitely The Rex and Ahsoka Show by all appearances. Accordingly, we continue to see a lot of development for Rex as he grapples with the tragedy of losing Echo and the possibly false hope of seeing him again. Rex is easily the most fully realized clone character in the series, and this season is already doing a fine job of completing his arc and bridging that gap with Rebels. This is the other area where Anakin’s presence comes in handy. This episode highlights the bond the two have formed over the course of the war, while showing us that even a clone can have trouble separating the mission from their personal desires. You have to assume the reason Anakin is so bothered by Rex’s behavior is because he sees so much of himself in his faithful Captain.
And if the run-and-gun mission is more of the same, at least we get ample payoff with the reveal Echo is indeed alive and being used as a tool by the Separatists. Echo’s revamped character design is haunting – all pasty white skin and emaciated flesh and a pair of metal legs that look a whole lot like those of a certain stubborn Sith Lord. Echo is a tangible reminder of how the clones have been chewed up and spit out by the galactic war machine, and it’ll be interesting to see how Rex and the members of Bad Batch reconcile that in the second half of this arc.
SHOPPING DISCOUNT UPDATE: