Spoiler alert! This is bad!
Do not misunderstand in thinking that I am against this season of ‘Clone Wars’ visually inspired and fun loving a season as it is, it’s doing a very lukewarm if not bad job at ending the series. A majority of the plot lines in this season are things that should have been in another season.
I think that some should have been in season six and then reversed into season seven, specifically the Kamino arc where Fives found out about the Order 66 chip. I think it would have led nicely into where we find Ahsoka, fighting her way through the underworld. The Bad Batch arc should replace it, and then maybe some Cad Bane thrown in there, some Ventress closure, a stepping point for Maul, Ahsoka’s reaction to Order 66, Anakin’s betrayal, and then finally a “where do we go from here?” ending.
But alas, here we are. After years of waiting for a final, closing season of ‘Clone Wars’ and we are no closer to a satisfying ending than ‘Game of Thrones’ was for their series. Guaranteed, ‘Thrones’ was a narrative and thematic disaster and in no way is comparable to ‘Clone Wars’, there is still a great big push for improvement, and I think that the cold, bony, lightning-twirling fingers of Kathleen Kennedy wiggled out enough creative juice from Dave Filoni to make a new season of ‘Clone Wars’, especially with pressure from Bob Iger and the execs in Disney to make something at least worth something after the disaster ‘The Last Jedi’ was for fans.
Anyways, enough exposition. Let’s get into the meat of these two episodes.
Episode six follows Ahsoka, Trace, and Rafa as they run up on a new job Rafa got. This includes something involving Kessel, an odd job that will help them make it big. Ahsoka is obviously suspicious, especially since Kessel is notorious for slavery and spices (the equivalent of drugs in ‘Star Wars’), but it’s an end of story for her because Rafa already signed them up for it and Trace is too focused on taking her ship for a test drive that she worked on for ages that the stars won’t leave her eyes long enough to realize how dangerous what they’re doing is.
Regardless, they go, and Trace is the pilot of their trip. Driving accidentally in a military lane a huge republic Star Destroyer wants to hail them down, but not before Anakin, inside the ship, senses Ahsoka, and lets them pass. However, what I find interesting and actually quite satisfying is the straight up decline call that Ahsoka does to Anakin. Something about it scratches some itch in me, I can’t describe it.
They travel to Kessel, going to the not so scary and inhumane part of the planet to the kingdom of King Yaruba, or at least, a vassal of King Yaruba. They want Rafa and the gang to run spice to the Pykes, a strikingly Egyptian-looking crime syndicate that is notorious for using spice for dangerous drugs and poisons. Ahsoka is absolutely against it, and almost rats them out before Rafa accepts and gets them out in time before they are into any more trouble. With this vassal that represents the king, we see him be very shady and obviously aware of the slavery problem happening on Kessel as well as the spice problem, but as with any politician, they cover it up in euphemisms.
While in the ship transporting it, Rafa and Ahsoka fight about the whole thing while giving spice to Pykes, and Ahsoka lets slip that the Pykes would take their ship and betray them. Trace, sick of the fighting and scared of losing something she worked hard on, dumps the spice into hyperspace. Ahsoka and Rafa lose it, and so they have to cover it up. So when they get there, the Pykes want to see the spice, and Ahsoka has to mind trick the Pyke officials into meeting them on the loading platform without Rafa and Trace being aware. They manage to do it, but not before an attendant, seemingly ahead of security on Oba Diah, finds out their foul play in giving them empty containers of spice, and captures them.
Episode seven opens with them in jail, having to deal with repeated torturing from the Pykes. While in jail, Rafa and Trace tell the story of how their parents died and their distrust for topside Coruscant natives. They used to live there, and when a prison breakout for Ziro the Hutt happened, a cruiser landed into their house, killing their parents who died protecting their children. A Jedi, who from their description sounds like Luminara Unduli, just gave them the Jedi equivalent of “thoughts and prayers” with “the Force will be with you” and then speeds off, leaving them to fend for themselves.
This, I think, is one thing Ahsoka can have a hard time clapping back at in defense of the Jedi, because number one: it’s a good point about the destruction the Jedi left in their wake, and also the wound being fresh of the Jedi’s betrayal of her during her trial.
Rafa gets taken in for questioning and is tortured to find the location of the spice, and as Trace is, Trace manages to disarm and kill all of the guards in there about to put her in the hurt locker. Ahsoka breaks them out with the Force, and they meet up. They go on the streets, Ahsoka and Rafa discussing how dangerous this whole thing is for Trace who would go anywhere she could for Rafa because of their bond as sisters. Rafa explains these jobs to try and help them make it are all for Trace, and not to hurt her. Trace, while scouting, spots her vehicle,
On the outside, a mandalorian, specifically a member of the Wren family, spots Ahsoka, recognizing her, monitoring her in relation to their plan, setting up the coming conflict in the last few episodes. A man, who had asked the trio Ahsoka and company for food, gives them away for money to the Pykes, where they capture the two sisters and Ahsoka escapes. Ahsoka, however, comes back to try and save them, but not before they are gunned down and outnumbered, being put back in jail, ending episode seven.
These episodes are definitely ‘Clone Wars’ style hijinks, and I’m glad we had them. I also enjoyed the discussion of the more social problems in Star Wars, the slavery and corruption in government. I also like that these episodes paint the Jedi more for what they were than what they seemed to be: as protectors of the peace on the macro scale, the sewers of description in the micro.
What I failed to see as suitable is a problem I had (among the countless many) with ‘Rise of Skywalker’, the Mexican or Mexican adjacent characters drug dealing stereotype. I know all sorts of people deal with shady things in Star Wars, and some of the perpetrators are white people (see the Mandalore arc with the water poisoning).
I’ve seen this trend of Poe Dameron being a spice trader, Jamaican-adjacent pirates doing drug dealing and swashbuckling, and now the Martez sisters in spice running, which, if you don’t see the Mexican similar last name, it’s laughable at this point. I thought we got away from this in the media, and while some may not have a choice but to drug deal like the Martez sisters had due to their social standing and situation, I think it is still troubling to see that this stereotyping is still alive and kicking.