Review- The Clone Wars, Shattered
"While Ahsoka returns Maul to the Jedi on Coruscant, Order 66 is declared."
With an episode description that blunt and to the point, you know there's going to be a lot of drama ahead...
While the story elements of this episode are spoilers in themselves, it should be warned this review will contain mild spoilers...
Ending last week's fantastic episode with Maul captured literally screaming "you're all going to burn" was certainly a great cliffhanger, but also brought into question just how these final two episodes will be filled.
Shattered does a fantastic job of wrapping up the drama on Mandalore while setting us up for the chaos ahead. The more somber and conversational moments at the beginning of the episode set an uneasy tone, while also mirroring the drama of Episode Three.
An aspect fans have enjoyed about this finale is how it has overlapped with Revenge of the Sith, with Shattered giving us some of our most inventive uses of filling in the blanks yet, literally framing itself around scenes that we cut away from in the 2005 film.
The exchanges between Ahsoka and long-established Jedi, along with new allies such as Bo-Katan show off Filoni's great ability as a writer, with touching and smart dialogue that helps build on the believability of this animated show.
The episode's greatest depiction of dialogue however is of-course comes when Ahsoka and Rex talk about their feelings for the war, both commenting on how they have grown. It is an emotional moment, especially as Ahsoka salutes Rex, making their friendship stronger, and the drama that is about to unfold more heart-wrenching.
But where Shattered triumphs the most is in its tension. As soon as Ahsoka, Rex, and Maul board their ship The Clone Wars has a rare sequence of quietness, as we simply watch the clones transport Maul to his prison as Rex and Ahsoka make their way to the bridge.
It's a tension and suspense that is carried through the rest of the episode, especially as Order 66 is ultimately declared. Audio from Revenge of the Sith is used to not only help position us in the chain of events but also adds to the drama and dread all fans know to feel.
Within minutes Shattered manages to balance the drama, action, and information the audience needs for a heavy story like this, showing off the best of its animation as Rex struggles to carry out his programming.
From here the action is amped up, and audiences are sure to find themselves on the edge of their seats the entire way through. Credit is due to Filoni and director of the episode Saul Ruiz who manages to make the situation tense and captivating despite us largely knowing the outcome.
The events are also boosted by the fantastic score by Kevin Kline, who has been on top form throughout these final few episodes. With such emphasis on atmosphere and the drama in the story it really allows the soundtrack to shine, with Kline doing a great job of balancing echoes of John Williams but also giving us something new.
The crazy action of The Clone Wars continues with more fun situations that see Ashoka freeing Maul from his prison (a very cool Mandalorian container I hope to see again someday). Ashley Eckstein and Sam Witwer as usual play the parts brilliantly, but here they have such fun with their lines it's hard not to smile and admire the small nuances they give their polar opposite characters.
After a crazy hallway scene featuring Maul sans lightsaber (Darth Vader would be proud), we wind down as Ahsoka investigates what is happening and tries to get Rex back on side.
Its all a great payoff for fans especially as the events of the previous Order 66 arc featuring Fives, helps the narrative. Even the fact Ahsoka is being helped by three quirky droids gives the episode and arc a much-needed boost of Star Wars joy. It all helps to link everything back, even to the origins of the series.
R7-A7 who is one of the droids who helps Ahsoka is the droid she had as her co-pilot in many of the original episodes. Attention to detail such as this is what makes The Clone Wars so rewarding, especially when we are placed in a familiar location like a Republic Cruiser which helps sell Ahsoka's feeling of being a soldier, as it is the location we likely saw her in most in the first two seasons.
While many would have expected this episode to take us through the large sprawling galaxy The Clone Wars showed us, it is admirable that Filoni has centered the action and consequences of this pivotal moment in this isolated situation, with three of our most beloved characters.
How the last episode will move on from here will certainly be interesting to see, especially if Ahsoka and Rex witness the trajectory for the galaxy they will now be living in...