Some spoilers up ahead.
It’s all been building up to this. Order 66, which I admit I never thought Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) would have to go through, seeing as she isn’t a jedi for all of Season 7 (the show even plays off of this technicality during its climax, but apparently she and former Sith Lord Darth Maul [Sam Witwer] were specially tagged for execution), the final episode of “The Clone Wars” brings the feels, as she has to fight for her life against the very same clone troopers she fought alongside during the last few years, who are like family to her.
Showrunner Dave Filoni hits it out of the park on all fronts. The episode is almost entirely the story of how Ahsoka, Maul, and Commander Rex, who had his inhibitor chip removed (an organic device in all the clones’ heads that triggered Order 66), try to escape the Venator-class Star Destroyer they’re trapped on, but Ahsoka refuses to work with Maul, in spite of the common saying “the enemy of your enemy is your friend.”
This ends up having major consequences, as Maul wrecks the Star Destroyer by breaking the ship internally in such a way that the ship is taken out of hyperdrive and is caught in the gravitational pull of some moon, with no way to get out of it. This serves to create heart wrenching drama, as Ahsoka and Rex learn that the Order 66 inhibitor chips would rather have all the troopers on the ship die with them than allow them to escape.
If you’re a fan of “Star Wars: Rebels,” you pretty much know how this will end based on who appears in that show, which takes place years after “Clone Wars.” But the treat of seeing the finale is being able to see how those characters eventually get to where we see them in “Rebels.” Season 7 in general is all about the journey, and not necessarily the destination, as the conclusion to the clone wars has been known to us since 2005’s “Revenge of the Sith.”
The finale’s final moments are among the best in the series, and it ends the show poetically, and unlike the prequels, it’s good poetry. The last scene of “The Clone Wars” is that of Darth Vader, Ahsoka’s former master, at the site of the Star Destroyer’s crash years later, in the snow. Vader sees the helmets of dead clone troopers she honored, and picks up her lightsaber, which is covered in frost, and ignites it, while looking up at the sky.
It is up to the audience’s interpretation, but I think that there is definitely some ounce of pain in his stare, as he knows he will cross paths with Ahsoka again one day, and he might have to kill her. But there is also some understanding that she has rejected the path of the Jedi, and has taken perhaps a nobler path than his.
In about 10 minutes, Filoni crafted a better ending to “Clone Wars” than the conclusion to the entire Skywalker saga. “The Clone Wars” Season 7 gave us closure, while finally confronting the elephant in the room that is Order 66, which cast its shadow over the series during its entire run.
Filoni is an “Avatar: The Last Airbender” alumni, which is another story in which the journey is far more interesting than its conclusion. With his having a huge role in “The Mandalorian,” Filoni is not only bringing us the best Star Wars in the current moment, but some of the best stories ever told in the galaxy, far, far away.
It has been speculated that Kathleen Kennedy might be done at Lucasfilm over her mishandling of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. In my mind, there is only one man who should have complete creative control over Star Wars, and who could be a worthy successor to Kennedy, and that is Filoni.
In a year where the franchise released a giant blockbuster movie that was suppose to conclude all of their blockbuster movies, Filoni managed to overshadow it with a small-scale TV show via “The Mandalorian,” and after many fans were unhappy with “The Rise of Skywalker,” Filoni proved that there was still fruitful Star Wars stories to be told via the final season to “The Clone Wars.”
For what Star Wars wants to do, they need someone like Kevin Feige, and Dave Filoni is the closest man they got.
“Star Wars: The Clone Wars” Season 7 Episode 12 gets a 9/10