Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Victory and Death Review Part I – Exceeding Expectations

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Victory and Death – A Name Deserved

Ahsoka surveys the devestation of the crash
A Price Paid

With a name like victory and death (note it is AND not OR – very key difference), the stakes were set fairy high for this finale, but the final scene really nails down the title with an emotional wallop only the greatest films and stories can pull off.  Ahsoka achieves victory by living and escaping the ship, but at what price?  An entire capital ship of friends and soldiers now lay dead throughout the ship.  Soldiers she spent the entire episode fighting not to kill are now dead.  Needed or not, she caused it.

As Rex would say – We need to go.  Yet when the camera pulls back, we see helmets and rifles marking the grave of every clone soldier that died on that ship.  Troopers who spent the last two episodes trying to kill her, and yet she took the time and effort to see they all received proper burials instead of a frozen tomb that used to be a star destroyer.  The pain and anguish in her eyes radiates through that scene.

It really sums up the conclusion of the clone wars.  From here on emotion vacates the galaxy.  The cold heartless empire takes over as demonstrated beautifully in the closing shot (but I’ll come back to that).  This whole arc wasn’t really about the clone wars.  It is the story of a young padawan nicknamed ‘Snips’ and her journey through this war.

Victory and Death – Rise of the Empire

The final shot was perhaps the most fitting of all.  Take a real close look at that scene.  It starts with the familiar outline of snowtroopers and then pans to probe droids and stormtroopers.  Every single figure in this final scene is a mark of the Empire.  Not a single soldier or piece of equipment has the mark of the Clone Wars.  Every piece of armor and weaponry now belongs to the Empire. This is best depicted by the final shot – a clone trooper helmet half-buried in the snow.

Then we see the most iconic Imperial symbol yet – Darth Vader.  He surveys the wreckage, but it’s the cylinder in the snow that draws his attention.  There can be no doubt he knows the saber belongs to Ahsoka, but what does he think as he activates it.  Does he feel Ahsoka is dead? A sign she is alive since it is by the graves?  In almost every depiction of Darth Vader in the weeks following Order 66, he still struggles to separate himself from Anakin Skywalker.  He is a figure torn in two for some time.  As he stands there with Ahsoka’s lightsaber in hand, does he feel any remorse? Regret? Loss?  Thus ends the final chapter of Ahsoka Tano and the Clone Wars.

Victory and Death – Overall Thoughts on the Season

This season ended the series with amazing fashion.  The visuals went above and beyond anything we were given before.  Remember the first season?  Running characters were very herky-jerky.  Lightsaber fights were swing-swoosh-slash-stop.  Swing-swoosh-slash-stop.  Here in season 7, we were treated to an actual motion capture fight between Maul and Ahsoka featuring Ray Park himself.  During the finale, the shots of Rex flying the Y-wing through the disintegrating destroyer as well as the crashed destroyer itself.  The graphics and detail were beyond compare.  It felt so real as Rex swept back and forth through the debris of the ship looking for Ahsoka.

Finally, the story itself.  In part II of this article I’m going to cover how this story failed from a certain point of view.  It fell far short of expectations, but if you just assess what we were given and how it wrapped up Ahsoka’s journey through the clone wars, it not only told the perfect story, but it gave the perfect ending to the series.  Everyone ended right where they should be very naturally as the story moves ahead.  Oddly, most of the future story has been told already, but one does not cast Rosario Dawson as a live action Ahsoka simply for a bit cameo in a Disney+ series.  Ahsoka’s story surely continues.

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