Nov 17, 2017

[TV] Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Season 5 Review

With the end of Star Wars Rebels just around the corner, I thought I'd go through my older reviews for the preceding animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. But I was surprised to find that I had somehow missed out on reviewing the fifth and final full season of that show. I suspect I had totally forgotten about it because of my displeasure at the show's sudden cancellation after Disney acquired the Star Wars franchise.

Like with Rebels, I was prepared to dislike Star Wars: The Clone Wars at first since I was a bit more dedicated to the first animated Star Wars: Clone Wars (no "the") series that had come out before it. Also like Rebels, the show eventually won me over given how great the stories became.

This last season had a lot going for it and it was still preparing plot threads for two additional seasons they had sort of expected to still happen before the show was canned. And so it ends on an odd note, but remains a great show.

Synopsis: Star Wars: The Clone Wars is an animated television series created by George Lucas and developed for television by Dave Filoni. The show aired on Cartoon Network from 2008 to 2014 with the episodes of the unfinished sixth season having aired in German-speaking coutries.

The fourth season had ended with Darth Maul (Sam Witwer) and his brother Savage Opress (Clancy Brown) having failed in their attempt to get revenge on Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor). This final season begins with the brothers again making trouble and attracting the attention of Obi-Wan. This is but one of many encounters they will have in this season culminating with events on Mandalore.

This season also includes a major story arc for Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein). Sure initially it's more episodic adventures all over the war front with the Separatists, but then things turn around when she gets wrongfully accused of a crime in "The Jedi Who Knew Too Much" and that leads to quite the heartbreaking end to things come  the end of the season and the end of the series at the same time. There's just so much to unpack.

What I Liked: As much as the series was envisioned to feature different stories of the war between the Galactic Republic and the Separatists in no chronological sequence, this season featured some great arcs spanning several episodes at a time. The arc on Onderon that gave us characters like Saw Guerera stands out as a particularly striking one along with the aforementioned Ahsoka arc at the end of the season.

And by this point the show really had a lot of material to work with and thus we had some very interesting character developments. Apart from Maul and Opress, another character that stands out is Asajj Ventress (Nika Futterman), who had come this Force-wielding bounty hunter. She didn't get a whole lot of screen time in this season but her involvement did matter a lot in the end.

What Could Have Been Better: I think it's generally accepted that not all episodes were great and the weird droid-centric arc with the tiny Colonel Meebur Gascon (Stephen Stanton) was definitely one off the more polarizing arcs. It was a story clearly meant for younger audiences and the fact that it spanned 4 episodes and came on the heels of the youngling story arc, it was a bit much at the time. I think the concept was okay to some extent but it probably didn't need to span 4 episodes.

This season also took us away from Anakin a lot or at least his non-war story arc of descending towards the Dark Side, which I sort of expected to be an overall theme for the entire series. There moments but not as many as desired given the efforts to work on the character development for other folks. It's a good and a bad thing.

TL;DR: The fifth season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars was a strong one but it was never meant to be the end of the series as a whole. While a partial sixth season was released, for many this season was the last they ever got to see of Ahsoka and the others until Rebels came around. Thus the season gets a great 4.5 plot twists on Mandalore out of a possible 5.

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