Warning: This review contains major spoilers for Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 7 episode 5
After a familiar (read: revamped) arc focusing on the clones and their role in the war, Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 7 is finally breaking new ground. Enter Ahsoka Tano, the disillusioned ex Jedi Padawan and one of the most important figures in this series. Welcome back, Snips.
Fans of Star Wars: Rebels know the end of Ashoka's story, but have waited a long time to see the path that took her there. While the first episode in her new arc is a bit low on stakes, her journey is materializing before our very eyes, which makes it easy to get excited for the rest of her story this season.
"Gone With a Trace" picks up shortly after we last saw Ahsoka in the season 5 finale – although exactly when is unclear – with the force-wielder zipping through Coruscant on a speeder bike, setting out on her own. It's pretty badass. She's got a new life and a new jumpsuit (which I would very much like to own) and the improved visual fidelity gives her an even more expressive face; she looks older, but she can't have aged that much. Things quickly go south, however, as the speeder starts crapping out, dropping her all the way down to the infamous level 1313, the locale from the long-abandoned Boba Fett video game.
This is the seediest part of Coruscant, but the episode doesn't really hammer that home. Instead, we meet two plucky, lightly scummy sisters, Trace and Rafa Martez. They run an illegal chop shop with a laundromat as a front, and will work on anything for some credits, even decommissioned droids. The sisters' storyline doesn't feel very weighty yet, but it is very Star Wars as they quickly find themselves in over their heads with debt and do some sketchy stuff to stay afloat. You just know their decision to work on some dangerous load-lifting droids is going to cause problems outside of their little circle, forcing the Martez sisters to decide if they're more cowboy or scumbag in this universe.
Ahsoka needs to fix her bike, and agrees to help the sisters, but spends the episode trying to hide her Force powers in a very Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order manner. She's got a laundry list of reasons to hide her abilities, but an exchange with Trace gives her even more, while also teeing up Ashoka's future self. Trace represents the disillusioned masses of the universe who are wary of the Jedi. "I'm sure you have your problems up there with the Jedi running around starting wars, policing everything," Trace points out, before adding, "They've forgotten about us."
There's a lovely moment highlights Ahsoka's plight and echoes Anakin's moral quandary – both Padawan and Master struggle to understand things in binary terms, choosing instead to see grey areas that are too murky for the Jedi. "You seem to know a lot about everything," Trace says after Ahsoka flexes her droid knowledge. "I still don't understand people," she says, before Trace explains that there are good people and bad people, "and some are just cross-wired like this load lifter." And there you have it, the core argument that drives Star Wars.
There's a beautiful shot in this episode that gives me hope for how the Clone Wars will tell the rest of Ahsoka's story. As she stands on the edge of the Martez sisters' docking bay, a giant ship rises up from the depths. The Force theme swells as the ship ascends past Ahsoka's eye line and she lifts her gaze up with it, staring at the upper levels and the world she once belonged to. It's a direct parallel to Luke's twin suns scene and Rey's longing glance at ships leaving Jakku – but where those two seek a new life, Ahsoka is looking at what she's left behind.
As I said earlier, this episode is fairly low stakes and can be a bit flat, but Ahsoka (and voice actor Ashley Eckstein) do some heavy lifting when needed. We know that Ahsoka never forsakes the Force, but becomes a Rebel informant who dual-wields white lightsabers. But we've yet to see that path that she takes to become that adult, comfortable in her choices and her role in the war. I'm looking forward to watching it play out.
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