Warning: This review contains major spoilers for Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 7 episode 7
Just when The Clone Wars’ final season is hitting its stride, "Dangerous Debt" arrives to slow proceedings down – to the sluggish pace of Jabba the Hut after a few too many Klatooine paddy frogs. Where the Bad Batch story arc began to feel laboured during episode three, the Ahsoka Tano/Martez sisters storyline, too, has been unnecessarily dragged out.
I praised episode 6 for soaring ahead at hyperspeed, giving us a deeper understanding of the rough-and-tumble Martez sisters while also bringing Ahsoka's path back into the Clone Wars trajectory. But "Dangerous Debt" halts that movement entirely, slowing the series’ progression and ending up exactly where it began.
The episode begins with Ahsoka and the Martez sisters trapped in a Pyke prison after bungling their spice running mission. The threat of torture hangs over their heads, but Ahsoka remains determined to keep her Jedi training under wraps. So determined, in fact, that the action scenes are absurdly handcuffed by attempts to hide her powers. There are countless opportunities for Ahsoka to handily dispel the Pykes, but instead we get several roundabout, unnecessary moments where she uses her powers on the down low. The only moment that shines is when she's forced to use some Jedi juice to power-jump over a widening gap and Rafa yells, "That's not normal!" in response. It's not, Rafa, and we want more!
While Ahsoka hides her powers for reasons that are solid, the writers’ attempts to further drive home its importance is bungled. In what should be an emotional gut punch, Rafa and Trace solemnly point out how the Jedi have made a bad habit of bulldozing through spaces in an attempt to serve the greater good, leaving behind collateral damage in their wake. In a staccato monologue, Rafa reveals that their parents were killed when the Jedi (on the hunt for Ziro the Hutt) crash a ship through their apartment in an attempt to avoid larger civilian casualties on the lower levels of Coruscant.
That the two orphans were left with nothing more than a half-assed "may the force be with you" platitude from Luminara Unduli should sting, especially when their tragedy is woven so tightly with Ahsoka's formative years. Sadly, the whole thing falls flat, and we're left with a missed opportunity reminiscent of all the moments Ahsoka could have Force-unlocked their cell's blast shield doors.
We do get a "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" glimpse of what's to come: Bo-Katan and her Mandalorian comrades are on Oba Diah, and oversee Ahsoka and the Martez sisters' attempts to escape. Bo-Katan thinks she recognizes Ahsoka, but isn't positive – so the conversation feels empty.
That Ahsoka and the Martez sisters end up exactly where the episode begins begs the question -– what the hell was this episode for? Ahsoka kept her powers a secret, the sister's stories were only tepidly expanded upon, and Mandalore briefly entered the chat. Sure, we now know how Ahsoka ends up on Mandalore for what will be the highly-anticipated stand-off with Darth Maul, but we could have gotten there so much quicker, with far less filler in between. In the final season of The Clone Wars, there's no time to waste. Perhaps "Dangerous Debt" refers to the debt we're now owed from such a throwaway episode?
There are some redeeming qualities. This season looks gorgeous, and, while the action was poorly paced this episode, the choreography remains incredible. Plus, the Martez sister's Han Solo vibes have never been stronger than when Trace is careening around corners, wildly shooting a blaster from the hip and Rafa is proselytizing to Ahsoka about adopting a life of crime. The trio's dynamic could be dynamite – we just haven't seen it yet.
The next episode debuts Friday, April 10 on Disney Plus. Here's how to watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars.