Review – The Clone Wars: The Final Season – “Shattered”
The penultimate episode of The Clone Wars: The Final Season has arrived, and it’s everything I feared and hoped it would be. As Maul said last week, the dark side has never been stronger, and it’s only going to get worse from here on in. This week’s episode (“Shattered”) is aptly named, and if you’re thinking you have an idea what it might be about, you’re probably right. So buckle up people. This week, Darth Sidious is giving the orders, and the galaxy will never be the same. Spoilers ahead…
I don’t even need to see the finale at this point to say that the Siege of Mandalore story arc is the best The Clone Wars has ever been. Actually, it’s up there with some of my favorite Star Wars content period. In three episodes, it has crossed off all the important things that make for a fantastic Star Wars experience (all the while without seeming like its trying to cross things off of a checklist). The action, the emotion, the stakes, the humor (of course this aspect is understandably missing in this week’s episode)… it’s all there. Not to mention the incredible attention to detail that the team has given to making sure that it ties in perfectly to Revenge of the Sith.
This time around, however, we don’t just get references to what’s going on in the movie, we jump right into to an actual scene from the film (which I’ll get into in a bit) and then get the b-side of that scene as it continues off camera in the movie. It was magical, and I’ll never watch ROTS the same way again. In fact, I’m very much looking forward to that inevitable day when some crazy-talented Star Wars fan edits this arc and the movie together into an “Ahsoka Cut” of ROTS. Please, someone do this. I need it.
So without further ado and in honor of the show’s seven seasons and the amazing ride they’ve taken us on, here are seven big takeaways from this week…
1. Maul’s prison was an ancient device made specifically for Force-users.
I was wondering after Maul was captured in last week’s episode just how the clone troopers were planning to contain him. They were surely going to need a lot more than some shackles and a few blaster rifles pointed his way. This week, I got my answer as the Mandalorians provided them with a mobile prison box built specifically to contain a Jedi.
The box was a relic of the old Mandalorian-Jedi war that spanned generations and ultimately led to the devastation of the planet. It’s the last one of its kind, and it certainly looks like it will do the job. With the breathing apparatus that was placed on Maul, I couldn’t help but think back to that unforgettable scene in Silence of the Lambs when Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lector was rolled out on a dolly with that iconic mask over his mouth. Like Hannibal, Maul’s calm, calculated intelligence is unnerving, and you just know that if given the opportunity to strike, the situation would get quickly out of hand.
2. Ahsoka just missed seeing Anakin again.
Up to this point in the Siege of Mandalore story arc, we’ve already had some great references to Revenge of the Sith that firmly established the timeline for what’s going on in the story. But it wasn’t until this episode that we got an actual scene from the film playing in tandem with a scene on the show.
Having just captured Maul, Ahsoka contacts the Jedi council to give them an update on her victory. She happens upon an ongoing discussion between Jedi masters Mace Windu, Yoda, Ki-Adi-Mundi, and Aayla Secura. Given that the war has effectively come to an end with the death of General Grievous, the Jedi are talking about what to do should the Chancellor refuse to give up his recently acquired power.
This scene takes place in the movie right at the hour mark, and after Yoda’s comment about how this line of thought would take the Jedi to a dark place, a screen wipe transitions to the Chancellor’s office where Anakin arrives to deliver the good news. In the show, however, the scene with the Jedi continues, and Ahsoka joins the discussion. She tells them about Maul and then inquires about Anakin.
Unfortunately, Mace tells her that Anakin had just left to inform the Chancellor about Grievous, and the realization hits that Ahsoka will indeed never see her old master again. I went back and watched this scene in the film, and it’s heartbreaking just how close Ahsoka came to seeing him again, arriving just seconds after his departure.
Ahsoka decides not to reveal any information to the Jedi about Maul’s vision regarding Anakin. Part of me wonders if that would have made a difference or if her seeing Anakin again would have given him the courage he needed to do the right thing. But it probably wouldn’t have mattered at this point. Saving Padmé was all that mattered to Anakin now, and the only thing that might have prevented what was about to happen was to send someone else to talk to the Chancellor, a mistake that had already been made at this point.
3. Despite her victory on Mandalore, Ahsoka is still not ready to be a Jedi again.
Even though Ahsoka helped the Republic and the Mandalorians in taking down Maul, that didn’t mean she was ready to go all in on her old life as a Jedi, a fact she made clear to the masters in her report. She was merely a citizen doing her duty, and she was no doubt still a little bit disillusioned with the council. Mace may not have meant to sound petty when he refused to divulge any further information to her as a “citizen”, but I couldn’t help but feel a little contempt behind his words.
Ahsoka’s decision wasn’t solely based on hurt feelings however. In the calm before the storm on the Republic ship, there is a nice little exhange between her and Rex where she admits that she feels like she’s never really been a Jedi as they were meant to be. Jedi were supposed to be keepers of the peace, but all she’s known in her time is war. Rex understands how she feels, admitting that he and the other clones have mixed feelings about the war. Sure, war is an awful thing, but without it, he and his brothers wouldn’t even exist.
4. Ahsoka felt Anakin’s turn to the dark side.
In the moments after their previous exchange, Rex leaves Ahsoka to her own thoughts. It is in this moment that she has a vision. She doesn’t seem to fully understand what is happening, but as a viewer, we know exactly what’s going on. At the beginning of her vision, she hears the voice of her old master. The events of her vision are taking place in the very heart of the Republic on Coruscant in the office of the Supreme Chancellor.
This is the scene in the movie where the Jedi have stormed into Palpatine’s office to arrest him for treason, having just discovered from Anakin that he was the Sith lord, Darth Sidious. Palpatine had drawn his own red lightsaber, quickly killing all the other Jedi in the room before being bested by Mace Windu. Unable to live with the possibility of Padmé’s death should he not learn how to save her from his former friend, Palpatine, Anakin rushes in to stop Mace from killing him. You know the rest of the story.
What have I done?
An interesting decision was made here to not only include Matt Lanter’s Anakin Skywalker, but a few lines from the actual film from actor Hayden Christensen as well. But in the end, it was Lanter who uttered the final lamentation of Anakin Skywalker as he dropped to his knees before the broken window that Mace had been thrown through.
At the end of the vision, Ahsoka gets a glimpse of Sidious as he gives the order that was about to shatter her whole world in a matter of moments. She didn’t know exactly what was about to happen, but her vision had thankfully given her wariness enough to be ready to defend herself. Execute Order Sixty-six!
5. Rex turned on Ahsoka at first.
Ahsoka may have left the Jedi life behind, but for the mind-controlled clones on board the Republic ship, that made little difference concerning the order they had just received. Given his later appearance in Star Wars: Rebels, I had assumed that Rex had been able to avoid taking part in the purge after what he had learned from the incident with ARC trooper “Fives” last season.
I was surprised to learn that although he hadn’t forgotten about Fives and what happened, his organic mind-control chip that had been implanted in all the clones for this very moment was still very much intact. The scene was very interesting to watch as I actually thought he was faking for a moment, only to realize that he too was acting against his better judgment when he attacked his former friend and ally.
But Rex’s past experiences were indeed working in his favor. You could visibly see the struggle going on within him as he was trying to fight against his “programming”. While shakingly training his blasters on Ahsoka, he struggles to give her a name that might lead her to some understanding. Unable to fight the urge any longer, Rex attacks Ahsoka, but she manages to escape.
6. Ahsoka released Maul herself.
After Ahsoka escapes from Rex, the clone captain orders that Maul be executed, but before the troopers can do the job, Ahsoka shows up to set him free. This surprised me. I knew Maul would escape, but I never imagined that Ahsoka would be the one to let him go. Initially, Maul misunderstands her motive, assuming that she had decided to join him after all.
But she quickly makes it clear that she was not on his side. She just needed a distraction, and Maul was really good at that type of thing. Before going his own way, he asks her for a fighting chance (probably hoping she’d give him one of her lightsabers), but she denies his request, telling him that she wasn’t really rooting for him.
As it turns out, and to no one’s surprise, Maul was a force to be reckoned with even without a weapon at his side. What follows is a pretty cool action sequence where Maul gets his own Darth Vader Rogue One moment, slowly making his way through the corridor and slaughtering clones along the way. To her credit, Ahsoka had been holding back, trying to avoid mortally wounding any of the clones, but Maul didn’t have any scruples about that.
Ripping a durasteel panel from the wall, he uses it to defend himself before hurling it against his attackers, pinning one trooper to the wall. As he makes his advance, the clones begin to retreat, paying homage to that “close the blast doors!” scene from A New Hope. But before the blast door closes behind them, Maul Force-pulls one of the troopers’ arms through the door, causing it to sever and drop to the floor. Now, with the communication device from the trooper’s arm, Maul would be able to monitor their communications as he makes his escape.
7. Ahsoka saved Rex from Sidious’ control.
After Rex told her to seek out “Fives”, Ahsoka managed to discover a log Rex himself had made after the incident, learning about the organic implant that had been placed in the clones. Rex had been concerned about it, but his concerns were dismissed by his superiors. However, even though all official evidence had been redacted, Rex’s personal log about the event remained.
After learning this, Ahsoka enlisted the astromech droids on board the ship to help her capture Rex and take him to the medical bay where one of the droids was tasked to find the chip and extract it. Just as the other clones began to breach the door to the medical bay, Rex’s operation was completed and he was back to his old self again, now forced to fire at his brothers to keep them at bay. But now Rex was trapped with his friend with no easy way out, he too branded a traitor to the Republic along with the Jedi.
This episode is animated perfection. It is what longtime fans of the show have been waiting for and the payoff is worth it. This is what it’s all about guys. THIS is Clone Wars. THIS is Star Wars. Of course, I’ll probably never again watch this episode by itself, but that’s not to take away from the power of this singular episode. I look forward to being able to watch this arc in the near future in its entirety back to back, the way it was meant to be seen.
Shattered is available to stream now on Disney Plus.
Jordan Pate is Co-Lead Editor and Senior Writer for Star Wars News Net, of which he is also a member of the book and comic review team. He loves all things Star Wars, but when he’s not spending time in the galaxy far far away, he might be found in our own galaxy hanging out in Gotham City or at 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center, NY.