Ricky Church reviews the fifth episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 7…
Barring her appearances in Star Wars Rebels, the latest episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars marks the first new footage of Ahsoka Tano in the Clone Wars era in six years and is a direct continuation of Ahsoka’s journey following the original Clone Wars series finale where she left the Jedi Order. ‘Gone With a Trace’ paints an interesting look at Ahsoka’s post-Jedi life as she tries finding a new purpose and befriends some less-than-lawful people in the lower levels of Coruscant.
Right from the start, it was great to see Ahsoka once again. She’s now become a huge part of the Star Wars franchise outside of the feature films and she is pretty much the heart and soul of The Clone Wars since the series has followed her from her tutelage as a young Padawan under Anakin Skywalker to now exile from the Order. Ashely Eckstein slips back into the role with no problem and explores a completely different side to Ahsoka than we’ve ever seen, Rebels included. Seeing Ahsoka so rudderless in her life at this moment opens up quite a few possibilities for her and ‘Gone With a Trace’ takes advantage of some of those as she experiences life on Coruscant from an entirely new perspective.
It wasn’t very often in the original series’ run that we got a look at the war from the look of a bystander – a complete ‘outsider’ whose views on galactic politics greatly differed from those of the main characters. It’s interesting that, given the outsider perspective people had on the Jedi Order which played a small role in Ahsoka’s exile, her first appearance is once again placing her with people who don’t view the Clone Wars as their concern way below Coruscant’s surface. The young Trace, a mechanic Ahsoka meets by chance, pointedly tells Ahsoka that the Jedi nor anyone else living above care about anyone else on Coruscant and views them and the Separatists as the same. While that obviously is not true for some in aboveground, she does have a point about how the Jedi’s attention haven’t been on the disenfranchised for a long time – arguably perhaps longer than the Clone Wars, a fact that, whether they know it or not, plays right into Palpatine’s machinations.
The two new characters, Trace and her older sister Rafa, are nice additions to the series. Trace is given a lot of prominence as the first friend Ahsoka makes in the lower levels (Level 1313, another cool reference to the cancelled Star Wars game from years ago) and speaks as the vocal counterpoint to Ahsoka’s worldview, challenging her on how the Jedi haven’t helped the galaxy and families like hers. She’s a good foil for Ahsoka and almost her opposite in many ways, though has the same spirit of the former Jedi. Brigitte Kali Canales provided a good voice for Trace, capturing her youthful spunk and sharing nice chemistry with Eckstein. Her desire to escape the lower levels of Coruscant is tempered by her good nature, something her elder sister has of as Rafa seems to only be concerned with getting ahead in the underworld no matter the risk. Elizabeth Rodriguez gives a defiant fire to Rafa which does make it clear she cares for Trace, but not enough to put her sister above her own misguided desires. The pair’s relationship is intriguing, though the episode didn’t delve very much into Rafa, an aspect that will surely change in the coming episodes.
After the tenseness of the ‘Bad Batch’ arc, ‘Gone With A Trace’ was a much more subdued story that focused more on the characters than action. This was a good thing as it helped offer a bit of a breather with a more character-driven plot, though the little action seen here was entertaining. It was first great to see Ahsoka fight a small group of ‘protection’ enforcers against Trace, but the highlight was their chase through 1313 of an unruly droid with a tendency for destruction. It put Ahsoka in a new and difficult position of handling a droid without the use of her lightsaber or the Force and offered a wider look at life in the lower levels as it rampaged through the district, even offering a bit of a twist on King Kong‘s climb up the Empire State Building with Ann Darrow. The animation was again well done with clear choreography for the brief fight scenes as well as making 1313 look like a dirty and diverse place for those who live there, thanks in particular to the episode’s lighting.
‘Gone With a Trace’ was a fun opening to this new Clone Wars arc that highlighted the characters over the action. Ahsoka is in a very interesting place as she struggles to find a new purpose while Trace and Rafa are introduced nicely as foils to the former young Jedi. The animation and lighting was great throughout the story and the possibilities of what Ahsoka may face next are compelling. It’s exciting to have Ahsoka back on a Star Wars show for a weekly basis.
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.