Star Wars: The Clone Wars "Gone With A Trace" Review
“If there is no path before you, create your own.”
Ahsoka Tano makes her Season 7 debut in this brand new, never-seen-before episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars! Feels good to write it, feels good to say it.
After leaving the Jedi Order, Ahsoka Tano finds herself in the underworld of Coruscant where she befriends aspiring pilot Trace Martez. Enlisted by Trace’s sister Rafa to help build dangerous droids, Ahsoka opts to keep her Jedi past a secret.
With the Bad Batch arc now complete, we leave the dangerous world of Anaxes for the quite different but equally dangerous world of Coruscant. It’s here we find Ahsoka, fresh off leaving the Jedi Order, and on her own more or less for the first time down in the lower levels.
She’s not on the run per se, but she’s not looking to attract much attention either, as she must begin to figure out who she is if she’s not a Jedi anymore. Indeed, these are the very early delicate stages of what would become of Ahsoka when we see her much later on in Star Wars Rebels.
The lower levels of Coruscant are inhospitable to say the least and if you’re looking for a place to hide in plain sight, not a bad start. It’s heavily overpopulated with all sorts of miscreants, wrongdoers, dreamers, scum and villainy. Luckily, Ahsoka has encountered all of the above during her time with the Jedi, and fortunately she runs into a dreamer almost right away.
After her piece of junk speeder bike malfunctions and is forced into a pretty rough landing, she meets Trace Martez (Brigitte Kali), a mechanic on the lower levels who’s got big off-planet dreams. She’s clearly a good and decent person and the two strikes up a bond right away. We learn that Trace is working on an old Nebula class freighter, that’s her ticket out.
Even though Ahsoka has no credits, she’s clearly despondent so Trace offers to help her out by repairing the speeder for free.
We get an interesting look at the politics in play as Trace espouses a negative opinion of the Jedi, who have a bad name on the lower levels. Trace feels like they’ve abandoned the people down below and that they are responsible for the war. This is obviously a nod to recent events in the Clone Wars timeline, with Barriss Offee echoing similar sentiments.
Trace and Ahsoka become quick friends, especially after a visit from some debt collectors, led by Pintu Son-El (Bobby Moynihan), where Ahsoka helps get rid of them. Soon after we meet Trace’s sister, Rafa (Elizabeth Rodriguez), the reason the debt collectors showed up in the first place.
Rafa is the opposite of Trace, she trusts less, takes more risk, and seems more willing to break a few rules. She’s the yin to Trace’s yang. Together they have a shared dream of leaving Coruscant behind and flying amongst the stars, they just have different methods on how to achieve that goal. Rafa is impatient and willing to do whatever it takes, Trace, not so much. Basically, Rafa is a grifter who is clearly getting in over her head with the wrong people.
Ultimately, with no other family around, they are extremely loyal to each other, and Ahsoka showing up complicates that relationship. As such, there is immediate tension between Ahsoka and Rafa, that doesn’t change.
The waters only get muddier when Rafa makes a deal to build some robots for an unknown buyer, clearly shady characters. Turns out these robots are Type-2 Binary load lifters, repurposed demolition droids prone to violence, so guess what happens next? Trace forgets to put the restraining bolt on one and things get chaotic.
In an incredible sequence, the robot goes rogue, and a chase erupts through the streets and marketplaces of the lower levels, leaving a path of destruction along the way. As the robot becomes a danger to the people around them, Ahsoka must use all her skills to stop it without revealing her Jedi past, which she nearly does.
She’s required to use her Force powers to save Trace from falling to her death, lucky for her, only a small Twi’lek girl noticed and didn’t say anything. So, for now, her secret is safe, but it’s clear, with the company she’s chosen to keep, trouble is always just around the corner. How long can Ahsoka keep her Jedi’ness a secret all while keeping her new friends trouble free? That will be the main focus likely during this arc, that, and trying to figure out who the mysterious buyers are.
In the end, even though Trace isn’t happy about it, Rafa still makes the deal for the load lifters even despite how dangerous they are. She said she used the credits to pay off Pintu and to keep trusting her. Trace forgives her yet again, but you can tell it’s getting more and more difficult to do so.
Ahsoka and Trace head back to the garage to finish repairing Ahsoka’s speeder as the episode ends.
For me, this was a near-perfect episode of television.
They successfully immerse us in the lower levels of Coruscant, giving us just a hint of the layout and potential dangers, introduce quality new characters, and reintroduce us to Ahsoka in a perfectly restrained way. The temptation would be to have her go a little more “off”, but they strike a perfect balance, giving us just a little to chew on. It’s off course a narrative choice, keeping her abilities hidden while she forges a new path.
The Martez sisters, Trace and Rafa, seem like thoughtful new characters, well designed and acted beautifully by Brigitte Kali and Elizabeth Rodriguez respectively. Specifically, Rafa, who seems incredibly fleshed out and well-rounded to me, Rodriguez voices her with a great deal of confidence, such is the character.
I’m sure the abundance of tooka-cats will get some folks excited, and the ship enthusiasts will have a field day spotting the numerous makes and models flying around. For me, it was hearing the voice of Bobby Moynihan for the first time in The Clone Wars that I particularly enjoyed, and the load lifters were fantastic parts of the episode.
The first arc definitely gave us moments where the new and improved animation stood tall, but in this episode, they’re starting to show off. From the opening sequence where Ahsoka crashes her speeder, to the chase sequence with the load lifter, all 27-minutes are incredible and a lot of fun to watch.
It seems there’s something about Ahsoka’s colors and shapes that makes this animation sing, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say the whole thing was designed, upgraded, and rigged to make her look especially stunning. She is the star so it makes sense to frame much of what goes on around her, including certain color and style decision.
Another key aspect was Kevin Kiner’s score, which is right up front on more than few occasions. It’s sweeping, romantic, and emotional, it’s perfect and by the time we get to the Siege of Mandalore arc, expect big things from this side of the house.
I don’t rate anything, but if I did, this episode would be a 10/10 for me.
Next week we’ve got “Deal or No Deal” …
Trace makes a rash decision after learning what they are transporting is for the Pyke Syndicate.
Like I said, Rafa is reckless and doesn’t seem to have any scruples at this point so this is where it catches up to her. Will Trace finally have enough of her sister’s scheming ways and turn on her? They are very loyal to each other and extremely co-dependent, but perhaps Trace is tired of making excuses and forgiving her sister’s destructive behaviour. And with Ahsoka now in her ear, it seems there’s a breaking point headed our way.
Still, can’t imagine anything but a face-turn for Rafa and a little bit of redemption. That’s the part Ahsoka is playing here right? Like the novel “Ahsoka”, our Togrutan is a lost soul, meeting other lost souls along the way and helping them in any way she can. She’s like Caine from Kung-Fu!
Very much looking forward to next week.
Till next time…MTFBWY.
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