We waited years! Just like that, our first four episodes, and first arc, of Season 7 of The Clone Wars is in the bag.
The Bad Batch has wrapped up with the episode “Unfinished Business”, where our team of bad batchers and the Republic decide to stick it to Admiral Trench and the Separatists on Anaxes…
“The Republic plans a daring final strike against Wat Tambor and Admiral Trench, once again bringing together Rex, Echo, Anakin Skywalker, and the elite Bad Batch squad.”
I know I’m sounding like a broken record, but as with the previous three episodes, we have an animatic to compare it to. And like those, the changes are few, but in this episode, they take a bold approach completely changing the ending, for the better.
And in keeping with each one, the first change starts with the “fortune cookie” motif which goes from…
“Live from the past, but live for the future.”
“Trust place in another is trust earned.”
Another Echo/Rex related platitude, obviously referring to the faith placed in Rex/Bad Batch in the early part of the arc, which is now placed upon Echo. Trust is a theme that’s been prevalent throughout this arc, Anakin trusting Rex, Rex trusting the Bad Batch, and now everyone trusting Echo.
The next significant change happens in the very opening scene where the uppers are discussing the mission. In the animatic, Obi-Wan is rightfully concerned Echo’s plan is relying on the assumption that Wat Tambor didn’t share any of this with Trench. Echo assures him it’s not in Wat’s best interest to do so, not only for fear of financial loss, but loss of life as well.
This is completely cut for the new version and not really replaced with anything. As the audience, we know Wat had no intention of sharing this with Trench, but our guys didn’t, so in this case they are trusting Echo’s better judgment I suppose. Either way, Echo makes a good case and they trust him and decide to go ahead with the mission.
The next big change like I said happens at the end, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
As for the episode itself, with Echo back where he belongs, the team is feeling confident enough to go on the offensive and finally take back Anaxes. Part of this confidence stems from Echo’s newfound ability to access Separatist computers, a side-effect from his unpleasant ordeal on Skako Minor. As we’ve discussed, this strategy only works because Wat Tambor was too proud to admit losing Echo and kept it from Trench.
Echo’s plan involves using the algorithm against Trench, and since he’ll never see it coming, it should be a decisive victory. So, two teams, two missions. Anakin, Rex, Echo and the Bad Batch head to the Separatist dreadnought while Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi lead an assault on the main assembly plant on the surface.
As you can imagine, Trench doesn’t just lay down for them so both teams, above and below, encounter heavy resistance. Pour one out for all the battle droids that go down during this fight, in particular the ones at the assembly plant where Mace Windu and Obi-Wan lead the charge.
If you’ve seen the preview clip, then you know about a very funny scene involving Windu where he tries to convince the droids to lay down their weapons. It doesn’t work obviously but it is humorous, and Kenobi’s face is priceless.
As for the dreadnought crew, they too run into some trouble but thanks to Echo’s newfound ability, he’s able to tap into the Separatist computer system and manipulate the chess board accordingly. With Echo controlling the algorithm and the troop movement, he’s able to essentially rig the entire thing from a terminal on the ship.
The truth is, Trench never stood a chance and even though he threw throngs of battle droids at them, the end was inevitable. The moment itself, Trench’s demise at the hands of Anakin, is certainly significant from the standpoint it’s one of a few instances where the Jedi shows his willingness to murder. This instance, like the Dooku one that comes later and the Tatooine one that comes before it, are clues to his eventual turn to the Darkside of course.
There’s no question the Harch Admiral deserved it and it was likely only a matter of time, but since the dreadnought gets detonated with his own bomb moments later, Anakin’s killing of him was unnecessary but clearly meaningful.
The finale was the battle we were promised, with all the major players involved, and just about every droid imaginable. And this small part of the Outer Rim Sieges is an important moment in Clone Wars history for a few reasons, not least of which is the death of Admiral Trench, who has been a thorn since Season Two. And, really, he has Wat Tambor to blame.
Taking back the Anaxes the shipyards and killing Trench is a decisive victory to be sure and a significant blow to Dooku and the Separatists. But this arc was always more than just blaster fire and mayhem…
“Your path is different, like ours”
We come to the end and the most important change in the four episodes. In the animatic, after the victory, Rex, Echo, and the Bad Batch receive accolades and are honored by the Republic for their bravery above all else. It ends at the ceremony with no real closure for the Bad Batch and Echo.
The new ending is not only more satisfying emotionally, but just makes way more narrative sense given we know what’s coming up. So, after the battle, in the hangar at Fort Anaxes, Windu tells the clones accolades are coming their way. As they are about the leave to receive them, the Bad Batch tells them that are not really their style, they plan on skipping it.
They tell Echo, there’s a place for him on the Havoc Marauder should he want one, and that he’s different now, on a different path. He initially turns them down, and it’s clear his loyalty to Rex and the 501st is strong. But good old Rex immediately senses something is gnawing at him.
Rex tells him he understands things are different now and that Echo’s on a different journey, should he have the courage to choose it. As Rex turns to walk away, Echo makes his decision and returns to the Bad Batch, and together they salute their Captain one last time. Beautiful moment.
Listen, the entire thing is bittersweet as we know what the future has in store for these clones, except for Rex and a couple of others, they all participate in Order-66, through no fault of their own. In my heart, I like to think that the Clone Force 99 had their inhibitor chips removed as well. Oh, if only they had all listened to Fives.
The animation has been great this season and I feel like they started with the Bad Batch arc, not only because it’s a great story and chronologically necessary, but a great way to ease us into the new look. It’s trained our senses now and we’ve adapted to the new style of animation and sound, so now, we’re ready for the main events.
Up next we get our second arc this season and the first appearance of Ahsoka Tano, plus a couple of new characters in “Gone with a Trace” …
“Ahsoka befriends a pilot but must hide her Jedi past while trying to stop a dangerous droid.”
So, this is a new story developed for this seventh season and wasn’t part of the Clone Wars Legacy. It’s going to be interesting seeing Ahsoka work her way around the lower levels of Coruscant and we know that Bo-Katan Kryze gets involved. Good things are a coming my Clone Wars friends.
Till next time…MTFBWY.
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