There is a moment in Tony Scott’s Man On Fire in which a thug who has had a bomb rectally inserted into him pleads with Denzel Washington for a last wish. After some consideration, Washington replies; “I wish you had more time!” As backward a compliment as that reads, Season Six of The Clone Wars is that thug.
It could be that I was savouring every last moment I had left with the series, but Season Six may be the strongest so far, taking in 5 very different and tightly held together story arcs over its all too short 13 episode run.
The first story arc (covering the first 4 episodes) follows Fives, a clone trooper who investigates what caused his friend (and fellow soldier) to kill a Jedi during a battle. It’s a classic ‘man who knew too much’ type tale that has all of the hallmarks of a ’70s conspiracy thriller movie. It’s a very strong start to the season and is a great example of The Clone Wars doing what it does best by fleshing out the characters and plot points that largely went skimmed over at best by the Prequels.
The trouble with a strong opening story is that the next one will inevitably be something of a comedown. Whilst the second story (episodes 5 – 7) isn’t as exciting as the first, it is still a compelling tale that deals with the corruption within the banking system of the Star Wars universe (it’s more interesting than it sounds). It also further adds to the paranoia that consumes Anakin Skywalker, adding further fuel to (spoilers) his inevitable manipulation into joining the Sith in Episode III.
It’s with some reluctance that you go into the third story arc (episodes 8 & 9) knowing that it’s a Jar-Jar Binks tale, but it’s actually not the kiddie friendly horror show that previous Binks centred stories have been. The story sees Binks teamed with Mace Windu (could’ve been comedy gold) as they search for a kidnapped queen. Given that it only takes up two of the episodes, it actually makes for a fun romp in the middle of a dark and paranoid filled season. That said, there is an incredibly dark moment in this story – especially in a “kids” cartoon - that brings to mind the sacrifice scene in Temple Of Doom.
The next story is a standalone episode that sees Anakin and Obi-Wan investigate the mystery of Master Sifo-Dyas, the Jedi who ordered the creation of the clone troopers. Again, it was another element of the Prequel trilogy that was referenced, but never built on, so it’s nice to finally have some – albeit brief - explanation on what is a key plot point of the clone wars mythology.
The season (and indeed series) ends with a 3 episode arc that sees Yoda – upon hearing the ghostly voice of Qui-Gon Jinn - seek out his training that will enable him to become one with the living force once he dies. It’s a fantastic Yoda centric story that has enough points of interest to excite even the most casual Star Wars fan and that’s in a story that sees one of the biggest mysteries in the universe finally being addressed. It’s also a nice touch to have Liam Neeson (the nation’s favourite wolf puncher) back voicing Qui-Gon and there’s a certain fanboy thrill to hear him return to the Star Wars universe.
There are a few flaws with the series (not enough Obi-Wan for my taste), but these are mostly minor quibbles and a probably a tad unfair given that it was not a completed season. Sadly the series ending before its time means that there are loose ends and character arcs to be tied up (the fate of Ahsoka for example), but these are always things that could potentially be handled in Star Wars Rebels or even one of the many new movies planned.
On the whole though the series goes out on a high note (after the slightly underwhelming 5th season) and rewards the fans that have stayed loyal to the series nicely. Star Wars: Rebels has a lot to live up to, arriving as it does in the shadows of The Clone Wars.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 6 is currently showing on Netflix US, and will be available in the UK later this year.
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