This Star Wars review contains spoilers.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7 Episode 8
Star Wars without the Jedi Order can be a fascinating place. In “Together Again,” The Clone Wars has to answer some of the questions the Ahsoka arc has been setting up all along. How will the discovery that Ahsoka is a Jedi impact Trace and Rafa? What does Ahsoka think about her decision to leave the Jedi Order? And is Rafa a scoundrel with a heart of gold, or too manipulative for her own good? Some of those questions are answered, but the answers sizzle out at the end of an adventurous, uneven episode that fails to follow through.
Back in the Pyke gang’s cells, Ahsoka has a plan. She’ll use her information about the Martez family as collateral while the sisters fly away, ostensibly to get spice to pay back the crime lords. But since Trace and Rafa have no family and Ahsoka can use her Jedi powers to free herself, it’s a chance for all three to escape without consequence. This plan gets complicated when Ahsoka spots the crime lord Maul and gets caught trying to track him. Meanwhile, Rafa decides to go back for Ahsoka—not because they’re friends, but because she needs to one-up Ahsoka’s heroism.
By the way, who exactly is supposed to be together again as per the title? The three girls weren’t separated that long, and neither Maul nor Bo-Katan had a significant enough reunion with Ahsoka to merit the title.
Every reveal in this episode felt flat and disconnected from the plot around it. After stalking Ahsoka for two episodes, the Mandalorians simply walk up and speak to her. Maul’s reappearance is the classic reveal of a character looking up from under a hood, an unexpectedly tensionless scene barely aided by some assertive music. Why don’t the Mandalorians participate in the starship fight? Meanwhile, the sisters learn Ahsoka is a Jedi because the Pyke says as much in front of them, not because Ahsoka actually uses her powers in their presence. In a show renowned for action, these scenes feel mundane.
Do these reveals work for someone who isn’t closely familiar with the Siege of Mandalore arc that’s coming up next? I don’t know. To me, they feel more like anticipatory teases than actions that grow organically out of the plot. At least Maul’s reveal in Solo: A Star Wars Story reminding the audience he’s an intimidating Force-user.
The problem seems to be the pacing. Trace and Rafa get in a brawl with the workers at a spaceport spice smuggling operation, which takes up time that could have been used for a flashier action sequence. (Is this back on Kessel? I wasn’t sure about the space geography.) Even though the bad guys in this fight are spice smugglers, it wasn’t particularly entertaining to see the girls outwit characters who acted like stuffy managers.
I did enjoy the way this episode showcased the characters’ strengths. Trace has leveled up her flying skills and pulls some fancy maneuvers worthy of a Skywalker. Rafa’s more Han Solo-ish skills, namely bluffing her way into and out of trouble, are on display, too. She’s clearly the better liar and it was fun to see her wink her way through the spice-smuggling world, even if the plans don’t always work.
One of these plans almost derailed the episode from the start. When Ahsoka first reveals her plan, she hides it from the girls to make her “betrayal” look real. The script didn’t make it entirely clear how much each sister was following what was going on and how much of the mistrust was real. In the end, the clarification that Rafa understood and Trace didn’t was satisfying and true to their characters. But it came a little too late for the scene to be easily readable.
Then there’s the issue of trust and the Jedi. The sword hanging over Ahsoka’s head this whole time has been what happens if her new friends find out that she’s a Jedi. After leaving every person she ever cared about, will Ahsoka now be abandoned by her new allies? No. Instead, they physically can’t: the Pykes have captured them all and then the base is falling apart around them. All of that build-up regarding how the Martez sisters feel about the Jedi is crushed into one conversation, which just can’t hold the weight of the entire arc.
It’s understandable that the sisters would be relieved they’re all still alive, and Rafa’s decision to go back for Ahsoka is a major turning point for her, but the resolution is too brief. The fact that it’s an easy decision isn’t really my problem with the episode: I don’t believe the sisters escaped unscathed, since they’re clearly scared and have changed the way they think about themselves and Ahsoka. But placing the Jedi conversation at the very end robs it of all possible stakes.
Rafa especially seems to change her mind too quickly. The script dances around the question of whether the sisters still resent the Jedi but see Ahsoka as “one of the good ones” or whether their ideas about the Order have completely changed. The episode doesn’t give Ahsoka time to talk to them about her own complicated feelings. And Rafa, the very person who knows how empty Jedi platitudes can be, lets Ahsoka go with a wishy-washy “It’s what you’re meant to do.”
Star Wars does work without Jedi. I’m not saying the episode was bad because it didn’t have enough lightsaber combat in it. The episode hints at larger story arcs in a way that is pleasantly new for The Clone Wars but also feels like a denouement without a climax. “Together Again” simply rushes into the next arc.