Clone Wars Season 7 Episode 5 Review: NOW-stalgia on Disney+

Review by Joshua Jordan

(Warning: slight spoilers for the episode as well as the series if you haven’t finish it)

“If there is no path before you, create your own. “

Ahsoka is back! This episode starts the beginning of a new arc staring everyone’s favorite ex-padawan. Not long after leaving the Jedi Order, Ahsoka is still trying to find her place in the world. While pondering this her speeder glitches and causes her to clash land near a repair shop owned by a younger girl named Trace and her older sister Rafa. While fixing her speeder Trace and Ahsoka become friends and Ahsoka learns that the pair have dealings with some of the more unsavory characters in the area. Rafa gets a job to fix some droids for a client and tasks Trace and Ahsoka with it. It turns out they are very dangerous load lifting droids and once one gets loose it’s up to Trace and Ahsoka to try to stop the crazed droid. Can the pair stop it before it wrecks everything?

Ahsoka is one of my favorite characters in Star Wars and I was really glad to see her back. This episode was a little slower than the previous ones as it was more of a character driven story and an introduction to some new characters, Trace and Rafa,

that will be with us for the next few episodes. I like the new characters and they interests me enough to see where this arc is going to go. This episode also sported some great action as well, from Ahsoka trying not to die while landing her speeder to the chase with the dangerous load lifting droid, it was all done with beautiful animation. This was another great beginning to another arc with one of my favorite characters and I can’t wait for next week.

Episode Review Score: A

Clone Wars Season 7 Episode 4 Review: NOW-stalgia on Disney+

(Spoiler warning to those who haven’t watched this or the previous episodes)

“Trust placed in another is trust earned”

With the mission to save Echo complete, The Republic decides to make a desperate play to retake their shipyards. Echo decides to help using what the Techno Union did to him against The Separatists. Yet, questions arise among some of The Bad Batch, who are tagging along for the mission, on Echo’s loyalty. On the other hand Captain Rex trusts his friend and believes in their mission. Will Echo help the Republic or is the an elaborate trap laid by The Separatists?

This episode had it all action, character development, and a good amount of comedy. The action was effective and kept me on the edge of my seat. Like such as when Mace and Obi-Wan where fighting the hoards of battle droids, the action was thrilling and well paced. The character development was really good too. Seeing Echo and The Bad Batch start out not trusting each other at the beginning but ending up with Echo joining the team. Another good example is one we’ve seen before with Anakin again straddling the line between the light and dark sides. Even though I’ve seen it before it’s really good to see the continuing progression towards what he ultimately becomes. I also applaud the comedy, it never over stays its welcome and there where times it genuinely made me chuckle. Like when Crosshairs brags about taking out more droids than Wrecker.

Finally, while I feel The Bad Batch arc is a great arc altogether I don’t feel it will be counted as the most memorable of all the arcs in this show. But as the first arc of this last season, that we’ve been waiting years for, it was a nice way to ease you back in.

Episode Review Score: A

Arc Review Score: A

Star Wars: The Mandalorian Season 1 (Ultrasonic’s thoughts)

the-mandalorian

For the longest time whenever someone was to mention Star Wars the original three films came to mind, as well as the prequels that followed later on in the early 2000s.  Television was never really in the minds of audiences aside from some die hards who would ponder about hat little possibility but nothing more.  And then in the late 2000s we were finally introduced to the Clone Wars era.  First was the version made by Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack) which was made up of animated shorts that helped bridge the gap between “Attack of The Clones” and “Revenge of The Sith”.  As great and nifty as they were, they weren’t enough to satisfy fans completely.

Until late 2008, when an animated film named Star Wars: The Clone Wars came on the scene, followed by the debut of an animated series of the same name a couple of months later, and from that point on, the rest was history.

For six seasons, audiences were enthralled with the stories that George Lucas and his protege Dave Filoni brought, for they not only validated the prequel trilogy tremendously but they also expanded on the Star Was mythology ten fold, and with George Lucas at the helm.  Sadly the series was cancelled and put on the shelf for a long while, until this year as of this post, when an official final season was placed on Disney Plus, thus finally giving a definitive conclusion to the series as George and Dave envisioned it to be.

Now there have been other series that have followed Clone Wars – Rebels, The Freemaker Adventures, Resistance – with some series being more compelling than others, but there was always that lingering question: Is a live-action Star Wars TV series possible?  Can a live-action series still deliver the spectacle/myth-building epic fans have come to expect and demand, and with a TV budget at that?

Well, with this series, I think we more than have the answer to our question: Yes.

With the way the story starts, you are immediately introduced to the protagonist (Pedro Pascal).  He doesn’t go by any name at all, aside from a nickname some bar thug calls him, but I – and many other fans can agree – the nickname “Mando” works just as good as his full title, The Mandalorian.

Much like the protagonists from classic spaghetti westerns, Mando is a man of few words, but his actions can more than make up for that.  Taking place some years after the events of “Return of The Jedi”, the Galaxy far far away is pretty much like what one would expect with a crippled government – a great deal of lawlessness is raging across star systems, but with that comes opportunities that only a Bounty Hunter can take full advantage of, but even that brings its own set of complications, as a mysterious client relays to our protagonist.

“Bounty hunting is a complicated profession.”
-The Client

Taking on what appears to be yet another job Mando finds himself on a journey that will ultimately change the course of his life once he acquires the bounty he was sent to retrieve, but what the show does best – among many things – is that even getting to that point is a journey in and of itself, because as Mando is making his way to his bounty he ends up encountering characters that at first may seem secondary or just flat out insignificant, but they too have a part to play in guiding Mando, specifically the character Kuiil (Nick Nolte), and his help goes beyond just saying three simple lines.

Kuiil I have spoken

But perhaps the biggest reveal was at the end of the first episode, which was definitely a surprise, but a welcome one, and it is nothing short of amazing that Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, as well as the rest of the cast and crew kept their mouths shut about this surprise, but all the same it was incredible.

And that reveal was of course the bounty itself, or should we say, himself.

The Child Mando

No, you are not seeing things, the bounty is a 50 year old toddler who is of the same race as the now late Grandmaster Yoda in this timeline, but since nobody knows what sentient race he is, the Internet has come forward and nicknamed him “Baby Yoda” until further notice, and I’m glad they have.

To everyone’s surprise, this reveal went viral, thus leading to all sorts of things from new internet memes to tattoos and even a song (?).  The fact that the creators are using an actual animatronic puppet on set makes this even more special.

But even with this child’s age he is no dead weight, for it is seen shortly after his reveal that he is extremely gifted with the Force, as his saving Mando a few times over the season has shown.

Unable to simply leave the Child in the hands of the client – and whatever may befall him after – Mando then has a change of heart and goes to retrieve him, and with the unexpected help from fellow Mandalorians manages to achieve this goal and heads off to get “Baby Yoda” as far away as possible, thus truly kickstarting the season.

For the rest of the season that follows, Mando is trying to do everything he can to safeguard Baby Yoda while still trying to take whatever jobs he can, and avoid detection.  Along the way he runs into an old acquaintance named Cara Dune (Gina Carano) who becomes a big help.

But trying to stay under the radar is easier said than done, because at one point just when it seems like Mando can leave Baby Yoda in a safe place Cara manages to take out a bounty hunter who is tracking the child, thus forcing Mando to take the former with him.

Of course, nothing lasts forever, and Mando’s constant evading of capture and refusing to turn Baby Yoda over catches up to him, for the client isn’t even the real person who wants the Child, rather it is an Imperial Moff named Gideon.

“You have something I want.  You may think you have some idea of what you are in possession of, but you do not. In a few moments it will be mine.  It means more to me than you will ever know.”
-Moff Gideon

And even with help from Kuiil, Cara and even Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) things don’t look good.  However, a reprogrammed Assassin droid named IG-11 comes to the rescue and through this Mando’s real name is revealed: Din Djarin.  He also meets up with a Mandalorian armorer from earlier episodes who, upon meeting Baby Yoda decrees to Din that until the latter can find a way to reunite the Child with his own kind or “until it is of age.”  Gifting Mando with a jetpack the latter and his makeshift group make their escape but a squad of Stormtroopers are awaiting them.  Knowing that there aren’t any other options IG-11 makes a decision and self-destructs, taking out the group and giving the others time to escape.

After an intense fight with Moff Gideon, Mando manages to take the former down and escape but as is the case with the big bad – unless it’s the final season, they always come back, and Moff still turns out to be very much alive, and with a weapon that no one expected him to have in his possession, which begs the question how he got it given that said weapon was in the hands of someone else (spoilers for Star Wars Rebels).

In all, this season has definitely been a strong start to what appears to be an incredible series.  It is a great throwback to serialized adventure, as well as spaghetti westerns and Samurai movies by Akira Kurosawa, all of which inspired George Lucas as a child, and yet the series is able to stay true to the essence of what makes Star Wars Star Wars, and that’s thanks in no small part to Dave Filoni, who learned from George Lucas during the Clone Wars days, and with the help of one of the architects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Jon Favreau, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch that the series is in good hands with these two at the helm.  Plus bringing in other talented folks like Bryce Dallas Howard and Taika Waititi to help behind the camera is an even bigger plus.

It may be a while before we see any more Star Wars movies, but that doesn’t mean the story won’t continue in other ways, and with Disney Plus Star Wars has a way to expand the story and make it richer than what has been done before, and The Mandalorian is doing exactly that in spades.

So yes, this series gets a recommend from me, and here’s to the next season!

The Mandalorian Poster

Clone Wars Season 7 Episode 3 Review – Now-stalgia on Disney+

Review by Joshua Jordan

“Survival is one step on the path to living”

After finding the source of the information leak to the Separatist, Anakin, Captain Rex, and The Bad Batch have to escape The Techno Union Army’s base. This escape has them going back to the Poletecan village where Anakin’s group along with the Poletecans have to fight the Techno Union’s forces and protect the village.

This episode was short, sweet, and to the point. Because of this it has no real story meat just a lot of action. This isn’t in any way a bad thing at all it just a story the bridges the gap between the previous episode and the next one. Just like the ones before episode 3 has fantastic animation and with amazingly staged action scenes, making this story anything but boring. I felt that this episode’s biggest strength is that it got me excited for the next episode, which will mark the end of our first of three-story arcs this season.

Episode Review Score: A

Clone Wars Season 7 Episode 2 Review – Now-stalgia on Disney+

Review by Joshua Jordan

“The search for truth begins with belief”

After the events at the end of episode one Anakin, Captain Rex, and The Bad Batch go to Skako Minor to see the source of where they believe The Separatist are getting their information from.

Episode two, titled “A Distant Echo” is a great continuation from episode one and builds on what was set up last week. Having a personal touch to the episode is what I really liked the most about it. Its hard to think of the Clones as nothing more than cannon fodder but the best thing about The Clone Wars is that by the end you really care for the Clones. Since The end game of the series is to hook up to Revenge of The Sith I liked that it took a moment to focus on Captain Rex and Anakin’s relationship as friends. Which may or may not play into the last arc of the series. Another pleasant surprise in this episode is that it took time to give us some more humor, which was a nice breather between the more action and dramatic scenes.

Lastly, I want to also compliment the animation again this time focusing on the facial expressions. They have come a long way since The Clones Wars Movie back in 2008 where they seemed kind of stiff. This episode showcases some of the subtlest of gestures from Anakin trying to tell Captain Rex something with is eyes to Obi-Wan not looking surprised at who Anakin is talking to in secret. All of this together makes a much more fluid and almost realistic way to connect to the characters. This story arc is really turning out to be a good one but the question is how does this tie in to the end? I guess we’ll just have to watch to find out.

Episode Review Score: A

Clone Wars Season 7 Episode 1 Review – Now-stalgia on Disney+

Review by Joshua Jordan

(Spoiler Free)

Clone Wars is back with an impressive first episode of the last season. The title of the episode is The Bad Batch and introduces the viewers to Clone Force 99 aka The Bad Batch. They’re a group of mutated clones with abilities beyond that of normal clones. Their mission is to join Captain Rex and Commander Cody to find out why The Separatists keep countering all of Captain Rex’s Strategies. Can Rex and Cody work with a bunch of over the top mutated clones? And how are the Separatists getting their information?

The Bad Batch is a great start to the last season and I can’t wait to see how this arc ends and how it’s tied to the end of the series. In my opinion the two things that stood out were the animation and the voice work. First, the all-around presentation was gorgeous, especially the animation for the actions scenes. This is truly the best Clones Wars has ever looked. I loved a lot of the camera angles that they used which they would have never been able to do easily when the show first premiered. Second, the voice work on this episode is great since most of the characters are clones they are all voiced by the amazing Dee Bradley Baker. It consistently amazes me how he can voice each clone and give them the same voice while also making them sound distinct. 

This season of The Clone Wars seems to have a strong beginning with The Bad Batch and I can’t wait to see what else this arc has in store as well as the rest of the season.

Episode Review Score: A+

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RayGunn Is A Guest On The “What If Geeks” Podcast- Coming Soon!

AA teaser copy

Hey Arcaders!

I had the amazing opportunity To hang out with John, Paul, and Eric over at the What If Geeks Podcast this week! On their weekly show they discuss all things in Geek culture – from Superheroes to Sci-Fi, movies to TV, books, games & comics. It’s a great show and I highly recommend it! Give them a listen- and come hear ME as we talk about many geeky things, INCLUDING the Arcade Archives!

Check them out at- What If Geeks.Com

Keep Playin’ like it’s 1981!

RayGunn