Written by Brandon C Kesselly (@bckesso)
After seven years of controversial Star Wars content, and The Mandalorian, we are finally getting the end of The Clone Wars — arguably the best content in the franchise. Through Clone Wars, we got to journey with Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) as they fought in the titular conflict. We witnessed Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein), Skywalker’s apprentice, rise from annoying teenager to capable military leader and strategist. The clones were humanized, Asajj Ventress (Nika Futterman) was given depth. Darth Maul (Sam Witwer) returned and even had a brother in Savage Opress (Clancy Brown). Clearly, there’s a lot to cover, and while there is a link to the official chronological order (with Disney+ links to boot), here’s my selection of the five best episodes in the series so far.
Honorable Mention: “A Friend in Need” — Season 4, Episode 14
Ahsoka Tano accompanies Senator Padmé Amidala (Catherine Taber) to Mandalore where Republic and Separatist leaders meet to discuss a peaceful resolution to the war. When Lux Bonteri (Jason Spisak), a former Separatist and Ahsoka’s longtime crush, crashes the conference with grievances against Count Dooku (Corey Burton), Ahsoka takes off to keep him safe. This, however, leads them to Pre Vizsla (Jon Favreau) and the Death Watch, a Mandalorian extremist cell with whom Bonteri has unfortunately made a deal. This episode also features Ahsoka’s crowning moment of awesome: her infamous quadruple decapitation of four Death Watch soldiers.
5) “Nightsisters” — Season 3, Episode 12
After Ventress is betrayed by Dooku (AKA Darth Tyranus), she returns home to Dathomir to plot her revenge. Her homecoming allows her to reconnect with Mother Talzin (Barbara Goodson) and the Nightsisers, Dathomiri witches who join her quest to assassinate her former master. This episode gives Ventress a little more depth, diving into her backstory as both a Nightsister and former Jedi apprentice that was taken in by Dooku and used as a pawn in the Sith Lord’s schemes. We also get to see how skilled Dooku is, taking on three cloaked opponents while drugged and blinded.
4) “Darkness on Umbara” — Season 4, Episode 7
When Anakin Skywalker is recalled from the Battle of Umbara, he is replaced by General Pong Krell (Dave Fennoy). Clone Captain Rex (Dee Bradley Baker) and the rest of the 501st start to realize things are not right on the planet, however, as this episode begins one of the darkest arcs of the series.
3) “The Wrong Jedi” — Season 5, Episode 20
Framed for murder and expelled from the Jedi Order, Ahsoka Tano is on trial for treason. Anakin, desperate to clear his Padawan’s name, dives into the underworld of Coruscant before making a dark discovery. After the trial, Ahsoka makes a difficult decision, one that sets her on the path to true independence and marking a significant progression for her character.
2) “Overlords” — Season 3, Episode 15
Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka find themselves crash-landed on the world of Mortis, a strange planet strong in the Force. While there, they encounter some of the most powerful beings in the universe — the Father, the Son, and the Daughter. The Father is the avatar of Balance, and his Son and Daughter respective avatars of the Dark and Light Sides of the Force. As the Chosen One, the Father wishes for Anakin to replace him and keep his children from killing one another. This episode shows us just how powerful Anakin is, and has a heartwarming cameo by Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson), who speaks to both of his former apprentices.
1) “The Lawless” — Season 5, Episode 16
Mercy, mercy me. Where do I begin? “The Lawless” is one of the most consequential Clone Wars episodes. Having previously beheaded Pre Vizsla, Darth Maul rules over Mandalore with his brother/apprentice Savage Opress, luring Obi-Wan into a trap with Duchess Satine Kryze (Anna Graves) as bait. Darth Sidious (Tim Curry) gets hip and journeys to Mandalore just as a civil war begins to remind his former apprentice of the Rule of Two. What’s not to like?
How do you feel about the list? What does yours look like? What are some of your favorite episodes? Star Wars: The Clone Wars season seven debuts this Friday, February 21, 2020!