Star Wars: The Clone Wars Episode Review: “Victory and Death” (with spoilers)

Wow!!! As the last episode of a series that has spanned 12 years, I could never really make an accurate prediction of precisely how the events of the Siege of Mandalore would end. I tried to, of course, but I got something I didn’t expect.

As ‘Victory and Death’ opens, we pick up where we left off with the last episode, clones cutting through the blast door to the medical bay. Ahsoka is helping to remove Rex’s inhibitor chip, which manipulates every clone to obey the deadly Order 66. The clones finally break through as Rex returns back to normal. Ahsoka and Rex have to save their own lives by stunning or knocking unconscious every clone in their path. Ahsoka doesn’t want to hurt the clones since she understands their new programming, which I thought was a nice touch. Now Ahsoka, Rex, and their droid trio including R7, G-G, and Cheep race to the hangar bay to commandeer a shuttle and escape.

Meanwhile, Maul Force-chokes and throws every clone in his way to their death, and literally demolishes the entire hyperdrive reactor, which causes the Republic Cruiser to drop out of hyperspace. Now, the entire crumbling ship is heading into the gravitational pull of a nearby moon. 

The droid companions open the main hangar doors, which reveal a company of clones who have been ordered to kill Ahsoka. As hard as it is not to kill the attacking clones, Rex tells her painfully, “I hate to tell you this, but they don’t care. This ship is going down, and those soldiers, my brothers, are willing to die and take you and me along with them”. Ahsoka removes Rex’s helmet, his emotionless mask, to reveal a single tear rolling down his cheek. This scene is absolutely choked with emotion. Rex has to now leave behind hundreds of thousands of brothers that he served alongside for years, for Ahsoka. This is the Star Wars version of “The last full measure of devotion,” as Abraham Lincoln said in his Gettysburg Address, speaking about the sacrifice of soldiers in the battle.

Ahsoka responds gently, “They may be willing to die, but I am not the one that is going to kill them.” I think this may be the most powerful moment in the entire Clone Wars series. Rex has to choose between the brothers that he’s fought with for the five years that the Clone Wars spanned, and his friend, Ahsoka. He knows that Ahsoka would’ve been killed had he chosen his brothers.

Rex enters the hangar with Ahsoka at gunpoint, and orders the clone troopers to hold their fire, reasoning that Ahsoka isn’t a Jedi any longer. Rex is doing this to stall them, but he may have had a personal ulterior motive which is to keep Ahsoka alive without having to leave his brothers. This time provided the droid trio to drop the hangar floor down to the level below, dropping half of the clone company out of Rex and Ahsoka’s way. This was also the diversion Maul needed to enter the hangar bay and steal the shuttle that Ahsoka and Rex were trying to use to get away. I love the next moment because the clones try to take the lifts back up to the hangar level, but are unable, as the droids have complete control, which a laughing R7 finds amusing as the clones fly up with the inertia and land flat on their faces. 

This gives Ahsoka enough time to reach out with the Force and pull back the shuttle Maul is trying to escape. Rex is overwhelmed by his clone brothers. Ahsoka must decide between saving Rex and trying to pursue their last hope of escape and capture Maul once again. She chooses Rex, and Maul blasts off in the shuttle and jumps into hyperspace.

Surrounded by clones, Ahsoka thrusts her lightsabers through the floor and uses the Force to remotely control them, and slices a hole, dropping her and Rex right to the  level below. There, ARC trooper Jesse and other clones are still trying to regain control of the lifts. Cheep and G-G bring the lifts back up to the hangar level. I imagine the droids must’ve enjoyed the rare privilege of being in control of clones, as the clones were usually in control of the droids. Unfortunately, the clones then see Cheep and G-G, and blast them, which was the second-saddest moment in the episode to me. Those poor droids! Rex spots a Y-Wing and is Force-pushed into the cockpit by Ahsoka. The cruiser then enters the moon’s atmosphere. Rex takes off and Ahsoka runs on debris from the crumbling cruiser in the atmosphere to keep up with the Y-Wing. She reaches the gunner’s seat, and climbs in.

The Republic Cruiser crashes on the moon! Ahsoka and Rex land on the surface in the  Y-Wing. While assessing the damage, Ahsoka gathers a number of clone bodies and buries them, their helmets on a stick above each grave. In a moment of contemplation, she knows she has to become a nobody in the galaxy. She reluctantly parts with her remaining lightsaber, leaving it as a memorial to the fallen troopers, the other one having been lost in combat on the cruiser. This scene made me want to cry. After everything that had happened, Ahsoka still took time to honor the deaths of the clones.

Time has gone by. The final clip in the episode shows an Imperial shuttle landing on the same moon. Snowtroopers and Stormtroopers scour the snowy surface and investigate the wreckage of the old Republic Cruiser. Darth Vader leads the investigation and stops when he sees a clone helmet barely visible in the snow. He takes a knee, and gently brushes the snow off of a metallic object. He lifts it, and touches the activation mechanism. The shoto-style, short, blue blade of Ahsoka Tano’s Lightsaber activates, reflecting light off of Vader’s black armor. Overhead, a Convor, a bird which has a strong connection with the Force, and always seems to fly near Ahsoka, circles, mourning what appears to be the site of death of Ahsoka Tano.

To me, the ending of the series was perfect. It explains why Vader never tried to find Ahsoka, because by the time the ship was found, all that was left was her lightsaber. Star Wars: The Clone Wars evolved into this beautiful expression of countless Star Wars cultures, beliefs, characters, and plotlines. It showed us that there are more than two sides to every war, and heroes on both sides. Dave Filoni and the writers on The Clone Wars wove a story that was just a slight mention in the original Star Wars into a universe and changed how we look at characters and plotlines! In the original trailer for Season 7, there was a phrase that still gives me goosebumps: “A war left unfinished . . . until now.”  This truly expresses what The Clone Wars has done. It has come full circle, and has given fans another amazing show to treasure. 

As a writer still in middle school, I don’t get much opportunity to write what I really love, and that is Star Wars. Therefore, I want to thank my amazing cousin Richard Woloski for inviting me to write these reviews, and for all his time, patience, and mentoring. You deserve a great big Wookie hug!

Author Bio – Jonathan Marroquin

Hi, my name is Jonathan Marroquin and I am 14 years old. My first memory of Star Wars is seeing a VHS tape and my grandpa explaining that it was a sci-fi movie. I fell in love with it immediately. In the next few days, I watched Star Wars: A New Hope more times than I could count. I like to say Star Wars was my first love, and it’s stayed true to me ever since. A LEGO enthusiast and stop-motion animator, I enjoy writing fan fiction in the Star Wars and Harry Potter universes. I also design LEGO starships both Canonical and Star Wars-inspired in my spare time. May The Force Be With You, Always!

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