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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Force in Focus: The Clones Wars Season 7 Episode 05

"Gone With a Trace"

The Moral of the Story
If there is no path before you, create your own.

Traveling across Coruscant, Ahsoka's speeder bike malfunctions, sending her plummeting into the city's lower levels. She crashes near a repair shop, whose mechanic, Trace, offers to repair the bike - for a price. When Ahsoka admits she doesn't have much in the way of credits, Trace agrees to lend Ahsoka the tools needed to fix it herself. Trace shows Ahsoka the starship she is repairing, with the hope that she and her sister Rafa will be able to leave the planet & escape the war. Just then, Pintu and two thugs arrive, looking to collect on Rafa's debt. Ahsoka fights them off. Later, they meet with Rafa, who has a job lined up to earn the credits to pay back Pintu. The job involves building Binary Load Lifter droids; Ahsoka agrees to help Trace with the work, even though she knows that model of droid to be unstable. Sure enough, one of the droids goes wild upon activation, leading Ahsoka & Trace on a chase through the underworld before they bring it to heel. Back at the garage, Rafa promises her sister she'll do the right thing with the droids, but in the end, she hands them over to her client, and uses the money to pay off Pintu. Disappointed, Ahsoka heads off to work on her bike, but Trace follows after, offering to help.

Firsts and Other Notables
This episode marks Ahsoka Tano's return to the series. Last seen in the final episode of season five in which she left the Jedi Order after being wrongfully accused of murder, this seemingly takes place shortly after that episode (though the events of season six and the first four episodes of this season likely mean some time has had to pass).

It introduces sisters Trace & Rafa, a pair of Coruscant underworlders who own a repair shop & laundromat and are trying to repair a starship in order to get off the planet.

Some sequences from this episode were lifted from an unfinished "Ahsoka Walkabout" arc that was intended for season six.

This episode also marks, I believe, the first appearance of a laundromat in the Star Wars universe.

Casting Call
The criminal threatening Rafa & Trace, Pintu Son-El, is voiced by SNL vet Bobby Moynihan (who's also done voice work on Star Wars: Resistance).

In case you missed the news, right around when this episode was released on Disney+, news broke that Rosario Dawson had been cast to play an older Ahsoka in the second season of The Mandalorian.

A Work in Progress
Pintu is the same species as Yushyn, the Mining Guild boss from Rebels. The species' design is based on an unused Ralph McQuarrie design for one of the bounty hunters in The Empire Strikes Back.

The droid Trace & Ahsoka battle in this episode is one of three Binary Load Lifters; that's the same type of droid Threepio expresses having a history programming when Uncle Owen is deciding to whether or not to buy him from the Jawas in A New Hope (they're quite similar in language/programming, to moisture vaporators, apparently).

Trace is the latest in a tradition of mechanics who provide cover for a main character; Kaz in Star Wars Resistance also works in a repair shop as cover for his role as a Resistance spy.

Did You See?
The events of this episode take place on Coruscant's Level 1313, the designation of which is taken from the aborted Star Wars: Underworld live-action show (which would have been set on the same level) and an unfinished Boba Fett video game.

Austin's Analysis
After four (mostly entertaining) episodes featuring the clones, all of which were based on previously-released material, this (finally) reintroduces Ahsoka - the signature character of the series - to the narrative, but it's hard not to be a little underwhelmed by it. Picking up where Ahsoka last left off, as she tries to find her way in a post-Jedi world (for her), this isn't a bad episode, but it's also fairly routine (hey, Ahsoka is disconnected from the "real world", here's a street-smart character to serve as her guide and put her a situation where her values are tested for the first time without the rigid code of the Jedi to guide her, will her innate character shine through, yes, it will, etc.).

The way the two sisters are positioned as potential routes for Ahsoka to go down in her development (Trace, inward-looking but willing to help, and Rafa, the more cynical pragmatist) is interesting, and the best thing about the episode is the way it presents Trace's perspective on the Jedi and the war as a sort of "common man" view on the war and its causes, and how that differs from Ahsoka's experiences from inside the Jedi Order, which speaks directly to the events of Revenge of the Sith and the question of how the general public could so easily accept Palpatine's argument that the Jedi rose up against the Republic. But still, functioning as the return of Ahsoka in the context of it representing 1/12 of this final season (with a full third of it already in the bag), it's hard not to watch this episode and wish for something bigger, bolder, and more connected to the larger narrative arc of the series. In other words, if now is not the time for big, epic storytelling, then when?

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1 comment:

  1. I actually liked this one, but I'm sucker for nearly anything set on Coruscant. It's my favorite Star Wars planet. Plus, the friendship between Ahsoka and Trace was fun to watch. Having now watched the second part of this arc (but not yet part 3), this is a nice "quiet" opener to what's shaping up to be an exciting storyline.


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