Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 6 Review (Part 4): The Force's Coda

By Noel Kirkpatrick

Mar 24, 2014

Star Wars: The Clone Wars S06E10, S06E11, S06E12, and S06E13:

"The Lost One," "Voices," "Destiny," and "Sacrifice"

Star Wars, being a franchise that's spread across various forms of media, has always struggled when it gets into the nitty-gritty of the Force. The prequel trilogy converted the Force from this mysterious lifestream that binds the universe together into teeny tiny cells that can be measured inside of all life in the universe. There's a connection between those two things, to be sure, but the emergence of midichlorians basically transformed the mystical into the mundane of biology.

The Star Wars novels don't fare much better. I can't speak to the Old Republic line, but the novels after Return of the Jedi can be a weird mishmash of Force-altering/refining nonsense. You need look no further than the Yuuzhan Vong, who don't appear to exist in the Force or Jacen Solo's descent to the Dark Side, but in a supposedly benevolent way? Who knows. Because George Lucas made the Force so vague but all-encompassing, it could be employed in all sorts of ways, by all sorts of people, including him.

This last arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars was an intensely spiritual set of episodes as Yoda, after hearing Qui-Gon Jinn's voice (actually voiced by Liam Neeson, no less!), set about to learn how to survive in the Force after he's passed on from the physical realm. Or, in shorter terms: These four episodes explain how Yoda started talking to Qui-Gon as he mentioned in that single line in Revenge of the Sith.


Yoda's Force walkabout led him to Dagobah, a limbo-ish world in the heart of the galaxy, and Moraband, the homeworld of the Sith, to acheive an understanding about the cosmic and the living Force and... yeah, The Clone Wars, like its predecessors, struggled to make much of its addition to what the Force is. The arc was more a series of checking off the boxes so that it could tie back into that Revenge of the Sith line than anything else.

But as checking off the boxes goes, it was at least pretty entertaining. The first half, in "The Lost Ones" and "Voices," was more my speed, between the unearthing about Sifo-Dyas's death (quickly forgotten) and Yoda playing the other Masters in the Council to go on his galactic tour of Force hotspots. They were a livelier pair of episodes, not bogged down by Force philosophizing and Yoda fighting the Dark Side Gollum version of himself, which was the low point. Sure, meeting Darth Bane (voiced with his typical villainous relish by Mark Hamill) was a neat moment, but it was also largely inconsequential to the story.


When The Clone Wars finished its run on Cartoon Network, I saw the final arc about Ahsoka as being very much in the vein of Star Wars' larger themes about corruption and the failures of civic institutions. It felt very much like the definitive idea of what The Clone Wars had to say about this very specific period in the timeline of the Star Wars universe. It summed up so many elements that had run through the series into a neat little package, and a package unique to the series: Ahsoka (whose departure should've resulted in real fallout in anything that came after it, but that we only got the barest of nods to). The war had claimed an innocent, and the (younger) audience's surrogate into the new series. It was a harsh lesson.

Season 6, ignoring the middle two arcs that were awful and forgettable, felt very much like an unnecessary coda, given their status as the last episodes of the series. Both Fives' arc and Yoda's arc were more like narrative lead-ups to the final installment of the prequel films, rather than a conclusion to The Clone Wars itself. Of course, these "Lost Missions" weren't intended to stand on their own, or to even conclude the series, so it's a touch unfair to judge them as a "fitting end" for the series, but as we move into Star Wars: Rebels, we've reached the end of this Star Wars era, and it wasn't as great an end as the first one.


What did you all think of this fourth and final arc of The Clone Wars Season 6?


PREVIOUSLY:

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 6 Review (Part 1): A Band of Brothers

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 6 Review (Part 2): Bank On It

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 6 Review (Part 3): Indiana Binks


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  • Demonstrable Apr 11, 2014

    I'm glad I got see some more awesome animation but season 5 was a much better ending point for the series.

  • antdude Apr 05, 2014

    First arc was a filler. Meh. Final one was good, even though long (four/4 episodes). :D

  • JT_Kirk Mar 26, 2014

    I can't say I enjoyed the last 3 episodes, and was surprised to see a tag from "The Lost One" included in "Voices" since Lucasfilm said that they were not the same story arcs, which is the only reason I watched "The Lost One" by itself (and to be fair, it holds up on its own fine while thematically quite distant from the others, which makes me think there was no more money for opening tags so they just nabbed content from the previous episode). These episodes were lonely and wasted precious time on concepts that evaporated into the ether while not feeling like they were leading anywhere. They reminded me in some ways of the Mortis trilogy of episodes which promised big, also had Liam Neeson as a guest voice, and ultimately wasted time on a go-nowhere solution.

    Also, does someone on the writing staff have a phobia about doctors? Both this arc and the Clone arc at the beginning of the season treat the medical treatment centers as untrustworthy and needing of escape.

    This arc actually did start to tap into what Lucas has always talked about with the Force, that of the two sides of the Force. If you put in enough energy, there actually is an interesting philosophical/spiritual argument at play there - we are all star stuff, we are all atoms glued together by energy that came from space, and that energy is everywhere which makes up the "Cosmic Force"; while life forms possess an innate value that adds another level of energy to the universe, one that creates and cares and so on, and that is perhaps what they were going for with the "Living Force". In Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon makes specific reference to that Living Force, so he is clearly a student of it, but there's still quite a disconnect between that and life after death. Moreover, this episode sells out the idea of Midichlorians not as innate within each living thing, but as created and spread across the universe from a singular point, which is confusing and baffling as a concept, and gets us nowhere with the idea of Force ghosts.

    This episode sets up a lot of stuff from Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, and that to me was a let-down because what seemed like arcane, wizardly knowledge passed down through the ages to only the most sage and unique of even the race of wizards is now something that just gets pulled out of Qui-Gon's ass 21 years prior. Granted, Episode III does that a little as well with your aforementioned Qui-Gon learning line and the trip to Dagobah, but I feel like these episodes really stripped it a lot further. And not just Force Spirits but the meaning behind the cave, the idea of seeing the future, a lot of ideas are undermined by having their foundation come not from an ancient past but from a clumsy prequel-era explanation.

    These episodes also serve to distance Yoda from the rest of the Jedi, to the point where it almost feels like Filoni and pals are trying to justify why Lucas' prequel Jedi characters don't feel right instead of trying to blame the Jedi the way Lucas himself has.

    What did work was Yoda's more impish side coming through as he becomes more mystical, and even the music plays cues from the Original Trilogy to go with it. The council meditating for a day and putting great stock into Yoda also worked for me.

    What didn't work was the direct homage to Gollum that battled Yoda, and in fact all of the trials which were nonsense and seemed to lead nowhere. The Force masks which were poorly explained. Qui-Gon's spirit not being able to fully manifest itself yet with the ability to control quite a bit of the living world. The council meditating for a day and not finding anything was weird. Having R2-D2 along for the ride in the Yodamobile. Darth Bane being a pointless distraction, and in fact all of Moriband seemed to go nowhere.

    At the end of the day, this really didn't feel like a coda at all; it felt like what it was, trimmings, lost pieces that really didn't go anywhere. The ideas in these last three episodes felt like they had a kernel of an interesting idea but needed more time in the writers room to hone it into something better, smarter, and more efficient.

  • chrisdynamo39 Mar 26, 2014

    "These episodes were lonely and wasted precious time on concepts that evaporated into the ether while not feeling like they were leading anywhere."

    Perfect description for the whole of Season 6 really.

    There were a lot of pointless retreads this season, like the Mortis trilogy basically occuring again as you said, the cave bit etc.

    Why was it renamed Morriband? Seems incredibly pointless, like suddenly calling Dagobah 'Flagobah', I just kept thinking "why?"


    I also didn't like how dumb this arc made Yoda, in that he's supposed to be incredibly old and wise but he has no idea how to manifest himself after death, and needs to be told, needs to cheat basically, while Qui Gonn, someone less than 10% his age, managed it. Also Yoda heard Sideous' voice and saw the lower half of his face, and yet STILL didn't know who he was. That was laughable, after all, you're not going to forget your arch nemesis' facial features and you'd recognise such a distinctive, prominent chin on someone you see so often.

    This arc featured yet more of this 'they don't know what's going to happen... but WE do!!' It's not good writing contrary to what Filoni and his team might think. The point of this entire series was that we didn't know the fates of many characters, Ahsoka, the clones, Maul, Ventress, Cad Bane etc. that's where the interest lies. Not with Yoda almost finding out who the baddie was, but he doesn't and we know he doesn't anyway, so it's pointless. Overall I'd give this season slightly more than season 5, I'd give it a low 7/10, but honestly for the majority of it, I wasn't impressed while watching it, I was kinda barely interested.

  • JT_Kirk Mar 26, 2014

    Lucas liked the sound of "Moriband " better than "Korriban" and of course doesn't care about EU canon whatsoever. This is one of those things that could have been addressed a lot earlier if Lucas had taken more interest in the licensing end of things. It was a really odd choice that I assumed at the time had something to do with the word "moribund" and Lucas trying to be clever.

    Oh yeah, having Sidioius show himself so obviously really is just painful, and in his flash-forwards apparently the Force is very concerned about spoilers.

    Totally agree that we don't need this focus on what the audience already knows is coming, especially when there are lots of fresh threads to follow.

  • chrisdynamo39 Mar 27, 2014

    Yeah, I mean I get that there were probably already working on these episodes before the cancellation, but still, why would they waste more time on things we don't need to see? Season 5 wasted over half the season on Onderon, with the younglings, WAC and Gascon (sorry for the bad memories those names will bring!), there's no structure, no self restraint. Had Filoni had the sense to see that fans wanted to see Ahsoka, clones, Cad Bane, Ventress etc. and that they were arguably the best characters with the best episodes and storylines, this show could have had a spectacular S5 and 6, rather than both being only intermittently entertaining.

  • JT_Kirk Mar 27, 2014

    Indeed they were all in some level of progress before cancellation, some were actually meant for season 5 even. Season 5 did waste a lot of time, no doubt, yeah, I had forgotten about half that stuff. They said they produce extra content for each season (after season 1) in case they need to fill for something that isn't making its production on time. I don't mind them not doing only stuff that's fan service, there is some level of artistic freedom needed for a show, but they should consider the audience as well.

  • current Mar 25, 2014

    Have to agree/say that 1 and 4 are the best. One though felt like somebody up top loved the '4 eyed' repair droid from the drawn out previous search, rescue and come through droid arc that got way boring. And 4 did resemble an ad for a game (but then so did other ep's in part throughout) which got a bit tedious and made me keep my controller in the corner of my eye's field for comfort's sake! The fight scenes throughout have had many impressive and fun bits. And it's been surprisingly better than ever imagined to see how good/realistic the, somewhat, green version of Sonic The Hedgehog with a lightsaber can look.
    Overall it's a strange proposition this, as you expect that Yoda already had the ability through age, experience or just fact and, the floating versions of speaking French/Japanese/Asian mimes are taking the piss or acid at the viewers' expense. Also, some of the challenge bits are repetitive in how he must overcome his emotions wrapped up in pride, fear and hubris or, plain disbelief to proceed. Further, the idea that you could show the future and expect someone to remain rather impartial, not tell others what's to become and, moreover, let it come is a bit of a stretch. From a singular position, the question of who or what constitutes right and/or just weighs heavy here but is taken as a given.
    I liked the chance to get to see these with their catering for everything from post Olympics tobogganing blues to 'first-hand' revelations. Two and three do drain the enjoyment quite a bit and are strictly reserved for die hard Indy/chick flic fans and the Bernie Madoff's of the intergalactic worlds. The possible trouble, always faced by prequels, is that most if not all of their 'revelations' are known but in the main this 4 piece arc was good at presenting what was clearly known and inventive and satisfying with the few reveals it had to offer.

  • JT_Kirk Mar 25, 2014

    LA LA LA LA CAN'T HEAR YOU! I have not yet watched the last 3 episodes, but "The Lost One" isn't part of their story arc, I already watched it. From a canon perspective, it was an utter disaster, but it was an ok watch on its own. I'll be back tomorrow or Wednesday when I've watched those last 3.

    The post-ROTJ novels were so good when it was just Timothy Zahn and a few others (sorry Dark Horse, but Dark Empire is never going to be included in that list). Then there was this organized thing with the Vong and they had to make it so big that it became nonsense, then we just started seeing things spin out of control. To be fair though, The Force was such a beautiful idea and so eloquent and mystical in the Original Trilogy that it was hard for other authors to get a firm grasp on how to include such a massive thing with a light touch, even Lucas himself utterly failed there when he returned to make the Prequels.

  • noelrk Mar 25, 2014

    Yeah, the single-ness of "The Lost One" just had to chucked in here for review formatting purposes. I did like the fight scene, though.

  • JT_Kirk Mar 25, 2014

    Good fight scene, creative use of space, didn't drag out too long. There was other interesting stuff besides that, there was the crazy guy who I thought for sure was going to end up being Sifo-Dyas; and the drugged-out Pykes actually making a smart choice (and getting killed for it).

  • Nikell Mar 25, 2014

    The final season was quite average.. and now clone wars is gone.. RIP some of my favourites characters: Ventres, Maul, Mother Talzin and Binks (yes Jar Jar Binks! xD).

    I still can't believe that Anakin killed Gungi.. that lovely little wookie padwan.. he was adorable!... damn you Anakin.. -.-

    And finally... if an Ahsoka vs. Vader could really happen... yes.. i think we should move on right away into Rebels.

  • snakcz Mar 25, 2014

    getting so attached to the clones in the series only makes order 66 that much harder to watch.

  • nexpose Mar 25, 2014

    These last four were mind blowing awesome for me. These along with those others that had Obi Wan and Anakin at the planet where the Force was created or something with that father and children are some of my favorite Star Wars ever.

    I'm a tad surprised that the review from my reading goes from the good, indifferent and almost ho-hum. I definitely say incredible and the eps showed things I wanted to know. Overall the Clone Wars cartoon had more good to excellent eps. but there were some god awful eps for sure spread out in the six seasons.

    Now bring on Star Wars Rebels and hope there's more good than bad.

  • powermonkey01 Mar 25, 2014

    I agree, Yoda's arc was by far the best of season 6.

    Theres quite a bit of sadness in the last episodes as Yoda learns that despite all their efforts in the clone wars the outcome for the Jedi is basically sealed.