Star Wars: The Clone Wars series finale review: Helmets

Photo: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Episode 711 “Shattered” - Image Courtesy Disney+
Photo: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Episode 711 “Shattered” - Image Courtesy Disney+ /

The final episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars forces Rex and Ahsoka to fight for their lives and face their now uncertain futures.

Star Wars fans have spent weeks speculating how The Clone Wars might end — and much longer than that wondering how the end of this show might bridge the gap between this era of Star Wars and the next.

It’s been about 30 minutes since I finished “Victory and Death,” not only the final episode in the long-awaited Siege of Mandalore arc but the final episode of this entire 12-year journey. Putting my thoughts into words won’t come easily, but here we go.

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It’s Rex and Ahsoka against an entire ship full of clones. Maul is there too, but he’s kind of just doing his own thing, disabling (uh, destroying) hyperdrives and stealing shuttles.

With the entire ship about to crash-land on an unknown planet and dozens of clones standing in their way of escape, Rex and Ahsoka have no choice but to fight their way to freedom. But before that happens, she gently removes his helmet, looks into his face, and tells him she isn’t going to kill his brothers.

They all die anyway. Not at her hands. But when the ship does crash, she and Rex are the only survivors. They save each other, only to land and realize in doing so, they couldn’t save anyone else.

There’s a moment when Ahsoka finally makes it safely into Rex’s Y-wing. She sits down, and you have no choice but to watch the reality of everything that’s happened truly hit her for the first time.

And so it hits you, too. I don’t know where you started crying watching all this, but that was the moment that started to break me. It wasn’t even the end of it.

Seeing Ahsoka standing there in front of an entire graveyard of men she refused to kill, staring into dozens of empty helmets, strikes a part of your soul you didn’t know could shatter. In that moment, she knew she’d had no choice to fight for survival. But it cost the lives of so many she could have saved.

When she leaves her lightsaber there, she doesn’t just leave those helmets behind. She leaves her final connection to Anakin. She leaves her past life. But she will never leave behind her pain.

You’ll never look at this trailer the same way again. You’re welcome.

Of course, we can’t ignore the epilogue — at the very least, the shot of Vader walking away from that lone helmet on the ground. He, too, will always struggle with his past, no matter how hard he will try to forget it.

He will always remember Ahsoka.

It’s pretty safe to say the last five minutes of this episode alone are some of the best moments of Star Wars media we’ve ever seen. When you watch that scene, you’re not just feeling the weight of Ahsoka’s grief. You’re experiencing all the heartbreak connected to Anakin’s fall, everything that led to it, and everything you know will happen later as a direct result of it.

There are a lot of things in the expanded universe large parts of the fandom will call “unnecessary.” But this is not one of those things.

You’ll never be able to watch Revenge of the Sith the same way again.

Rebels, at least parts of it, will always hit differently now.

Order 66 didn’t just destroy the Jedi. It destroyed an entire galaxy full of people who did nothing to deserve their pain.

Maul will forever be haunted by the knowledge that his power couldn’t stop Sidious. Rex will never get over knowing his brothers could have ended his life. And Ahsoka, who has quite literally become a symbol of light, will always remember the darkness she just barely walked away from.

It’s unclear, at the time of writing this, whether we’ll ever experience another Star Wars series quite like this. And we were lucky to get as much as we did. The uncharted span of time between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith has always made some points of these films suffer slightly story-wise. But now, after all this time, it’s all finally come together.

The Galactic Republic has fallen.

The Empire reigns supreme. For now.

Thank you, Dave Filoni. For everything.

May the Force be with you.

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