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Star Wars: The Clone Wars 7.2 Review – ‘A Distant Echo’

February 28, 2020 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
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Star Wars: The Clone Wars 7.2 Review – ‘A Distant Echo’  

Author’s Note: This will be a full in-depth look at episode 7.2 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Please read at your own risk.

Episode 702 – “A Distant Echo”

Star Wars The Clone Wars - The Bad Batch

In the Season 7 premiere of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Captain Rex (Dee Bradley Baker voicing all the clone troopers) and Commander Cody teamed up with the Bad Batch to go behind enemy lines and infiltrated the cyber center for Admiral Tench on planet Anaxes. Rex’s instincts proved correct. What the troopers thought was an algorithm was in fact a “live signal” originating from Skako Minor. Rex believes it’s the voice of his comrade and clone brother, Echo, who was long believed to have been dead.

The aptly titled episode, “A Distant Echo,” starts shortly after the end of the season premiere. Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter), Captain Rex, and the Bad Batch are awaiting approval for their mission to investigate the live signal found by the ARC troopers on Skako Minor.

In a telling, interesting scene, Anakin heads to the barracks for a romantic holocomm chat with his secret wife, Padme (Catherine Taber). Basically, it’s the Star Wars equivalent of a soldier having a romantic rendezvous, while Rex is playing his lookout. And from the way the scene plays out, it’s clear that Rex knows exactly what’s going on between Anakin and Padme, and they are involved in a way they shouldn’t be. When Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) does show up, Rex tries to clearly play dumb while Anakin is having his romantic chat with his girlfriend. Before Kenobi can wander in, Anakin trots out with Rex’s helmet to maintain the ruse. And then Kenobi just casually drops to Anakin that he knows he was talking to Padme in secret.

Herein lies the problem with this scene. It symbolizes how The Clone Wars basically goes “off-book” and starts contradicting the movies even further. It means that Anakin was trusting and confiding in Rex about his taboo relationship with Padme. Rex is given the burden of this secret and has to hide it. Padme and Anakin spend a significant chunk of their time talking about his relationship with Rex and how they rely on one another. Anakin, yes Anakin, is worried that Rex is being driven too far by his personal feelings after learning about Echo’s signal. Anakin in this show acts with a level of logic, insight and rationality he never showed in the prequels.

The very act of Anakin confiding in Rex about his relationship with Padme is gigantic. And yet the animated series is the only time there’s ever been any semblance of this relationship. For Anakin to confide in Rex this way, and to trust in Rex to keep his secret one would think they are quite close, almost as close as brothers. Then, Kenobi makes it fairly obvious he knows about Anakin and Padme. OK, maybe Kenobi doesn’t know the exact nature of Anakin and Padme’s relationship, but he’d have to be dumber than a post not to be able to figure it out with all his great Jedi wisdom. I recall there was a scene in the script for Revenge of the Script where Kenobi basically tells Padme he knows about her and Anakin. I don’t know if it was ever filmed, but Kenobi figuring out their relationship is not surprising.

However, what is surprising is that Kenobi would basically whip out a giant Looney Tunes sign and show it to Anakin that says, “Padme + Anakin! K-I-S-S-I-N-G!” That moment right there represents Kenobi telling Anakin, “Yeah, I know what you’re doing in there kid. You’re not fooling me.” In short, Padme and Anakin’s relationship appears to be the worst kept secret in the galaxy.

Secondly, the Padme and Anakin chat has Padme sort of looking closer to her design in Revenge of the Sith and like she’s already pregnant with the twins here. The scene ever shows her placing her hand over her abdomen right in front of Anakin. Now, I could be wrong in how I’m interpreting this scene, but it definitely looks like it’s showing that Padme could already be visibly pregnant…and Anakin’s not aware of it at this point? Or he might be already? As I said, the inclusion of this scene is problematic if we are supposed to believe this show works in conjunction with the prequel films, which at this point, it really doesn’t.

And it’s because of this, I can’t really view Star Wars: The Clone Wars as “canon” to the movies anymore. The characters do not act like they did in the movies. It’s taking them in a direction that doesn’t gel with what’s been established before.

Moving on from that tangent, Anakin joins Rex and the Bad Batch for the Skako Minor mission. In a curious exchange, Rex asks Sgt. Hunter who he reports to. Hunter replies, “Hm. Good question. Can’t say I’ve got an answer.” Alright then. After landing on Skako Minor, the group has an encounter with the planet’s native sentient species, the Poletecan. They remind me a lot of the Na’vi from Avatar. Anakin is kidnapped by a Poletecan, and their tribespeople have tamed giant, flying reptiles. The fearless Hunter manages to hitch a ride on the beast thanks to help from Crosshair and tracks it and Anakin back to the Poletecans’ village. With help from Tech’s interpretation tech, they’re able to reason with the local Poletecans, who are fearful of the soldiers bringing war to their planet. After they promise to leave Skako Minor after finding their lost friend, the Poletecan chief agrees to lead them to city under the control of Separatist leader, Minister Wat Tambor (Matthew Wood).

Before Anakin’s group can infiltrate the city, the Techno Union’s Wat Tambor is informed by Admiral Trench (Baker) that the Republic troopers traced the Anaxes signal to Skako Minor, and they don’t care about the Techno Union’s corporate neutrality. Before they enter the city, Tech loses track of Echo’s signal. Hunter suggests that the Separatists are leading them all into a “trap.” Rex then gruffly replies with the line of the episode, “Look, every mission could be a trap! This one is no different!” Rex has a point. Anakin of all people then breaks up a fight between Rex and the Bad Batch before it gets worse. Yes, Anakin acts as the voice of reason. This certainly isn’t the Anakin of the movies.

Rex has a heart-to-heart with Anakin. Anakin wants Rex to face the truth that it might very well be a trick, but Rex knows in his heart the signal was Echo’s. They are eventually able to find the tower where the signal came from, and their act of stealth is soon broken by the appearance of some battle droids.

After a while, Wat Tambor appears on a communications screen, and it definitely appears that this is indeed a trap. Luckily, Tambor’s battle droids even less competent than the regular issue battle droids and are about as strong as tissue paper. Anakin, Rex and the Bad Batch easily fight them off in a cool action scene with a really long take. Eventually, Tech gets Rex into the Techno Union’s lab and find that there is a life form in some type of stasis chamber, and it is indeed Rex. It appears that Separatists and Techno Union experimented on him and added cybernetic implants and used them to steal his Republic intel against his will. Rex appears delirious and out of sorts, but he’s alive. We end on the moment of Rex finally being reunited with his long lost brother and comrade.

My issues with the disconnect between the show and films aside, it was a good episode. We get more of the Bad Batch. I’m not sure if Hunter not being aware of his commanding officer is meant to be a throwaway gag or some intriguing foreshadowing for later, but I hope it’s the latter. It’s odd seeing Anakin act so calm, rational and level-headed. The differences between Anakin in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the prequels is night and day, and it’s undeniable.

Now, is Anakin a better, more well-rounded and believable character here? Yes, he is. So, it’s more to the show’s benefit. The prequels being what they are, there was no way Anakin could be portrayed that way for an ongoing series with the Jedi and clone troopers in an prolonged war. But in episodes like this, it definitely feels like the show is more of an AU series inspired by the movies rather than something that’s a continuation or in direct canon.

This episode most felt like a good progression from the season premiere’s story. Echo has been located, and he was alive. It was nice to see Rex proven right. His sobering attitude about the war was also fascinating, but the clones never had or demonstrated these qualities in the films.

Also, a shoutout to Kevin Kiner who delivered some great music in this episode. He definitely takes cues from John Williams’ original score, but he also puts his own spin on it. The music was definitely topnotch in this episode.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7 is streaming now on Disney+. New episodes will be released weekly on Friday.

The final score: review Good
The 411
Episode 7.2 was a solid progression from the season premiere as Rex and his lost comrade, Echo, are reunited. There appears to be some interesting foreshadowing with the Bad Batch. The main issue is that the earlier scenes just seem to further push the show away from anything that was established in the films. It's strange seeing Anakin act so calmly and rationally, qualities I recall him never demonstrating in the prequels, where he was often arrogant, impulsive, and quick to anger, even in Revenge of the Sith. There seems like there could be a mystery regarding who commands the Bad Batch, but we'll see if that eventually pays off. The action and music this week were all very good.