By George Bate
The third episode of season seven of The Clone Wars entitled “On the Wings of Keeradaks” has arrived and continues the story of Rex, Anakin and Clone Force 99 as they attempt to recover Echo and prevent his mind from being used by the Separatists to further their war efforts. The emotional crux of this four-episode arc, as shown in the unfinished versions several years ago, is the relationship between Rex and Echo. The best parts of this episode aren’t related to the action or more technical components of its creation, but, rather, the tragedy in seeing Echo’s transformation and the reemergence of his brotherly bond with Rex. However, these emotional beats are often sacrificed in favor of more gorgeous looking action. In particular, the role of Clone Force 99 seems to have been reduced greatly, with their character dynamics being utilized for humor, narrative progression, or action, as opposed to exploring more nuanced differences between them and the other clones. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially given the impressive visuals on display this season. But, for those who realize prioritize the interpersonal dynamics on display in The Clone Wars and aren’t that moved by the action set pieces, this episode may be a little lacking.
Speaking of the action, long-time Clone Wars and Rebels director Bosco Ng once again excels in this department. This is best exemplified in this episode in an Indiana Jones-esque sequence in which Anakin, Rex and Clone Force 99 are trapped in the middle of a massive bridge between two groups of droids on either end of the bridge moving in on them. Not only is this scene visually stunning, but the tension built up through dialogue, sound design and music help to make this scene truly memorable. The episode’s climatic battle further highlights the impressive action in this episode, with all of the characters demonstrating their unique, individual strengths on the battlefield.
Although it wasn’t explored too deeply in this episode, the reintroduction of Echo provided some great moments. In particular, Rex’s speech to the natives about what the Techno Union did to Echo encapsulates many of the horrors of war seen in this show, which, coupled with insights yielded from other episodes throughout the show, suggest that both sides are responsible for the severity and brutality of this war to some extent. The last moment of the episode is a great tease for the fourth and final episode of this arc, with audiences who have not seen the unfinished version left guessed as to what will happen next in regards to Echo. All in all, this was another good episode of The Clone Wars, despite a disproportionate emphasis on action as opposed to meaty character moments as the previous two episodes of this season has given us. Check back next for our review of the final episode of The Bad Batch arc!
Images courtesy of Lucasfilm, Disney, and Disney Plus