By Josh Reilly B.
The adventures of Ahsoka and the Martez sisters continued in the sixth episode of The Clone Wars’ final season entitled “Deal No Deal.” In this installment, Ahsoka accompanies Trace and Rafa Martez on a questionable mission to run spice from Kessel to the Pyke Syndicate, which, inevitably, does not go as planned.
Right off the bat, this episode is a significant improvement over “Gone with a Trace.” While that episode served to supply the viewer with important contextual information about the Martez sisters and the state of Ahsoka following her attrition from the Jedi Order, it was fairly lightweight, simple, and seemingly inconsequential to the broader narrative of the show. “Deal No Deal,” conversely, is more story focused, leaning into the adventure-of-the-week style The Clone Wars has used so effectively throughout its run. Now that the necessary introductions are over with from the previous episode, this episode spends more substantial time on delivering an entertaining, tense Star Wars story, while providing some great character moments and dynamics that are a hallmark of The Clone Wars overall.
One of these particularly notable character moments was Anakin sensing Ahsoka’s presence on the Silver Angel and, subsequently, letting the ship through on Coruscant. This scene was obviously reminiscent of Darth Vader’s Force connection to Luke as he neared Endor in Return of the Jedi. It’s also reminiscent of Leia and Luke’s Force connections in The Empire Strikes Back and The Last Jedi, sensing one another from afar. Ahsoka and Anakin sensing one another in this episode really evoked these classic Star Wars moments, while subtly offering some insight into Anakin’s mentality toward Ahsoka during this time in that he let her go without penalty. The bond between Anakin and Ahsoka is one of the strongest in Star Wars and has developed well beyond the quirky back-and-forth between the two in the 2008 film, and this moment shows how well that relationship has developed over time. This is a truly unique master and apprentice bond as Ahsoka’s arguably justifiable departure from the Jedi Order irreversibly changed their relationship in a way we haven’t seen with other duos like Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan or Luke and Yoda. Let’s hope that this season of The Clone Wars offers more opportunities for Anakin and Ahsoka to interact, as the trailers for the season have hinted.
Ahsoka’s interactions with other characters were another highlight of the episode, in particular Rafa Martez. Throughout the episode, Ahsoka and Rafa were arguing over everything, with Rafa questioning Ahsoka’s background and involvement with her sister, while Ahsoka questioned Rafa’s plan and willingness to involve her sister in such a dangerous scheme. However, Ahsoka and Rafa were more aligned than anyone in certain matters, especially when critiquing Trace’s decision to dump the spice they were carrying. It’s interesting to see two characters who argue with one another so frequently, but, fundamentally, share the same opinions and worldviews on many things. This dynamic was engaging throughout the episode and a definite improvement over Rafa’s character from the previous episode.
Shifting more to the crux of the narrative, the core mission (or scheme) was definitely the highlight of the episode. For starters, to see Ahsoka, this young woman whose entire worldview is based around her upbringing as a Jedi, to not only split from the Order that raised her, but to move spice for a crime syndicate is a really interesting plot point. Ahsoka is still trying to find her way in the galaxy, independent of the Jedi, and for now that involves helping out her friend Trace no matter what. The mission itself was very entertaining, with the characters journeying to Kessel. The pathway to the planet looked just like it did in Solo: A Star Wars Story and it was fun to see the wealthier, more organized side of Kessel that was hinted at in Star Wars Rebels and not seen in Solo. Eventually, the characters made their way to the spice mines that were more reminiscent of the facility seen in Solo. Seeing events during The Clone Wars take place on Kessel was a real strength of the episode and further cements how the level of connectivity between different eras and characters in Star Wars is a highlight of the saga overall. The narrative of the episode culminated in another great moment, with Ahsoka using a Jedi mind trick to trick the Pykes into letting them go, but that obviously didn’t pan out as expected. And, subsequently, the episode’s cliffhanger set the stage brilliantly for the next episode.
“Deal No Deal” was a marked improvement over the previous episode, which helped establish new characters and plot points that were more substantially explored in this week’s installment of the show. Diving into a more grounded narrative helped this episode’s pacing tremendously, while offering great character moments, humor, and easter eggs throughout. There are two more episodes left to go in this arc and, while it would be nice to see more diverse, intense stories covered in this final season of the show, it’s still entertaining and insightful to see more of Ahsoka’s journey before the Siege of Mandalore arc. Once again, perhaps this arc is an episode too long, but we’ll suspend judgment on that for the time being until the next two episodes air. All in all, “Deal No Deal” is definitely worth a watch and sets the stage nicely for Ahsoka’s journey throughout the rest of The Clone Wars.
Images courtesy of Lucasfilm, Disney+, and Starwars.com