Star Wars: The Clone Wars returns with episode 2 “A Distant Echo.” In the prior episode, Rex and his clone troop were being outmaneuvered and bested on the field of battle by their droid counterparts. Every tactic they utilized was instantly countered, as if the Separatists new what the Republic army was going to do before they did.
This called for an unconventional response, and thus the “Bad Batch” was called upon. Described as a squadron of clones with desirable mutations, they are a roughneck group that gets things done when all hope seems lost. With the added numbers, a small contingent of clones battered their way through to the control tower and disrupted the communications being distributed out to the droid army. Rex, who’s going off of a hunch, works with Tech of the Bad Batch to trace the signal back to its origin point. To their horror, numbers are reported back to them, the numbers of presumed dead clone trooper, Echo.
Now, in episode 2 ’A Distant Echo,’ the joint squadrons are requesting to invade the installation to permanently remove the military program to turn the tide of the war. While they wait for approval from the Jedi council, Anakin convenes with Padmé in secret. Obi-Wan notices the secret communication and snidely mentions for Anakin to let Padmé know he said a hello next time. There’s a glance backward, and with the subtle score playing, you can start to feel a tangible tension growing between the two Jedi.
This is one of the first times during The Clone Wars that we’ve seen this tension. Obi-Wan has clearly grown aware of the situation, at least enough to call it out in a disapproving sense. I’m glad this was addressed. While brief, it adds depth to the character divisions we will then see during Revenge of the Sith. Alternatively, you can see how Anakin’s focus is shifting to almost be consumed by Padmé. He uses Rex to cover for him instead of attending to the mission and he shares intel with Padmé over taking his concerns to his Master, Obi-Wan. I believe we’re witnessing more of a downward spiral that will culminate in the events of Revenge of the Sith.
Meanwhile, the council approves the mission, and the team moves in. After being set upon by the local population, the clones strike a deal to have a guide lead them to the relay tower, but getting in isn’t the hard part, it’s the staying alive on you’re in part.
This episode was fun in some parts, but overall, it’s such a quick burn that as you’re getting into the meat of the story, the show is over. Now, I have no overall issues with the content because it’s a great story. It’s more the pace. There is a large amount of time spent in the local village. From the time the squad lands and they debrief the rest of the team on the local inhabitants, to the kidnapping of Anakin, to the communication and translation with these inhabitants. I understand the need for an obstacle to freshen things up before the clones get to the big anticipated fight scene, but this whole sequence eats up around half of the runtime.
Outside of that, it was great to see the returns of Obi-Wan and Padmé, even if only for a brief period of time. There’s definitely an attempt to highlight the deepening of the connection between Anakin and Padmé as they communicate in secret and he relies on her council in difficult situations, all while pulling away from others. It’s also worth noting the placement of Padmés hands during this conversation. There is a lot of heavy implication for things to come.
The final battle this episode is fantastically edited and sequenced, just as it was in the prior episode. It’s here where I wish we could have focused more. There was a setup for the tower to be one giant trap and it could have extended out to play like a house of horrors with multiple levels of obstacles. The facility’s detail is really quite creepy and I enjoyed that aesthetic. Some of the rooms had a raw electric charge exploding from the ceiling down to the ground. I was reminded of a tower where Frankenstein’s monster could have been created, or of Rapture from Bioshock, and it made me want more of it.
The climactic fight scene has a very smooth visual appeal about it. Rather than it being a mish-mash of cut scenes, the camera pans along with each character as they navigate obstacles while taking out droids. I noticed this same filming sequence in the prior episode too. Just as the tension builds and the action intensifies, the show reaches its end. However, it’s at a point where it gets good enough that you want it to continue.
Creatively, there were a number of misses in this episode, with some parts dragging on too long and others not being drawn out enough. I’m curious to see how this mini-arc moved the overall plot for season 7, but on this episode alone, it feels like the creative team is still shaking off the animated rust.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars “A Distant Echo” is exclusively on Disney+ now.
‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars,’ Season 7, Episode 2 – “A Distant Echo”
Creatively, there were a number of misses in this episode with some parts dragging on too long and others not being drawn out enough. I’m curious to see how this mini arc moved the overall plot for season 7, but on this episode alone, it feels like the creative team is still shaking off the animated rust.