“The Siege of Mandalore Arc” is possibly the greatest story in “The Clone Wars.” This a story with consequences, nuance, depth and the best music and action in the series as a whole. What a way to end this season. This story has events that will stay with you and I hope we can get more stories like this from “Star Wars” in the future. This is easily one of the best “Star Wars” stories to be created and is Dave Filoni’s best work.
The story begins with Ahsoka Tano seeking help from the Republic to help Bo-Katan take back Mandalore from Maul.
The Action – The action in this arc is epic. This is largely due to the actions having consequences, Maul’s Shadow Collective is a worthy threat and when Order 66 roles around…well you don’t mess with the 501st.
The Music – The music isn’t as operatic in the prior arcs as it is here. Here it is on par with the “Star Wars” films at their best. The action is elevated and the music gives you glimpses into the characters thoughts. It is so rich and I plan to go back to listen to it again when I write fiction of my own.
The Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka Reunion – This arc starts out strong with a tense but wonderful reunion between Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka. In it Anakin is advocating for taking down Maul and in the end gives her half of the 501st (After Obi-Wan allows it) and gives her two new lightsabers. This whole reunion there is much to say but urgency keeps it from happening between our heroes and their missions. Some members who join Ashoska from the 501st also have their helmets painted orange to honor her. This plays into the tragedy later.
Bo-Katan – Bo-Katan is driven and Katee Sackhoff does such a good job as this war weary warrior. She is victorious over Maul in the end but she loses so much and has a populace that isn’t her biggest fan. This provides a fascinating end to her story here as she admits she doesn’t do politics and is only good at fighting, leaving how she’ll be as a leader up in the air. It is powerful seeing her admit that to Ahsoka though and we see fully how much Mandalore has suffered from the war.
The Siege of Mandalore – The Siege of Mandalore is amazing action. In this you see the air assault where a lot of Clone Troopers are taken down but how they quickly take out Maul’s troops once landed and at that point Maul is on the run except for a final standoff that he uses to make an attempted escape. Through it all you see both his and the Republic and Bo-Katan’s power and that Maul could have held on here longer if not for the Alliance.
Ahsoka and Maul’s Duel – Ahsoka and Maul’s duel is a duel with layers and subtext. Maul wants Ahsoka as an apprentice so is holding back as he knows the Republic and Jedi are about to fall and knows with help he might be able to take out Sidious. It is well done and he and Ahsoka are pretty evenly matched and in both cases held back by their mercy and big picture outlook.
Order 66 – The Republic victory is hollow because Maul was right. Order 66 happens and the Clone Troopers turn on Ahsoka. It is only through 3 droids who help, releasing Maul and freeing Rex of his mind control chip that she even barely manages to escape. You feel the weight of this order and Maul and Ahsoka sensing Anakin’s turn before it happens is powerful.
Maul – Maul is such a complex anti-villain. He isn’t a hero but he is right about Sidious and the Republic. It is for this reason that I think Ahsoka frees him during Order 66 because she knows that if she wants to save the lives of the Clones than Maul is the last person you want to free. Maul is racked with sadness and desperation through the arc but he never stops being a threat or fascinating. This truly was a great ending for him and I hope the comic book of how he escaped is eventually adapted into a mini-series or future arc.
Ahsoka Tano – Ahsoka isn’t a Jedi and she tells the Council as much, but she is very much still guided by their ideals. Everything she does is to save lives until she has no other choice but to survive and in doing releases Maul. At one point she even is open to allying with Maul until he realizes that he wants to kill Anakin. Her loyalty to her friends is the one big separation from Maul as both are guided by a bigger picture. It is her friendship with Rex that leads her to risk all to save him and it is her desire to save Anakin and Obi-Wan that would have lead to an Alliance with Maul, a fact Maul misses. This all leads to her exile at the end the arc as she knows there is no place for her, which in turn leads to her story in “Rebels.”
Rex – Rex’s story is so powerful and sad. He is the one who learned about Fives and we see how the Senate and Jedi viewed him as nothing more than a cog and that Fives’s death to reveal the mind control chip meant nothing. We see his tears as he talks about having to kill the Clones for them to escape and how he would have too if Ahsoka had not freed him from the chip. I felt so much for Rex. He had no good choices this arc.
The Ending – The ending is powerful as Rex is the only Clone to survive and her and Ahsoka leave as we flash forward and see Darth Vader find the crashed ship and the lightsabers he gave Ahsoka. It is here mourns what was as a Clone Wars helmet looks on as he returns to serve the Empire.
“The Siege of Mandalore Arc” truly demonstrates the best of what “Star Wars” can be. You can have complex and layered political thrillers full of action and drama that can speak to deeper ideas. This arc demonstrated all of that and gave us a truly amazing end to so many of the characters. If they brought back more stories from this show as mini-series and one-shots I would check them out. This is the power of what these stories can bring.
Final Score: 10 / 10