Despite some extraordinarily clunky and tedious dialogue, Friday's new Clone Wars was great to watch. Directors Saul Ruiz and Bosco Ng created a series of suspenseful running and gunning sequences that captured a distinctly Star Wars spirit.
Now locked in a cell by the Pike crime syndicate, Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein), Rafa (Elizabeth Rodriguez), and Trace (Brigitte Kali Canales) fall to talking about the Jedi. The intriguing resentment the two Martez sisters harbour for the Jedi is deflated by a backstory involving the death of their mother due to some collatoral damage caused by Barriss Offee, a Jedi revealed to be a criminal at the end of season five. Rafa conveys this with spectacular awkwardness:
"I'll never forget her. She was beautiful. Dark robes contrasting against her light green skin. Penetrating eyes." Sounds like Rafa might be working on a Harlequin romance novel about the experience. The script might have been better off just having Rafa say, "The Jedi said her name was Barriss Offee."
In addition to bad dialogue, it makes the grievance the Martez sisters have with the Jedi not genuinely be about the Jedi as an institution but about one bad apple, kind of a disappointing simplification of the issue.
Even so, I continue to love Rafa. Her character animation and the voice acting from Rodriguez are a cut above average for Clone Wars. Once the girls escape from their cell, the episode thankfully becomes light on dialogue and heavy on narrow escapes as Ahsoka has to rely on her Force powers more and more and has increasing trouble concealing them. I love the moment at the end where the Martez sisters think she's fallen down a pit, not seeing that she in fact jumped over them. "I'm more athletic than I look," she explains lamely. That's one line that did get a laugh out of me.
I also like that the show isn't shying away from torture sequences. Hopefully this departure from the preschool skewing of Rebels and Resistance isn't just a remnant of the George Lucas era and will be a part of Star Wars media going forward.
Clone Wars is available on Disney+.