There was certainly tragedy afoot in last night's new Clone Wars. I wish I could say it was all in the story but, sadly, it was primarily in the writing. Deliberately adopting a slow and grand pace and tone, it may at least be a fitting part 1 of a story to cap the series as a whole but for those looking for a satisfying episode for Ahsoka Tano it was more than disappointing.
I don't believe men can't write women. I don't believe people shouldn't try to write characters who come from different backgrounds and experiences. But Dave Filoni sure can't write women. "Old Friends Not Forgotten", despite featuring Ahsoka at the centre, is all about how the men react to her. First Anakin being adorably flustered at seeing her again then the clones lining up to salute her.
Ahsoka's role in the episode is to graciously acknowledge and observe everything, to gently remind Anakin that there's no time to catch up. The one time she expresses an individual opinion it makes no sense, as though Filoni felt sure there needed to be some kind of conflict but had no idea how to do it. When Anakin and Obi-Wan learn General Grievous has captured Chancellor Palpatine and is attacking Coruscant, leading up to the opening moments of Revenge of the Sith, Ahsoka accuses her comrades of "playing politics" by going off to Coruscant instead of going with her to join Mandalore's resistance against Maul.
This is after she's just indirectly referenced the Martez sisters when talking about how she's learned what the Jedi were meant to be for people. The Martez sisters are on Coruscant, the place being attacked by General Grievous. Her argument doesn't begin to make sense. When Obi-Wan seems surprised at her reaction, it's easy to see why. The room is filled with reasonable, charming men and a beautiful woman whose motives are idiotic or unknowable. Thanks, Filoni.
The tragedy is that Disney has bought the line that Filoni is the one who made Clone Wars great. This is despite the fact that Filoni directed the original Clone Wars movie, the one everyone says sucks but you just need to get past it to get to the good episodes. With Rebels and Resistance he's demonstrated again and again he wasn't the real talent on Clone Wars. I only hope Disney realises this before the live action Ahsoka series goes into production, assuming they've also learned that The Mandalorian needed to be less of a toddler show. It's a good sign Henry Gilroy is at least working on the Cassian Andor series. The Ahsoka series needs to be in the hands of Gilroy or Drew Z. Greenberg or Katie Lucas.
But last night's Clone Wars certainly had its good points. The opening scene with Anakin faking out the droids was funny and the action sequences were good, courtesy of director Saul Ruiz.
Clone Wars is available on Disney+. And for gods' sakes, get a subscription before Disney goes under.