'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' Breakdown: The Details And History That Enrich "Old Friends Not Forgotten"

This is it. The Siege of Mandalore. The thing we've all been waiting for as the seventh season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars draws to a close. At the end of the last episode, we watched as Ahsoka Tano left with the Mandalorian Bo Katan in order to work out a plan to capture or kill the renegade former Sith lord Maul once and for all. In this episode, she might get her chance. But she needs the help of her old master, Anakin Skywalker, and the rest of the Republic. Let's dive deeper into the latest episode, "Old Friends, Not Forgotten."

The Opening

This episode of The Clone Wars is unique in that it starts with an original Lucasfilm logo played over moments of Ahsoka's theme before spiking to the main Star Wars fanfare as a blood red logo disappears into space. The narrator explains that the war is going poorly for the Republic and we spot a lot of Easter eggs during his recap. The first is Master Depa Bilaba and her padawan Caleb Dume on Kaller. Dume would go on to become Kanan Jarrus on Star Wars Rebels. Then, we're treated to a montage of Jedi getting into their final positions for Revenge of the Sith: Plo Koon on Cato Neimoidia and Aayla Secura on Felucia. It's a fascinating tie that brings these episodes closer to Revenge of the Sith than perhaps we would have otherwise guessed.

The First Battle

The opening battle of The Siege of Mandalore episodes sees Obi-Wan Kenobi and Cody, the clone who will eventually betray him on Utapau, pinned on a bridge on the planet Yobana. (At least that's how I think it's spelled, which might make it a joke. In the Legends canon, yobana was the Twi'lek word for masseuse.) The bridge they fight on looks an awful lot like the Golden Gate bridge, which rests just outside of the Lucasfilm headquarters. The conflict on the long strip of road is reminiscent of one of the key conflicts at the Battle of Christophsis, which was documented in the theatrical premiere of The Clone Wars.The similarities don't end there. In this episode, Anakin pulls the same maneuver Obi-Wan did in that film, but much, much more violently. At the Battle of Christophsis, Obi-Wan Kenobi feigns a surrender to the Separatists in order to buy time for a decisive win. In this episode, Anakin does the same thing, but with the aim of drawing out the tactical droid in charge of the battle. Instead of having tea with him, as Obi-Wan did with the enemy commander he surrendered to, Anakin draws the droid a hundred yards across the bridge before decapitating it.In both cases, Ahsoka arrives to talk to Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin. In the film, it's for Ahsoka to announce that she's Anakin's padawan. Here, it's for her to ask them for help in capturing Maul.Bringing in this symmetry is a trick Dave Filoni no doubt learned from George Lucas, as that's how the classic six films of the Star Wars saga are structured. It's fascinating to see those parallels here at the beginning and the end of The Clone Wars. It carries forward through the episode as well, Ahsoka's siege of the Mandalorian capital with Captain Rex is reminiscent of her invasion of the temple on Teth in The Clone Wars film. Rex even mentions it, telling her, "Some things never change..."

The Last Goodbye

There are other mirrors in this episode as well, but some of them look forward. As Anakin and Ahsoka say goodbye, it creates a similar symmetry with the moment in Revenge of the Sith where Obi-Wan and Anakin have their final goodbye on Coruscant as Obi-Wan is heading off to Utapau. In each situation, Anakin is being split off from his most important allies, priming him for the manipulations of Chancellor Palpatine. The moment where Anakin hands Ahsoka her lightsabers is echoed in E.K. Johnston's excellent Ahsoka novel, so we've read hints and pieces of what's coming before, but to see it on screen is tremendously satisfying. These scenes also highlight the differences between Anakin and Obi-Wan. When the spectre of his lost love is thrown in his face, Obi-Wan hews to his duty as a Jedi. When Anakin walks into that situation in Revenge of the Sith, he pretty easily turns to the dark side.

The Original Clone Wars

It was the hope of many fans that more of the events from Genndy Tartakosky's Clone Wars would be referenced or brought into canon as this new show was being developed. Although we don't see (at least in this episode) any of that directly, but Obi-Wan does reference it specifically when he comes in to alert Anakin that they will be leaving immediately. "What about the Chancellor?" Anakin asks."Shaak Ti has been sent to protect him, but Master Windu has lost contact with her."Watch what they're referencing here:

Gar Saxon

One of the key enforcers on Mandalore is Gar Saxon, a lackey of Maul's. You can tell that by the Dathomiri horns on his Mandalorian bucket. This character was first introduced in the comic book series Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir, a four-issue mini that told a key tale of The Clone Wars based on never-produced episodes. He's the one who helped rescue Maul from the clutches of Darth Sidious. If you remember, Sidious captured him in season five. Saxon returned for the first time in animation in Star Wars Rebels, bedeviling the days of Sabine Wren and her family until he meets his end. During the dark times, he became an Imperial Viceroy to Mandalore and eventually the Governor of the planet.

Old Friends, Not Forgotten

This episode beautifully sets the stage for what might prove to be one of the most emotional stories the team working on The Clone Wars has ever been allowed to tell. Everything in this episode is turned up to eleven, truly the best work this team has ever done. There are only three episodes left and the last one is coming even sooner than we expected.It was announced this week that the finale of the show would air on Monday, May 4th, the unofficial (but slowly becoming official) Star Wars holiday.