The Clone Wars: “A Distant Echo”

The Clone Wars is back! The show that was cancelled after 5 and a half seasons returns on Disney + to get the ending it deserved. I was a huge fan of the show, so safe to say I’m thrilled that we finally get to see these episodes.

After really enjoying writing my episode reviews for The Mandalorian and Resistance, I couldn’t wait to do the same again for this final season of The Clone Wars. The reviews will take on the same format: an overview of the plot (so be aware, there will be spoilers!), my review of the show, then a few “Moments in canon” – references that link to other media and the galaxy as a whole.

I have been looking forward to this show so much, so there was no way that I wasn’t going to watch this as soon as I could. Unfortunately, living in the UK, Disney+ is still not available here yet, so I’ve had to channel my inner Hondo Ohnaka to see this! Today, we’ll be looking at Episode 2: “A Distant Echo”

star wars the clone wars a distant echo hunter rex anakin crosshair wrecker

Plot Summary

At Fort Anaxes, Hunter, Rex and Anakin are waiting for permission to launch a mission to Skako Minor in search of Echo. Hunter mentions that the signal they found on their last mission could be a trap, but volunteers the Bad Batch regardless. Rex is eager to go, but Anakin has a task for him first, details of which he is careful to keep secret from Hunter. Rex keeps watch outside his barracks while Anakin goes in alone to contact Padmé. Anakin tells Padmé that he is worried that Rex is letting his personal feelings blind him on the mission, but Padmé convinces Anakin to trust Rex and be there for him, as Rex has many times for Anakin. While they are talking, Obi-Wan comes to the barracks looking for Anakin. Rex tries to stall him and hide what Anakin is doing but is far from convincing. Anakin comes out and begins to make his way with Rex to the Bad Batch, talking over Obi-Wan who is trying to tell him that the mission was not allowed. Eventually Obi-Wan gives in and tells Anakin that he hopes he told Padmé that Obi-Wan said “Hello”.

“What are you doing?”

“Going for a ride.”

Anakin, Rex and the Bad Batch make their way to Skako Minor in their ship, the Havoc Marauder. Almost as soon as they land, the ship is attacked by a Keeradak, which is being ridden by one of the native Poletecs. The group leave the ship to get rid of the new arrival, but another two Keeradaks attack, one grabbing Anakin – who drops his lightsaber – before the trio fly away. Crosshair manages to hit the Keeradak carrying Anakin with a grappling hook, which pulls Hunter along behind. He releases himself from the line just before the Keeradaks reach the Poletecan village, contacting the rest of the group and directing them to fly to his position.

Anakin is taken prisoner by the Poletecans, but is unable to negotiate with the Poletec chief due to a language barrier. Rex and the Bad Batch fight their way into the village, disarming but not hurting the Poletecs and forcing the chief to surrender. With Tech able to translate, Anakin and Rex explain that they are here to rescue a friend who has been taken by the Separatists. The chief agrees to provide scouts to Wat Tambor’s city, Purkoll.

Wat Tambor is contacted in his city by Admiral Trench, who warns him that a clone infiltration team has tracked the signal to Skako Minor so a Republic attack will be imminent. Tambor doubts that the Republic will attack due to the Techno Union’s supposed corporate neutrality, but agrees to be ready for attack in case.

“It was no algorithm. That was Echo’s voice, I know it.”

As the group near Purkoll, Tech loses the signal. Hunter once again states his theory that Echo is dead and this is a trap, while Rex gets into a fight with Crosshair and Wrecker after Crosshair says that he would have left Echo for dead as he is just another “reg”. Anakin sends the Bad Batch to scout ahead while he speaks to Rex alone. Anakin continues to support Rex, but makes sure that he is ready for the worst case scenario.

The Bad Batch get the signal back and trace it to a tower, at which Anakin and Rex catch up with them. The group make their way up the tower in a lift and take out any battle droids that get in the way, but then Tech loses the signal again. Tech creates a new theory that he can only trace the signal during data transmissions. The group splits to find the source of the signal, with Anakin and Crosshair going the opposite way to the rest. Tech soon gets the signal back and tracks it to a room just ahead. They find the door sealed and a hologram of Wat Tambor appears, saying that the algorithm predicted almost all of their movements. A large squad of battle droids appear to take out the group, but Anakin and Crosshair arrive, catching the droids out enough for the rest of the clones to enter the battle and take out all the droids. As more droids arrive, Anakin and the Bad Batch hold them off while Tech and Rex get through the door and go to investigate.

“Just sit tight, trooper. You’re going home.”

In the next room, they find a stasis chamber, which Tech opens to reveal Echo, who is drugged and hooked up to the computers. Rex pulls him out while Tech looks for a way to safely unplug him. Echo begins to come round and Rex comforts him, telling him that they will take him home.

Review

What an incredible episode! I get the feeling that I will be saying this after each episode, but watching this is making me so glad that the series returned, and the more I watch, the more I’m finding myself a little gutted that we are only getting these 3 arcs and not all of the other stories that were never completed.

“I’m leaving here with my friend.”

“Your friend is dead. His mind is ours.”

Once again, this episode showed the benefits of the improved animation. The weather and atmospheric effects looked incredible and even surfaces like the walls of the barracks were far more detailed than ever before. Having seen the unfinished story reels, Echo hanging from the stasis chamber always looked unnerving, but the quality of the animation made it look even more horrendous and made you realise just how badly he’d been treated.

The music was brilliant once again and I loved hearing “Across the Stars” or a very similar theme in the scenes of Anakin and Padmé, while I am really loving the Bad Batch theme that plays in most of their heroic moments. I’m also really appreciating the lack of music at times, as the first battle coming off the lift was without music and allowed you to focus on the blaster fire and shouting in what was meant to be a “stealth” operation.

“I hope you at least told Padmé I said “Hello”.”

I’m absolutely loving the characters. The Bad Batch are clearly antiheroes and not the kind of guys who you would want to hang around with in your unit, but they are elite fighters who you trust to get the hardest job done. I like how the comedy feels natural, with much of it coming from Wrecker or how other characters are dealing with him. I really enjoy the way that Rex is written in this episode and I like the way that conflict was brought between him and the Bad Batch. I also loved the way that this episode showed that both Rex and Obi-Wan know that there is something between Anakin and Padmé. In the scene of Rex trying to stall Obi-Wan, I can imagine that Obi-Wan is enjoying teasing Rex in the full knowledge of what is going on, while Rex is struggling to avoid betraying Anakin’s trust while also lying to a superior officer. It was also great to see Anakin for once having to trust Rex and go along with his ideas even if he wasn’t fully sure if it was the right move, which is the reverse of what we have seen throughout the previous series. The only thing I question here is how Anakin failed to notice Padmé’s pregnancy given that she was showing a slight bump and was constantly holding her belly, but that is one of the difficulties with including Padmé in the story this close to Revenge of the Sith.

“I think you’re letting your personal feelings get in the way because you left him for dead at the Citadel.”

“I had no choice! You hear me?”

“Oh no, I don’t blame you. I would’ve left him for dead too. Besides, he’s just another reg.”

I really like how the story plays out in this episode, and while there are some things that felt a bit odd (bringing in the Poletecs and the new model of battle droids) I am fairly certain that I remember there being more of a pay-off for this later in the arc, which I will not go into now for spoilers.

As I mentioned last week, I have seen this arc before in the unfinished story reels, but once again, changes have been made to the episode which are leaving this feeling very fresh and making me much more excited for these first few weeks than I thought I may feel. The scene with Padmé was a welcome introduction as I doubt we will be able to fit her into these last 3 arcs very much. There was previously a scene that showed the Havoc Marauder having a pin-up-style image of Padmé on the nose – similar to what we see on some LAATs throughout the series, and while I enjoyed this scene of the Bad Batch talking about her while Anakin quietly seethed and Rex tried to be diplomatic (hinting that he knew about the relationship), I think that the scenes with Padmé and Obi-Wan made up for this. I do find it a little strange that nobody seems to really be discussing the possibility that Echo has turned traitor, which was something brought up in the story reels but has instead been changed to the question of if he is really alive, however given this was originally just another arc and is now one of the arcs to close out the series, I appreciate the changes to make it a more personal story – which again also ties back to the pin-up scene.

“So much for stealth.”

Echo was always a character that I really liked and I always love clone-centric arcs that focus heavily on Rex, so I’m really looking forward to the rest of this arc.

A few final thoughts from the episode:

  • Despite appearing to be the biggest asshole of the squad, Crosshair remains my favourite of the Bad Batch due to his apparently unflappable personality and his incredible abilities with a rifle
  • Hearing Echo reliving the last moments from the Citadel as he began to come round were heartbreaking, as was Rex’s final line of “You’re going home.”
  • I loved the Poletec chief investigating Tech, trying to understand how he could speak their language. I can imagine a similar situation if an until-now tribe of people were found on Earth if the technology existed for such immediate translation

Moments in Canon

  • Padmé is pregnant
  • Anakin refers to Anaxes as part of the Outer Rim Sieges, which he was involved in until the capture of Chancellor Palpatine led to him being called back to Coruscant
  • Rex and Obi-Wan are both aware that there is something between Anakin and Padmé… Quite how much they know remains to be seen
  • The Techno Union supposedly has corporate neutrality… as do the Trade Federation and Banking Clan

star wars the clone wars a distant echo echo

What did you think of the episode?

Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you.

2 thoughts on “The Clone Wars: “A Distant Echo”

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