The final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars wraps its first story arc with “Unfinished Business”. The fourth episode serves as a wave goodbye to the Bad Batch- the clone squad that has taken the Star Wars fandom by storm. This in itself is not a spoiler, the season only has 8 episodes left. The team could possibly reappear, but the spotlight would not be focusing on them. These first four episodes operate as a love letter to not only the Bad Batch themselves, who were in “canon limbo” for years, but also to the central theme of revival. Quite fitting for this show given its history.
“Unfinished Business” follows newly recovered trooper Echo’s last act of retribution against the Separatists. The long period of torture and experimentation at the hand of the Techno Union has morphed his brain into what could win the planet Anaxes. Despite fragile health, he offers his mind as a key for the Jedi. If they get him across enemy lines, he can rewire himself into the notorious Admiral Trench’s forces and break them apart from the inside. Anakin Skywalker, Captain Rex, and the Bad Batch agree to take Echo on a stealth mission above Anaxes’ atmosphere while Obi-Wan Kenobi and Mace Windu lead clone forces on the ground. Trust in Echo gets questioned when this escalates as the last chance to take the planet.
Many fans forget that Lucasfilm’s animated programs are always primarily targeted for younger audiences. However, examples like Clone Wars and Rebels excel past the negative connotations that come with being labeled as a “children’s program”. Thanks to executive producer Dave Filoni and director Brian Kalin O’Connell, “Unfinished Business” is no different. The visuals feel alive and are captivating enough to seize the imaginations of all ages, but what lies underneath could not be more potent for younger audiences. This episode specifically harnesses the vividness of acceptance despite “defectiveness”.
The Bad Batch has been continuously awesome this season. The voice work from Dee Bradley Baker has been nothing short of phenomenal. The integral clone troopers feel very distinct while serving as complimenting members of a cast worthy enough for their own series. One could go on for a long time on how they add thrills both kinetically and aesthetically. This episode, although, seals the deal on why their story was even worth the time during the final season of a widely beloved show. The preciousness behind the message of one making the best use of their imperfections is incomparable.
The previous three episodes in retrospect hit differently after “Unfinished Business”. Fans that go back will benefit from little characterizations and details that only surface after having watched this episode. The spectacle was already enough for a revisit, but the payoff at the end makes it more worth it. Having said that, the grand scheme of war rides its highest here. The show always finds new ways to shred battle droids to pieces and this episode exploits that. Windu is a scene-stealer as he rightfully should be. More Kenobi is always welcomed and Anakin once again reminds viewers just how close the timeline of events is to Revenge of the Sith.
One moment, in particular, will create a spark within fans. By continuing the narrative flow of the previous episode, tension continues to heat up. Scenes that could have been thematically jarring or unnatural are instead executed organically. These last two episodes are definitely a statement that Lucasfilm can maneuver themselves fluidly in their established canon while also staying true to their characters and thematics. Many fans would argue that some of their other works either fail to do this or do so roughly. Many viewers would also agree that none of the new ideas or extensions of lore shown in these first four episodes were unfitting.
Rather, the storytelling seen in this episode and what came before is a welcomed signal that Lucasfilm did not take the easiest route with this revival. Another season of the show was always going to be a hit, however, the precedent set by the Bad Batch implies that Filoni and company are shooting for more. Why would they not? This is their last chance to do so! It feels bittersweet to see narrative threads get their overdue closure. This probably is not the last time fans will see the Bad Batch, after all, Lucasfilm is a multimedia brand. If it was though, it would still be a refined bow offstage.