The final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars has now reached its midpoint. Many will find this insane to comprehend considering the show’s long journey to revival. Episode 6 titled “Deal No Deal” rightfully kicks up the pace. The season so far has been far from disappointing, but one can finally feel some sort of series endgame with Ahsoka’s exploits with the Martez sisters. “Deal No Deal” packs the least action seen so far, but thrives high on emotional beats with a side of spicy lore.
Against her better judgment, Ahsoka continues to nurture her mutual acquaintance with Trace Martez. Ashoka being a former Jedi attracts danger not just in the underground world of Coruscant’s level 1313, but also between Trace and Rafa Martez. Trace’s dreams of being a star pilot finally catch a break when Rafa reluctantly enlists her for the job of a lifetime. Ahsoka, with her hands tied, joins and soon discovers herself in a very similar scenario – but in the opposing position. What was supposed to be a simple job transporting “medicine” turns into an illegal spice run for the prestigious royal family of Kessel. Their destination: Oba Diah, the home of the cruel Pyke Syndicate.
Written by Dave Filoni and Charles Murray and directed by Nathaniel Villanueva and Steward Lee, “Deal No Deal” is jam-packed with the most precious goods – both literally and metaphorically. The episode features classic Star Wars beats and schemes without ever feeling forced. There are plenty of treats included just for long-time fans. The lore, even though most delightful, is not heavily relied upon to the point of being a narrative crutch. In fact, this episode highlights one of The Clone Wars‘ greatest successes as a show: making the universe bigger than the war itself.
Some of the best modern Star Wars content always leaves room to explore in the gray areas. It is in situations where both good and evil come into question during conflicts where viewers get the most challenged themselves. Ahsoka, for the first time in her life, has no choice but to rebuild herself from the gray. This arc sparks the path that will lead her to be the “Gray Jedi” seen in Star Wars Rebels. The Martez sisters genuinely seem to have good intentions (for now), but nevertheless, add much needed fresh perspectives. Being from Level 1313, their views on the Republic, Jedi, and illegal spice runs trigger a wake-up call inside Ahsoka. Her world is not as simple as it used to be. Yes, fans have seen stories involving Kessel and the Pykes, on film most recently in Solo no less, and yet they are still treated to new views and ideas through Ahsoka and the Martez sisters.
Rafa and Trace once again prove to be more than what they seem, for better or worse viewers cannot yet tell, thanks to vivid voice work from Elizabeth Rodriguez and Brigitte Kali Canales. Their place in the canon is starting to make itself more clear. Their layered personalities exuberate the pain and joy of a sibling relationship that will justly hit home for many fans. Though, one cannot help but feel that this arc is going to end in tragedy. Even though they both come from the same thorned roots of Level 1313, they harbor different values on how to stem out from a literal marginalized hole (main gateway to the lower levels of Coruscant). Ahsoka’s well-meaning but intruding space between them only adds more weight to the viewer’s emotions.
“Deal No Deal” shapes the arc in possibly being more crucial than what fans initially guessed. Ahsoka sees the relationship she formerly had with Anakin within the Martez sisters. Trace carries traits that Ahsoka used to proudly own, and Ahsoka could not be more compelled to lend a hand. However, time has passed and she is more adept at filling the role of a mentor – something Rafa is trying to fulfill from her justified point of view. Trust and judgment will continue to crumble going into next week’s episode. This could not have fans more eager considering that Ahsoka will take whatever lessons she learns here before coming face to face with Anakin one last time later on in the season.
In the meantime, this episode is an exciting duel of character filled with savory lore. This arc is building up with complexities that obviously plan to later pull on the viewer’s heartstrings. One specific moment here already dared to do that to an excruciatingly successful degree. The animation continues to impress as fans get to see familiar sides of the Star Wars galaxy, but in new angles they previously did not conceive of. The show proving that it still has a few tricks up its sleeves.