This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Clone Wars, episode 7.05, “Gone with a Trace.”
With the first four episodes of the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars focusing on the ragtag group of clones known as the Bad Batch, it took until this fifth episode to finally be reunited with the beloved Ahsoka Tano. “Gone with a Trace” appears to pick up shortly after Ahsoka’s season 5 departure from Anakin and the other Jedi. That moment where she realizes that she could no longer follow the binary scripture of the Order and instead must go out into the world and find her own destiny seems to be at the core of the first episode of this four-part arc. And while it’s fantastic to reunite with Ahsoka and visit some familiar locations, it doesn’t seem like we’re all that much farther along at the end of “Gone with a Trace” than we were at the beginning.
The episode opens with an unexpected but much appreciated trip down into the dark underbelly of Coruscant known as Level 1313. If that number seems familiar to you, that’s because it was the name and setting of the canceled LucasArts game Star Wars 1313, which had a fantastic demo at E3 2012 that showed off an early glimpse of what games on the (then) next generation of hardware would look like. Its grimy setting ripe for all sorts of adventure lingered in the minds of Star Wars fans afterward. And though this isn’t the first time we’ve gotten to take a trip back to that dank pit, “Gone with a Trace” does a stellar job of highlighting the juxtaposition that exists in the literal vertical hierarchy of the planet.
Ahsoka spent her time as a Jedi on Coruscant in the Temple, Senate, and skyscrapers that seemed to be able to touch the clouds. From that vantage point, there was always a clear runway to go out and explore the vast galaxy, a built-in hope that somewhere out there in the vast reaches of space, there was a place that every single one of us could consider home. However, having her glass illusions of the Jedi Order shattered after most of them turned on her for a crime she didn’t commit, she decided to make her way down into the depths of the planet, where only the faintest hint of sunlight can be seen high above the spiral of the hole. But it’s here in this deep abyss that she finds the Martez sisters — and the start of a path that could lead her to her destiny.
Ahsoka crashes her speeder — also taking out a random ship’s radar dish in a gag that calls back nicely to how the Millennium Falcon has gotten beaten up over the years — and pals up with Trace Martez, a scavenger, mechanic, and pilot with big dreams. Throughout the episode, the pair constantly surprises one another. Trace’s pessimistic view of the Jedi Order is clear as she tells Ahsoka, “They’ve forgotten all about us,” which makes the Jedi suddenly realize just how many lives across the galaxy this conflict is impacting. Likewise, when trouble comes knocking, Ahsoka’s combat prowess completely floors Trace and upends any of her preconceived notions that being “from up top” makes a person soft.
This brief scuffle leads to an emotional moment where Trace asks Ahsoka where she learned her moves, and the Jedi simply replies, “My older brother taught me.” It’s clear that she held Anakin as family, and the decision to leave after being betrayed by the rest of the Jedi Order can’t have been easy. I’m equal parts excited for and dreading the moment where Ahsoka finds out that Anakin, her older brother, has been seduced by the dark side.
As for the actual biological siblings, Trace and Rafa Martez represent two sides of the same coin in 1313. While Trace is softer and more honest, Rafa is willing to see that they survive by any means necessary, which kicks off nicely right as we meet her rummaging through what looks like the Star Wars version of a laundromat. She’s opening up random washers and dryers looking for anything of interest. Trace asks, “Rafa, does that belong to you?” as she and Ahsoka walk in. “Not yet,” Rafa immediately shoots back. It’s a nice moment of characterization that says a lot of who the sisters are as a pair, as well as individually.
The Traces are in debt with some shady characters, which means they have to make money by dealing with some even shadier characters. Seeing the sisters exist in the massive gray space that exists between the light and the dark mirrors the physical and spiritual journey that Ahsoka has embarked on.
A bulk of the action in “Gone with a Trace” occurs when a repurposed demolition droid up and runs amok through the streets of 1313. The damage it’s able to cause as it smashes ships, careens off of walls, and rips apart anything in its path is reminiscent of the kind of chaos that a confused, rage-fueled Hulk exudes. It’s an exciting scene that ends with a great moment where Ahsoka has to use the Force in secret to save Trace from plunging to her doom. While a crowd of bystanders watches on with their focus pointed towards Trace, the only person paying attention to Ahsoka as she uses her powers to pull her friend up is a young Twi’lek child, who gazes in awe at the situation. Considering how interconnected a lot of modern Star Wars is, I was half-expecting some quick nod to how this kid was a young Hera from Star Wars Rebels, but I doubt that was the case.
The quote during this Clone Wars episode’s opening fanfare is, “If there is no path before you, create your own.” That sentiment could be applied to only this episode, but just as easily to the earlier arc of the Bad Batch and even the entire series as a whole. “Gone with a Trace” provides a solid start in highlighting the new path that Ahsoka will need to forge in order to become the steadfast warrior we reunite with in Star Wars Rebels — and will reportedly see again in season two of The Mandalorian. And though we didn’t get as far throughout the episode as one might have hoped, I’m confident that we’re now pointed in the right direction.