This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Clone Wars, episode 7.04, “Unfinished Business.”
If anything, “Unfinished Business” succeeds at providing the foundations of a bridge between the drawn out war stories of The Clone Wars and the tragic events of Revenge of the Sith. The fourth episode of the seventh and final season of the Star Wars animated series focuses on a single mission to disrupt General Trench and his droid army by oscillating among three sets of characters, each doing their part to help the dangerous sortie succeed. And while the bittersweet final shot doesn’t quite feel completely earned, the moments where Anakin edges up against the Dark Side are absolutely fantastic.
The first of the three POVs in “Unfinished Business” gives Mace Windu some much-appreciated screen time. Given how important the Jedi Master was throughout the prequel trilogy — especially ROTS — his presence is only occasionally felt throughout the animated series. But here he gets to shine on his mission alongside Obi-Wan to drop into a Separatist assembly complex and wreck shop on the battle droids.
His entrance comes alongside an incredible monologue that voice actor TC Carson delivers full of the same kind of righteous bravado you’d expect from Jules in Pulp Fiction. “My name is General Mace Windu of the Jedi Order. At this point in the Clone Wars, I have dismantled and destroyed over 100,000 of you type-one battle droids. I’m giving you an opportunity to peacefully lay down your weapons, so that you may be reprogrammed to serve a better purpose than spreading the mindless violence and chaos which you have inflicted upon the galaxy.” Of course, this is immediately met with the droids firing upon the Jedi, but that’s a minor technicality.
The second of the three stories finds Echo, Rex, and the Bad Batch going undercover and attempting to hack into the Techno Union mainframe. Seeing their lone transport ship fly towards the massive Separatist armada does a great job of highlighting just how heavily the odds are stacked against our heroes. Echo’s plan is to use his former duties as a prisoner to send out orders to the droid army, which the Jedi and clones will then be able to easily retaliate against.
A lot of the other characters, including his best pal Rex, question whether Echo’s ready to go on a mission, with some going as far as fearing that he might still be compromised. This leads to some solid tension throughout “Unfinished Business” as we the viewers begin to wonder if Echo is going to turn on his fellow clones, which culminates in a sigh of relief when the plan works out perfectly and Echo is the hero.
The one aspect of this thread that doesn’t sit well with me is that General Trench and the rest of his army seem to be completely oblivious of the events of the previous three Clone Wars episodes. They somehow have no idea that Anakin and the Bad Batch infiltrated Skako Minor, rescued Echo, and led an uprising that destroyed a whole mess of battle droids. This gap in logic kept prodding at me throughout the entirety of the episode.
The third and final piece of the story comes when Anakin branches off from the clones and goes to finally confront General Trench face to face. The Harch leader thinks he’s countered Echo’s plans and is confident that a bomb he’s placed in the assembly plant will lead to the end of Mace and Obi-Wan. As he goes to walk out of his control room, the door slides open to reveal Anakin with that all-too-familiar look of rage on his face. We then get a low shot from behind Skywalker where we see his lightsaber ignite, and Trench immediately backs away in fear. It brings to mind the infamous moment in ROTS after Anakin has turned and he comes upon a group of Jedi Younglings who ask him what they should do.
This scene in “Unfinished Business” culminates with Trench refusing to tell Anakin the final code needed to disarm the bomb. He fears that Count Dooku would kill him but has none of those concerns regarding Anakin. He explains, “Because you’re a Jedi. Your nobility–” but before he can continue lecturing him on the Jedi Code, Anakin lops off Trench’s arm with a single swing of his saber. “I don’t have such weaknesses!” Anakin screams. “Now let’s try that again…”
This powerful moment shows how Anakin is fully willing to get the job done by any means necessary, which places him so precariously close to the edge of that dark chasm that he’s about to tumble into. It’s only heightened as Trench attempts to stun Anakin, which is immediately met with the Jedi stabbing the General through the heart. When viewed alongside Anakin’s tender conversation with Padme from earlier in the season, this moment is illuminating a clear path that bridges The Clone Wars to ROTS.
The action throughout the rest of the episode provides some more enjoyable Bad Batch moments. Wrecker gets to go full berserker and take out a line of battle droids using just his raw strength. But he is quickly upstaged by Crosshair, who sets up a series of small reflective mirrors throughout the hallways, fires one single blast, and watches as it bounces up and down the walkway, destroying all of the battle droids in pursuit. I’m assuming this is the end of the Bad Batch arc, so it’s nice to give the motley crew a few final moments to shine.
The episode comes to a close with the Bad Batch parting ways with our heroes after a successful mission. They tell Echo that if he ever feels like he doesn’t fit in with the rest of the clones, then there’s a spot open for him in their group of misfits. Echo seems to consider this, but he is fully convinced after Rex tells him to do what his heart tells him to. Rex begins to walk towards the camera, and the blocking of the shot slowly reveals that Echo has turned around and is heading back towards the Bad Batch. As Rex looks back, we’re treated to the final shot of the episode as the now-five person squad all salute him, including Echo and his robotic arm.
This final shot is wonderful and emotional and ties up the arc nicely, but I can’t help but feel Rex and Echo were never really given a proper reunion. After all that had happened to both of them, and the lengths that they went through to reunite, we never got to see them just have a heart-to-heart chat, which makes this bittersweet moment feels slightly unearned.
Regardless though, seeing Echo find a family was a nice parting shot, but it left me wondering what the fate of Clone Force 99 will be once the Emperor executes Order 66. Will their “abnormalities” cause them to be exempt from turning on the Jedi, or is this new family doomed to meet a tragic ending like so many of the characters we’ve come to know throughout Star Wars: The Clone Wars?