Every time an episode of The Clone Wars lands, Fantha Tracks will be giving their responses, and here are our initial gut feelings, deep dives and thoughts on the sixth episode of season seven – Deal No Deal. Beware of spoilerific elements in here.
“Mistakes are valuable lessons often learned too late.”
Crossroads! After leaving the Jedi Order, Ahsoka Tano finds herself far away from the life she once knew. Here in the underworld of Coruscant, she meets Trace Martez, an aspiring pilot, and her older sister Rafa, a streetwise gambler with lofty aspirations.
In their short time together, Ahsoka realizes not everyone sees the Jedi as heroes, a lesson she only recently learned herself….
The Clone Wars picks up the pace in Deal No Deal as Ahsoka and the crew of the Silver Angel rise from the depths of Coruscant, only to delve deeper into the Galactic Underworld.
In this week’s episode we are treated to a further glimpse into the lives of the Galaxy’s criminal population as the crew’s mission takes them to the infamous spice mines of Kessel, and into the grasp of the dreaded Pyke Syndicate.
The dynamic of the group has changed drastically in this episode as it becomes clear that the Martez sisters are in way over their heads and that only Ahsoka’s experience gained from her time with the Jedi stands in the way of their immediate annihilation. It is becoming clear that while Raffa would like to blame every bad thing that happens on Ahsoka or her sister Trace, that she has done more than her fair share in leading them to peril. It is through the sister’s collective inexperience that Ahsoka is forced to use more of her Jedi powers, and it is becoming clear that she will not be able to hide them forever.
With a nod to Return of the Jedi, an increased pace and hints as to how Ahsoka will be arriving on Mandalore, the episode does well to build on the last and leaves us on the edge of our seats as to how Ahsoka and the Martez sisters will escape their latest bout of trouble. I am quickly becoming invested in these characters and very much look forward to seeing where the show takes them. I only hope that they listen to Ahsoka’s advice and get out of the criminal life before they become stuck in it forever.
We’re deep into another storyline as Ahsoka, Trace and Rafa leave Coruscant in the Silver Angel bound for the stars and what appears to be a simple enough – albeit dangerous – run that in classic Star Wars style goes sideways faster than an opening blast door.
In fiction we need protagonists, ideally ones with morals to highlight the good, or evil, of a plan or situation and in this instance we’re split between Trace Martez, longing for the stars and a life away from the grime and clamour of 1313 and her older, more cynical sister Rafa who is prepared to skirt with the law to get what she needs but isn’t as streetwise or savy as she likes to think she is. Hurl in the middle of this Ahsoka, still finding her feet, determined not to reveal her Jedi heritage – imagine a coerced Force user in the underworld and the havoc they could wreak – but set to help Trace and Rafa find a new destiny. In many ways she’s fulfilling the remit of the Jedi, to help and protect the galaxy’s citizens, but in a manner unfamiliar to both sides. The Jedi of this era are remote, aloof, detached from the populace and while Ahsoka wants to help, it’s clear she doesn’t quite know how.
Without giving too much away, the manner in which she tries to extricate herself and the sisters from a sticky situation would go down with the Jedi Council about as well as the Ministry of Magic knowing Harry Potter let muggles see his magic. That her gambit fails is no surprise, we have more episodes in this arc to follow, but how she gets herself and the sisters away from this in Dangerous Debt will be interesting to see.
The interlacing of the saga continues as this episode satisfyingly plays off the Kessel we saw in Solo: A Star Wars Story as well as satisfying prior fiction that displayed the world to be more than just the spice mines and excavated pits of the film. As we discussed on the latest episode of Making Tracks, if a visitor landed on Earth in Antarctica they might believe the whole planet to be like Hoth, but if they landed in a rainforest they’d think Earth was more like Yavin. Each planet has differing areas of ecology and that is shown here without breaking canon, which only helps tie the episode together.
Again, a beautifully crafted episode with stunning visuals, attractive voice work and a degree of animation subtlety that is genuinely fascinating to watch. The evolution of these characters both in their fictional galactic setting and the real world animation arena is interesting to watch. Place the Deal No Deal Ahsoka next to The Clone Wars movie version, and other than obviously ageing 3 years in screen time, the depth and detail of animation is striking to see. That we ever got the chance to revisit these characters during the final days of the Clone Wars was a gift, but as we reach the halfway point of the seventh and final season the thought of having to say goodbye to them so soon feels like Santa coming back down the chimney on Boxing Day and flying off with all the presents.
It’s difficult to talk about the episode “Deal No Deal” because once again it feels like we are only getting a piece of a larger whole. This episode jumps into it a bit faster than last week since all the characters are already in place.
I really enjoy the characters of Trace and Raffa. Their naivete is exposed here as they get in over their heads very quickly. The arguing in the cockpit felt very real, almost to the point where it was awkward and I felt we should leave the room. We’ve all been in those types of situations before.
I don’t know if we have canonical ages for the sisters yet, but Trace definitely seems very young and naive here. She acts in a way that would correspond to a teenager, rash and impulsive, acting without thinking when she dumps the spice. Raffa is clearly the older sibling, but even she shows her innocence in how the galaxy at large works when she casually setups a job with the Pykes that was very clearly meant to be a double-cross. Thankfully, Ahsoka is able to bail them out from all of it.
It’s a visually fantastic episode. The dingy, gray of Coruscant is replaced by a surprisingly lush and green Kessel. I loved the homages to the films in both the approach to Kessel and as they left Coruscant.
My one complaint is that the episode ends so abruptly. Star Wars is no stranger to cliffhanger endings, but this one ends so abruptly I thought I had missed something.
In Episode 6 of Season 7 of The Clone Wars, we are treated to more Ahsoka Tano and the continuation of the Martez sisters story arc. While some have called this the first “filler” episode of the season, it is “full” of everything we want from Star Wars on Disney Plus: familiarity. Whether we like to admit it or not, Star Wars thrives when it is in comfortable, yet new territory and the sixth entry of this story serves it up.
We start with a new named starship – the Silver Angel – and we see a collection of some of our favorite characters portrayed in Trace Martez. We see her misplaced bravado as a pilot (Han Solo), her inexperience (Luke Skywalker) and her honest mistakes (Kaz). Part of the saga’s appeal has always been seeing the Star Wars galaxy through the fresh and sometimes overconfident eyes of a young protagonist. Perhaps Trace will play a larger role in the universe moving forward.
A visit to Kessel shows us the lush, royal side of the world followed by the harsh, stripped spice mines demonstrating a stark contrast. Revisiting the Pykes – first seen in The Clone Wars – makes not only a nice connection to earlier seasons but begins to imply story connections between Maul and Solo: A Star Wars Story.
As we work through the last season of the fan favorite The Clone Wars series, this episode feels less like filler and more like setup. The payoff may not come by the time Clone Wars ends, but the backstory we are learning now may drive other tales.
I said it last time, I am not a fan of Ahsoka Tano. Still, her story-arc seemed interesting for me because it includes many ideas which were initially developed for George Lucas’ live-action project, Underworld.
In Deal No Deal, we also see many things which were created for Underworld before. The Clone Wars introduces the lush part of Kessel, which is the first-mentioned planet in Star Wars ever and is famous for its spice mines. The series presents the Pykes as well, the species and crime gang which was created for Underworld as well. We were also informed that King Yaruba governs the planet, who was the king in the era of Solo as well. These in-universe references and connections made me really happy, because we see part of known things as never before.
The story itself wasn’t as good for me as we saw in the episode before. The chemistry between the girls (Ahsoka and the Martez sisters) wasn’t developed really well, in my opinion, as we can hear childish brawls. Trace’s behaviour is annoyingly infantile, unfortunately. I think it is a wrong move in her character’s direction.
All in all, the story and the characters didn’t satisfy me, but the references and the connections to unfinished and existing Star Wars project made me glad.
Thanks to Ben Turfrey, Ben Földi, Paul DePaola and Pete Fletzer for their reviews.