The build of the current season of “The Clone Wars” rests in the relationships that have been built up over seasons. The beautiful thing is that with the experience, supervising director David Filoni has become more a master of the subtle. He has built deep into the mythology but, because of that, the new episodes, when they precisely work, have these reflective moments that rank among the best in the franchise at the current moment and certainly within the full run of “The Clone Wars”. From the beginning battle of “Old Friends Not Forgotten” which undeniably shows the psychology between Anakin and Obi Wan in terms of approach, there is a sense of depth whereas at many times in the past the battles just seemed an ends to a mean. Here it is the perspective that is the means and, as a result, there is a much deeper view into where Anakin is going but also where and how Obi Wan is shaped by exactly where he has been.
Small details and lines play into this especially when they return back to the ship at the bequest of an incoming call. The aspect of Ahsoka reuniting with her masters and her squads is heartbreaking but what is even more interesting is the emotional dynamics especially bewteen Anakin and Ahsoka. In a world where the Council and he can’t control her per se anymore, Anakin has found a newfound respect that perhaps he could not show when she was his Padewan. Th way Filoni as well as Matt Lanter (as Anakin) and Ashley Eckstein (as Ahsoka) play it is subtle while still being overt, even in the animation. In his aspects of loyalty and concern for her well being, it is so dynamic that it shows what is possible but also that it should just exist. It also shows the path in a way.
A scene inside a hangar where Aksoka is paid respect is fantastic especially when Anakin presents her with a gift. It is a simple gesture especially when he says that he made them “as good as new”. It is that small detail and the breathe in which she acknowledges it that speaks volumes. Of course the end play pushes towards Mandalore and Darth Maul which keys into all Maul’s mythology but it ultimately all comes down to revenge. But out of that idea comes that someone is controlling it all. Again with its textures, “Old Friends Not Forgotten” is one of the best episodes yet.
By Tim Wassberg