The Siege of Mandalore begins.
Welcome to the beginning of the end. In “Old Friends Not Forgotten” (available to stream now on Disney+), Ahsoka and Bo-Katan return to the Republic looking for help from Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in taking back Mandalore and capturing Maul. But a surprise attack on Coruscant -- i.e., the catalyst for the opening sequence of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and the final act in Darth Sidious’ plan -- draws Tano’s friends away. Still, Skywalker, ever loyal to his old Padawan, comes up with a way to have Rex and a new division assist Ahsoka on her mission. “Old Friends Not Forgotten” brings the emotion and the action with set pieces big and small, and proves to be bittersweet -- as we know nothing will be the same for these friends ever again. Here are five highlights.
1. “He was a cunning warrior. And he was a good friend.”
Obi-Wan’s words to Luke Skywalker have never resonated more than they do in the opening sequence of “Old Friends Not Forgotten.” Anakin is amazing here, showing strategic smarts and an impressive display of power, as he tricks the Separatist forces and then draws a tactical droid across the battlefield, right into his lightsaber. Obi-Wan ain’t too shabby, either, making a very memorable entrance. Moreover, their banter is fun and witty, and all together, we’re reminded of what good friends and partners they really were.
2. Ahsoka’s return.
Some major reunions in this episode hit right in the chest. Anakin’s can’t-hide-it happiness to see Ahsoka again shows how much he cares; Tano’s greeting with Rex proves how much love and respect the two have for each other; and the clones’ tribute -- painting their helmets in Ahsoka’s colors -- stands as evidence that the former Padawan was never forgotten. Ahsoka may have left the Jedi Order, but her friendships are stronger than tradition and ceremony.
3. “They’re good as new.”
On the Republic cruiser, Anakin presents a gift for Ahsoka: her old lightsabers. He even made some tweaks, as they now glow blue. Beaming with surprise, Ahsoka ignites her Jedi weapons and wields them with confidence. She’s clearly touched by Anakin’s thoughtfulness, and it makes their goodbye all the more bittersweet: they care deeply for each other -- but we know, though they do not, that the next time they meet it will be as enemies.
4. The fight for Mandalore.
The Siege of Mandalore begins, and it’s destined to go down as one of the great Star Wars battle sequences. Clone gunships, Mandalorians, and Ahsoka soar through the air fighting Maul’s warriors as they make their approach to the planet. It’s fast and thrilling, with Ahsoka slashing jetpacks and leaping from ship to ship with an elegant precision. There’s a gripping cinematic quality to the pacing and visuals, and it feels like this is for all the stakes because, well, it is. Clone Wars earned this moment, and one thing is for sure: this is not just peak Clone Wars, it’s peak Star Wars.
5. “Why are you here?”
The clanking of metal footsteps. That quiet, almost whisper of a voice. It could only be him. Maul emerges from the shadows of Mandalore’s undercity to interrogate Ahsoka, and he’s as menacing as ever. It’s a killer cliffhanger and capper to an all-time great episode.