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Why the latest episode of ‘The Clone Wars’ left me shattered

Order 66 begins. It wasn’t easy to handle. All ‘Star Wars’ fans need to watch this episode

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Ahsoka and Rex in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” exclusively on Disney Plus.

Ahsoka and Rex in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” exclusively on Disney Plus.

Disney Plus Media Relations

“Star Wars: The Clone Wars” released its newest episode Friday morning, and it’s one that has been anticipated for a long time, for it includes Order 66 — the execution of the Jedi Knights — and the events of “Revenge of the Sith.”

It’s safe to say “Shattered” is an apt title for the episode.

“Shattered” begins where the last episode, “The Phantom Apprentice,” left off. Ahsoka and the Mandalorians are cleaning up Mandalore after a fierce battle between the Grand Army of the Republic and Maul’s Mandalorian army. Soon, Ahsoka boards a ship and heads off back to Coruscant to speak with her master, Anakin Skywalker.

Everything spirals out of control from there. Ahsoka learns something has gone wrong with Master Skywalker. Something dark side lingers over Chancellor Palpatine. The Clone Troopers that Ahsoka has known and loved, including Captain Rex, turn on her in a heartbeat.

Order 66 — the executive order issued by Chancellor Palpatine to destroy the Jedi — begins.

This episode had a lot of hype heading into it. We’ve known for nearly a decade that the end of “The Clone Wars” would (hopefully) lead into the beginning of “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.” Now, we’re seeing these episodes sync up with the film. Last week’s episode centered around the Siege of Mandalore, which took place around the same time that Anakin Skywalker rescued Palpatine from Count Dooku in “Revenge of the Sith.”

Now, we’re seeing it again. As Ahsoka stares out at space aboard her ship, she’s hit with a wave of Force energy that makes her hear the events unfolding around Skywalker, Mace Windu and Palpatine. She hears the voices of Mace Windu screaming after his arm is chopped off, Palpatine shouting of “unlimited power” and Anakin asking, “What have I done?” All of these events play out on screen in “Revenge of the Sith.” We hear echos of them here.

For a long time, “Clone Wars” has felt like a distant cousin to the “Star Wars” universe. It has characters from the movies. But it hasn’t really synced up with the moments we see in the films. It has always felt related but never fully connected.

That changed with “Shattered.” For the first time since I’ve watched the show, a “Clone Wars” episode threw me right into the “Star Wars” universe. It was all real to me. The tragedy, the sadness, the heartbreak of “Revenge of the Sith” was packed into this episode. It’s all so real now. This show is no longer a distant cousin to “Star Wars.” It’s more of a sister — or a companion story.

Viewing of “Revenge of the Sith” will never be the same again. When I watch it next, I will think only of what is happening during the Siege of Mandalore and what happens to Ahsoka in this episode. These last three episodes of “Clone Wars” and the “Revenge of the Sith” film should be viewed together. I would argue these last few episodes should be released in a separate bundle to be viewed between “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith.”

For many, “Clone Wars” might seem like a silly cartoon with “Star Wars” characters. But this latest episode proved to me that the connections between the films and this animated show are real. And it was heartbreaking to see it all play out.

It’s unclear what the next episode will hold. We know Ahsoka gets away to safety since she appears in “Star Wars Rebels.” But any final confrontation with Anakin Skywalker — who by now is known as Darth Vader in the timeline — will be enough to complete the journey of Ahsoka, and finish this sister story with an epic conclusion.