The Clone Wars Season 4 offers the most solid and consistent run of episodes yet, with several substantial arcs and some deeper themes that offer almost everything a Star Wars fan might wish for.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 4 is part of the current Star Wars canon. You can check out the entire timeline by clicking these words.
Of the 22 episodes in The Clone Wars Season 4, only two of them were standalone stories. It turns out this is just as well. While one of them, an Ahsoka-centric episode titled “A Friend In Need”, was perfectly serviceable, the other, “Shadow Warrior”, featured Jar Jar Binks and a squad of fellow Gungans rather implausibly capturing General Grievous. There should always be less of such things, and thankfully the rest of the (very good) season is devoted to multi-episode story arcs.
The earliest of these provided a couple of things, most notably some stellar aquatic visuals, and a younger Admiral Ackbar, long before he was unceremoniously killed off-screen in a sequel that shan’t be named in order to keep its weird detractors at bay. Despite lacking a more tangible connection to the season’s other stories, it was nice to submerge ourselves in the oddball undersea politics of the Mon Calamari and the Quarren, underserved as they are by current Star Wars lore.
A brief deviation was made for a two-parter involving R2-D2 and C-3PO, evoking the tone of the original trilogy, but the bulk of The Clone Wars Season 4 was spent on meatier arcs, continuing the trend started in the third season. And in the same vein as those earlier runs of episodes, a storyline was devoted to the Clone Troopers, particularly Rex, as they struggled under new, rather nakedly corrupt leadership. The villain in those episodes is a four-armed Jedi general by the name of Krell, who is the tried-and-true self-serving nutcase who cares about his own glory much more than the lives of his men. But it’s spiced up by an undercurrent of prejudice against the Clones, whom Krell sees as merely tools, not unlike the Separatist Battle Droids, undeserving of free will, bred to die on the frontlines.
The juicy themes continue in a block of episodes that see Obi-Wan Kenobi go deep undercover as a bounty hunter – alongside Cad Bane, no less, who’s as awesome a villain as ever. If the overall execution of this storyline left something to be desired, it was nonetheless a fun way of messing around with that inflexible Jedi morality. Lest we forget, a large contributing factor in the Order’s eventual extinction was how poorly they adapted their pacifistic philosophy to wartime. There’s some of that here, even if ultimately it isn’t quite enough.
And then there was the long-awaited return of Darth Maul, which The Clone Wars Season 4 held at bay for a long as possible. The storyline surrounding him – now a broken man, driven almost mad by a desire for revenge – saw some great stuff from Savage Opress and a newly reformed Asajj Ventress, and was a great way to close out the season.
With such a collection of enjoyable multi-episode arcs and the odd (welcome) deviation towards much-needed levity, The Clone Wars Season 4 turned in the most consistently enjoyable run of episodes yet. It wasn’t perfect, though few things are, but it was an exceedingly solid and well-crafted season of television that offered about as much as any Star Wars fan could reasonably expect from such a thing.
And Season 5 tops it. Oops – spoiler alert.