“Unfinished Business” finds some questioning Echo’s loyalty following his time with the Separatists. However, when he has a plan to re-take Anaxes and use his former position against Admiral Trench, Mace Windu thinks it just may work. Tech voices concerns about the mission and Echo’s intentions, but Rex brushes it off and encourages him to get to work. Once aboard Trench’s dreadnaught, Echo receives a request from him for the best counterattack to the Jedi incursion. Tech routes Echo’s response to Trench to make it look like it came from Skako Minor. Echo advises Trench to send all the battle droids to the assembly line where Masters Windu and Kenobi and troopers are fighting. Once the droids arrive, Echo sends an electromagnetic pulse through all of them, disabling them.
Trench is surprised as the algorithm has never been wrong before. He sends an order to detonate a bomb on Anaxes powerful enough to destroy most of the planet. Echo finds the code to defuse it remotely, with Master Windu following his directions on Skako. However, the mainframe overloads Echo’s mind, knocking him out before he can feed Master Windu the final sequence to disable the bomb. Anakin confronts Trench directly, demanding the full code. When Trench says that Dooku will kill him for losing Anaxes, Anakin slices off his robotic arms. He informs him that he doesn’t have the weakness of pacifism like his fellow Jedi. Suddenly, Anakin contacts Mace and gives him the final number. The bomb is disabled and Trench and attacks Anakin from behind, and in return, he kills him. Anakin gives Wrecker the honor of blowing up the dreadnaught. The Batchers offer Echo a place among them, and Rex encourages him to do whatever is best for him. He accepts their offer to join.
I’m pleased to say that “Unfinished Business” is significantly longer and heavier on plot than “On the Wings of Keeradaks.” I like Rex and Echo’s scenes together, and they do an excellent job of making you wonder about Echo’s intentions throughout the episode. In the previous episodes I was genuinely unsure of what Echo would do and what his fate would be. I love that no matter what happens, they portray Rex as having complete trust in Echo. This could have led to disaster if Echo was somehow still being controlled by Wat Tambor and the Separatists, but of course, it pays off in kind and Echo saves the day. Although it’s somewhat subtle and in the background, I also love the way this arc has explored Anakin’s drift from Jedi ideals. Of course, as we saw in “A Distant Echo,” Anakin values Padmé and his relationship with her over his duty to the Republic, his troopers and even his fellow Jedi. He takes it a step further in “Unfinished Business” when he threatens Admiral Trench, cuts his arms off, and ultimately impales him with his lightsaber. This reckless facet of Anakin’s personality has been explored in The Clone Wars before, as well as in the prequel films. Of course, the movies didn’t have time to show how slow and gradual the corrosion of Anakin’s moral code would truly be. It’s much more interesting to see someone evolve from wanting to save the world to killing without remorse when there’s more gray area, and more motivation to do so. You could argue that Anakin had no choice but to kill Trench under the circumstances; he was attacking him and had proven to be a more than worthy opponent. However, he could have disarmed him, contained him, or somehow incapacitated him. Anakin kills Trench out of pure rage, and that makes it more chilling(and honestly, cathartic) to behold.
It’s perfect the way Echo planned to use the Separatists’ hold over him against their leadership. It works, at least mostly, which proves his loyalty to the other troopers. It likewise gives Anakin a glorious opportunity to again display how far he has fallen to the dark side even before the events of Revenge of the Sith. I also like the scenes with Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi, especially when the two initially infiltrate the Separatist droid production facility. I hope we get more scenes of Obi-Wan and Anakin interacting before the season is over. In particular, showing an argument between the two where their bond is tested but ultimately reaffirmed could carry a lot of weight. This is true, especially as this season is supposed to lead into and eventually coincide with Revenge of the Sith. I really liked their exchange in “A Distant Echo,” and the implications it has for Obi-Wan’s character and just how much he knows, but it was very brief as this arc was mainly about the clones.
I really only have one major concern with “Unfinished Business,” and it may not be an entirely fair one as I’m not sure how it could have been fixed or prevented. I wanted a more powerful ending scene between Rex and Echo, especially as it was Rex’s idea to free his brother in arms. Throughout this arc, he’s shown remarkable hope, trust, and concern for his lost friend, and I felt like there needed to be some big emotional moment at the end. Granted, the scene where Rex gives Echo his blessing to join the Bad Batch and they all salute is good. This is a touching display of Rex’s ability to let go and his sense of what’s best for Echo. A lesser man would cling to his newly-rescued friend and insist that he stick close, but Rex expects no such thing. When he freed Echo from Wat Tambor’s lab on Anaxes, he freed him for real and in every sense of the word. This is also preferable to this arc’s original ending, where all of the clones are awarded medals, including the Bad Batch. In this finished version, they again assert their individuality in saying that they do this work for the action of it, not accolades and awards. I also like that they welcome Echo with open arms after their initial suspicion of his motives. If he and Rex did have another exchange, perhaps an official goodbye rather than the silent salute, it could have been cheesy or overblown. I suppose we should be happy with the scene we got, which wasn’t in the original story reel. On that note, it’s interesting to me that I’ve seen so much negativity about changes to this story arc. With the possible exception of the deleted scene from “On the Wings of Keeradaks,” I think they’ve all been significant story and character-motivated improvements.
Overall, “Unfinished Business” is another solid episode of The Clone Wars. However, “A Distant Echo” is still my favorite in the Bad Batch story arc. The action is good, the animation is gorgeous, and Kevin Kiner’s score soars as usual. My only real gripe is more of a personal nitpick, and I think the ending to this episode and storyline is a big step up from the story reels released a few years back. I can’t wait for the Ahsoka stories we have coming up.