Star Wars: The Clone Wars has many great story arcs and episodes, but the question is which ones do we think are the best? I’ve made a list of what I think the top 10 best episodes are. My criteria is based on story, animation, action sequences, character development, and the overall enjoyability of the episode. There also may be a bit of my personal bias, so be aware of that. (Editor’s note: I have all the same biases apparently).
Here we go! The top 10 best Star Wars: The Clone Wars episodes.
Warning! There will be some spoilers!!
10. Rookies (S1,E5)
Summary: Clone captains Rex and Cody must team up with a group of rookies to prevent the separatists from taking over a crucial outpost.
This episode shows that clones have different personalities, a concept that wasn’t really present in the movies. It also introduces us to Fives and Echo, clones that show up later, and it gives us a fun look at Rex. While the action isn’t quite as impressive as other episodes, the interaction between characters and the idea of clones becoming something beyond their programming is interesting and fun. It makes the sacrifice that one of the clones makes much more powerful.
9. The Deserter (S2, E10)
Summary: While injured during a battle, Captain Rex comes across a clone deserter.
This one brings up some great ideas of what happens when a clone decides he doesn’t want to fight anymore, and what it means to fight for what you truly believe in. The philosophical discussions between Cut, the deserter, and Captain Rex are very interesting and they address some questions like whether clones should be allowed to live their own lives. I particularly like the fight scene between the Cut and the commando droids that attack his house; the action sequences are pretty impressive, and the stakes feel higher since he’s now fighting to protect his family. We also see Rex go through some great character development.
8. Massacre (S4, E19)
Summary: Ventress and the Nightsisters must battle Grievous and his droid army.
This episode has a truly impressive battle between the Nightsisters, the droids, and General Grievous. We also get more background on Ventress and see some development to her character; she actually becomes a rather sympathetic character in the wake of her people’s destruction. The colors and animation of the Nightsisters and their undead army are fun to watch and fantastically creepy.
7. Sacrifice (S6 E13)
Summary: Yoda travels to Moraband to learn of the origins of the Sith.
The atmosphere of this final episode is truly spectacular. Here, we get a look at Darth Bane, the first Sith Lord, whose design and voice is amazing (Yay Mark Hamil!). It’s always interesting to look at the mythos of Star Wars and this episode explores the Sith. The entire episode is slightly trippy, especially since it feels a lot like a dream sequence, but that’s what adds to the atmosphere.
6. Ghosts of Mortis (S3, E17)
Summary: On the planet Mortis, Anakin confronts the Son, the representative of the Dark Side, and learns of his future.
The episode is the concluding one to the Mortis story arc, which is a rather interesting one. The symbolism in this episode is quite astounding as well as the revelation to Anakin of things to come. While he may forget those revelations, it’s a very powerful moment. The animation is beautifully done, and Anakin’s reaction to what he will become is both profound and tragic. It also makes Anakin’s character more sympathetic and understandable, something that was sorely lacking in the movies.
5. Revenge (S4, E22)
Summary: after his mind and body are restored, Darth Maul seeks revenge against Obi Wan.
This episode is fairly intense, showing Maul’s brutality and his drive to do what it takes to get revenge on Obi Wan. Obi Wan teaming with Ventress to fight Savage and Maul is a fun concept, and leads to an amazing fight sequence between the four. Ventress and Obi Wan trading barbs is also quite hilarious.
4. Orders (S6, E4)
Summary: After discovering the truth about the Chancellor and Order 66, clone trooper Fives struggles to find someone who will listen to him.
This episode really showcases the feeling of paranoia. It also has one of the most powerful death scenes in the show. You really feel for poor Fives, who has discovered the truth, and you’re rooting for him to succeed, which makes it that much more heart wrenching when he ultimately fails and is killed. It’s a powerful reminder of how everything that has been happening during the clone wars is bigger than anything anyone could imagine. It also shows the true deviousness of the chancellor/Darth Sidious.
3. The Wrong Jedi (S5 E20)
Summary: Ahsoka is tried for a crime she didn’t commit, while Anakin rushes to find the true perpetrator.
This episode shows the struggles of politics and how Ahsoka loses faith in the Jedi Council. In this episode, you can see both sides of the issue and why things happened the way they did, giving way to more morally grey areas. The final scene between Ahsoka and Anakin before she leaves the Jedi Order is both touching and heartbreaking; it’s a crucial pivotal point for both Ahsoka and Anakin. The theme is deceit, betrayal, and wondering who you can really trust. It puts the Jedi in question and has Ahsoka questioning everything she believes in.
2. The Lawless (S5 E16)
Summary: In a desperate attempt to save her people, Duchess Satine calls Obi Wan to Mandalore for help.
The conclusion to the Mandalore Civil War plot, this episode has it all: deception, subterfuge, amazing action sequences, brutal fighting, emotional death scenes, and a terrifying reveal of the most powerful Sith Lord of them all. This is where you see Darth Maul at his most powerful, and also at his weakest. It’s an amazing conclusion to a thrilling arc. The bond between Obi Wan and Satine is also very sweet, which makes her death all the more tragic. The battle between Darth Sidious, Savage, and Maul is both amazing and terrifying, showcasing some of Sidious’s extensive power.
1. The Umbara arc (S4, E7-10)
Summary: While invading Umbara, Captain Rex must work with Krell, a general who doesn’t seem to care much about the welfare of clones.
I know I’m cheating to include an entire arc in the #1 spot, but to be honest, I couldn’t really decide between these episodes. Everything about this story arc is done incredibly well. The animation is beautiful, the theme is dark and suspenseful, and the fighting is both brutal and impressive. We see the turmoil in Captain Rex in choosing between his men’s lives and following orders from General Krell. There’s also a very powerful and sad moment where Krell tricks the clones into shooting each other, and it’s truly devastating to the clones when they figure out the truth.
This arc shows Rex’s conviction to his men, and his own character development. We also have Rex seriously questioning the point of the war for the first time. This is the battle that starts Rex’s suspicion and eventual dissent. It also shows just how awesome the clones really are. While this arc may not focus on our main Jedi characters, I have to put it at #1 for its amazing storytelling, animation, and character development.
As always, if you want the best order for these episodes, visit our Star Wars Canon timeline.