Rather than write about The Clone Wars episodes individually or by story-arc, I have decided to review it by disc as they are in the Blu-Ray Box Set releases.
In this post the episodes I will be talking about are Bombad Jedi, Cloak of Darkness, Lair of Grievous, Dooku Captured, Gungan General, Jedi Crash and Defenders of Peace.
First up, Bombad Jedi. Padme, C-3PO and Jar-Jar go to Rodia to talk to the Senator, a long time family friend of the Amidala family who is considering defecting to the Separatist regime.
When they arrive Padme is taken hostage and detained until Nute Gunray arrives. In the meantime, Jar-Jar and C-3PO end up trying to rescue her, and Jar-Jar is mistaken for a Jedi when he finds a Jedi Robe on Padme’s ship.
Wackiness ensues as Jar-Jar and C-3PO make their way through the palace. Padme escapes on her own, C-3PO contacts the Republic and the three of them manage to destroy Gunray’s Droid battalion and Rodia’s Senator helps Padme capture Gunray because it turns out but was all a trap to begin with.
It’s not exactly the most original story-line in the series, and the episode gets grief for focusing on Jar-Jar. But we do get to see Rodia, a planet we visit in Kevin Hearne’s novel, Heir to the Jedi, when Luke Skywalker visits the planet, learns about the Jedi and gets weapons for the Rebellion.
Cloak of Deception continues the Nute Gunray captured story arc where the Viceroy is being transported to Coruacant on board a Republic Cruiser. Assaj Ventress infiltrates the ship and sabotages the hyperdrive as a distraction.
Jedi Master Luminara Unduli, a long with Ahsoka and Senate Commando Argyus are in charge of keeping Gunray prisoner but Ventress bests Unduli and Ahsoka disobeys the masters orders and leaves Gunray under the watchful eye of Argyus who breaks the Viceroy out and reveals himself to be a Separatist spy.
Argyus and Ventress escape with Gunray only for Ventress to kill Argyus.
This is definitely the better part of this mini-arc, seeing Ahsoka interact with another Jedi Master really brings to light how Anakin’s training doesn’t conform to the usual Jedi methods but as always her unconventional training and mild disobedience comes in handy as she saves Luminara but at the same time allows Gunray to escape.
So far, nine episodes in, we have had two storylines with Separatist spy’s within the Republic. I get and can believe there are spies in both camps but to have it happen mere episodes apart feels a bit sloppy to me.
Lair of Grievous is, by far, one of the best episodes of the series. After Nute Gunray is rescued, Jedi Master Kit Fisto is sent to investigate a tracking beacon from the ship used to free Gunray. When he reaches the co-ordinates he meets with his former Padawan, Nahdar Vebb and together with a group of Clones, infiltrate a large, castle like building.
They soon realise it’s a trap when they find the tracker with a group of Battle Droids. As it turns out this is General Grievous’ stronghold and this is a trap, set by Count Dooku to test the Droid General’s abilities after so many defeats at the hands of the Republic.
Despite injuring Grievous, the Jedi and Clones struggle to subdue him and the Clones are taken out. Grievous is repaired and the Jedi split up. Master Fisto destroys Grievous’ medical Droid in the control room and bears witness via holo-cam as Vebb attacks Grievous but is killed when the Droid General shoots him during their duel. Kit Fisto escapes but Grievous is victorious.
This episode was guest directed by Atsushi Takeuchi, who had previously directed the acclaimed anime film ‘Ghost in the Shell’.
It’s a brilliant and beautifully atmospheric episode and it gives us insight into the character of General Grievous and his mentality over his transformation from warrior into a cyborg General. His halls are lined with statues of his transformation and he has rooms filled with spare parts.
This episode has the first appearance in the series of Kit Fisto, a fan favourite from the Prequel trilogy. He comes across as incredibly relatable yet wise and his disappointment at his former Padawan’s eagerness to engage Grievous highlights the ways the Jedi teachings are failing during this time of war, all part of Darth Sidious’ master plan.
Dooku Captured has Obi-Wan and Anakin infiltrate Dooku’s flagship and as the Jedi duo are about to apprehend the Separatist leader Dooku escapes. Anakin and Obi-Wan split up but Dooku manages to escape on his Solar Sailer. Anakin and Obi-Wan chase him in a Separatist shuttle and manage to damage Dooku’s ship, causing him to crash land on a nearby planet.
Dooku is apprehended by a band of Weequay Pirates led by Hindi Onaka. Anakin and Obi-Wan try to locate Dooku but are trapped in a cave-in with a giant and angry Gundark.
After subduing the Gundark using the Force, after Anakin has lost his lightsaber and Obi-Wan’s is broken they are rescued by Ahsoka and Rex.
At the Pirate stronghold, Hondo contacts Chancellor Palpatine and offers to hand Dooku over for a hefty reward. Padme suggests they send Anakin and Obi-Wan to verify Dooku’s identity.
The Jedi meet with Hondo and interrogate Dooku and report back to Palpatine and remain at the Pirate Stronghold until the reward arrives.
The episode starts and ends strongly with the Jedi and Dooku, they way Dooku toys with Anakin and Obi-Wan is great interplay, and reminiscent of his taunting of them in both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, but I have some issues with the middle of the episode.
The whole cave-in sequence with the Gundark is just a device to make the heroes loose their weapons and it makes the two of them look like fools. Dooku’s capture by Hondo and his goons doesn’t play right with me either. Yes he’s outnumbered but he’s a powerful Sith Lord, surely he could have taken them all out and stolen their ship? Surely he’s not just playing the victim? Unless of course he’s not as powerful as he’s boasting.
This episode does, however, introduce us to a new and incredibly fun character who appears a few more times, Hondo, the leader of the pirate group who continues to return to foil Obi-Wan, of course to no avail.
Prepare for the collective groan…
Gungan General has Jar-Jar leading a group of Clone Troopers to drop the random to the pirates in exchange for Dooku after a group of the pirates decide to double-cross Hondo and take it for themselves by attacking the Republic Transport and killing the Senator in charge of the mission leaving Jar-Jar in charge.
Jar-Jar and his group are successful in taking out the pirates, even though the Clone Commander using Jar-Jar’s clumsiness to their advantage.
Meanwhile. Anakin and Obi-Wan have been drugged and are now hostages with Dooku and they are all tied together. The three of them try a number of escapes but can never totally work together with foils their attempts.
Anakin and Obi-Wan are taken away to be tortured as a punishment and as Hondo is electrocuting them, Jar-Jar manages to (accidentally) disable the power to the Pirate stronghold, which allows Dooku to escape. Obi-Wan and Anakin turn the tides against Hondo, taking him captive until they can reach the Twilight where Jar-Jar and his Clone Troopers have arrived and with the ransom.
They leave Hondo and his group, with no hard feelings but remind the pirate leader that Dooku won’t feel the same way.
Yes it’s a Jar-Jar heavy episode but it’s not bad, in fact the Gungan’ antics are used well and actually help move the plot and action a long and he even comes up some good ideas, watching the local wildlife he is able to find somewhere for him and the Clones to hide from the pirates in a geyser and knowing the time to get away before it erupts, then riding the wildlife to chase the pirates.
The Anakin/Obi-Wan/Dooku story is a conventional idea where the heroes and villains need to work together to escape. Like the previous episode, the interplay between the three of them works really well and is very entertaining.
There is a great little Easter egg as well. When Jar-Jar buries the dead Senator he places a staff the Senator has held earlier, the top of the staff is the headpiece of the Staff of Ra (minus the red jewel) from Raiders of the Lost Ark, pretty neat.
Jedi Crash is one of the best episodes in this season (after Lair of Grievous that is). After a huge battle where Anakin’s fleet comes to the aid of Aayla Secura’s fleet, Anakin, Ahsoka, Aayla, Captain Rex and Commander Bly, a long with some of Bly’s Troopers crash land on a distant planet.
Anakin, who was injured during the battle is left at the crash site with Rex whilst the rest go in search of aid.
Through the night, strange creatures (Mastiff Phalones) attack both parties. Fighting them off Ahsoka’s group find a settlement of Lurmen, a group of pacifists who are opposed to the war and have relocated to the planet Maridun to avoid the conflict.
The elder, Tee Watt Kaa sends his son, Wag Too, the village healer to help Anakin.
After fighting off another wave of Mastiff Phalones, Ahsoka, Bly and Wag Too bring Anakin back to the settlement where Aayla and Tee Watt Kaa have been discussing the morality of the Clone Wars.
This episode has it all. An epic battle, high stakes and a great deal of emotion, definitely one of the best episodes of season one.
This is the introductory episode to Aayla Secura and she spends a bit of time with Ahsoka. Any episode where Ahsoka spends time with other Jedi are great as it highlights Anakin’s more unorthodox training but also helps develop Ahsoka.
Defenders of Peace follows on from Jedi Crash. A Separatist fleet, led by General Lot Durd (voiced brilliantly by George Takei) arrives at Maridun and begins to ransack the the Lurmen village before setting up a strong hold. Anakin, Ahsoka, Aayla and the Clones watch as Lot Durd makes an impassioned speech before his Droid soldiers and unleashes a new Separatist prototype weapon. One what destroys all living matter, leaving non-organic matter unscathed.
The initial test goes well and the Separatists prepare to do a test on the Lurmen village. The Jedi and Clones return and convince the Lurmen to accept their help. Using stolen Shield Generators they manage to hold back the weapons destructive wave.
Durd sends Battle Droids in to take on the Jedi and Clones but are easily thwarted with the help of Wag Too, the chiefs son who wants to help defend their home.
The Separatists are defeated and the Republic fleet arrives for our heroes.
Another great episode. George Takei is a phenomenal guest actor and plays the Nemoidian General brilliantly. The ‘defoliator’ weapon is one that I expected to see at some point being used by the Droid Army and it’s handles well, in that Lot Durd is the brains behind it and with his capture so ends the weapons development.
Anakin is still injured after the events of Jedi Crash and it’s good to see him not up to his full potential which gives other characters a chance to shine, of course he wins the battle which is expected but with having another Jedi to show off their skills I liked seeing him take more of a back seat in the action.
This disc is full of good episodes but they get overshadowed by the great episodes, Lair of Grievous and Jedi Crash wipe the floor with Bombad Jedi and Gungan General. Ahsoka’s character development continues with having her working with other Jedi Masters and Captain Rex.
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