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 Storm over Ryloth, Innocents of Ryloth, Liberty on Ryloth and Hostage Crisis.
Storm Over Ryloth starts the amazing Ryloth arc. This episode focus’ on Anakin and Ahsoka who’s mission is to take out the Separatist blockade above the planet Ryloth.
Ahsoka is given the job of leading the Clone Fighter attack run against the Separatist ship. The battle doesn’t go well for the Republic and Ahsoka’s entire squad is defeated when she disobeys orders from Admiral Yularen, finally relenting when Anakin forces her to retreat. The bridge of their cruiser is destroyed and Yularen injured.
Anakin reprimands his Padawan for disobeying orders, to which she points out that he disobeys orders all the time. He agrees but points out that he does so knowing the repercussions all too well.
Ahsoka becomes despondent and Anakin’s attempts to reach her fall on deaf ears. Ahsoka sits by Yularen’s side believing him to still be unconscious and she apologised for her recklessness. Rex arrives and tells her Anakin wants to see her.
Anakin has a plan, he is evacuating the cruiser, Ahsoka is to plan an attack whilst Anakin takes the damaged ship and ‘surrenders’ but will actually use the ship to ram the Separatist blockade. Ahsoka is hesitant but when Anakin leaves she tries to do as she is asked but is being scrutinised by the Clones.
Ahsoka comes up with a plan to use a cruiser to block the Separatist attack by facing the lower hull towards the attacking ships whilst the bombers out flank the Separatists leaving Anakin’s way clear. Yularen arrives on the bridge in time to hear the plan and agrees with it.
The plan works and the Separatist Blockade is destroyed and the Republic forces are able to land on the planet.
We haven’t had a clot of episodes where Anakin actually teaches Ahsoka so its interesting to see that here, he seems to only get into ‘teacher’ when he’s angry with her. She has been learning from his example but she hasn’t learned all of the emotional truths Anakin has had to learn through experience.
Seeing Ahsoka go from being overconfident at the beginning of the episode to feeling despondent and seeking forgiveness helps us see how she learns from her experience and allows her to grow, not only as a character, but as a Jedi and a leader.
Innocents of Ryloth shows Obi-Wan’s part of the liberation of Ryloth. Obi-Wan, Cody and their troops are tasked with landing on the planet and disabling the Separatist Surface-To-Air Canons.
After the initial skirmish, Cody sends two troopers, Waxer and Boil to recon one area whilst he and Wooley scout another. Cody finds that the Droid Army are using the local Twi’Leks as hostages to stop the Republic forces from blowing up the canons. Obi-Wan has a plan but a Separatist Probe Droid relays it back to the Tactical Droid in charge.
Waxer and Boil encounter a young Twi’Lek orphan, Numa who is afraid of them. They take off their helmets and she warms to them, calling them both ‘Nerra’. They leave, Waxer reluctantly but when Numa gets ahead of them they decide to let her join them. She leads them to the ruins of her home where she picks up her old stuffed toy.
Cody notices the absence of Waxer and Boil before the group are to move out. This is relayed to the Tactical Droid who unleashes a group of ravenous animals, called Gutkerrs. Boil and a Waxer receive Cody’s transmission but are cornered by the animals. Numa leads them to a hidden path.
The Gutkerrs attack Obi-Wan and his troops. Obi-Wan uses the Force to lure the creatures into a trap where Cody and his men blast the cliffs around the creatures to capture them, but allowing Obi-Wan to Force jump to safety. They meet with Waxer, Boil and Numa and after Obi-Wan an Numa talk they form a plan to rescue Numa’s people whilst Cody and the rest of the Clones divert the droids attention.
The Twi’Leks are freed and attack the Tactical Droid, tearing it apart. Mace Windu’s ship arrives and he commends Obi-Wan. Numa is reunited with her family and as she waved goodbye to Waxer and Boil she calls out ‘Nerra’. They ask Obi-Wan what it means, he translates it for them, ‘brother.’
This is a great episode. It’s predominantly a Clone-centric episode with Waxer and Boil’s storyline but the inclusion of Obi-Wan and his troops keeps the narrative going towards the end goal, which is part three of the arc.
Having a Waxer and Boil interact with Numa shows a different side to the Clones, which is nice and welcome.
The Tactical Droid is a formidable opponent, it successfully spies on the Republic forces and has spent time torturing the Gutkerrs to make them ravenous and hostile.
This episode is great and can easily be watched on its own or as part of the bigger story arc.
Liberty on Ryloth concludes the Ryloth campaign and story arc. This time following Mace Windu’s attack against the capital to capture Watt Tambor and free Ryloth from the Separatists.
Windu’s forces are ambushed and he looses a lot of troops and equipment in the battle. During a hill-meeting with the Jedi, Ryloth’s Senator Orn Free Taa and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, Windu announces he will get help from Cham Syndulla, a revolutionary leader who once opposed Senator Taa. Mace is undeterred.
Mace and two troopers find a squad of Battle Droids who are attacked by Syndulla’s freedom fighters. Mace tries to get him to join with him and his forces but Cham refuses. He takes them back to the Resistance stronghold whilst the rest of Mace’s troops reach a village.
In the capital, after defying Count Dooku’s orders to evacuate and destroy the city, Watt Tambor sends Hyena Bombers to destroy all the nearby villages. When Mace’s troops begin handing out rations to the villagers they are attacked and the village is destroyed. Commander Ponds contacts Windu and Syndulla who decides it is time to take action, first by talking to Senator Taa.
Tambor is loading transports with Twi’Lek treasures ready for the evacuation. His Tactical Droid tells him that two more are on their way.
Syndulla and Taa speak. Taa promises to make sure Ryloth is not invaded again whilst Syndulla promises to not seek power. Mace orders Anakin and his pilots to destroy any Hyena Bombers they can.
At the capital the following day, the two transports loaded with treasure are nearing the capital, and the plasma bridge that leads to it. Mace and two Clones get on board one of the transports and make it half way across before they are picked up on scanners. Mace and the Clones make it to the opposite side. Mace fights the Battle Droids whilst the Clones make it in to the control room and reactivate the plasma bridge allowing Mace’s troops and Cham’s forces to enter the city.
During the siege, Tambor’s Tactical Droid escapes on a shuttle, leaving Tambor to be captured. As the battle draws to an end a group of Hyena Bombers approach the city but are destroyed in the nick of time by Anakin and Ahsoka. Watt Tambor is arrested and Ryloth is once again free.
Liberty on Ryloth is a brilliant episode. It really shows how powerful Mace Windu is and how he operates as a tactician in a way we never got in the films. The animators nailed the fighting styles that was developed for the character.
I really enjoy the political side of this episode with the rivalry between Orn Free Taa and Cham Syndulla.
The episode features one of the best moments from the season, when Mace and the two Clones are on the plasma bridge as it is deactivated works brilliantly, the sound design is flawless, taking out most of the sound and making us feel like we are in Windu’s head as if in a Force Trance.
The final episode of the season was Hostage Crisis, this episode introduces us to two of the shows future recurring villains, the Duros Bounty Hunter, Cad Bane and Aurra Sing. Bane and his crew infiltrate the Senate Building whilst Anakin tries to convince Padme to leave on a two week holiday with him, she says she can’t and has a lot of important work to do in the Senate. In an effort to convince her, Anakin gives Padme his lightsaber saying the weapon is his life and he trusts her with his life.
They are interrupted as C-3PO and Bail Organa arrive to escort Padme to a senate meeting prior to a vote. Anakin hides and Padme has to hide his lightsaber up her sleeve.
Meanwhile, Bane and his goons shut down the power to the Senate building and then take the Senators, including Padme and Bail Organa hostage. Anakin sneaks through the vents but is spotted by Bane who sends a thug and assassin droid to deal with the Jedi.
Anakin manages to communicate with Palpatine who tells Anakin that he needs to get to the power core and call for help.
Bane contacts Palpatine and delivers his terms, he will restore power and turn the captured Senators Free for the release of Ziro the Hutt. Palpatine doesn’t agree.
Anakin manages to evade the goons until he reaches the power core where he is overwhelmed by the thugs, including Aurra Sing. He is brought back to Bane who sets up a series of bombs around the Senators and Anakin. Bane contacts Palpatine again who relents and sends Senator Orn Free Taa to deal with Ziro’s release.
Bane leaves the captured Senators and along with his goons, leave to pick up Ziro.
Ziro’s release is botched when Palpatine orders the Clones at the prison to arrest Bane. After they escaped with Ziro, Bane sets the charges to explode as they escape.
In the Senate building, Anakin wakes up in time and after Padme gives him back his lightsaber after making it sound like he dropped it, Anakin cuts a hole in the floor, dropping the captive Senators to the floor below just before the bombs go off.
I love this episode. Why? Cad – frickin’ – Bane. He is one of the best Bounty Hunters in the Star Wars franchise. I love the look, very Spaghetti Western, the voice is great and the way the character comes across is brilliant. This was a great introduction to the character and we get to finally see another notorious Bounty Hunter in action, Aurra Sing. A crack-shot with a sniper rifle and dangerous in hand-to-hand combat she is a force to be reckoned with.
We get to see more of Anakin and Padme’s relationship in this episode. They clearly need to spend more time together but can’t because of their duties, despite Anakin’s best attempts to whisk her away.
Ziro the Hutt returns after being imprisoned at the end of the Clone Wars film. Unfortunately this storyline doesn’t pick up again until Season Three, so its quite a wait.
A great end to the season. Even though they could have ended it with the three-part Ryloth arc which was grandiose enough to give the season a satisfying end I like that they gave us one last episode to nicely introduce us to Cad Bane, who will feature more prominently as the series progresses.
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