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 Senate Spy, Landing at Point Rain, Weapons Factory, Legacy of Terror and Brain Invaders.
Senate Spy puts Padme and Anakin’s relationship in the forefront of the episode. Padme is asked by the Jedi Council to spy on the representative of the Banking Clan, Rush Clovis, whom is suspected to be working with the Separatists. Anakin finds out that she was asked because of her and Clovis having a previous relationship. She begins to ‘rekindle’ their romance and joins Clovis on a trip to Cato Nemoidia where Clovis is meeting with the Nemoidian Senator Lott Dodd (secretly a meeting of the Separatist Leaders). Anakin disguises himself as Padme’s pilot to protect her. Padme is poisoned after Lott Dodd is displeased of her being around, but she is able to steal Separatist secrets and get them to Anakin before fainting due to the poison. Clovis tries to blackmail Dodd to get her the antidote and resorts to threatening his life, they get the antidote and Anakin is allowed to take Padme from Cato Nemoidia for medical attention.
After the Holocron story arc this episode is a bit of a slump in terms of story quality but it gives more insight to the relationship between Anakin and Padme. Padme becomes jealous when Anakin is called away to the Jedi Council, even though she understands that duty sometimes has to come first, no matter what, which she comes to realise during her mission. I do like that we get to see Padme getting more screen time. She was sorely underused in Revenge of the Sith once the Rebellion storyline was cut from the film but episodes like this and last seasons Blue Shadow Virus arc really gives us the opportunity to get more insight into her character and some history of what she was doing between Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. I also love that she is becoming a go-to spy for the Jedi Council, putting them at odds with Anakin.
Landing at Point Rain takes us back to Geonosis where Poggle the Lesser has restarted production on the Separatist Battle Droids and its up to a Anakin, Ahsoka, Obi-Wan and Ki-Adi Mundi to lead an invasion to shut down production once and for all.
The Jedi make a plan to land forces at three points and meet near the Droid Factory which is under a heavy duty shield.
Once the drop ships are launched they fall under attack from all fronts and are overwhelmed and the Gunships are either destroyed, crash land or are forced to land, leaving the Republic Army far from their target.
Obi-Wan is injured, and their forces severely depleted, all requests for reinforcements are denied until they are close enough to the target.
Anakin, Ahsoka, Rex and their team come across a large fortification and after a few losses they are able to infiltrate and destroy it before making it to Obi-Wan’s position and the Republic fighters are able to break through and give air support.
Ki-Adi Mundi’s team have to make their way through dark tunnels full of Geonosian soldiers, it takes time but they make it.
This is a tense episode. There are real stakes with the Republic forces being completely overwhelmed by the Geonosians. The one thing that would have made it that bit more tense is that rather than Ki-Adi Mundi, another known Jedi who we don’t see in Revenge of the Sith could have been used to up the stakes for the audience.
Weapons Factory continues the Geonosis story arc, whilst briefing the Troopers, Ahsoka is constantly interrupted by Anakin who thinks he his helping, leading them to argue. The argument is witnessed by Jedi Master Luminara Unduli and her Padawan Bariss Offee who have a much more ‘traditional’ Master/Apprentice relationship. They plan a coordinated attack where Anakin and Luminara will divert the Droid Armies attention whilst Ahsoka and Bariss sneak through the catacombs beneath the Droid Factory and destroy it from the inside.
Bariss leads Ahsoka through the catacombs and into the power chamber for the Droid Factory as Anakin, Luminara and the Clones take on the Droids. The Separatists unleash their new ‘Heavy Tanks’ which are impervious to blaster-fire. Anakin and Luminara decide to blow up the bridge that the tanks have stopped on, between their position and the Factory.
Inside, Ahsoka and Bariss have set bombs around the power core but a Geonosian spots the and informs Poggle the Lesser who leads a battalion of Droids and a Heavy Tank into the chamber and getting rid of the explosives. Poggle leaves and their Padawans battle the Droids and commandeer the Tank. They use the tank to destroy the power core which causes the factory to fall apart but also traps Ahsoka and Bariss in the tank under the rubble, injured and with limited air.
Anakin and Luminara search for their apprentices and they finally get a breakthrough when Ahsoka uses Star Wars Morse Code to give their location. Luminara and Anakin raise the rubble allowing Ahsoka and Bariss to get free.
This, for me is the last good episode of the Geonosis storylines in this season. It really develops the relationship between Anakin and Ashoka and his growing trust and confidence in her skills as a leader and a Jedi.
It’s also interesting to see the difference in the teaching methods and relationship between a more conventional Jedi Master and their apprentice in Luminara and Bariss than that of Anakin and Ahsoka, and we come to understand that Anakin’s training was vastly different under Obi-Wan, probably because of Anakin’s advanced age when joining the Jedi Order. Anakin’s inability to let go of someone he cares about is highlighted when he refuses to leave the area until Ahsoka is found, even if it compromises their mission or the safety of his troops.
And then we get to the final two episodes on the disc. I’ll be honest they are not my favourites by far. In ‘Legacy of Terror’ Poggle the Lesser is still on the run and a sandstorm arrives. Luminara takes her Clone Commander into the sandstorm on Speeder Bikes. They reach a Genosian hive and whilst communicating with Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ki-Adi Mundi Luminara is attacked.
When the storm passes Anakin and Obi-Wan arrive with Rex, Cody and some troopers and search for Master Luminara. They are attacked by Zombie Geonosians. Yes, you read that right. Zombie Geonosians. They can’t be stopped by blasters. They only stop when cut down by lightsabers. Zombie Geonosians.
After escaping the first hoard they manage to locate Luminara, Poggle the Lesser, more Zombies and a Geonosian Queen. The Queen wants to infect Luminara with a brain worm (the cause of the Zombification). Obi-Wan want to study it, Anakin wants to fight and escape. They fight and escape, Obi-Wan tries to take a worm but Anakin kills it. They capture Poggle the Lesser and destroy the Queen’s underground chamber and presumably the Queen as well.
Fricking Zombie Geonosians!!!
‘Brain Invaders’ follows on directly, Mace Windu needs supplies and Anakin offers that Ahsoka and Bariss take a medical ship to meet Kit Fiston to pick up the supplies and then meet Mace Windu whilst Anakin, Obi-Wan, Luminara and Ki-Adi Mundi take Poggle the Lesser to Coruscant.
Before leaving with Ahsoka and Bariss, a Clone Trooper is infected by a surviving brain worm.
You see where this is going right?
Brain worms take over the Clones and eventually Bariss whilst Ahsoka hides and survives. Yeah… big shock.
Anakin tries to find out how to stop the worms and interrogates Poggle who is defiant until Anakin unleashes his darker tendencies and starts to force choke the Geonosian Leader. He finds out that the worms can stand the cold.
Ahsoka turns on the air conditioner and sets it to sub-zero whilst the ship is about to dock with the supply station. Zombie Bariss attack’s her as it gets colder and colder.
The ship docks, Master Fisto boards the ship rescuing the crew, the worms are dead and the supply mission is a success.
Fricking Zombie Worms!
Now, there are some really good parts to these episodes and I understand what Lucas and Filoni had in mind, wanting to introduce different genres into the franchise, so my disliking of this storyline is purely because it just isn’t my cup of tea. Everything in ‘Legacy of Terror’ up until the brain worms is good. I like the idea behind the brain worms and the hive mind but the whole Zombie aspect just doesn’t play well with me. Even then it gives us some fun moments with Obi-Wan and Anakin as they try to decide where the brain worm enters the host as Poggle approaches Luminara with a freshy hatched Zombie maker.
However, ‘Brain Invaders’, for me at least, has one good moment, when Anakin interrogates Poggle using force choke. It’s really just one of those small moments which we get through The Clone Wars that just shows Anakin’s turn is gradual and not just Palpatine’s machinations in ‘Revenge of the Sith’. Aside from that I can take-or-leave this episode.
A mixed bag of episodes that round out the second half of the first disc of this season but in all my years of watching TV I don’t think I have seen one season of 22 episodes where they have all been fantastic, and as I have said the qualms aren’t about the quality of those episodes but really just my own preferences.
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