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 Cat and Mouse, Bounty Hunters, The Zillo Beast and The Zillo Beast Strikes Back.
Cat and Mouse is the first episode of the overall Christophsis arc that we see in the Season 1 episode ‘The Hidden Enemy’ and ‘The Clone Wars’ film. It has Anakin and Admiral Yularen take an experimental ship with a cloaking device past the Separatist Blockade surrounding Christophsis to deliver supplies to Senator Bail Organa and the Republic forces. We are also introduced to Admiral Trench, a spider-like being who is a brilliant strategist and also long believed dead until Yularen recognises some of his tactics from a battle prior to the Clone Wars.
Anakin pilots the ship (which is the same design as one used by Tarkin in the novel ‘Tarkin’ called The Carrion Spike) past Trench’s ship but when the Admiral sends bombers to the planet Anakin decides to ignore Obi-Wan’s orders and attack the Separatist fleet.
The first attack only manages to alert Trench to their presence but their second attack allows Anakin to trick the Admiral into unleashing tracking missiles which Anakin manages to evade and use them to destroy Trench’s ship, allowing Obi-Wan’s fleet to take down the Separatist blockade and deliver the supplies.
This episode really does well with showing the early relationship between Yularen and Anakin. We also get a great ‘A New Hope’ reference when Bail Organa says “Help is General Kenobi, you’re our only hope.”
I really like Admiral Trench, he’s brilliantly creepy and one of the best military strategists the Separatists have, it’s just unfortunate he gets taken out for the majority of the series in this episode.
Bounty Hunters is a phenomenal episode, based on Akira Kurosawa’s film ‘Seven Samurai’ it follows Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka on a mission to find out what has happened to a Republic Medical Station in orbit of Felucia. It has been destroyed by Separatists and their ship is critically damaged by Vulture Droids. They eject and land safely on the planet.
They start walking in the direction of a smoke column where they find a farming community growing essential crops. The farmers are living in fear of Pirates who attack and take their crops. The farmers have hired a group of four Bounty Hunters led by Sugi.
Whilst initially unable to help the farmers, the Jedi decide to help when they find out the Pirates are led by none-other than Hondo Ohnaka.
Anakin and Ahsoka train the farmers to defend themselves in time for the attack, where the farmers, Bounty Hunters and Jedi work together.
Suffering minor losses, the farmers, Jedi and Bounty Hunters fight off Hondo and his goons.
I’m just going to say it, I love this episode. Firstly because of the ‘Seven Samurai’ reference, Kurosawa was a massive influence in Lucas when making the original Star Wars donuts cool to see the seminal Directors influence carry on here. Secondly it has a few connections to other parts of the lore. Sugi is Jas Emari’s (from the Aftermath Trilogy) Aunt. The Bounty Hunter Embo is introduced in this episode and he continues to appear throughout the series and into the books, we find out that he is still alive and well during the Battle of Jakku and he joins Jas as part of her crew.
This is definitely one of the best episodes of Season 2 and one I can easily go back to if I want to just have something on in the background.
The Zillo Beast Arc duology were two episodes I was not looking forward to revisiting this time around. I’ve been putting them off for a couple of weeks but I sat down to watch them and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed them this time around.
In ‘The Zillo Beast’ Anakin and Mace Windu are leading the Republic forces on Malastare and use an experimental Ion based bomb. They use it to defeat the Droid Army and help convince the Dugs to join the Republic.
The bomb works but opens a sinkhole. On a rescue mission to extract the trapped Clones, Mace Windu finds the newly awakened Zillo Beast, a large Kaiju type monster that is trapped. Anakin distracts it long enough in his starfighter for Mace and the Clones to escape but his ship is destroyed. Using R2’s rockets he manages to escape the Beast but in doing so learns that it’s scales are impervious to a lightsaber.
The Dugs attempt to kill it but that only enrages the Beast and it escapes the sink hole. Anakin comes up with a plan to fire beam weapons between the Beast’s scales and knock it out so they can remove it from the planet and find somewhere for it to live in peace.
The plan works and as they are about to transport the Beast, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine informs Mace and Anakin that they are to bring the Zillo Beast to Coruscant for scientific study.
In ‘The Zillo Beast Strikes Back’ Mace and Anakin deliver the Beast to Coruscant where Palpatine’s scientist, Doctor Sionver Boll begins to experiment on the creature but discovers that she can’t remove the scales without harming the creature. Palpatine orders her to kill it so they can study it and when the Doctor attempts to do this the Beast again becomes enraged and it escapes.
Meanwhile, Obi-Wan and Padmé get Anakin to try to convince Palpatine to have the creature taken elsewhere so it can roam free. The discussion is cut short when they hear about the Zillo Beast escaping.
The Beast terrorises downtown Coruscant and directs its ire towards vid-screens of Palpatine. It makes its way to the Senate Building. Anakin, Padmé, C-3PO, Palpatine and his Guard escape in a Speeder but are caught by the Beast. Mace, Obi-Wan, Aayla Secura and Yoda arrive to distract the Beast and rescue the captives.
Aayla and Yoda take a ship and distract the Beast by leaping into its back whilst Mace and Obi-Wan use the Force to stop the Speeder from crashing when Anakin cuts it in half allowing them to escape the Zillo’s clutches.
Once they are a safe distance away, Clone Gunships bombard the Zillo Beast with gas bombs which eventually kill it.
The next day, as the Beast is being removed from Coruscant, Palpatine orders Doctor Boll to clone it for further study.
When I first watched these episodes I really wasn’t keen and then again on my second watch. I think it’s because I didn’t really want to see a Godzilla-style story in Star Wars. This time however, even though I was quite reluctant to watch them again based on my previous feelings I actually really enjoyed them.
I do have one complaint though, they make a big deal about the Zillo Beast’s scales being impervious to lightsabers and blasters, this is why Palpatine wants it to be studied and nothing comes of this. Feels like a wasted plot thread that could have gone in some interesting directions.
I am very pleased that my opinions on these episodes have changed, because there are some really good moments on them that pay homage to Godzilla, especially in the first episode which is the Star Wars version of Godzilla’s origin and then ‘The Zillo Beast Strikes Back’ is a mix of Godzilla and King Kong as the Beast terrorises Coruscant and then scales the Senate Building. I’m pretty sure they use a slightly altered Godzilla roar for the Beast as well which is pretty cool.
A really solid group of episodes. Like I said before I was reluctant to do the last two episodes but thank the maker I have altered my opinion, making the first half of the final disc a great start to the end of the season.
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