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 reviewing are Clone Cadets, Arc Troopers, Supply Lines and Sphere of Influence.
Chronologically, this episode comes before ‘Rookies’ from Season 1, where we meet Domino Squad that consists of Heavy, Echo, Fives, Cut Up and Droidbait who ate in the final days of their training and about to take their final combat test to determine if they will be shipped out or remain at the facility as Maintenance.
Their practice attempts at the ‘Citadel’ training mission have failed because the squad are unable to work as a team and when they do fail the test, Jedi Master Shaak Ti decides to give them another chance.
After receiving some helpful advice from Clone 99, a defective Clone who runs the Maintenance department, Heavy rejoins the squad before the re-test and they succeed, despite problems with one of their trainers who has tampered with their gear.
A much needed introduction to characters we have already met, the issue here is that we already lost most of these troopers in Season one, with only Echo and Fives left at this point. But this episode, ‘Rookies’ and the upcoming ‘Arc Troopers’ form a story arc of their own, when put together make a lot more sense.
This episode also has a few precursors to upcoming story arcs. The test that Domino Squad are taking is called ‘The Citadel’ which is the Prison that features in an arc later in season three, and one of the trainers says that they should send Domino Squad with 99 and the rest of the Bad Batchers. Bad Batch is the nickname of Clone Squad 99 who feature in the ‘Bad Batch’ arc which is coming in the new season of Clone Wars.
Set after ‘Rookies’, following on from that episode, the Republic find out that Grievous is planning an attack on Kamino. Anakin and Obi-Wan take their troops where they fortify the city.
Fives and Echo meet 99 and tell him about the rest of Domino Squad before the Separatist fleet arrives.
Anakin takes Fighters to attack the fleet but Obi-Wan orders him to disengage when he finds that the debris from the ships Anakin and his pilots have destroyed is actually parts to build Assault Craft.
Obi-Wan realises what the Separatists are after, the original DNA sample of Jango Fett. Anakin goes to the DNA chamber and encounters Ventress whilst Obi-Wan takes on Grievous.
Meanwhile, Fives, Echo, Cody, Rex and 99 come up with a plan to defend the barracks. Their plan goes well until they run out of grenades, 99 goes to get more but is gunned down.
Anakin wins back the DNA sample from Ventress who is rescued by an escaping Grievous and the Droid army is defeated.
Echo and Fives are promoted to Arc Troopers after they remember 99.
I love this episode and quite frankly it gets me more emotional that it should, all because of 99. That damned Clone gets me in the feels every time I watch this and ‘Clone Cadets’. I think that chronologically this happens before Ahsoka joins Anakin as his Padawan as she isn’t in the episode but I could be wrong.
When watched together with ‘Clone Cadets’ this episode works really well, but also, it can be viewed away from the connected episodes and it’s still enjoyable. This is one of the few episodes I can just put on if I fancy a quick Clone Wars fix and only have time for one episode without getting sucked into a story arc.
Supply lines is set before the Season One Episode, ‘Ambush’ and also the ‘Ryloth Arc’ from the end of the First season. With Ryloth under Separatist blockade, the Republic and Twi-Lek armies are running low on supplies, Jedi Master Ima-Gun Di is desperately trying to get much needed food and medical supplies to the planet but to no avail.
The Jedi Council ask Senator Organa for help as he is close to the Toydarian system. Organa, along with Representative Binks visit the monarch of Toydaria, King Katunka and plead their case to use the planet as a base for humanitarian aid. Senator Lott Dodd of the Trade Federation also pleads the case for Toydaria to remain neutral and that any gesture of goodwill towards the Republic will be seen as a breach of their neutrality.
Katunka decides to help the Republic but wants to keep it secret. Jar Jar distracts them at a fancy dinner by creating ‘art’ which allows the Republic ships to leave without detection.
On Ryloth, the Twi-Lek people are escaping the battle as Master Di and the Clones hold the Droid army back, the supplies arrive as Master Di killed by Blaster-fire.
On Toydaria, Lott Dodd receives the news of the supplies reaching Ryloth but can’t prove they came from Toydaria. King Katunka tells Organa he would like to meet the Jedi Council to discuss Toydaria’s place in the war.
This episode is a welcome return for Ahmed Best as Jar Jar and a decent episode that leads in to some key episodes from the first season, and it’s good to see some non-Jedi characters that aren’t Padmé doing some important things in the series.
Sphere of Influence
This political action thriller brings us into the ‘present’ and introduces us to the man that ‘The Maker’ himself portrayed in ‘Revenge of the Sith’, yes, Baron Papanoida, the leader of the Pantoran people. He and his son, Ion go on a mission to find his daughters who have been kidnapped by Greedo. They visit Jabba and in a tense confrontation in the Hutt’s palace, Greedo admits to working for the Trade Federation who want leverage over Papanoida so that he would leave the Republic and Join the Separatists. Greedo takes the two to a bar in Mos Eisley where one of the Baron’s daughters is being held. She is rescued in a firefight where the Pantorans show off their prowess in battle.
Meanwhile, Ahsoka has decided to help the Pantoran Senator, Riyo Chuchi who is also investigating the kidnapping by visiting the Trade Federation blockade over Pantora. They find that the other of Papanoida’s daughters is being held on the lead ship of the blockade and they free her, whilst trying to reveal that the Trade Federation as a whole are working with the Separatists, however, Lott Dodd, the Senator for the Federation manages to convince the Senate that the group are loyal to the Republic and only a handful have been influenced by Nute Gunray and his allegiance with the Separatists.
This was a fun episode that brings us back into the regular timeline by bringing Ahsoka back and lets her stretch her legs without Anakin and Obi-Wan guiding her, although Anakin does show up in a scene with Ahsoka and Padmé where they discuss Ahsoka helping Chuchi find the kidnappers.
It’s nice to see Ahsoka working more independently and we get to see more of it this season as she teams up with more characters, especially early in the season.
Having the Pantoran’s play a larger role in this episode is a good way of showing how their leadership has changed since Season One and the development of Riyo Chuchi is well done, and we get introduced to Baron Papanoida who was the character that George Lucas cameo’d as in ‘Revenge of the Sith’ and shows off his skills in battle which are impressive and unexpected.
A great start to the season, and it’s nice to get some gaps in the timeline filled in but by Episode 4 it’s nice to be back in the ‘present’ and getting to spend time with the characters we love (well, Ahsoka).
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