by Steve Glosson
I haven’t done any reviews for The Clone Wars series since the movie was released. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t want to step on my friend Michael Cohen’s toes or because I just haven’t thought about it. However, after tonight’s episode, I can’t help but geek out about it.
Destroy Malevolence wrapped up a three part story surrounding a secret weapon developed by the Separatists that was leaving no witnesses to it’s destructive power. In the first part, Rising Malevolence, Jedi Master Plo Koon was rescued right in the nick of time by Anakin and his padawan Ahsoka after having his fleet destroyed by the Malevolence, which employs a huge ion cannon to disable a fleet of ships’ power and then the huge vessel uses it’s turbolasers and vulture droids to destroy the ships leaving no survivors, and no witnesses. In the second episode of the trifecta, Shadow of Malevolence, Anakin and his fleet join with Obi-Wan’s fleet and use information from Plo Koon to track Malevolence and attack it head on. In an awesome space battle, Anakin and a small fleet of clones, using early Y-Wing bombers destroy the main weapon and put Malevolence on the run.
In the newest episode, Destroy Malevolence, the fleet has the ship on the run, and Greivous and his droids are looking at a huge defeat and a colossal failure in the eyes of Count Dooku. In an effort to play off of the sympathies of the Jedi, Darth Sidious has The Banking Clan feed Chancellor Palpatine (I know, I know..but let’s pretend we don’t ok?) false information concerning their desire to defect from the Separatists. Senator Amidala is given coordinates to go meet with the head of the Banking Clan and work out the negotiations. Padme, along with C-3PO (See Threepio) (Vintage action figure collectors, see what I did there?) come out of hyperspace right in the path of the Malevolence and are promptly captured by it’s tractor beam. As she is being taken aboard the massive warship, Padme gets a call to the Republic Ships and Anakin, along with R2-D2 (Artoo Deetoo)(Did it again.), and Obi-Wan, launch a rescue mission into the ship.
What’s great about this episode?
First, the references to lines in the prequels, and there were several. The first involves a manoeuvre Anakin uses to dock at an emergency air lock. As the air lock opens Obi Wan tells Anakin, “You know, spinning is not flying.” To which Anakin responds, “Yes, but it is a good trick.” What a great throwback to Episode I! Never thought I’d be happy to hear lines from the prequel movies referenced. As much as I love them, I never thought that they were very referenceable. (Not a word, but it fits.)
Later, Obi-Wan and Anakin are separated and Obi-Wan comes face-to-face with Greivous and a group of battle droids, super battle droids, and destroyer droids. As Greivous walks up in the room he looks at Obi-Wan and says, “Hello there.” We know that a few years later, Obi-Wan will turn the greeting around on the cyborg. Awesome.
There is a great interaction between Anakin and Padme here as well. After Anakin takes out a group on the bridge, Padme tells him that ever since she first met him he’s been playing with droids. Their banter is witty, funny, and their enjoyment of being around each other is evident even in the most dangerous of situations.
That’s the next thing I loved about this episode. Padme and Anakin. For the first time, I felt like I didn’t have to be an apologist for them. There was a great flow to the relationship, and it was really easy to believe. Padme was definitely not the typical damsel in distress and from the trap she sets for the droids on her ship, the way she carries herself through all of the danger, and her skills in taking out droid starfighters from the gunner position on the Twilight (Anakin’s ship that he’s kept from the movie) one can see where Leia gets her scrappiness in the original trilogy.
Finally, there was the action of this episode. It felt like Star Wars. The cast was out of one situation into the next right until the droids activated a little creative jury rigging that Anakin did with the Malevolence’s hyperdrive nav computer and ran the ship into a lifeless moon, destroying it. This episode made me want to watch Star Wars, prequels or otherwise. I’m sitting here, legitimately wanting to pop in a DVD and just get right back into that galaxy far, far away.
What wasn’t so good?
Basically, the same things that everyone has complained about thus far. The battle droids continue their Three Stooges, very cartoonish antics. I’m not sure how kids watching feel about the gags, but my hope is that Dave Filoni and crew will scale back and learn the proper balance between the battle droids being funny, while at the same time feel like a real threat to Republic forces and Jedi, similar to the feel they had in The Phantom Menace.
The music is still not John Williamsy enough for me, but it works for the show, and this episode’s music was the best so far. That’s the other hope I have for this series, that Filoni and crew will encourage Kevin Kiner and the music editors on the show to dip even more into the classical feel of John Williams. I feel that a move like that would only improve the show. Just watching the commercials with music ripped straight from the movie soundtracks makes the show better.
So, while I have truly enjoyed every episode of The Clone Wars so far, especially the first episode, “Ambush,” this episode seemed to kick things up a notch for the series. While, as with any series, I don’t expect them all to be winners, I think that this is going to prove to be one of the most consistently good shows on television.
Next week? Looks like we’re going to get a very “Clone-centric” episode. Should be interesting. Make sure to check here for my review.
As for this week, I have to give the episode a full 5 out of 5 giant warships. It was honestly that good.
Before I go, however, if you are a total prequel hater, this episode may actually shift your attitude toward the prequels, or at the very least this series. Here’s my disclaimer however, if you are a total prequel hater, you’re probably still gonna hate this show. So, go pull out your original version of the original trilogy and enjoy it…it’s still good.
And of course, may the Force be with you.