The Clone Wars Review: A Friend in Need

This one is also a bit late, and it’s only from Cloney, Doc, and me, but a great, thorough episode review nonetheless!

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What did you think of the plot?
Oky: I can’t say I was overly excited for this episode. It feels like they have beaten the Death Watch horse to, well, death, and yet here they are giving us another episode with them. Not only that, but they’re throwing Ahsoka’s love interest, Lux Bonteri, into the mix. That’s right, this episode is part of the same story arc as the two Season 3 episodes Heroes on Both Sides and Pursuit of Peace. Why they wanted to revisit an arc from over a season ago is beyond me, and since those two episodes were some of the worst episodes of The Clone Wars, it was especially hard to get excited for this one. It starts out with Lux accusing Dooku of murdering his mother during a peace negotiation between the Republic and Separatists. How exactly he found out that it was Dooku who killed his mother, it doesn’t say. I guess being the son of a Senator, he has his sources, but still it would have been nice if they would have given a little backstory at the beginning rather than just showing random clips from previous episodes. Anyway, Ahsoka follows him and saves him from Dooku’s droids. They escape in Ahsoka’s ship and Lux hijacks it in order to attend a meeting with Death Watch. Turns out this was all part of his plan to enlist the help of Death Watch for getting revenge on Dooku. But wait, wasn’t Death Watch working for Dooku? Well, apparently not anymore since according to Pre Vizsla, Dooku betrayed them and gave him a scar. When the heck did that happen?! It would be so much more interesting if instead of showing us the misadventures of a teenage boy they would show us Dooku’s betrayal and the fight between him and Vizsla, but I digress. On the way to the Death Watch outpost, they see some Death Watchers bullying some droids, which I guess was meant to make them look evil, but since they were just droids, you don’t really get that feeling. After all, they are basically just destroying their own property. While Ahsoka is being enslaved (AGAIN!) and Lux has a talk with Pre Vizsla, R2 is persuaded by the beat-up droids to repair them in a scene which was much creepier than it needed to be. It turns out that Vizsla and his gang have also enslaved the locals of that planet. Wouldn’t it have made them look much more cruel if they would have been bullying the natives rather than their own droids? Anyway, it is not until Death Watch has burned down the entire village and killed all the natives that Ahsoka finally decides to fight back, and with a little help from R2 and his ragtag group of new droid friends, she and Lux are able to escape. However, once they have left the planet, Lux goes off on his own again (because his last plan has worked so well), and he has a short conversation with Ahsoka through the airlock of an escape pod, which was just stupid. He promises her that they would meet again, and seeing how open-ended they left this story, I am sure they will.
COP: The plot of this episode was done very well. It actually had a sub/side plot with R2 repairing the droids, which is something that I can’t recall seeing in a CW episode for a while. I have to disagree with Oky about those points he finds to be plot holes. Death Watch attacking its own droids worked perfectly to me. Both that scene, and the scene where the broken Droids ask R2 for help strongly reminded me of Toy Story, in which Sid mashes his toys together and then does evil things to them. There was an ample amount of Death Watch bullying the natives anyway, such as the way they treat the women that they kidnapped, so to see the softer side of Droids and sympathize with them was an intriguing part that hasn’t been done before in the show. I don’t think the scene in which the Droids ask R2 for help was overly creepy; the creepiness helped us sympathize with the Droids. It is also understandable why Lux would go off by himself. We’ve scene from the prior events of the episode that he is naive and full of himself; why would that just change all of a sudden? He’s said over and over that he doesn’t want to be tied down to the Republic, so it made sense to me that he would still think himself capable of doing things on his own, even if he really can’t. I also didn’t find the conversation through the airlock to be stupid at all; it was actually a bit sweet. Fine, I suppose that you wouldn’t actually be able to hear any noise through it, but the fact that the conversation was done well makes it excusable. They couldn’t have had such a conversation otherwise; it wouldn’t have worked the same way if they were having it in person. Overall, I found the plot to be tight and well done, and I actually look forward to some more development of the relationship between Lux and Ahsoka.
Doc: Overall, the plot was pretty good. It started off with peace negotiations, so, since I don’t watch the trailers or read previews, I was afraid it was going to be another episode centered on politics. Thankfully, it wasn’t. As far as the lightsaber finding issue, I doubt that R2 hid the lightsabers, as he had to take out his radar thingy to find them. No one else was on the ship, so he didn’t need to do it for show. Lightsabers are something of a unique energy source, and having been around Jedi for so long, perhaps he simply knew what to look for. On that note, the trick of hiding lightsabers inside R2 has been used so much now that doing it in Jedi doesn’t even seem clever. In the Thrawn Trilogy, Mara Jade comments that she could never figure out how Luke smuggled his lightsaber into Jabba’s palace. Now, CW is making it look like the oldest trick in the book.

What are your thoughts on the characters?
Oky: This was one of the better Ahsoka episodes. She really proved that she can defend herself even without lightsabers, and it was good to see how aware she was of Lux’s stupidity. However, she really could have acted sooner in trying to save Bonteri and the villagers. Lux on the other hand was a bit annoying. His “plan” didn’t seem very thought-through, which is excusable since he’s just a teenager, but the fact that he goes off on his own again at the end just shows how truly stupid he is. And I can’t say that I enjoyed watching the chemistry between him and Ahsoka develop, especially their kiss which felt forced in so many ways. R2 was awesome as usual, even though I find it quite ironic that he asked the battle droids which he repaired to repay him by sacrificing themselves for him and his friends. I guess those droids must have been broken one too many times to have agreed to such a deal. Also, how the heck did R2 find Ahsoka’s lightsabers so fast? Does he have a lightsaber homing device or something?? It was pretty cool to finally see the Senate Commandos in action. The slave girl who Ahsoka met was just another one of those one-off characters that you get briefly introduced to and then get killed off before you can start caring about them. Again, she would have been much more sympathetic if they would have shown Death Watch bullying her around rather than the droids. Posted Image
One interesting new character was the first female Death Watch member, Bo-Katan. She was a pretty tough woman, and Katee Sackhoff (from Battlestar Galactica fame) did a nice job voicing her. And even though rumor has it that she was only created in order to give fangirls another costume to wear at conventions, it was nice to see that Death Watch isn’t a men-only organization and I wouldn’t mind seeing her again. If anything, she would provide a nice variation on the Death Watch minifig if TLG ever decides to release more of them.
COP: I found neither Lux nor Ahsoka to be annoying. Lux was pigheaded, yes, but that didn’t make him annoying in the sense of the CW writers doing a bad job. If he was annoying, it seemed to me that he was supposed to be. Again I have to disagree with Oky, as I don’t think Ahsoka waited too long to help the villagers. She had to let Lux see for himself that he was misguided about Death Watch; if she’d just started hacking away with lightsabers after a second of being there, Lux would have just been angry at her and have no possibility to see the error in his judgement. I thought their chemistry wasn’t put too far in the forefront, but was still there, which was quite good. The kiss was supposed to be forced; Lux forced Ahsoka into it anyway as a cover. It wasn’t like they were having a romantic kiss. The way I saw it, R2 might’ve hid Ahsoka’s lightsabers because Lux said she needed to rest. R2 has done some strange things he thought were helpful before, so why not. If Lux had actually hidden them, I guess R2 finding them so fast would be weird, but I can’t say it really bothered me. Death Watch were cool and cruel. The writers actually pulled off evil, sadistic characters without making them seem dumb in anyway. What an achievement!
Doc: Lux is a character blinded by his own desire to avenge his mother. Sort of like the Anakin of Clones. We all know how well that went. Ahsoka, on the other hand, is developing into a strong Jedi warrior character, albeit at the expense of the Death Watch. I thought things couldn’t get any worse after CW destroyed the Mandalore of the Expanded Universe, but now, it’s starting to look as if Vizsla is the only one who might even have a remote chance at being worthy of being called Mandalorian. Jetpack malfunction, also, is something out of Jedi, but in that movie, the activation of Fett’s pack was Han’s pure dumb luck, and Fett was busy taking on a full-fledged Jedi Knight at the time. In this episode, it just makes Vizsla look like he’s simply not as skilled as Ahsoka is. Mandalorians are supposed to be equal to or better than the Jedi in terms of fighting skill. Between CW and Fate of the Jedi, they don’t seem quite as mysterious or fearsome as when they were first introduced in 1980 (other than beating up on Obi-Wan, which is becoming the norm).

What is your opinion of the vehicles and locations?
Oky: Carlac was a little different from your usual winter planet in that it had some Japanese flare thrown in with the cherry blossoms and the architecture of the village, and was therefore mildly interesting. Also, the animation of the snow and fire effects was pretty good. The only really notable vehicle here was Ahsoka’s ship, the Phoenix. The name is really fitting, considering that the ship’s design practically rose out of the ashes of an early concept art of the imperial shuttle! The look of it isn’t too impressive, but at least it’s different from most ships we’ve seen so far.
COP: The vehicles were… whatever. More new vehicles, more new merchandise. Yay. The location was pretty cool, what with the Japanese flavored style and all, but it’s another one of those times when Clone Wars takes a stereotype and comes fairly close to making it racist. What were they trying to say: that Japanese people are gullible? Or were they just trying to parallel the Americans forcing Japan to stop being a feudal state and open up for trade? I know Star Wars always takes a region of the world, makes it a planet, and stereotypes it, but it sometimes comes close to being slightly offensive.
Doc:  More new vehicles is now the average for CW, so I guess I can’t really complain about that. Still, I don’t see why Ahsoka took a cargo hauler to Mandalore, instead of one of the shuttles or Naboio yachts that we always see politicians riding in. It’s not as if she was undercover. Unless, of course, Ahsoka travelled with Padme in the yacht, but then, why was R2 onboard the freighter to get the engines ready? I doubt the Republic was using the freighter for its actual purpose: delivering freight which R2 could have been unloading. Speaking of getting engines ready, it annoys me that the engines needed to be prepped on temperate Mandalore, while on cold, snowy Carlac, the protagonists jump onto the ship and shoot off before they could have even realistically gotten to the cockpit. CW writers, face it – no matter how many freighters (or ‘pleasure craft’ cargo haulers, in this case) you introduce with heroes inside them that make narrow, improbable escapes, you’ll never make another Millennium Falcon.

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Oky’s rating: 3.5/5 – This was slightly better than your average episode since its flaws were minimal and were made up for by the great visuals and decent action. At least it’s much better than the previous parts of this story arc which focused on Padme’s not-so exciting adventures in the Senate, and both Ahsoka and the members of Death Watch were shown as strong characters for once. But it still bugs me that they showed this episode over a year after those episodes and are now leaving the story open ended to continue it at a later time. Why can’t they ever just tell a story from start to finish without shoving a bunch of other half-assed story arcs in between? And seriously, what was up with that zombie droids scene??
COP’s Rating: 5/5 – Honestly, this episode just worked. The relationships were good, Death Watch was good, there was a subplot for once; yeah, this one was a winner.
Doc’s Rating: 3/5 – The episode has a conspiracy to murder a Separatist leader, a politics scene, a new freighter, a romance, more innocent people enslaved by more bad guys, and yet still manages to include only five to ten seconds of actual clones fighting wars. Average.

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