The Clone Wars Review: The Gathering

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What did you think of the Plot?
Oky: In this episode, they are introducing a new kid-oriented version of the Ilum story arc from the original Clone Wars. When I first heard about this, I was less than thrilled. It wasn’t quite as bad as I feared, but it certainly didn’t do much to impress me. It’s just a group of younglings going through the caves looking for their crystals. I did like how each of them had to overcome a personal challenge in order to retrieve their crystal. However, there were several things that didn’t make sense to me here. First of all, why was Ahsoka in charge of escorting the younglings? She’s not even a Jedi Knight yet. And why was Yoda already on Ilum? Does he just like hanging out there? Also, I am not too familiar with the EU, but from everything I’ve seen so far, it seems that Jedi don’t get to assemble their lightsaber until they are a padawan, so this is another major retcon by The Clone Wars. What sensible adult sends children into a dangerous icy cave without supervision or any instructions whatsoever anyway? This seemed pretty irresponsible by the Jedi masters and it’s no wonder that there is a shortage of younglings if they keep sending them into a death trap like that. The “twist” at the end was pretty lame because anyone with a common sense could tell that Ahsoka was lying when she said that they would be trapped inside the cave if they didn’t get back by sunset. Those younglings must be pretty gullible if they really thought that in a world of laser weapons and force-users nobody would be able to break some ice. There were other things that bugged me, such as why couldn’t the younglings just use the force to retrieve their crystals? I guess you could just dismiss these plot holes by saying that these episodes are aimed at kids, but it just seemed like poor writing to me.
Brickdoctor: So TCW just took a lot of what we knew about lightsaber construction during this time period and threw it out the window. I haven’t read a lot on this subject, but from what I remember, Padawans are supposed to build their lightsabers with their masters, while younglings only use training lightsabers. The caves are also supposed to be filled with crystals everywhere, not just in some lower chamber that someone discovers by accident, and certainly not ceremonially held in fixtures that look artificially made. We also know that Barriss Offee already has built her lightsaber by the time she appears in TCW episodes that precede this one, so this episode must come after the older CW episode in which the temple on Ilum was largely destroyed by those bomb droids that turned invisible. I guess I’m going to explain this to myself by assuming that that battle destroyed all the crystals except the ones in that lower chamber, and the Jedi built a new temple above it and purposely placed crystals in those holders… or something like that… and these younglings get to go to the caves at such an early stage because they’re supposedly the top of their class, even though they don’t realize that there’s no way a thin wall of ice could trap them in a cave when there’re Jedi outside with lightsabers… yeah.
Masked Builder: This is a great concept, but they’re messing with what’s already been established, that bugs me. I really don’t like the way they’ve gone about this either, it’s just so different from what’s already been done. Had they kept a few elements from the original episodes, it might have been better.

What are your thoughts on the Characters?
Oky:  I kinda liked the younglings, especially the Ithorian. You could really tell that the poor guy was afraid, even though he hardly has a face. They all had distinctive personalities and you could really relate to them. But again, they seemed too young to be assembling their own lightsabers already. Ahsoka’s inclusion in this episode seemed pretty pointless. It would have made a lot more sense for Yoda to take the younglings to Ilum. Perhaps she will have a bigger role in the next episodes.

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Doc: I was under the impression that Lucas had decided there shouldn’t be any more Wookiee Jedi. Other than that, what bothered me was that these younglings are supposed to be at the top of their class. They certainly don’t seem to act that way.
Masked: The younglins were great to see, they have very little screen time in the movies. I’ve never seen a Wookiee Jedi, and to see some of the other species with younglings proves just how diverse the order is.

What is your opinion of the vehicles and locations?
Oky:  Posted ImageWe get a new Republic vessel in this episode, the Jedi Cruiser. It looked like a precursor to the Blockade Runner and I fail to see the point of introducing it. I mean how many different ships do the Jedi need? Ilum looked similar to its previous depictions, but was slightly different. One notable difference is that all the crystals inside the caves were colorless and only took on a color once the younglings touched them. I liked the previous depictions of the caves with differently colored crystals glowing in a dark cave, so this seemed a bit boring in comparison.
Doc: That cruiser is yet another ship that we don’t need invented for TCW. Never mind the fact that there are plenty of other craft that would do, why do we need an entire corvette just to transport Ahsoka and some younglings? As for the planet, it looked pretty similar to the Ilum of the older show, except for the fact that the caves are supposed to be of a very dark black rock that absorbs light. It’s close enough for me to consider it passable, considering what TCW’s done to some other planets. *cough*Mandalore*cough*
Masked: The older style blockade runner was neat, though I agree with Oky that the Jedi don’t need as many ships. I personally didn’t think Illum was snowy enough, that may be me though.

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Oky’s Rating: 2/5 – It wasn’t terrible, but it did have a few plot holes and a lame twist. Plus I couldn’t help but compare it to the Ilum episode in the original Clone Wars where Barris Offee is assembling her lightsaber under the guidance of her master Luminara before getting attacked by droids and getting rescued by Yoda and Padme. This episode seemed inferior to the old one in almost every way, from the setting to the plot and action. The Tartakovski version just made more sense and was overall more enjoyable. The only thing this episode has going for it are the likeable characters and the whole story about them learning their individual lessons. That little flashback at the beginning of Plo Koon recruiting baby Ahsoka was pretty neat too. In the end, this episode is another example of George Lucas messing up already established canon. I really hope he will have less say in this show now that it doesn’t belong to him anymore.
Doc’s Rating: 1/5 – This episode is full of all the things I don’t like about TCW. The plot has points where it doesn’t make any sense, the episode ignores previous canon, vehicles have been invented where they weren’t needed, there’s a lot of talking and not a lot of action, and we’re now six episodes in to a new season and we have yet to see a single clone in his armor.
Masked’s Rating: 2/5 – Still no clones really? This isn’t The Adventures of the Jedi Younglings. We’ll see how some of the next episodes shape up…

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