Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 5, Episodes 10-13 – “The D Squad Arc” – Exploring Droid Sentience Could Have Been Better

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    This was an arc that tried to be both comedic and dramatic. It mostly failed on the comedic and had a few moments of awesome for the dramatic and profound…shortly after to waste them on comedy. It was still an enjoyable adventure to say the least, but you really don’t need to watch this arc.

    “Secret Weapons” was directed by Danny Keller and written by Brent Friedman who wrote the rest of the arc. “A Sunny Day in the Void” was directed by Kyle Dunlevy, “Missing in Action” was directed by Steward Lee and “Point of No Return” was directed by Bosco Ng.

    The story is that of D Squad who serve under General Gascon. Their mission is to retreive Separatist plans for a surprise attack on the Republic. After recovering the plans they must escape the Void and finally stop the ship that plans to destroy an important conference taking place in the Republic.

The Pros: R2 – R2 is the droid with the most personality and the most memorable of the lot. He is the true leader of the group and helps them fulfill their mission on multiple occasions.

“Secret Weapons” – The infiltration of the Separatist Cruiser is pretty cool. We get to see each of the droid use their upgrade in a way that gets them closer to the data chip with R2 using his boosters to grab it. It was a lot of fun even though Gascon and WAC can get really annoying.

8 / 10

“Missing in Action” – This story is that of Gregor, a clone who lost his memory but recovers it when Gascon and the droids remind him of who he is. He is amazing and we see him defend them and get his freedom from the man exploiting his amnesia. I wish we’d had more time with this character, he has a moment of awesome though and takes on a whole squad of Droids.

9.5 / 10

Gregor – Gregor has a great arc and his discovery that he is a warrior and standing up for who he wants to be is fantastic! His Clone Commando gear is also really cool when he finally gets it back.

Abafar – This desolate planet is great in how it taps into our characters and we see how they clash and come together and also how wide the Separatist net stretches as they are mining resources from this world for their trap and turning a Republic Cruiser into a bomb.

Exploration of Sentience – WAC and Gascon discuss nature versus nurture in regards to genetics and nature versus programming and we see how similar they are. We never get Droid sentience officially recognized though it is a good start.

The Cons: Gascon – This guy was really annoying and definitely had Little Man Syndrome going on. He was arrogant and disregarded everyone until he needed them. We see him go insane on Abafar but that is about as interesting as he gets with his only good moment being how he helps Gregor find himself.

WAC – WAC is annoying, he is a Jar Jar like character who was made to be a comedic character and also was supposed to be profound. He failed on both counts and was a lot like Gascon. Really arrogant and stubborn and not much else.

Disposable Droids – From the Droid General to the rest of the astromechs, they are pointless and serve no purpose beyond plot convenience

Dr. Gubacher –  This guy had a small part but it was annoying as the Mad Scientist trope is over exaggerated. I didn’t believe that the Republic would use him or Gascon as assets.

  This was a fun arc but had a lot going against it, even though 2 of the episodes were at least solid, the rest was pretty forgettable and could be pretty boring. There were a lot of good ideas here but the Droids could not carry the episode and R2 is good but C-3PO and their dynamic is part of what makes him so much fun.

Final Score: 6 / 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 4, Episodes 15-18 – “The Obi-Wan Undercover Arc” – Plots and Trust

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     This arc was great at exploring the ends the Jedi will go to meet their ends and how Anakin is growing apart from them and the council and closer to Palpatine. We also get to see Dooku being a great threat again and Cad Bane at work. It was a very great arc that managed to give a fair amount of showing rather than telling. The antagonists were wonderful and seeing Obi-Wan in action was also great.

    “Deception” was directed by Kyle Dunlevy and written by Brent Friedman who also wrote the other 3 episodes in the arc. “Friends and Enemies” was directed by Bosco Ng, “The Box” was directed by Brian Kalin O’Connell and “Crisis on Naboo” was directed by Danny Keller.

    The story involves Obi-Wan faking his own death and taking the identity of his supposed killer Rako Hardeen. Things get complicated when Anakin is seeking revenge against Hardeen and the Jedi Council must be honest to both of them as Dooku’s plot unfolds and Obi-Wan is pulled deeper into the criminal underworld.

The Pros: Going Undercover – The operation of Obi-Wan becoming Hardeen is really well done, as well as his gaining the trust of Moralo Eval who is the main guy behind the plot being used by Dooku. His gaining his and Bane’s trust takes time and he saves them multiple times. It’s very well done and we see him change his face and voice too to fully become the character.

“The Box” – this is what Moralo invents to create the best Bounty Hunters and it helps them form a bond and how they work together. It also shows that Bane is the best as he will go to any means to achieve the mission with Obi-Wan coming in second because of mercy. We also see the coolest Bounty Hunters who survive, such as Embo who is the Samurai alien we’ve met before, Twazzi who is quick and the calmest of the group and Derrown who looks like a three eyed mushroom with tentacles whose tentacles are electric. He is really cool too and of course Eval, Obi-Wan and Bane.

Anakin – We see a lot of Anakin’s anger in this as Obi-Wan’s funeral has him in Dark Side mode and later we see him going his own way and working behind the Council’s back to try and stop Hardeen as we see his loyalty is primarily to Palpatine who listens to him and not the Jedi Council. There are some great character moments because of this.

Cad Bane and the Bounty Hunters – Bane brake Moralo Eval out of prison and helps them escape the Hutt Homeworld as well. It is great in that among the Bounty Hunters, but especially Eval, Obi-Wan and Bane there is always a power struggle going on which creates some great dynamics as Bane is the best of them but Obi-Wan does a great job at pretend. Cad Bane would have won too if not for Obi-Wan but him getting arrested isn’t a big deal as he has escaped multiple times and is the reason Moralo is able to break out in the first place. Bane is one of my favorite characters for a reason.

Palpatine – Palpatine feeds Anakin’s ego in this and we see how smart he is too, from feeding Naboo pride and Nationalism and showing being apart of all of the situation in the first place as it feeds Anakin’s hatred and anger and distrust of the Jedi. It is very well done and we see how good he is at showing rather than telling and how sympathetic he comes off as.

The Naboo Operation and Duel – The Operation was really cool and we see that the only reason Bane doesn’t succeed and Dooku doesn’t win are due to Obi-Wan pulling off his undercover operation so well. The Duel really stands out as we see Anakin’s anger and hate grow as Dooku continues to just beat him over and over again and his anger growing in the process before Obi-Wan arrival changes everything. Bane also holds his own in every fight he is in.

  This was a great arc where even the minor characters like the Bounty Hunters got explored. We also see that Count Dooku is a major threat once more and that he has a deep respect for Obi-Wan who is responsible for both his failure in capturing Palpatine and the capture of Cad Bane. Suffice to say, I recommend this arc.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10