Star Wars Rebels – Season 2, Episode 2 – “Relics of the Old Republic” – Clones and Jedi Together Again

Relics_of_the_Old_Republic_thumb

  “Relics of the Old Republic” is another solid episode of “Star Wars Rebels.” There hasn’t been a great episode so far but I think that’s mostly due to the writers developing the feel and characters of this season as we have a much more expansive cast thanks to the addition of the Clones and Ahsoka. How their arcs will all play out remains to be seen though.

    The story involves Agent Kallus’s assault on the Clones and Rebels as Kanan continues to deal with his distrust of them while Hera works on an escape.

The Pros: Agent Kallus – The guy should have done an orbital bombardment but I got to give him props for coming down in AT-AT’s and he did destroy the Clones’ Tank, even if all his Walkers were destroyed in the process. It was kind of out of his control since Constantine got recalled to pick up an Inquisitor

The Clones and Rex – I really like them, especially Rex who has adopted Ezra as a Ahsoka or Anakin type of partner. It was great seeing them in action against Kallus’s AT-AT Walkers and them having to work with the Jedi to survive. It was like “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” again.

Kanan – Kanan’s distrust is still just as strong but he begins coming around, especially when Rex tells him that the Jedi are the only ways they will survive the battle and that he always trusts his General. After the battle Kanan begins to warm towards them.

Ezra – Ezra is the one who has to guide them above when they are in the sandstorm and we see him step up to the challenge. It is awesome seeing that it is Rex’s belief in him that gives him the courage to do it too.

Okay: Sabine, Zeb, Hera and Chopper – All of them are just kind of there and we don’t get any real character time with any of them. They are just surviving and none of them had standout moments this episode.

  This was a good ending to the arc that started last episode. We meet the Fifth Brother Inquisitor at the end of the episode and the Clones join the Rebellion so there are lots of stories that could be made. Part of me is hoping that the Clones go out in a blaze of glory or get back in touch with their Mandalorian heritage. Either way, there is so much that can be done thanks to this episode.

Final Score: 8 / 10

Star Wars Rebels – Season 2, Episode 1 – “The Lost Commanders” – Ghosts of the Clone Wars

Star Wars Rebels The Lost Commanders

    “The Lost Commanders” is a good episode that could have been great if the format had been 1 hour instead of half that. We get some great exploration with the Clones and learning about what happened post Order 66 with some questions still open and things that need to be discovered. How they are doing things though…I think the 24 episode format could work for this season if they play their cards right.

     The episode was directed by Dave Filoni and Sergio Paez and written by Matt Michnovetz.

     The story involves the crew of Ghost seeking allies and a base for the Rebellion in the Outer Rim as Ahsoka points them in the direction of the surviving Clone Commanders while she investigates the Sith Lord Darth Vader.

The Pros: The Commanders – The Commanders are awesome! You have Wolffe who reaches out to the Empire because he doesn’t trust the Rebellion and just wants peace, Rex who is advocating for help and Gregor who has gone crazy from the events of the war. It’s really cool seeing their dynamic and how war weary they are. They all carry regrets and for Rex Ezra is the hope he saw in Anakin.

Kanan – Kanan distrusts the Clones and for good reason as Wolffe did sell them out, even if he apologized. We learn that the Clones killed his Master and from that we learn some Jedi did betray the Clones while others like Rex, Gregor and Wolffe removed their chips…when they did is still a mystery but it helps make Kanan a little more comfortable with them.

Ezra – Ezra is getting war weary too and is stuck above taking care of their ship after Imperials injure it. We see that she is the more cynical view to Ezra’s hope and they compliment each other’s perspective really well. She also sees the bigger picture and we learn Jedi and Clones saved her during the Clone Wars.

Okay: Sabine and Zeb – Much like the Siege of Lothal, these two are just kind of there and can’t even kill a scouting droid the Empire sends. It’s a shame that Zeb is just comedic relief and used to catch an alien for the Commanders to eat.

Ahsoka – She’s going off the find out about Darth Vader and points them in the direction of the Clones. Not so much a character as a plot device this episode.

  This was a good but not great episode. We see the promise of things to come but there was more that could have been explored. Kanan and Rex should have fought and dealt with the end of the Clone Wars. I guess we’ll see more of that later hopefully but hints aren’t the same as answers and if the Clones are going to be brought in, we need answers.

Final Score: 8 / 10

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

Epguide511

    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 7-10 – “Darkness on Umbara Arc” – Personhood and War’s Potential to Corrupt

Epguide408

  “The Darkness on Umbara arc” is really good. In this we see what the war has done to Jedi and how many Jedi see the clones as expendable, as well as giving us the chance to see the sheer variation of Clones and how they bond and clash. It’s a powerful episode and one that has great foreshadowing of what is to come as Krell’s disillusionment will be Anakin’s by the end of the war.

   “Darkness on Umbara” was directed by Steward Lee and written by Matt Michnovetz who also wrote the other 3 episodes in the arc. “The General” was directed by Walter Murch. “Plan of Dissent” was directed by Kyle Dunlevy who also directed “Carnage of Krell.”

    The story involves the conquest of Umbara by the Republic where thing soon change on the battlefield where Anakin is recalled by Palpatine and General Krell takes over. Krell has no respect for Clones and sees them as expendable. This leads to Clones like Fives and Hardcase acting on their to save forces and eventually Captain Rex rebelling as well when he sees how corrupt Krell is.

The Pros: Umbara – Umbara is a dark planet and the stakes are high as the Umbarans are great fighters and the Clones only win through strategy and not force of numbers as the Umbarans far outnumber them. They also have really advanced tanks and weaponry too and a lot of the Clones fall to them because of dangerous they are as a foe.

General Krell – Krell is seeking to become a Sith and does it by turning his troops on one anohter and sacrificing to the Umbarans so that Dooku will take him as an apprentice. The reasons behind this we learn are disillusionment. He has seen visions of Order 66 and the Death of the Republic so now only serves himself. He was a great antagonist and enemy and he only loses because Dogma shoots him because of how betrayed he felt at being used.

Dogma – Dogma is the one who worships authority, but after he learns that Krell had turned two Clone Units against each other turned against Krell and is the one to kill him. He’s like a child and seeing how broken he is from the betrayal is powerful.

Hardcase – Hardcase is friends with Fives and is the one who destroys the power of the Umbarans in a secret mission with Fives. He loves combat and war but sees the bigger picture too and hates Krell for taking them for granted. He dies in the Battle of Umbara does a major blow against the Umbarans in the process.

Fives – Fives from “Rookies” has grown a lot and he is the one always questioning Krell and the one who asks Rex not to stand against them as he knows their mission will save lives. He loves his Clone Brothers more-so than loyalty to the Republic and it is great to see how he’s deceloped as a leader.

Captain Rex – Captain Rex is beginning to get disillusioned too as when they free themselves of Krell he still sees that they are cogs in a much larger machine and that it could be any general in the future who could do what Krell did. It’s a powerful moment and is part of what goes on when he goes from speaking against Krell, to actively helping his men come up with other plans and finally arresting Krell. He was not able to kill him though.

   This was a great 4 episode arc and one I’d highly recommend. Some of the best episodes are the ones that explore how the Clone War is destroying people and how others see the Clones. It is that shows that there is a rise in the Dark Side as people are seen as expendable to meet ends, whether those ends are noble or not…Krell’s path is the path Anakin is on and no doubt many other Jedi who fear losing it all.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 4, Episodes 5-6 – “Adventures with Droids Arc” – R2 and C-3PO Fairy Tale Adventures

Epguide405

    These two episodes were a fun adventure that played tribute to a lot of fairy tale tropes and R2 and C-3PO do have great chemistry together which creates a great dynamic. I honestly didn’t expect to like these episodes but was pleasantly surprised when I did.

     “Mercy Mission” was directed by Danny Keller and written by Bonnie Clark. “Nomad Droids” was directed by Steward Lee and written by Steve Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle.

    The story begins with R2 and C-3PO being sent on an aid mission to Aleena and things soon get crazy as they discover a world beneath the ground. After solving the issues on this world their ship is attacked by Grievous which leads to them crashing on further world as their power dies.

The Pros: The Aleena Arc – The Aleena arc was cool. The little Aleenas had sharp teeth and worshiped the fairy like creatures who were causing earthquakes to get rid of the air above that was killing them. The arc is complete when R2 and C-3PO close the manhole.

Patitite Pattuna – This arc was like “Gulliver’s Travels” as we have the droids captured by little people and after they accidentally kill the little people’s corrupt leader bring Democracy to them which ends in chaos as they leave. It’s really funny as they worship their leader but when he is killed they celebrate. The species is very passionate and changes their mind on things quickly.

R2-D2 and C-3PO – R2 is enjoying the adventures but C-3PO is the one who listens to others. This creates a great dynamic in the situations where R2 is trolling with C-3PO tries to talk them out of the situation. These two went great together and I didn’t expect them to carry this arc.

Okay: The Pirates and Hidden Droids – There are two other arcs that were okay. The Pirates arc where they were having the droids fight in arenas. This ended with the robots being insinerated by the Separatists and R2 and C-3PO just escaping when the Republic attacks and the Hidden Droids where Droids were manipulating the locals to create a being that looked like a God and R2 reveals them. This could have been a lot better but was still decent.

The Cons: General Grievous – He attacks the Pirate ship for target practice and loses once more to the Republic. Another wasted day with the General. I should create a section for every time Grievous fails as an antagonist.

If you are looking for a fun adventure, you will probably enjoy this arc. R2 and C-3PO have great chemistry and the little fairy tale situations make for some great moments and some really creative art done by the graphics team. I’d recommend these episodes for sure.

Final Score: 7 / 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 2, Episode 15 – “Senate Murders” – Toxic Nationalism

Onaconda_farr_dead

     Watching “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” in order of events was the right thing to do. If I hadn’t done that I would have had nearly enough time with Farr or gotten to know the character how I did if not for it, because I had time to see his relationship to his people, the Republic and Padme, it makes his death actually mean something. This event is one of the powerful things to happen in the series thus far as well as learning more about the members of the Peace and War Faction.

     The episode was directed by Brian Kalin O’Connell and written by Drew Z. Greenberg and Brian Larsen.

     The story revolves around the death of Farr from Rodia when and the Peace Faction are rallying against a Bill by the War Faction to increase Clone Trooper production. From here Padme seeks to find out who was the one responsible as the fight against the Bill rages on.

The Pros: The Politics – The Peace and War factions are really cool. On one side Farr, Mothma, Organa, Padme and Lolo work against the Bill while Deechee and the Kamino Senator Burtoni. Neither side is clear of dirt and we see that both are using whatever is at their disposal to win, though the War faction is more ruthless.

The Death of Senator Farr – Farr is a great character, he will do anything for his people…be it joining the Separatists or fighting against Bills that would lead money going to war rather then the Refugees and his world. He is a true patriot that way as well as imperfect and it is his imperfection that leads to his death.

Senator Burtino – Is cold and calculating and doesn’t respect the Peace Faction at all. She also thinks they aren’t dangerous enough to kill though Lola sets up to be framed for the murder until Padme forces Lola’s hand.

Senator Deechee – Lola kills him too and he is the one who respected Farr. He had Farr followed and knew about the meeting between Lolo and Farr but didn’t know who or the details. I liked this character as he truly believes that increase in troops is the only way to win the war.

Lolo – Lolo is a nationalist and believes that Farr doomed their people the moment he entered the war. She isn’t wrong but she is blinded to any other perspective. This is her undoing in the end as she tries to remain hidden rather than standing openly against Farr politically and using political power to stop him.

Padme – Padme is the idealist and continues fighting for the Bill until she loses everything when Lolo plays her hand and the Peace Faction is discredited in the process as we see that the other side of Populism is Nationalism and Nationalism can lead to great stupidity.

Palpatine – Palpatine does a great job manipulating everything and I wouldn’t be surprised if he had pushed Lolo’s ideology through his very subtle form of influence. He speaks great double speak as at the end he sympathizes with Padme but also thinks that maybe the increase of Clones maybe the only way to make peace at this time…he is brilliant and has planted the growing seed of doubt in Padme.

The Horrors of Nationalism – Nationalism at it’s extreme can mean the silencing of dissenting voices as country matters more than the perspectives within it. It is this Nationalism that leads to Farr’s death and a further economic cost on Rodia because of it.

  This episode is a great contrast with the populism from last episode. Lola was like Padme’s handmaiden except she saw only rage by Farr’s involving Rodia with the Separatists and Republic and her reasons to hate were the same desperation that the people are feeling because of the war. That is what makes the entire event a tragedy and asks the question, “How can there be peace with one’s enemies when there isn’t peace at home?”

Final Score: 10 / 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 3, Episode 1 – “Clone Cadets” – Clone Identity

Epguide301

    “Clone Cadets” is a great episode! This is an episode where the characters we come to care about are the Clones and even some mercenaries too! In this the one Jedi (Shaak Ti) is the weakest character. The episode is full of tender moments and all the characters not only form identities beyond numbers but grow as characters.

    The episode was directed by Dave Filoni and written by Cameron Litvack.

     The story is about Domino Squad on Kamino and their quest to pass so they aren’t forced into being forced into labor on Kamino. From here their story unfold as their personalities clash and they slowly develop identities beyond the numbers they were born with.

The Pros: Training – The training sequence is really cool. They fight simulations with battle droids as the enemies where they have to take the tower. It’s done really well as the only way to win is with full cooperation of the team.

Kamino – The Kamino don’t care about the Clones and say as much to Shaak Ti, for them it is all business which shows just how devalued the clones are by all those around them, even their creators.

The Mercenaries – The mercenaries have very distinct personalities. Bric is rough but his challenges help make Domino the best squad while El-Les’s advocating for them gives them the chance to pass in the first place. He sees potential in them and is open about it versus Shaak Ti who is very guarded but can relate to them better. Bric looks down on the clones and doesn’t truly see them as people.

Shaak Ti – Shaak Ti is the wise teacher who reminds the squad that she can relate to them as she is a Jedi and their is no room for her as part of the order to be a true individual, just like the clones. She also views all life as sacred as a counterpoint to the Kamino’s disregard for life. She is still a Nationalist though and sees the Separatists as evil which they are not, they are a lot more complicated than Palpatine propaganda.

Domino Squad – Domino Squad has a great arc! They embrace the names given them, from Echo who repeats everything to Cutup who is the joker but good at adapting, to Hevy who is reckless but also courageous and Fives. All of them pull through the adversity and through the support of 99 who was a clone who was designed “wrong” find support in each other and with 99 and win the day.

99 – 99 is abused by all those around him but eventually finds a friend in Hevy and Domino Squad who embrace him as a brother since he is a clone like them who was the only one who believed in them at one point. He receives Hevy’s medal as well as a promise that Hevy will return showing that he finally has family.

The Message – Don’t let others define you, define yourself and remember those who face adversity just like you. This is the core message and what the clones teach us about ourselves.

  This is another episode that demonstrates just how powerful I hope this show can be. I actually care about the clones, when in Episode II and III they were just numbers. They were as personified as droids and simply weapons. In this we see the weapons are aware and have struggles of their and are so much more than what the Republic has chosen to make them. I can’t wait to learn more about them and their struggles.

Final Score: 9.7 / 10