Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 1, Episode 5 – “Rookies” – Making a Soldier

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     After how terrible the last few episodes were it’s great being back with our favorite clones! Our favorite Clones being the members of Domino Squad from “Clone Cadets” and his team along with Commander Cody and Captain Rex. This episode has cost, loss and people change! This is what is good good writing than contrived writing that we got during “The Malevolence Arc.” Events need to change characters since people aren’t static, this episode showed this really well.

      “Rookies” was directed by Justin Ridge and written by Steven Melching.

      The story involves a Separatist attack on a far flung outpost by Commando Droids. This outpost also happens to be where Commander Cody and Captain Rex were coming to expect and where Domino Squad is stationed as well. From here they must figure out how to recapture or destroy the station so that Republic forces will be warned about Grievous’s invasion force.

The Pros: Commando Droids – These guys actually feel like threats and manage to take out all the other Clones stationed at the base, leaving us only with named characters. They take a lot to take down too and are shown to have extreme intelligence, from wearing Clone Trooper armor and impersonating them to fulfill their mission.

Commander Cody and Captain Rex – These two are the teachers for the Clones and we see their creativity in action as well as how smart they are as they fake their death when their ships is destroyed and use the head of a Commando droid to infiltrate the base where they later lay the charges. They have respect for those who survive too and invite them to join the 501st legion.

Domino Squad – These guys became soldiers together and in this we see how laid back they are until things get serious. In this we see them slowly lose each other. From Cutup being eaten by an Eel after the Droid Commandos take the base to Hevy’s sacrifice at the end in order to warn the others. Fives and Echo live with the loss but are invited into the 501st legion as their inventive thinking is what made possible the victory that day.

Loss – Cutup and Hevy’s death actually mean something. They each died showing just how serious the Separatist and nature threats were and that there is no easy out in this war. You feel for their loss and see how it changes the survivors who have learned the cost of war. Hevy fighting to the end and setting off the detonator with his dying breathe was powerful too.

Okay: General Grievous – He was smart about the threat of the base but he should have just left it and attacked Kamino. He stalled and it cost him. I can at least understand why he was stalling and he was Chaotic Evil Stupid like the last time we saw the character. Still difficult to take him seriously though. He has no victories in this show and Ventress has shown herself to be a better commander.

This was a fantastic episode that even Grievous couldn’t ruin! We get to see the men of Domino Squad develop further, get some time with Cody and Rex and see the Separatists actually act like a threat and manage to kill some named Republic characters! So this episode was a win and one I’d recommend. Definitely a favorite.

Final Score: 9 / 10.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 1, Episodes 2-4 – The Malevolence Arc – Grievous is a Terrible Antagonist

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     I’m not reviewing the three episodes that make up this arc individually because it is a terrible arc and doesn’t deserve the time investment that would entail. One can only ran about how terrible Grievous is a villain so many times before it’s too much. He is the weakest part of this episode for so many reasons and doesn’t deserve the title General. This is a shame as he was pretty awesome in the 2D “Clone Wars,” sadly the Grievous we get here is like the one in Episode III, a coward who can’t even win against opponents who have less troops and resources.

     The episodes in question are “Rise of Malevolence,” Shadow of Malevolence” and “Destroy Malevolence.”

     The story involves the plot to destroy the new Separatist Supership called Malevolence as Dooku puts Grievous in charge of testing it. When Plo Koon and his men stumble on the ship and lose their fleet they are rescued by Anakin and Ahsoka who had been found by Master Plo Koon when she was child and together they must find a way to destroy the ship before it returns to Separist space.

The Pros: The Funny Moment – After the ship is destroyed Dooku calls Grievous to check in on the weapon and Grievous just turns it off. It’s actually a hilarious and a great middle finger to Dooku who probably felt like a fool for trusting Grievous in the first place.

The Battles – The battle to destroy Malevolence is wonderful, even though the dialogue is pretty terrible. You can pretty much predict every Trooper death before it happens.

Okay: The Jedi Knights and Masters – Anakin, Obi-Wan and Plo Koon aren’t bad but they are kind of interchangeable. I can’t think of anything memorable that was done that wasn’t predictable. Anakin and Ahsoka were going to find Plo Koon, that was never a question, all we saw was that Anakin trusts Palpatine when Palpatine calls in asking Anakin to retreat given that the council is displeased with his doing his own thing.

Count Dooku – The guy never let up on Grievous but we never saw him propose any solutions either. He was mostly there just as a threat and not active.

The Cons: Ahsoka – Says Artooy a whole bunch, gives nothing to the battle and only saves Plo Koon based on her belief that she’ll find him. She is a plot device this episode and feels like she was the “cute” anime trope played to the fullest and not an actual character. She was super annoying, though Grievous was worse.

General Grievous – Stupid cough, punching his own men who act like jokes and assuming he’ll win no matter what rather than concentrating on protecting the ship. The guy fell for simple traps and only survived the battle because he went into a fighter to join it. He was great in the fighter but he was embarrassment prior and I could not take him seriously as a villain. Really hope he gets better, right now he’s worse than Episode III and he was terrible in that. Also, he targets Clone Hospitals…and loses. This guy is an embarrassment to the Separatists, why did they make him a general?

   Don’t watch this arc. It doesn’t give you any new information, the characters don’t feel like complete characters, the villains are wasted and nothing of any significance matters. These episodes are only 20 minutes long but they felt so much longer. There is nothing good to be gained from them.

Final Score: 1 / 10