Avatar: The Last Airbender – Book 2 “Earth,” Episode 20 – “The Guru” – Attachment and Suffering

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 “The Guru” is a great episode! It reminded me a lot of Luke on Dagobah as it Aang’s attachment that is his downfall in the end as his fear drives him to be reckless and in the end has a much greater cost for the World in the next episode when the consequences of this episode pan out. It is a great philosophical episode too.

   The episode was directed by Giancarlo Volpe and written by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko.

    The story involves Aang traveling to Guru Pathik while Princess Azula uses the Dai Li to begin the process of her overthrow of the Earth King and destruction of the Avatar, Toph learns Metal Bending and Sokka gets to fight with his Father in the war against the Fire Nation.

The Pros: Long Feng and the Dai Li – Long Feng is still somewhat in control in this even though he is falling into Azula’s trap. He “traps” and negotiates control of Ba Sing Se with her in order for her to get control of the Avatar if he gets Ba Sing Se. He is great in this as the one behind the scenes as we see the Dai Li being a great threat again.

Azula and the Trio – Azula and the Trio set up Long Feng and the Dai Li as well as Iroh and Zuko too as all of the web Azula has weaved begins to slowly constrict upon our heroes as she captures both Zuko and Katara…her chips for getting control of the Avatar and turning Zuko.

Guru Pathik – Guru Pathik is the Yoda figure of this movie as he helps Aang let go of his attachments to tap into the Avatar state which is beyond all Elements and People and connected to everything. He is a good teacher too as he has humor and is very much an Airbender in his philosophy.

Zuko – Zuko is happy for once as he realizes that there is so much to be positive about. In this we see that for the moment he has let got to the hatred and honor that were turning him into his father and that he is becoming more like his mother was…kind and aware of others.

Iroh – Iroh is in a good place and says as much to Zuko as seeing Zuko happy is what he has always wanted (as well as owning a tea shop), when he receives a letter that they will be making tea for the Earth King he is even more elated too as he will be able to enter the Forbidden City as a guest rather than a conqueror.

Katara – Katara is first to realize the coup as she is helping the Generals and gets captured in the process. In this we see just how involved she is in the war effort.

Sokka – Sokka gets to fight the Fire Nation with his father though he eventually leaves after they have some humorous moments together as Aang’s vision is calling them back to Ba Sing Se.

Toph – Toph is able to see Earth in Metal and Metalbends her way out and captures the two men who had caught her in the cage. In this she demonstrates just how much of an Earthbending Master she truly is.

Aang – Aang progresses a lot in reaching the Avatar state but in the end his vision of the present and Katara captured brings him back so he is not able to complete the process of becoming the Avatar. His fear for Katara and love for her is his biggest blindspot showing just how human he is.

   This was a great episode and one of the best in the series. It had consequences, explored Buddhist, Daoist and Hindu philosophy and our characters go through changes and events have consequences, leading to one of the best Season Finales (next episode) of any show. Suffice to say I highly recommend this episode.

Final Score: 9.7 / 10

Avatar: The Last Airbender – Book 2 “Earth,” Episode 16 – “Appa’s Lost Days” – Appa Doesn’t Catch a Break

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  Team Avatar doesn’t catch a break. This episode is Appa going through trial and tribulation for weeks on end and in the end he still isn’t home. Seeing the world through Appa’s eyes was very cool as he is just kind of there for most of the episodes prior and we don’t get to know the character all that well. In this we understand Appa’s motivations and see just how connected he is everyone in this series. In this way, it was a very well done episode.

  The episode was directed by Giancarlo Volpe and written by Elizabeth Welch Ehasz.

   The story involves Appa’s adventures and misadventures in his quest to find Team Avatar and reach Ba Sing Se. It is a roundabout adventure as he must fight the elements, other creatures in the forest, Firebenders and corrupt humans who want to use him to their own ends.

The Pros: Appa’s Adventures and Loss and Regaining Self – Appa’s adventure is a pro, especially as we see the adventure slowly break him down. From the Kyoshi Warriors being his only relief until Guru Pathik is found at the Eastern Air Temple and gives him a letter for Aang. Besides this he faces a wild boar, Firebenders, Azula and the Trio and in the end is captured by Minister Fong. Appa’s story is tragic and it is no wonder he almost goes feral in the process.

Suki – Suki takes care of Appa and makes it her and the Kyoshi Warrior’s mission to protect him and bring him back to Aang. Sadly they aren’t able to do so as the Trio attacks and they are outmatched.

Guru Pathik – He is the philosopher of Avatar outside of Iroh and he helps Appa calm his mind as well as showing him where Aang is located. He is funny and calm and I wish we could have got this guy’s backstory as he is drawn to the Air Temple but doesn’t have any Bending abilities. What is his story?

Minister Long Feng – Uses a whistle to capture Appa leaving only Appa’s foot print which we saw Momo sleeping in last episode. The guy is brilliant.

  This was good for what it was as we see much more of the Earth Kingdom, see baby Appa with Aang and when Aang chose him and understand their connection a lot better. We also see our villains in action to a good degree too. I can’t help but feel more could have been done with this episode though and that some of the places he was captured at could have been cut down or expanded to include characters that matter to the plot.

Final Score: 8 / 10

Avatar: The Last Airbender – Book 2 “Earth,” episode 15 – “The Tales of Ba Sing Se” – When Fictional Tragedies Meet Real World Ones

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       These shorts are really good and hit really close to home as Mako, the voice of Iroh died around this time. So not only are deaths being remembered and our characters experiencing moments of loneliness, but no doubt those who knew Mako personally were also experiencing something similar. He was a great actor and voice actor and in regards to “Avatar: The Last Airbender” was the voice of the best character on the show.

    I’ll be reviewing each of the stories individually and coming up with a score the episode as a whole after.

“The Tale of Toph and Katara” – Bonding Time

Written by Joan Estoesta and Lisa Wahlander

  The episode is Katara and Toph going to the spa and later taking on some bullies with bending and bonding over the experience. It is a fun short and we see that Toph is insecure in herself and that she puts on heirs of toughness because it is a defense mechanism…knowing that she doesn’t have to do that around Katara is a relief to her and they are friends afterwords.

Final Score: 8 / 10 (Needed exploration of Katara as a character).

“The Tale of Iroh” – Remembering Those Who are Lost and Living for Those Who Live

Written by Andrew Huebner

  This was a powerful episode and is the episode that ends with it being in honor of Mako who had died around this time. The story shows that Iroh is truly a member of the White Lotus and is at peace wherever he is in the world and wants to help those wherever he is. We see him help a child stop crying and a few other things around town too before he has the picnic to honor his dead son who had died in the Siege of Ba Sing Se. In this we see that guilt at not being able to help his son do the right thing is what motivates him. He wants to do good to others because he blames himself for his son’s death and not doing the right with the war.

Final Score: 10 / 10 (Best of the shorts)

“The Tale of Aang” – You Can Change Things

Written by Gary Scheppke

  This is an episode that shows Aang’s idealism and his role as the Avatar as we see him free the animals from the Zoo and make them a large area right outside the wall so they have space and the Zookeeper can make money again. It’s a fun adventure and we see that his desire to help animals is tied to him wanting to find Appa again.

Final Score: 7 / 10

“The Tale of Sokka” – A Play of Words

Written by Lauren MacMullan

  Like the Aang episode we see that Sokka stumbles into situations and is usually quite intelligent until he messes up. We see him being popular with the ladies as he out Haikus their teacher but he messes up when his ego takes over and we see how that is always his downfall. The moment he expresses himself as better than anyone, he is knocked down a peg.

Final Score: 7 / 10

“The Tale of Zuko” – Relief and the Shadow of the Past

Written by Katie Matilla

 This episode shows that Zuko is still trapped in the shadow of the Fire Nation. This is what keeps him from having a relationship with Jin, though we see that he is finally starting to live as he thanks Iroh for setting up the date and that he did have a lot of fun. In this we see that Zuko is aware of his issues he has within himself but doesn’t know how to face them or to not be the Prince. In this way he is bound to his role and family while Iroh is free from it. I really liked Jin as a character too.

Final Score: 9 / 10

“The Tale of Momo” – Alone

Written by Justin Ridge and Giancarlo Volpe

 This episode is about Momo’s search for Appa and how he is chased and nearly killed a few times in the city but how it’s kindness allows it to bond with other animals of the city. Sadly Mom is not able to find Appa and ends with Momo sleeping in Appa’s footprint.

Final Score: 8 / 10

  As a whole this was a great episode full of mini-stories that revealed to us information about our characters. Making the episode in honor of Mako was the right thing to do too. It is an episode that is reflective and could be argued as filler but what puts it apart from filler is that events happen to our characters that show us who they are define them. We see what what motivates our heroes and what they strive for within themselves and the world around them.

Final Score: 9 / 10. The episodes are all fun even though they vary in quality and as a whole they are well worth the watch. These are short stories that matter in “Avatar.”

Avatar: The Last Airbender – Book 2 “Earth,” Episode 13 – “The Drill” – Team Avatar Gets Their Name

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      “The Drill” is a good episode, it is largely action focused but we still get some good character moments that strengthen the episode. We also see Team Avatar be given the name of Team Avatar by Sokka and see all of them working together to stop the amazing Fire Nation Drill.

    The episode was directed by Giancarlo Volpe and written by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko.

    The story involves the Fire Nation’s assault on Ba Sing Se with their Drill. It is up to Team Avatar to stop them after the Wall defenses of the Terra Team fall before Azula’s Trio. From here the story unfolds as Team Avatar must deal with the threat of the Trio and the Drill.

The Pros: The Drill – The Drill is powerful and takes a lot to destroy it. From within the Drill Team Avatar needs to steal a layout of it from an Engineer, next they need to weaken the interior before Aang crushes it from above to cause it explode. It does a lot of damage before it goes though and manages to break through the Wall before it is stopped.

The Trio – The Trio are once again awesome! Ty Lee takes out the Terra Team and isn’t afraid to get muddy when Sokka and Katara make their escape through the waste pipe of the Drill, though she gets captured in the overflow in the process, and Mai has a funny moment where is disgusted and chooses to stay in the drill. Azula does a great job fighting Aang until she is knocked off the Drill when it is about to explode and Aang finishes it off.

Team Avatar – Sokka calls them Team Avatar when he is inspired by the Terra Team for giving them a cool name. Outside the Drill Toph pushes against it, and she provides cover for them to get inside. Sokka comes up with the plan for weakening the interior and Katara and Aang weaken the Drill using Waterbending to break it down from the inside before Aang uses Earth and Airbending to break it. Katara also gets revenge on Ty Lee for Chi Blocking her.

Okay: War Minister Qin – Qin is just kind of there and has an arrogance to him. He was still smart for using the Drill, he just declared victory way to early and depending on Superweapons just isn’t smart since if the weapon fails you lose.

The Cons: Earthbender Forces – The Earthbender forces are pretty weak and the General is largely incompetent. This has sort of been a pattern in the Earth Kingdom which I might analyze at the end of Book 2. They lose way too quickly and their rocks don’t do anything to the Drill.

   This was a good action episode, but there weren’t that many character moments, and the weakness of the Earthbender forces was sad given that this is the Earth Kingdom Capitol. You would think someone in the Earth Kingdom would take the threat of the Fire Nation seriously. Suffice to say, it was still good action though.

Final Score: 8 / 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 3, Episodes 8-9, Season 1, Episode 22 – “The Hutt Revenge Arc” – Cad Bane is Amazing and Hutt Deception

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     Cad Bane is the best thing besides Ahsoka to come of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” as an original creation. In this we see just how good he is at the job and get to know the politics of the Hutts. Each episode is a rush against time as Cad has very limited resources and help and is on a timer to achieve each end, be it getting Senate Building info, freeing Ziro or finding Ziro. All of these are things that put Bane under pressure and give us a chance to see that he is the best bounty hunter of this era.

      “Evil Plans,” was directed by Brian Kalin O’Connell and written by Steve Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle. “Hostage Crisis,” was directed by Giancarlo Volpe and written by Eoghan Mahony, Brian Larsen and Drew Z. Greenberg. “Hunt for Ziro” was directed by Steward Lee and written by Steve Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle.

      The story kicks off with Jabba hiring Bane to steal the information for the plans of the Senate Building from R2-D2 and C-3PO, from here the story unfolds as Cad Bane and a group of bounty hunters take a group of senators hostage in order to rescue Ziro the Hutt and deliver him to the Hutt Council for judgement and finally ending Quinlan Vos and Obi-Wan traveling to the Hutt homeworld in order to find Ziro and bring him to justice while dealing with machinists of the Council, Ziro, Jabba and Bane.

The Pros: Padme and Anakin – Anakin gives Padme his lightsaber during “Hostage Crisis” and for much the episode they are hiding their love for one another and Padme is trying to hide why she has it while Bane and his bounty hunters are holding them hostages. They do a good job working together and avoiding questions though they look very suspicious later, anyone paying attention would see romance there.

The Bounty Hunters – Cad Bane and his crew are awesome! Aurra Sing is the sniper and takes out the Senate defenders easily, IG-86, Shahan and Robinino who is the hacker also helps capture Anakin when the bounty hunters ambush him. They are victorious and only IG-86 is destroyed.

The Hutts – The Hutts are Crime Lords and their homeworld is like vegas with dancing Twi’leks. There are five leaders and all of them have respect for Cad Bane because of how good he is at his job. They also see Ziro as a personal matter since he has secrets that could bring them down. Ziro trying to hold his own against them was pretty cool too as well as his drive at revenge for being locked up again.

Jabba and Sy – Jabba hires Ziro’s ex-lover Sy who is the singer at the homeworld who kills Ziro and gets Jabba the data pad. It is great seeing that, plus seeing that Ty was a better hunter than the Jedi and Bane.

Quinlan Vos and Obi-Wan – These two have a great dynamic! Vos is a Grey Jedi in the EU and it shows here as Obi-Wan and the others see him as crazy. He is confident and arrogant and anything but proper while Obi-Wan is all about politeness and diplomacy. They work well together though and I like that Vos is in this show. He makes Anakin look moderate.

Cad Bane – Bane is amazing in this and the reason to watch the episode! In this we see him do a full job and succeed at each one except killing Ziro as Ty already did, but he does escape the Jedi and holds his own against them, showing just how powerful he is. This guy is cold, calculating, strategic and all about business. It makes him a great player too as he has limitations and has to depend on his mind to win.

The Cons: R2-D2 and C-3PO – Their episode is droid hijinks with C-3PO getting tortured and R2 going to a droid spa. It is so weird and out there that I didn’t like it. There was no point for it but to keep R2 around so he could get captured and Bane could wipe their memories for his attack on the senate building.

   This was a great arc and one I’d highly recommend! Seeing the Hutt world and Hutt Politics was fascinating as well as seeing Quinlan Vos outside the EU and his relationship with Obi-Wan, and of course the main reason to watch it is Cad Bane who is the best Bounty Hunter on this show and is one of the best characters this show created.

Final Score: 9.4 / 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 3, Episodes 5-6 – “Corruption on Mandalore Arc” – Mandalore’s Worst Enemy is Itself

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    The “Corruption on Mandalore Arc” was enjoyable. This is one of the cultures and societies on the show that has gotten a fair amount of exploration already but we continue to get more and see just how complicated being a neutral power is. This is an episode where idealism is taken to the fullest degree as the next episode takes corruption to it’s greatest degree and we see the fallout from both in the arc.

     “Corruption” was directed by Giancarlo Volpe and written by Cameron Litvack who were also the same writer and director duo who finished up the arc in “The Academy.”

     The story kicks off with smugglers delivering goods that end up poisoning a lot of children, which leads Padme and Satine seeking to find the culprits as the Council and Prime Minister choose to do nothing. The arc finishes up with Ahsoka’s arrival to train the next generation of cadets as they discover someone high up is working directly with the smugglers and hoarding food from the populace.

The Pros: The Cadets – The cadets are pretty cool and they don’t bring the episode down. We see them work directly with Ahsoka and are inspired by her words to take action to change their society. They are the ones who learn that the Prime Minister was behind everything and it is thanks to them and Ahsoka fighting the Prime Minister’s corrupt troops that they save Satine.

Padme and Satine – These two have a great dynamic and I believed the friendship. They are both subversions of the Princess trope (passive and needs rescuing) as we see them find the corrupt smugglers and solve the issue of the poisoned tea. They have a great dynamic and know how to hold their own in a fight.

Ahsoka – Ahsoka takes action and learns that Satine had brought her to Mandalore since she didn’t know who to trust. She inspires the Cadets to find the truth but never loses sight of looking out for them as she helps them learn how to be good soldiers and people and to trust only those who have earned it. She gets them out of the Prime Minister’s trap and is the one who rescues Satine.

Prime Minister Almec – This guy is a complete politician but you get his point of view. What I didn’t understand is why he didn’t frame Satine as he was getting food to the populace in the only way he knew how from the war. He was rising in power in the process too, but he had some level of nobility that was never fully explored since they had him make stupid decisions at the end.

The Cons: The Moogan – These smugglers were animated to look bad and untrustworthy which in turn didn’t allow for their perspective. That was annoying as they seemed only driven by greed.

This was a great arc and one I recommend. So far any visit to Mandalore has been golden and we’ve gotten the chance to see just how complex and flawed the society is, as well as how linked corruption and power are as Almec has some parallels to Palpatine except he has idealism, where Palpatine is all about the bottom line and how much power he gains in the end.

Final Score: 9 / 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 2, Episodes 20-22 – “Boba Fett’s Revenge Arc” – Boba Fett is Ruined

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       This arc was okay, it wasn’t great as we get a lot of beige Jedi and Boba Fett was too, there was so much potential with his character that was just wasted since the show wasn’t willing to go as far as it could have for showing an orphan who had been raised by the best Bounty Hunter in the galaxy. Most of that was abandoned for overdone cliches and the most interesting parts of the episode were Anakin’s reaction to things and Captain Captain Hondo.

      “Death Trap” was directed by Steward Lee and written by Doug Petric, Drew Z. Greenberg and Brian Larsen. “R2 Come Home” was directed by Giancarlo Volpe and written by Eoghan Mahony, Drew Z. Greenberg and Brian Larsen and “Lethal Trackdown” was directed by Dave Filoni who was one of the writers along with Greenberg and Larsen.

    The story involves Boba Fett’s quest for Revenge with Sing to kill Mace Windu for the murder of his father. From here things unfold as he destroys a Republic Cruiser to trap them and deals with the threat of the Jedi closing in as he seeks to bring about his revenge and deal with his conflicted feelings over the people caught in the crossfire.

The Pros: Captain Hondo – This guy is back as Sing’s ex and he has a great dynamic with her and the Jedi as he doesn’t want to get burned from either side. Seeing him play the neutral party for once when he is usually an antagonist was pretty awesome.

Anakin Skywalker – Skywalker almost dies but through R2 manages to save himself and Windu. He is the one all out for killing Boba and if Boba kills Jedi later, he wouldn’t be completely wrong. In this we see how driven Anakin is by ends justifying the means and that there isn’t any accountability as Windu never calls him out fully on being so focused on himself and his ego.

Okay: The Bounty Hunters – They all have cool looks but we never get to know what their drive is beyond money or why Sing is helping Boba. Wasted potential but they weren’t completely useless.

The Cons: Boba Fett – For a character that is supposed to be the greatest badass later he mostly just frowns and fails in his mission and feels bad about the innocents in the crossfire later. Very poorly handled as a character.

The Jedi – Windu and Plo Koon are blank slates in this and we never get to know Ahsoka either because Plo and Windu take up so much of the screentime.

  This was an arc that was okay, but had way too much going against it. It would have been better to leave Boba out and make his story a mystery as now he has been even more ruined by the influence of the prequels.

Final Score: 5 / 10

Avatar: The Last Airbender – Book 2 “Earth,” Episode 10 – “The Library” – Knowledge to Hurt

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     “The Library” was one of the episodes I still remember to this day. In this episode we see just how short sighted Sokka can be and also how deeply his understandable vendetta against the Fire Nation goes. All of what goes wrong this episode can be tied back to Sokka and his desire to get back at the Fire Nation for all they’ve done (and his fear for what will happen when Sozen’s Comet arrives).

    The episode was directed by Giancarlo Volpe and written by John O’Bryan.

    The story involves Team Avatar taking individual vacation breaks with Katara choosing the Library when it is mentioned by Professor Zei from Ba Sing Se University who is seeking it. Things unfold when they discover it and Sokka seeks a vulnerability of the Fire Nation as the Knowledge Spirit warns them against seeking any action that could be used to harm another. Outside Sand Benders kidnap Appa and Toph is unable to stop them.

The Pros: The Library – The Library is very cool! Fox Spirits as the bringers of knowledge with the Owl-Dragon Knowledge Spirit as it’s Guardian who doesn’t trust humans after Zhao stole knowledge of how to kill the Moon. It has a great design and I like how it was buried beneath the sand before being discovered.

Professor Zei – Zei is all about knowledge and even when he is about to buried beneath the sand he chooses to stay in the library showing for him knowledge was never means to an end. I really liked this character and could relate to him.

The Sandbenders – The Sandbenders have a great design and are a great minor threat. We see them first eye Appa and the group and later are the ones who follow them into the desert to capture Appa. Curious to see how they will be explored later beyond being traders and thieves.

Katara – Katara loves books we learn as she chose the Library for that reason and we see her most committed to that and not using the Library as a means to an end. She is the balance to Sokka who sees it only as a tool against the Fire Nation.

Toph – Toph is blind so can’t read any of the books (which she points out to the group when they ask her to come) and we get to see her humor at work as well as her commitment to her new friends as she tries to protect Appa and hold up the Library for as long as possible so Team Avatar can make their escape.

Sokka – Sokka is all about defeating the Fire Nation so much so that he often misses the point of places. They do need to find a way to fight the Fire Nation but he broke a deal with a very powerful spirit and showed humans could not be trusted. This is the consequence of how Sokka’s activeness and vendetta against the Fire Nation can sometimes lead to trouble.

The Knowledge Spirit – The Knowledge Spirit has an awesome design! It is a mixture of Owl and Dragon and is super threatening and distrusting as it witnessed what happened when he let Zhao in and one of his fellow spirits was killed in the process. He is a great character and I wish we’d have seen him again in ATLA.

Okay: Aang – Aang is just kind of there, he agrees with Sokka and doesn’t fight him on seeking knowledge to hurt and it costs him Appa and access to the Library so he feels the consequences of his actions but that is largely on Sokka, Aang was a small player in Sokka’s game.

   This was a good episode that is worth checking out. More could have been done with the theme as we don’t really see the dangerous knowledge that the library holds. I see that as a missed opportunity given the superweapons like the Drill that we will see later. Still, I recommend the episode for sure, a great Sokka episode.

Final Score: 8 / 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 2, Episode 11 – “Lightsaber Lost” – Learning Patience

Lightsaber Lost

    “Lightsaber Lost” is a good adventure episode that lets us explore Coruscant further and give Ahsoka good character development. It makes good use of the limited time to tell a good story, though some of the quotes from the Prequels are problematic and they come up here at the end. I’ll get into what I mean later.

      The episode was directed by Giancarlo Volpe and written by Drew Z. Greenberg.

       The story involves Ahsoka’s quest to retake her lightsaber after a pickpocket on the lower levels sells it. As she investigates in her search from it Jedi Master Sinube works with her as he has not gone on an adventure for a long time and he specializes in the study of Coruscant’s criminal underworld.

The Pros: The Action – This is a good action episode as we see Ahsoka chasing a bounty hunter across the underworld of Coruscant and even into traffic as they jump from floating board to floating board. It’s a really cool action sequence.

Jedi Master Sinube – Sinube is an old Jedi who is super smart and slow. We see him figure out that the girlfriend murdered the boyfriend and he helps Ahsoka find them and learn patience. He is a great Jedi Master.

Ahsoka – Ahsoka is shown to be a lot like Anakin, from her attachment to her lightsaber, her willingness to attack for information first rather than question and how she jumps into everything without looking. She learns to step back from all of that though thanks to Sinube.

Palpatine’s Speech – This is a small note but I liked it. On his video to the public Palpatine is saying some suspect that the Jedi are trying to take over the government due to their expanding power during the war, he disagrees and asks for more wartime powers for himself and the Jedi…it’s a powerful sequence that is setting up the later fall of the Jedi really well. The public is already questioning them if they think they plan a government takeover.

The Cons: The Minor Characters – Everyone in the underworld isn’t fleshed out. The pickpocket is just a coward and has no motivation beyond greed, and the woman who killed her boyfriend and the bounty hunter are never given reasons for stealing the lightsaber and why they think it is so important. I never got reasons for anything they did, so even though they did the murder we never learn why beyond the lightsaber. This was poor writing on Greenberg’s part.

Your Lightsaber is Your Life – This is a messed up idea and one that Ahsoka tells the younglings. It is this mentality that makes the Jedi more of a military order than anything else and with it also cult like tendencies too. Your life is your life and the lightsaber is a weapon to protect your life and the lives of others. This was first mentioned in Episode II and I hate that it made a comeback too. Yoda at Dagoba was big on weapons not being the way of the Jedi and wars not making a person great, though I guess the Prequels changed that…in my opinion for the worse.

   This was a fun episode that is worth checking out. The murder mystery could have been a lot better but Ahsoka and Sinube have a great dynamic and it was fun seeing Ahsoka’s recklessness getting her into trouble that she had to get herself out of. She’s a flawed Jedi and that is part of what makes her so interesting as a character.

Final Score: 7 / 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 2, Episodes 9-10 – “The Hunt for Grievous Arc” – Grievous Just Isn’t a Good Enemy and Great Clone Development

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    Every time the writers give Grievous a chance to be a great threat, they ruin it if there is any more than a single episode. In this we see him capture a Jedi Master and proceed to nearly be captured following this, as well as not know how to command or use his men well. Why do they keep using this guy as an enemy? He brings down almost every episode he’s in from his failure to be a lasting threat that can be taken seriously? “Star Wars: Clone Wars” is the only time I can think where he truly felt like the threat he is implied to be in this show and Episode III. Suffice to say, was not impressed with his plan this episode and the fallout from it in the following episode.

    “Grievous Intrigue” was directed by Giancarlo Volpe and written by Bob Edlund, Drew Z. Greenberg and Brian Larsen and “The Deserter” was directed by Robert Dalva and written by Carl Ellsworth, Drew Z. Greenberg and Brian Larsen.

     The story involves Grievous’s capture of Jedi Master Koth and him being used as bate to lure Anakin and Obi-Wan into a trap to be destroyed. Unsurprisingly the trap fails and Grievous must make his escape down to the planet to call for help from the Separatist fleet. During this time Captain Rex is injured and must deal with his loyalties as the man and his family who care for him is a Clone deserter from the Republic army.

The Pros: Clone Identity and “The Deserter” – Clone Identity is explored in this as the deserter watched all his brothers get killed and panicked and ran away but fell in love and has a family who he loves and protects. Rex’s family are his Clone Brothers and we see him respect Cut for not being a coward, though still looking down on his desertion. They have a great talk and explore how Clones are programmed to fight for the Republic and conditioned too but that they are still individuals with fears and dreams and that can lead to many possibilities beyond simply being a soldier in a war that looks like it is never going to end. I really like Rex and Cut as characters and they had a great dynamic together. “The Deserter” would get 9 / 10, due to this.

Obi-Wan – Obi-Wan has a personal beef with Grievous and we see him hold his own and even nearly kill Grievous at one point. At this point it is personal and we see that blind Obi-Wan to some of the traps Grievous sets and to the life of his men who are far more likely to be killed by Grievous than him.

Okay: The Other Jedi – Anakin, Koth and Adi are just kind of there. They moments of wit but none of it really stands out as the focus is mostly on Obi-Wan and his vendetta against Grievous. I guess they almost die a few times but we don’t learn anything about them. Adi and Koth could have been traded out for any other Jedi Master we’ve met once or twice and it wouldn’t have changed a thing.

The Cons: Grievous and his Army – Grievous sucks, he sets up this master plan and in the end his ship just gets destroyed and he runs away when he has multiple vessels and could have won the battle above. He put himself needlessly at risk leaving his ship and not jumping to another cruiser and he kills so many of his own men he’s a plus to the Jedi in battle. I didn’t get his personal vendetta against the Jedi either. What had they done to him prior to him becoming a general in the Clone Wars? That is never answered so it just feels contrived. Worst antagonist on this show…

Final Score: 7 / 10.