Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 5, Episodes 2-6 – “Revolution on Onderon Arc” – The Process of Rebellion

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  The “Revolution on Onderon Arc” is a pretty good arc. I am pretty annoyed at the character of Lux at this point as I never understood the romantic tension he had between himself and Ahsoka, it felt tacked on, which is a shame as if his character could develop more outside of that he isn’t that bad. The side characters in this are great though!

  “A War on Two Fronts” was directed by Dave Filoni and written by Chris Collins who wrote for all the episodes in the arc. “Front Runners” was directed by Steward Lee, “”The Soft War” was directed by Kyle Dunlevy and “Tipping Points” was directed by Bosco Ng.

    The story involves the Jedi Council sending Jedi advisers to Onderon to train the rebels of Onderon who are fighting against their corrupt King who joined the Separatists in order to reinstate the old King. From here they must train the Rebels in the art of fighting while staying out of the conflict itself.

The Pros: The Politics – The fact that the Republic is involved via the Jedi but in a manipulative way is really interesting and shows that even they are playing with the definition of neutrality (though Anakin is for more overt involvement though he toes the line later). It’s fascinating as well as the rise of the rebellion in popularity and how they go about doing that, the military’s relationship to the people and the past versus the current King.

The Kings – Ramsis supports the will of the people but not a violent uprising until he sees that the Separatists will go to any ends under the once idealistic King Sanjay who usurped him. They have an interesting relationship as they are nobility so they respect each other.

Ahsoka – Ahsoka must be an observer though she nearly gets involved when the Rebels are about to be executed. In this she is torn for her feelings for Lux and friendship with the group and her role as an observer Jedi. It isn’t dealt with fully but for what they did with it was decent.

Obi-Wan and Anakin – These two are two perspectives. Obi-Wan for as little involvement while Anakin wanted full action initially. This leads to them getting weapons to the Rebels via Hondo when Anakin’s perspective wins out. He also warns Ahsoka about personal feelings as he probably realizes how much his relationship to Padme has cost him in regards to being a Jedi too.

Hondo – Delivers weapons to the rebellion in a really cool way, the fact that Obi-Wan and Anakin want him to keep it on the down low makes it even more entertaining and you can tell how much Hondo loves having a favor over the Jedi.

The Rebels – The rebels are decent (Lux) to great (Saw and Steela) I will go into them individually below. The leader of the military joins the revolution too when the Separatists kill King Ramsis too.

Saw – Saw is angry and the assumed leader of the group and has a major indepedent streak. He is brother to Steela who becomes leader and we see that he believes so strongly in the revolution he turns the General serving King Sanjay.

Steela – Steela is the revolutionary who defeats Sanjay’s and the Separatist forces, though she dies in the process. She goes from a sniper, to the rebel leader to finally the head general of the rebellion. She’s a great character and is the calmest who can see the long game. Only issue was her jealous of Ahsoka in regards to Lux and her relationship.

Rebellion process – First was being able to fight back and building a base, next was attacking a major target to rally the populace and finally fighting with the populace against the oppressive force. I really liked how they did it these episodes.

Okay: Lux – Lux is there primarily as a relationship foil for Ahoska and Steela and for being inept and being the political one, in the end he decides that Onderon should join the Republic, which wasn’t a surprise given he does tend to go with what profits most in the end.

I really enjoyed this arc and liked that it had stakes, Steela’s death actually meant something and in the end things aren’t clear as Lux’s initial assessment about the Republic and the Separatists both being corrupt was spot on. Onderon may not survive the coming Empire.;

Final Score: 9 / 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 4, Episodes 21-22 – “Darth Maul’s Return Arc” – Why Did They Bring Maul Back?

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   Generally in fiction it is a bad idea to bring back someone who has already died. Shaak Ti in “Star Wars” died multiple times before she finally had her worst death in “The Force Unleashed” where she was killed by one of the biggest blandest Mary Stus to come out of this Universe. From this episode bringing back Darth Maul was the exact same problem, it took away from the development of Savage Opress and took off focus from the Clone Wars to retread ground we had already walked back in Episode 1, as well as giving a chance for Obi-Wan and the Jedi Council to act stupid. There were some things that worked about this arc though, and I’ll go into detail on what those things were.

    “Brothers” was directed by Bosco Ng and written by Katie Lucas who also wrote “Revenge.” “Revenge” was directed by Brian Kalin O’Connell.

    The story involves Opress finding Darth Maul his brother driven mad by his rage and being left behind. After he helps his brother find himself again he takes him to Mother Talzin who restores his legs and from here Opress and Maul set a trap for Obi-Wan by luring him to a village by slaughtering all the men, women and children in it. From here the story unfolds as Obi-Wan and Ventress work together as Ventress was brought to the world in her search for the Bounty on Opress.

The Pros: Savage Opress – This guy is unhinged and really powerful in the force. Everywhere he goes people get hurt and you get the idea that when he was pumped full of Darkside magic he lost all sense of self. He is still an agent of Talzin and the Darkside but beyond that there is very little that makes him human. It’s very cool to see this in his interactions with others too.

Ventress – Ventress arrives and saves Obi-Wan’s life when Maul is torturing him. They have a great dynamic and she is good at establishing that this isn’t entirely out of the goodness of her heart. Their banter is great and we see that she has continued to grow as a duelist.

Obi-Wan Kenobi – Obi-Wan gets schooled, which he kind of deserved since he didn’t take a Jedi Task Force with him (which Yoda stupidly consented too) and he nearly dies because of that. He only just escapes because of Ventress hunting Opress. He is fun in this though and he takes his battering and bruising with a smile and mocks Darth Maul a lot.

Revenge on the Galaxy – In the end Maul and Opress plot revenge against the Jedi and the galaxy and it is a good moment too as it shows that they are beyond the personal and have the potential to be an actual threat the galaxy.

The Cons: Darth Maul – There was no reason to bring this guy back and when we first see him he is insane…and even after he finds balance again we don’t really get his motivation beyond revenge against Obi-Wan. This idea could have worked if we’d seen him have some greater purpose beyond killing Obi-Wan, but we don’t which means it was a retreated of the Episode 1 fight for all intents and purposes.

The Idiocy of Personal Vendettas – Yoda says Obi-Wan should finish it on it’s own and gives Obi-Wan full reign to be an idiot. They knew how powerful Darth Maul was, so sending one person who didn’t know his current abilities was a recipe for disaster and felt the whole “Hero has to do for reasons” syndrome that is overdone in fiction.

I’m against bringing back characters who are dead, there is no point and it is largely just for fan service. There has to be a really good reason to write something in that stupid and so far the writers have not justified it to me. Maul sells toys, that doesn’t mean he should come back. This was a major reason I could not enjoy the episode and have trouble recommending it, even though it was decent.

Final Score: 7 / 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 1, Episode 6 -7 – “Downfall of a Droid” and “Duel of the Droids”- The Danger of Not Recognizing the Sentience in Droids

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    “Downfall of a Droid” and “Duel of the Droids” were fun episodes in the two-part episode that explores R2-D2 and his relationship to the Republic and Anakin. In this we see how taken for granted droids are and how they are only seen as tools and what they can give people, not as actual thinking beings.

    The episode was directed by Rob Coleman who also directed “Duel of the Droids” and written by George Kristic with “Duel of the Droids” written by Kevin Campbell and Henry Gilroy.

     The story involves dealing with the threat of General Grievous who has been ambushing the Republic Fleet from a secret base. From here Anakin and Obi-Wan seek to find the base but when the battle goes south R2 is believed to be destroyed. We soon learn a trash collector picked him up and is going to sell him to Grievous so that he can find out the Republic’s secrets.

The Pros: The Soundtrack – The music this episode is like a spy thriller and it is fantastic to listen too. Every battle sequence feels like the stakes are much higher because of how beautifully the music is intermixed with the action.

Obi-Wan – Obi-Wan shows just how detached he really is, which in many ways is to his detriment as it just makes him appear cold. In this case it is the missing R2 but what if had been a Clone Trooper. He tells Anakin multiple times not to look for R2 and later in this arc even says Anakin should kill R2 so the secrets don’t get out and warns Anakin about his attachment making him reckless (which he has a major point on that at least).

Anakin – Anakin shows just how attached he is in this episode and goes to pretty drastic means to get R2 back, I don’t think he recognizes R2 as a living being fully but I think R2 is a time he remembers when his mother was alive. For him R2 is a good droid but also his connection to the life that once was that he’ll never get back, as well as his attachment to Padme.

Ahsoka – Ahsoka is the middle ground in this but shows herself to be resourceful and drastic too as she distracts Grievous long enough for the Clone Troopers to plant the charges on the listening post. She almost dies in the process and Anakin calls her out though in the end doesn’t do much about it as he had been acting the same way the entire episode.

R2-D2 – R2 is cunning and resourceful and manages to send enough messages out for Ahsoka and Anakin to find him at the secret base. He also fights R3 and wins. In this we see R2 scared but even when scared the courage it has to continue to fight even if it’s humanity is never recognized and the Republic sees it as expendable.

R3 – R3 is another Astrometric droid who is secretly serving Grievous and puts Anakin and his troops at risk multiple times as well as almost destroying R2. It was brilliant making a droid like this a baddie since it never speaks.

Okay: General Grievous – We are told how much of a badass Grievous is and we hear how he’s destroying lots of ships but in both episodes we see his fleet and his base destroyed and him barely escape. Sorry, that doesn’t make him threatening. His fight with Ahsoka showed how powerful he is as well as his taking on Commander Cody and multiple Clone Troopers easily. Why can’t we get more of that rather than every named Jedi easily beating him?

   This was a good arc that establishes the individual personalities and desires of droids and how they are taken for granted. We also see how easily Ahsoka and Anakin could be turned to the dark side given their extreme attachment and recklessness. In this way it a great 2 part series for these reasons and the soundtrack adds so much to it all too.

Final Score: 8.4 / 10.