Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 5, Episodes 17-20 – “The Trial of Ahsoka Arc” – The Life and Times of Ahsoka Tano

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   “The Trial of Ahsoka Arc” is a solid arc that really shows that the Republic is on the brink of becoming the Empire and just how useless the Jedi Council and the Republic truly are at bringing about any form of justice. It is a powerful arc and it forever changes Ahsoka and pushes Anakin further to his path of later destroying the Jedi.

    “Sabotage” was directed by Brian Kalin O’Connell and written by Charles Murray, who wrote the rest of the episodes in the arc. “The Jedi Who Knew Too Much” was directed by Danny Keller, “To Catch a Jedi” was directed by Kyle Dunlevy and “The Wrong Jedi” was directed by Dave Filoni.

     The story involves an attack on the Jedi Temple by an unknown Jedi who sets up Ahsoka to take the fall. Over the course of events Ahsoka must prove her innocence while being hunted by the Jedi and the Republic. This leads to her making an alliance with Ventress and later her being cast out of the Jedi Order before her trial before the Republic.

The Pros: Ventress – Ventress is working a Bounty Hunter still and sympathizes with Ahsoka so decides to help her if she will vouch for her after and help get clemency from the Republic. She helped her as well as she could relate to being betrayed…as Ahsoka was betrayed by the Council, Ventress was betrayed by Dooku. It is a powerful scene and we see that Ventress is very much a shade of grey Jedi now.

The Jedi Council – The Jedi Council is a political entity and people in the Republic are distrusting them more, especially since it was a Jedi who did the bombing. They are military generals but are beholden to no one yet still wield military power. In this we see them holding on to it by giving up Ahsoka for the trial as they try to remain neutral, when they never were.

Admiral Tarkin – Tarkin is Ahsoka’s prosecuter and is cold hold dealing with the facts. He builds his case and nearly wins the trial against her if not for Anakin’s capture of Barriss. We see that humans are taking over control of the clones and all of it under the watchful eyes of Palpatine and Tarkin. The Empire is becoming a reality.

Barriss – Barriss blames the Jedi and believes she speaks for the disillusioned people who see that the Jedi are simply tools of the war and started the war (Tyranus and the Clones and the Battle of Geonosis) and to this end she has joined the Dark Side. Her point is not forgotten though and the fact that she came from idealism very much shows that she is still more Jedi than Sith when she did the act.

Anakin Skywalker – Anakin is losing it all in his mind. When Ahsoka is on trial he goes to any means to get the confession and at the beginning is full of regret for how he hunted and turned on his own Padawan under the guise of Jedi and Republic justice. This pushes him further and makes him afraid to lose others as in the end he has no real loyalty to the Jedi Code either and wants to leave, which Ahsoka does, which breaks Anakin…as he understands why she doesn’t trust the Council or the Republic any more.

Ahsoka Tano – This is the arc where Ahsoka realizes she was a tool all along, and an expendable one at that. No one is there to defend her, not even Anakin in the beginning when she is framed for a crime she didn’t commit. It is up to her and working with Ventress that eventually lead to Anakin finding Barriss but in the end it is too late. She can’t trust the order, herself or Anakin anymore and with that she leaves to make her own path. She survives Order 66 because of it and leaving the Jedi Order (though not going Sith) is one of the best things a Jedi can do during this era.

The Cons: “Sabotage” pacing – This episode’s pacing is really slow and I didn’t care about the robot detective. I felt this arc could have been done in 3 episodes or that we should have spent more time with the players at stake and the drama between the Jedi and Republic. This was the only part of the arc I didn’t like though.

This was a powerful arc that shows just how incompetant and corrupt the Jedi Council and the Republic are. The Jedi make excuses for their actions saying it made Ahsoka a better Jedi ( really guys) and ask for her back, the Republic is just silent on the matter and the only one who fights for her is Anakin but only after he realized by fighting for the Council and the Republic he’d been wrong all along. This is a wonderful and tragic arc and one of the best in the series.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 4, Episode 20 – “Bounty” – The Good in Ventress

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  “Bounty” continues Ventress’s story though is a stand alone episode as well as we are introduced to a free Boba Fett and his band of Bounty Hunters who are doing a job for a corrupt warlord. It is a good episode in how it further humanizes Ventress and shows the ways she is changing after the loss of her people.

    The episode was directed by Kyle Dunlevy and written by Katie Lucas.

    The story involves Ventress being pulled onto Boba’s team after she kills one of his men. From here they must protect cargo for a warlord, but thing soon get complicated when they find out the cargo is a member of the species that is attempting to free the cargo.

The Pros: The Job – A high speed train being chased by aliens below a planet’s surface while protecting special cargo sounds just awesome! The job is pulled off really well too as the aliens who are attacking have the advantage of numbers even though individually the Bounty Hunters are stronger.

The Bounty Hunters – Bossk continues to kick but and be Boba’s protector, C-21 Highsinger saves the cargo on multiple occasions, Denger is palyed by Simon Pegg who gives a lot of life to the character and Razzi fights with metallic leaves and becomes Ventress’s friend. Boba Fett is also pretty cool this episode and proves why he is the best as he beats every enemy he faces on the train.

Ventress – Ventress goes her own way and saves the cargo, conning the warlord but still gives the Bounty Hunters all their cut while collecting a small cut from the people whose daughter was kidnapped. She isn’t good but she is better and has found her own path outside of the Nightsisters and the Sith.

The Cons: The Belugans – These guys have no motivation and we don’t know why they kidnapped the humanoid girl as it seemed to serve no purpose in mating since they probably weren’t even genetically compatible. Never believed they were a threat, there tram is cool and that’s about it.

   This was a great but not a favorite episode. The biggest issue I had with it were the Belugans and I felt that Boba could have been more than an arrogant kid (though he was a great fighter this episode). This episode is about Ventress at it’s core and is what is done well. I consider her a favorite in this series after this episode and the one prior.

Final Score: 9 / 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 4, Episode 19 – “Massacre” – Lost Ventress and Grievous Finally Acts Like a Threat

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     This was a great Grievous, Talzin, Dooku and Ventress episode as we see them go through extreme trials and out of it become more than they were before. This was a pretty dark episode as well as we see the slaughter of the Witches (reason the episode is titled “Massacre”) and once more have Ventress on the run. It was pulled off really well.

    “Massacre” was directed by Steward Lee and written by Katie Lucas.

   The story is that of Dooku’s revenge as he attacks Dathomir when he learns that Ventress is there and has become a member of the Nightsisters. As he orders Grievous to attack Mother Talzin attacks him with magic and a battle of wills commences between the two sides.

The Pros: The Undead Army – Mother Talzin summons an undead army that fights the droids and does a lot of damage until tanks and Grievous enter the battlefield and they go to kill the oldest of the Nightsisters who summoned the army in the first place.

General Grievous – He is actually a threat in this episode! We see him kill multiple Nightsisters, shake of zombies and put up a good fight against Ventress. Why couldn’t we have seen this more? He always gets his but kicked by Jedi Masters and he lost to Gungans one of the last times we saw him in action. This is the Grievous we needed from the beginning.

Count Dooku – Dooku does a good job at getting revenge, though he does not succeed in getting Ventress. We see how powerful he is at resisting pain though as a doll of his body is used by Talzin to destroy him and how even with all of that he still has enough willpower to live and to tell Grievous how to find Talzin. The guy deserves being the leader of the Separatists for sure.

Mother Talzin – Talzin shows that she is up there with Palpatine for truly powerful force wielders as she loses most of her clan but survives, turning into the green mist. What she has in mind for others remains to be seen but she helps Ventress heal and find a life beyond the world of the Nightsisters and what was lost.

Ventress – Ventress is the focus of this episode as we see her have community again to lose it as Dooku once more tries to take everything from her. In the end she survives with her life and not much else. It’s a heartbreaking scene as we see just how human Ventress is and how much losing her Sisters meant to her. This was her story.

   This was a great episode that had fantastic action, good character development, stakes and Ventress change in the process. The episode that follows up on this arc is really good too as we get to explore Ventress and her new relationships after she has lost it all.

Final Score: 10 / 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 3, Episodes 12-14 – “Witches of Dathomir Arc” – Factions of the Dark Side

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    “The Witches of Dathomir Arc” is a really great arc in how it shows just how many people use the Dark Side and how by it’s nature it is easy to turn the different users on one another. The one issue I had was one of my issues with “The Force Unleashed” videogame that I will go into deeper into the review. Suffice to say, there are a lot great characters introduced in this arc and it’s exploration of the Dark Side is something that we have yet to see done in regards to the Light Side.

      “Nightsisters” was directed by Giancarlo Volpe and written by Katie Lucas. “Monster” was directed by Kyle Dunlevy and written by Katie Lucas and “Witches of the Mist”was directed by Giancarlo Volpe and written by Katie Lucas.

    The story involves Dooku’s attempt to kill Ventress after Sidious orders him too and how she returns home to the Nightsisters who with Mother Talzin work towards Dooku’s fall. First with an attempt using 2 sisters Ventress being cloaked and second with choosing a Zabrak of the blood of Darth Maul so that he can be shaped into a weapon to destroy Dooku. From here things fall apart as the only one coming out on top with plans still unknown is Mother Talzin.

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The Pros: The Action – There are some great fights this episode, with the ones that stood out the most being the three-way fight between Opress, Dooku and Ventress and also the one on one fights between them too where their styles really came out…the 3 on 1 fight against Dooku was also really good too when the Nightsisters attempted to kill him, and of course Opress against Anakin and Obi-Wan where it was a callback to Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan against Maul.

The Nightsisters – This organization is cool. They rule over the Zabrak’s and are a matriarchal society with Mother Talzin at their head who has her own mysterious agenda that is unknown. They are force users but stick to themselves and the only ones they really use are those who come to them or those they owe a debt too. This makes them not evil, but certainly not good as they deal primarily in dark side force magics.

Ventress – Ventress is a survivor and survivors multiple attempts on her life. From Anakin and Obi-Wan, to Dooku’s betrayal and to every fight she loses with Dooku and the only one she loses against Opress. She is left empty at the end of it all, showing that their is hope for her redemption given anger and hatred has not got her revenge and she’s only made more enemies. Her tragic story is revealed too as she was given away to protect the Witches from outsiders and she lost the bounty hunters to a Jedi attack and lost the Jedi Master who was raising her to another assault by pirates…she was alone until Dooku who was her knew father until her betrayal. Ventress is forever alone and it makes her tragic and compelling.

Count Dooku – Dooku is a true Sith Lord. From his willingness to kill Ventress for Sidious to prove his loyalty, to his using his very elegant form of fighting to beat enemies who outnumber him and try to take away his senses. He is the only character who manages to turn every loss into a win besides Mother Talzin showing why he is the leader of the Separatists and why he is a threat to Sidious.

Obi-Wan Kenobi – Obi-Wan gets Mother Talzin to speak about Opress, which is something she didn’t have to do. He also shows how much he values life when the Zabraks attack and he only defends himself and never strikes to kill. Anakin is Anakin and on the edge always but Obi-Wan demonstrates the other side and how in many ways he is if Dooku hadn’t gone bad as he can deal with anyone no matter where they are in regards to the force.

Opress – Opress is a tool of Mother Talzin who loses his brother when he is pumped full of Dark Side magics to make him a weapon and was made to be a slave. Even being a slave he still manages to fight though as he turns against both Dooku and Ventress who had tried to use him and finds the only person who he might be able to trust in Talzin who reveals to him that Darth Maul is still alive and that he can still grow as a powerful force user and Sith. His story is one of anger and regret and his fighting style is heavy and brutal.

Mother Talzin – Mother Talzin’s agenda rules everything and it is still and unknown. She sees the future though as she talks of Opress’s destiny with his brother Darth Maul and we know that Ventress is still a Nightsister with a purpose too. What these purposes are remains to be seen and how the Jedi fall into it.

The Chaos of the Dark Side – The Dark Side by it’s nature of revenge doesn’t leave much room for forgiveness and diplomacy and we see that when the episode ends with Opress going his own way, Ventress still seeking revenge and Dooku still alive. There are now 3 Dark Side users who serve no agenda but their own and that is the nature of the Dark Side as each of them will grow more powerful in the fight against one another, but they may all die in the process.

The Cons: Retconning Maul’s Death – Maul is apparently in exile in the Outer Rim? This makes no sense, no one could survive that fall and it’s as stupid as having Shaak Ti continually being brought back to life only to be killed in “The Force Unleashed.” I get Maul is popular but just leave his blood and lead Savage Opress stand on his own as he is compelling enough with his relationship to Ventress, Talzin and Dooku.

  I really dislike the retcon of Darth Maul’s death as a character should stay dead if it’s in canon as each time they are brought back cheapens how they were defeated prior and usually it means lack of ideas on whoever is writing the retcon. Besides that retcon this is a really strong arc and I highly recommend it, especially for the characters of Talzin, Dooku, Opress and Ventress who are shown to be highly complex and who I am glad are still around to fight another day.

Final Score: 9 / 10

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Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 3, Episode 2 – “ARC Troopers” – What Kamino Means to the Clones

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      I know Kamino won’t fall, it’s too important to the plot, but I’m glad Ventress and Grievous were able to do some lasting damage, their plan to take the planet wasn’t so bad either…they were just going up against the plot armor of Anakin and Obi-Wan, so I’ll give Grievous a pass this time. This was a really enjoyable episode as it was great seeing the Rookies in action, along with 99, Cadets and Commander Cody and Captain Rex. This is their episode more than any other character as this story is about their world under assault.

     “ARC Troopers” was directed by Kyle Dunlevy and written by Cameron Litvack.

    The story picks up with the destruction of the Republic Outpost on the Rishi Moon and Obi-Wan and Anakin going with Cody, Rex and the surviving Rookies to protect Kamino from an assault on two fronts by Ventress and General Grievous. From here the story unfolds as 99 and new cadets are pulled into the battle for their home and the survival of Clones.

The Pros: The Clones – This episode is all about the Clones and they all get exploration. Whether they are new soldiers like the Cadets or the Rookies or old ones like 99 and Cody and Rex. Each of them are given a chance to claim their identity and fight for their world.

Commander Cody and Captain Rex – Cody and Rex show how personal this is and ask if they can be there to defend their world. It’s a powerful moment and we see them rally the troops and give the go ahead for the Cadets to join the fight.

The Cadets – The Cadets are just trying to survive and escape at first but after Fives and Echo rally them through their fear they ambush the attacking droids in the final holdout and manage to save the day.

Fives and Echo – These two are made ARC troopers and their telling 99 about what happened to Heavy is sad as you can see how connected they all are. They are trying to protect 99 the most through the episode and mourn his loss the hardest as he was their friend.

99 – 99 fights to the bitter end and gets ammo to troops, protects the children and in the end dies trying to get more ammo for the men. His death is felt as we have gotten to know this character and see that he never let age or being a “defunct” Clone get him down.

The Droid Army – We see Aquatic Droids and giant Squid-like assault creatures this episode. It is a great attack and they really feel like a threat, and they do a lot of damage too, killing countless members of the 501st and forcing the survivors to make a last stand before the ARC reinforcements arrive.

Ventress – Ventress kills and kisses a powerful Clone Soldier to introduce herself (of course it was banned on television) but I’m glad Netflix kept it as it shows how little she cares about anything but the success of the mission and accumulation of power. She holds her own agains Anakin really well and almost beats him and leaves with the Clone DNA but is stopped by the 501st.

General Grievous – Grievous manages to be a pretty big threat and almost kills Obi-Wan. He is nothing compared to Ventress though and she shuts him down multiple times. He of course runs away at the end, but that seems to be what he does all the freakin time.

Okay: The Jedi – Obi-Wan, Anakin and Shaak Ti are just kind of there. They get no real exploration as characters since this episode is primarily focused on the Clones. They aren’t bad but I can’t say anything unique about them beyond Anakin being overconfident.

   This is an amazing episode, like most are that explore Clone Identity. In this we see how much being a soldier is in regards to that, so much so that they are willing to fight no matter what their age is and that the DNA and creation of more Clones to serve the Republic is paramount to their purpose and why they fight. It’s powerful and I found the death of 99 actually mattering.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 1, Episode 9 – “Cloak of Darkness” – The Threat of Ventress

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    “Cloak of Darkness” is a great episode and definitely a favorite. We get some development of minor characters and we get to see just how dangerous and awesome Ventress is! As well as just how influential the Separatist is within the Republic.

    The episode was directed by Dave Filoni and written by Paul Dini.

    The story begins with Master Luminara and Ahsoka delivering Nute Gunray for trial when Dooku sends Ventress after to save or kill Gunray. From here we see her plan unfold as Luminara and Ahsoka try to handle the threat and hold onto their hostage.

The Pros: The Action – The action in this episode is fantastic! We see Ventress fight Luminara and Ahsoka in some wonderfully dark locations that put her assassin skills to use and the assault starting out with a drop of Super Battle Droids to give Ventress the distraction she needs.

Faro Argyus – Is a member of the Senate Commandos and a Separatist spy as he helps Gunray escape due to the reward that Dooku offered him. Sadly he ends up dead as Ventress kills him. I wanted to see more with this character as so far the betrayers tend to have complex reasons for doing what they do be they Clone Troopers that change sides or Faro.

Nute Gunray – Gunray is all about survival and he’s honest about it. In this way he is compelling because he knows he is a coward but he knows he is valuable due to his assets and money. This makes the fight to get control of him all the more compelling because what he offers and represents is compelling.

Master Luminara – Luminara is over confident and believes she can take Ventress on on her own. This ends her being injured and Ventress’s eventual escape with Gunray. She’s aware she messed up though and is grateful to Ahsoka for saving her and recognizes she was right about the threat of Ventress.

Ahsoka – Ahsoka is good in this, we see her great at stalling Ventress and being harsh to Gunray to get him to negotiate. She gets it after Anakin most likely and we see how anti-Jedi she is in some of her practices as Luminara calls her out for her cruelty and fear. In the end they respect one another though as Ahsoka’s past experience with Ventress gives her a better understanding of the threat.

Ventress – Sidious sees Ventress as a failure for the Separatist losses early in the timeline will Dooku’s faith is shown to be well placed. Ventress at her core is an assassin and that is how she works best, when she has specific targets and can cause chaos and doesn’t have to worry about negotiations. We see how cruel she is to as she kills Faro out of spite and for his pride.

    This episode was great at showing just how Sithlike Ventress is and how great she is as a Separatist agent. Already in the series she has two victories to her name against major characters while Grievous has none and has ended each running away. She is the compelling antagonist and I can’t wait to see what the series does with her.

Final Score: 10 / 10.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Pilot – Season 1, Episode 1 – “Ambush” – “Life” is Conditional and Yoda is Powerful

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    The pilot of “The Clone Wars” is great at showing just how much of a powerhouse Yoda is, as as well as showing his respect for life but not sentience. This episode also completes to Toydarian arc from last episode as the King’s meeting with the Jedi representative takes place in this episode.

    The episode was directed by Dave Bullock and written by Steven Melching.

     The episode is about King Katuunko and the Separatists and Republic vying for his support. In this Ventress arrives and sends droid forces after Yoda to show the Separatists as the superior force. In this Yoda and the three Clones must outwit their enemies and get to the meeting point before the fall of night.

The Pros: Ventress, Dooku and the Separatists – The Separatists are shown to be a big threat in this and it is only Yoda appearing at the last second that saves King Katuunko’s life when he chooses to join the Republic. The one thing I’d say against it is the making bigger waves wasn’t smart. When you go out go all out.

Yoda and the Clones – Yoda counsels the Clones and uses the droids lack of cognitive skills against them. In the end the Clones save Yoda from the reinforcements that had sent. They have some great moments where Yoda helps the Clones learn about themselves and shows where he comes from and that the force binds all life together and even Clones can get in touch with it and have value.

The Cons: Expendable Droids – Droids clearly think and value their life yet they are massacred by Yoda. He never seeks to disarm droids he always goes for destruction showing some level of hypocrisy as the droids are sentient even if they aren’t organic life. This is true to lore though. In “Empire Strikes Back” Yoda was pretty abusive to R2.

This was a decent episode that could have been better. I would have liked to see Dooku and Ventress do more than just send wave after wave of troops and see Yoda show some awareness in regards to droids. Droids are his blindspot and it doesn’t matter how smart and sentient they are.

Final Score: 7 / 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008): Great Television Film, Should Not Have Got a Theatrical Release

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   “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” is a really fun television movie that finishes up the Christophsis arc and introduces us to Ahsoka and the huts as players in the game of the Clone Wars. It gives us a lot of good world building but the writing and even the cinematography show that this should have only been released to television, not to theaters as it was.

    The film was directed by Dave Filoni, written by Henry Gilroy, Steven Melching and Scott Murphy and produced by George Lucas and Catherine Winder.

    The story begins with Jabba’s son being captured by the Separatists and Yoda ordering Obi-Wan and Anakin to find and rescue his son and deliver him to Jabba. This is also when Yoda sends Anakin his new apprentice Ahsoka. They must all work together to win the battle of Christophsis and to find and rescue Jabba’s son before the Separatists make a deal that will give them control of Jabba’s routes through the Outer Rim.

The Pros: The Soundtrack – Kevin Kiner did a great job on this soundtrack! The music was the best part of this film. It had a very “Battlestar Galactica” feel to it and during the action sequences especially it made the stakes feel high.

The Action – This is a good action movie. Lots fights to show how powerful each of the factions are in the Clone Wars and how powerful the individual Jedi or Sith are as well. This made for some wonderful fights, especially Dooku and Anakin and Obi-Wan and Ventress.

The Battle of Christophsis – The Christophsis arc is finally complete! Thanks to the action of Ahsoka and Anakin in shutting down the Separatist shield that was protecting their forces and Obi-Wan capturing the general we have a Republic victory! It takes a lot to get there though and many die on both sides. It isn’t glorified and the Republic troops arriving to occupy doesn’t exactly give hope either.

Count Dooku – Dooku is being played by Sidious as Sidious wins no matter what happens (Jabba working with the Republic is a win for him, Jabba working against them will lead to him getting more power). Dooku is being played in this though and we see him fail against his enemies and his blaming Ventress for in it for her initial failure. In this we see his cruelty, manipulation and why he is a Sith.

Ventress – Ventress puts up a good fight in this but is cornered in the end by Obi-Wan. This doesn’t stop her from fulfilling her duties though as she warns Dooku of Skywalker’s approach and manages to escape Obi-Wan to fight another day.

Obi-Wan Kenobi – Obi-Wan is the clear headed one who has no problem taking a new apprentice. It is he who realizes that Ahsoka will be good for Anakin and will help Anakin to grow as Anakin has helped him to grow. We also see his arrogance too as he gloats to Ventress when he knows Ahsoka and Anakin have escaped the Monastery.

Anakin Skywalker – Anakin doesn’t want a padawan, but comes around when he sees how similar Ahsoka is to him and that gives him self awareness about how he is reckless and cocky. They have a great dynamic too and he does share his hatred of the Tatooine and the desert with her as has lost so much to the Hutts and remembers his life as a slave quite clearly. It is a great character moment and we see how Ahsoka is making him a better person.

Ahsoka – I really like Ahsoka! She’s young for a padawan but is powerful in the force. We see her save Anakin multiple times and show a kindness Anakin lacks. She cares for Jabba’s son at one point and we see her hold Anakin responsible for his recklessness as he does to her. It’s a great dynamic and they act a lot like a mixture of friends and siblings. I can’t wait to see how her character grows and changes from the Clone Wars.

Okay: The Minor Characters – Whether it was Cody or Rex, Yoda or Windu, Jabba’s Uncle or Padme…none of them felt fully fleshed out. They felt more like plot devices and not full characters in this. This is a shame as the main characters had some wonderful character moments.

Delivering Jabba’s Son – The delivery of Jabba’s son is okay, I liked the fight between Anakin and Dooku as they seemed more closely matched, but it dragged. Especially in regards to the droids against Ahsoka. Jabba was also far to easy to play.

The Cons: The Script – The script is corny and not nearly as solid and tight as it would if it was an episode or part of an arc made into a single film. At times it lags just to give us money shots of the landscape when that time could have been cut out or given us more character moments.

The Tone – The tone is all over the place. We get some really brutal deaths and Jabba even has dancing girls but we also have lots of jokes and humor that kids would clearly enjoy. This clash of tones kept it from being great.

It Going to Theatres – This film should not have gone to theaters and if I’d seen this in theaters I would not be as kind to it as I am now. It is better than the prequels in regards to it’s potrayal of Anakin and his relationship to others but it also is not quality enough to go to the theaters. Like “Spark of Rebellion” this should have been a tv movie as it just feels like a long episode. Because of the choice of how it was originally presented is going to be counted against it.

  This film should not have gone to theatres but it is still good as a tv film. We finally finish the Christophsis arc, get to see Dooku in action and see that the Hutts and Gangs are a 3rd faction in the war just as they are usually presented in the later eras as the X Factor in the war between the Empire and Rebellion. Ahsoka is a wonderful character too and I really like the character dynamic between her and Anakin. The final bit, the soundtrack is super memorable and is worth listening too, even if you have no plan to see the film.

Final Score: 8 / 10.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 1, Episode 16 – “The Hidden Enemy” – A Reason to Betray

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Truth enlightens the mind, but won’t always bring happiness to your heart.

     “The Hidden Enemy” continues the Christophsis Arc and also shows us just how diverse the clones are in motivation and the full extent of the Separatist Threat. It is a great episode and it leaves things open too as the Battle for Christophsis still remains unfinished.

       The episode was directed by Steward Lee and written by Drew Z. Greenberg who was also one of the writers on the first part of this arc in “Cat and Mouse.”

        The story picks up with the Separatist Ground Invasion as the Clone troopers seek to mount a counteroffensive. Things go wrong when they are betrayed by one of their own leading Cody and Rex to find the informant while Obi-Wan and Anakin go to confront the Separatist leader. From here the story unfolds.

The Pros: The Clones – We see so much complexity in the clones in regards to their motivations and personalities. The fact that one is willing to betray the Republic to be free says a lot as well as the reasons Cody, Rex and the others choose to fight. They have distinct personalities too with some being nervous or shy and others being hardened and willing to confront their commanders forcefully…and even the twisted idealism of Slick.

The Separatist Threat – The Separatist Battle Droids and Tanks wipe the floor of the Clones to kick off this episode and we finally get to see them as a threat! They are never comedic relief really and the final shot of the huge army arriving on Christophsis really shows just how outmatched our heroes are in the coming battle.

Cody and Rex – Cody and Rex are great characters. We don’t know their personalities fully yet but they care deeply for their brothers and Slick’s words about them being slaves hits at least one of them. You can tell they don’t know fully why they fight except to protect other Clones who have no choice in the matter like them. It’s a sad state of affairs for them and you see that sadness, especially when Obi-Wan and Anakin choose to stay and fight rather than retreat and save lives.

Slick – Slick is the commander of the barracks and sold out Christophsis to the Separatists because he was tired of being a cog in the military machine. He has no freedom and is simply the property of the Republic. When he voices that it hits Cody and Rex too as they realize he is right to some degree. It’s a powerful episode and I hope we see more of Slick or clones like him.

Obi-Wan and Anakin – Obi-Wan and Anakin make a lot of jokes about going into a trap but manage to get out in time and realize that the longer they fight Ventress, the more likely Christophsis will fall, which leads to them retreating.

Ventress – Ventress makes her first appearance in the timeline of the 3D show and we see just how powerful she is. She isn’t a Sith but she is a powerful Dark Jedi and fulfills Dooku’s plan of stalling the Jedi until the forces could be landed really well. We see she has a history with Obi-Wan too as they have pet names they call one another. Together they are stronger than her but she is smart enough to stall them.

The quote that kicks off every episode is strong here. Why are the Clones fighting beyond programming when they are clearly slaves of the Republic and have no choice in battle. It’s a sad state of affairs and the Jedi just take them for granted. In this way the Separatist movement truly is one of independence since those who want power will be granted it. Dooku doesn’t betray the way Palpatine does and we see how far so many of those involved in the movement have risen while the Republic is already on the path towards the Empire. This was the perfect episode of the series for me and shows me just how great this show has the possibility of being.

Final Score: 10 / 10.