Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple has been encouraging me to watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I saw the movie that kicked off the TV show and, frankly, hated it. Yet, season after season, she has talked endlessly about how good the show is. My resistance held firm. Then she started watching Rebels. I would try not to pay attention to that show and it didn’t work. I became hooked.
Now that I’m hooked on Rebels, I really do want to watch the show. So here is the start of my reviews for the show. I will try to group them by story arc instead of reviewing each show individually. Of course, spoilers will be all over the place!
This is a one off and a weird start to the show. Anakin, Ahsoka, and Obi-Wan do not appear in the show. It doesn’t really set up the show or provide a true bridge from the movie to the show. This isn’t a problem. This is a great episode. Yoda is the focus of the episode and anytime I get to see Yoda be a total warrior is a good episode. It does also set up Dooku and Grievous’s relationship.
The Malevolence Arc(S1 E2-4)
General Grievous has a brand new ship that has an ion torpedo. This torpedo can wipe out the electronics on any ship and he uses it on Plo Koon’s fleet. This sets the show-up proper. A couple of trends I see already are starting to form. Anakin gets reprimanded for putting the needs of the few in front of the many. Ahsoka will be treated as not an equal even when she makes the correct decision that saves the day. The Jedi will be influenced by Palpatine in the kind of way that an office turns sour when a hated district manager comes in to do an inspection. He doesn’t put out mind control but it does seem that he has some negative influence that is unseen by the Jedi. This is a thrilling episode and with the exception of some childish comic relief from the droid army, I’ve yet to see anything that makes this a “Disney” show. My biggest issue with this arc is that Grievous survives. Not from the Rebels, but from punishment from the dark side. This is a major failure that should not be tolerated.
Rookies (S1 E5)
A good one-off story that explains the clones a little better. In Ambush, Yoda explains that each clone pretty much has their own soul. This episode shows that many clones are “rushed” into service. Rex and Cody, the two main clones on the show, have some really good character development.
Droid Arc (S1 e6-7)
R2 is missing and Anakin is a bad mood about it. This is the first time we see the whiney Anakin in the show bringing him more aligned with the movie Anakin. Most of his whiney-ness comes from his new droid to whom he seems to be unreasonably cruel. This is very smart writing in that you think you are seeing a Anakin-Vader transition story but the reveal is that the droid deserves the criticism.
Nute Gunray is Captured Arc(S1 E8-9)
Jar Jar saves the day in the first episode. While this show has good moments for Padme and C3P0, I would not think much of this episode if I would have seen it when it came out. Now, that’s I’ve heard about the theory that Jar Jar is actually a Sith Lord, I can’t look at this episode the same! The second episode shows the growth of Ahsoka.
The Lair of General Grievous (S1 E10)
If you look up at the last sentence of my Malevolence Arc write-up, you will see I predicted this episode. Dooku is not happy with Grievous and his failures so he sets a trap for him. You learn more about Grievous upgrades and get to meet Kit Fisto. By doing this plot it shows that the show creators are interested in the overall story and not just creating a show to market toys off of.
Dooku Captured Arc (S1 E11-12)
When I first saw the title I thought it would be a focus on how Jedi treat prisoners. However, they become prisoners too! Now, I’m watching this knowing some of the things that happened in Clone Wars and having had watched Rebels. This arc is the introduction to Hondo Ohnaka, the best deal maker in the galaxy that’s not named Han Solo. I look forward to seeing more of his character because he was the most interesting part of these two shows, and these shows had Dooku, Anakin, and Obi-Wan working together! Also, Jar Jar’s actions, which are shown to be comedic, save Anakin and Obi-Wan. It also allows for Dooku to escape. Hmmm.
The Pacifists Arc (S1 E13-14)
This was probably the smartest two episodes of the show so far which is saying something. For the first time in Star Wars that I am really aware of, the faults of the Jedi philosophy is questioned from a non-Sith point of view (I really haven’t been able to watch Attack of the Clones with any sincerity ever). The binary system of Jedi/Sith is a troublesome way of looking at the world. There are other points of views and they are given some light here. Of course, the plot makes the people choose a side and, of course, they pick the Jedi side, but the galaxy does deserve a third party.
Trespass (S1 E15)
This episode deals with a near fascist ruler who wants total control of an outpost and wants to slaughter the indigenous life forms there. Again, Clone Wars so far doesn’t mess around. You know the outcome of this episode from the beginning, but it raises some interesting questions. Do the Jedi have an obligation to protect people that they don’t agree with? More troublesome for me is the way the clones are treated in this episode. They are told to protect, which means fight, for the ruler. However, his cause is not just. More than that, there are few that die protecting him. Is clone life that cheap? Are they just viewed as expendable?
The Hidden Enemy (S1 E16)
And we see the result of those questions in this episode with our first clone traitor to the Republic. He does have a point, the clones are being treated somewhat like slaves at this point. He sides with the wrong side, but the Jedi and Republic need to look at how they are treating the clones.
Main takeaway so far: I didn’t expect Clone Wars to be this good this early.