I was struck by how fantastic the first season of Clone Wars was. I hated the movie that introduced the series finding it childish. The series has proved to be deeper than most Star Wars vehicles and, in fact, more than most television shows in general.
The Halocron Heist Arc (S2E1-3)
Darth Sidious hires Cad Bane! These are good episodes that help explain why Bane is such a fan favorite. In fact, I’ve been putting loose change in to our Cad Bane bank for years because he was a favorite of Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple’s. However, it also shows a true evilness to Sidious instead of being the mostly shadow figure he is in the prequels.
Senate Spy (S2E4)
One of my favorite episodes of the series because it’s a strong Padame episode. Padame is a character that was wasted in the prequels (see Honest Trailers) but here she is a strong independent character in her own right. It also allows for her to have a past while the movies just focus her on protecting then pining for Anakin.
Genosis Arc (S2E5-8)
Another arc that could have probably been release as a movie. This story highlights Ahsoko Tano and Barris Offee as two different but capable padawans. Both have different approaches but both make their masters proud. This arc does tie into the Darth Vader set of comics that have been released since Disney bought Star Wars. Great action set pieces are everywhere in this arc but it’s the quiet scenes that are fantastic. The padawans are forced to make some very tough decisions. Ahsoko, in particular, here can be seen maturing throughout the arc.
Greivous Intrigue (S2E9)
I honestly don’t remember anything about this episode. Probably, because I don’t find Grievous all that interesting.
The Deserter (S2E10)
My favorite episode so far. A clone has decided to desert and have his own life. He is his own person. Captain Rex has issues with this because in his eyes all clones are brothers with the same purpose in life, but then finally understands by the end. This episode is basically a monster trying to get into the house trope, but it is executed well. In fact, it is the only episode to make me jump. It is also the only episode so far that makes the Droid soldiers terrifying. But at the heart of this story is two clones and the voice acting of Mr. Baker is out of this world good.
This should be a bad episode. The episode uses the silly old man but truly wise teacher trope. The ancient Jedi Master Tera Sinube is almost too cute to be taken seriously. However, instead of being put off by his slow tortoise gimmick, I found him charming. So does Ashoka as she learns her after-school special lesson about being a Jedi from Master Sinube. Again, this episode should be awful, but it’s fantastic.
2nd Season Mandalore Arc(S2E12-14)
We are finally introduced to the wonderfully named Santine (reference to Moulin Rouge!). Lots of intrigue and showing that this is a much deeper conflict than Sidious against the Jedi. In fact, there is a moment in the first episode of this arc that is so brutal it’s one of the best moments in all of the Star Wars canon. A member of a group the Death Watch is wounded. His commander looks at him, states “Failure,” and then proceeds to kill him with a single shot. The bad guys in Star Wars are often not very bad due to appealing to children but this moment decided to go there. We not only see a bad guy hit something with a shot, we see him kill in cold blood. And it was an ally at that. We also get to see Obi-Wan be more developed for know we know that he has a past. And in that past, he was in love with Santine. It provides a counterpoint to Anakin and Padame’s relationship. Santine and Obi’s stories are too important for this to be a one off arc.
Senate Murders (S2E15)
A classic whodunit trope. Good but not great.
Cat and Mouse (S2E16)
Good episode that does a good job of dealing with just war strategy. Strongly echoes the Hunt for Red October, which is a compliment. In fact, it’s high praise.
Bounty Hunters (S2E17)
Obi-Wan and Anakin train some farmers to help protect their crops. Even though it is a Hondo episode, it’s as exciting as it sounds.
The Zillo Beast Arc (E18-19)
During a battle, a beast is unleashed that has impentrable armour. In fact, only one thing that can kill it is a gas from it’s planet. In a King Kong trope, we have some decent action scenes. However, the monster is focused on killing Palpatine. Is this character the only sentient being that can recognize him for what he is? Which leads to the obvious question, how can no one recognize him? Does he just give off so much negative energy that others can’t sense his presence? Either way, these episode works and works well. At the end, I had to take a break from watching the series because I was so upset. The end sequence is chilling when Palpatine declares he wants to clone the beast that so desperately wanted to kill him.
The 2nd Season Boba Fett Arc (S2E20-22)
Again, I’m not a fan of Boba Fett. That doesn’t mean that I’m anti-Fett, it’s just that I don’t have enough information to be a fan of his. He doesn’t do much in the trilogy, not enough for me to be Team Fett. This does provide a little back story, but it is one of a child still grieving from his the death of his father. This arc reminds us that R2D2 is the baddest droid in the galaxy and might be the most heroic character in all of Star Wars.
- My favorite episodes tend to be centered around the clones. The fact that the clones are getting weaker because of Jango’s death is fascinating.
- The Deserter episode plays to the strengths of The Clone Wars. The better the quieter moments are the better the action is.
- Ashley Eckstein and Catherine Tabor do excellent voice work this season.