Friday, February 27, 2009

TCW - "Storm Over Ryloth"

This episode is a turning point for Ahsoka. In the span of 22 minutes, she's forced to get over her teenage "I can do anything" attitude and act like a true leader. It's refreshing to see Ahsoka truly treated like a growing character rather than a firmly-set constant like the rest of the show's main cast.

I love well-done space battles, and this was a great one. Ahsoka's Star Destroyer flank maneuver is straight out of Heir to the Empire, which I greatly appreciate. One of my favorite things in Star Wars is getting to see the military tactics behind the epic battles, so this episode was a real treat for me.

Anakin's maneuver was a nice demonstration of his character: brash and reckless, yet skilled and effective. It's nice that we're getting these glimpses into Anakin's character that surpass the whiny toddler-of-a-man that we saw in the Prequel films.

Between Ahsoka's development and the well-plotted space action, this story was great.

Friday, February 13, 2009

TCW - "Mystery of a Thousand Moons"

This episode was split between two different viewpoints: Padmé and Ahsoka's struggle to survive after they are infected with the Blue Shadow virus (*eye-roll*), and Anakin and Obi-Wan's quest to retrieve the cure for them.

One thing I find odd: In the last episode, the Jedi stop Doctor Vindi's bombs from exploding, but in the beginning of this one the virus explodes anyway. Wouldn't the virus threat have been a good cliffhanger for the last episode? Why did that plot point get repeated? It reminds me of the drugged drink fakeout in the end of "Dooku Captured." It's just odd.

Also, what was up with that kid?

He was given a heckuva lot of personality for a character that apparently only exists for exposition's sake. It's just weird.

On the plus side of things, we got to actually see something only vaguely mentioned in The Phantom Menace.
Anakin: "Are you an angel?"
Padme: "What?"

Anakin: "An angel. I hear the deep space pilots talk about them. They're the most beautiful creatures in the universe. They live on the moons of... Iego, I think."

And hey, as it turns out, this episode is partly set on Iego, planet of a thousand moons, where we see none other than...

An Angel.
Awesome. I'd always assumed that it was a throwaway line from TPM, but apparently Angels actually exist in the Star Wars galaxy. Very, very cool.

Another cool nod to the films was the moon's Death Star-like laser.

That's no space station... it's a moon. Wait, what?

However, aside from the Angels and Death Star guns, this episode has almost nothing going for it. The plot is all over the place and seemingly random, and Jar Jar is still there, screwing up everything else on Naboo that actually had a chance of being good.

Side effects of Jar-Jar include paleness, cold sweats, and death.

TCW - "Blue Shadow Virus"

Honestly, I think I hate this episode. It had a few highlights, but, overall, it felt like an insult to my intelligence.

The Good:

  • Seeing Naboo again, especially the starfighter hangar. That setting was a favorite of mine growing up, and it's nice to see it in a new story.
  • The lightsaber action. It seems to have progressed beyond the staleness of early episodes.
  • Ahsoka's Force-hover-thermal-detonator trick.
The Bad:
  • Jar-Jar and his looney-toon antics.
  • The villain's motivation. He claimed that he was "creating life" by reviving the Blue Shadow virus, but, as anyone who's gone through high school biology should know, VIRUSES ARE NOT ALIVE. At best, viruses are incredibly complicated poisons or intricately designed infectious materials; they are not living cells themselves, like bacteria. I don't think it's nitpicking to point out that the main goal of a supposedly brilliant virologist contradicted the most basic fact about viruses.

  • What, Jedi can't catch tiny falling vials with the Force? They have to jump over and grab them all? Come to think of it, it'd probably be a better idea to use the Force to grab the vials, considering that Anakin's metal grip is more likely to accidentally crush one. Just a few minutes prior to this scene, we see Ahsoka (a PADAWAN) use the Force to maneuver small objects; it's ridiculous to suddenly have the Jedi MASTERS not be able to do the same thing on even lighter objects. That is absolutely shoddy writing, and it's inexcusable.
Aside from the fact that the episode is set on Naboo, I really don't see too many positives here. This may be as bad as "The Gungan General," and that was BAD.

Friday, February 6, 2009

TCW - "The Hidden Enemy"

In this installment of TCW, we get two highly controversial things: a traitor clone and a prequel storyline.

It turns out that this episode actually takes place before the Clone Wars movie. While I think it's great to show backstory, it was rather jarring to see this episode with absolutely no indication that it took place outside of the main timeline. It's something that I definitely don't like.

Having a clone be a traitor was very... odd. While it makes sense that there'd be a bad clone made every now and then, what didn't make sense was the mixed moral message. Once again, I really wish that this series would stop attempting to insert moral messages in its narrative. Thus far, it just doesn't work.

Oh well. The action scenes were nice.