Friday, October 2, 2009

TCW - "Holocron Heist"

So here we are.  Season 2 of The Clone Wars.  It's pretty good thus far.

It starts off with one of the most epic battles we've seen yet, as the Republic forces retreat from Felucia.  This is very cool for continuity's sake, as we later see in Revenge of the Sith that Felucia is still a battleground.

Seeing Plo Koon in a starfighter dogfight is a lot of fun, even if it only serves as exposition for the overall battle.
Considering how much work the production crew must have put into creating Felucia--all those giant fungi must have been hell to digitally craft--it seems odd that they would only use it in the first few minutes of one episode.  I sense a return to this planet in the future.

The subplot involving Ahsoka's disobedience is a little puzzling, however.  While she was initially resistant to her orders, she ultimately followed them.  Anakin did the same thing in Attack of the Clones, yet he wasn't reprimanded in the slightest. (Maybe the Jedi Council figured that he'd been punished enough after having his arm cut off?)  Why is Ahsoka punished so badly in this instance?  Is it because this instance is only adding to the already-extensive list of her past acts of over-aggression?

Ahsoka's punishment scene was almost jarring, in a good way.  The tone, voice acting, and animation all seemed perfectly genuine and personal, which isn't normal for this show.  It's also great to see ANYTHING in this show that DOES NOT HAVE TO DO WITH BATTLE.  Fighting is all well and good, but the nonstop action in The Clone Wars is sometimes too much.  It's important to slow down and give the viewers a chance to get to know the characters in times of peace as well as in times of conflict.

The plot of Cad Bane and his Clawdite companion was pretty smart.  It seemed highly plausible, and the fact that the Jedi were able to lose the battle while not seeming incompetent is a credit to the writing crew.

The Jedi Temple is a favorite thing of mine in Star Wars canon.  I grew up reading about young Obi-Wan's adventures in the Jedi Apprentice book series, which included at least one story about an intruder in the temple.  This story was delightfully nostalgic for me.

Seeing Jocasta Nu was cool, even if I have a severe dislike for the character.  (I mean, seriously.  She looks like a Sith Lord.)
Ahsoka's adventure in the Jedi Archives was fun.  Normally we only get to see Ahsoka as a cocky brat, but here she's acting like a genuinely nice young girl.

The rest of the episode is relatively straightforward.  In fact, that may be its only detriment: aside from the opening few minutes dealing with Ahsoka, the rest of the story is rather ho-hum.  Bane is very nearly caught, but manages to sneakily escape with his prize.

There is one pretty awesome surprise at the end: a mention of the Kyber crystal.
Now, the Kyber crystal is somewhat of a holy grail in Star Wars lore.  In early drafts of A New Hope, the Kyber crystal was a way of focusing the Force and amplifying a Jedi's power.  In several later Star Wars novels and games, the "Kaiburr" crystal was described as multiplying a Jedi's power by a thousand times, and shards of the crystal could be used in lightsabers to multiply their power as well.
The crystal mentioned in this episode is certainly not the same "Kaiburr" crystal from the EU, but it's still an extremely important and powerful object: it contains a list of every known Force-sensitive child in the galaxy.

All in all, however, this episode is a little boring in hindsight.  It's not bad by any means, and it's extremely well-made, but it serves more as a set-up for future episodes than a great story in its own right.

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