Good morning, readers! Welcome to our second installment of Sunday Morning Clone Wars Review, in which we will take a detailed look at each of the episodes of the recently ended Star Wars: Clone Wars 3D animated series. This morning we find ourselves traveling with Master Plo Koon to the orbit of the Abregado system, on a mission to investigate the recent disappearance of numerous Republic battle cruisers. It doesn’t take long for the mystery to be solved, as Grievous and Dooku’s jointly-commanded Malevolence releases that secret weapon upon the fleet, a joint ion cannon that essentially casts a disabling net across an immense area, completely wiping out the defense and weapons systems of its targets. Soon, the Republic fleet is a mass of floating debris, and the Jedi and three fortunate clones are out amongst it in a life pod.
Meanwhile, Anakin and Ahsoka (who has a special connection to Plo Koon, which will prove useful many times throughout the series) meet with Palpatine, Mace Windu, and Yoda to discuss their findings, which lead all to believe that the CIS has decimated another fleet and left no survivors. Rebeling against her master, Ahsoka speaks up to voice her concern that they should attempt a rescue mission, an action that is swiftly blunted by Skywalker. However, Anakin’s common sense catches up with him, and the two launch a successful rescue of Plo Koon and his troopers, and barely escape capture from Grievous and Dooku, thanks to some help from perennial hero R2-D2 and the hyperdrive.
There are a few themes in this episode that are worthy of examination. First, the overarching theme of how the clones view themselves- one remarks to Plo Koon when things are looking grim that “We’re just clones, sir. We’re made to be expendable.” Plo Koon responds, “Not to me.” Later, we will see that this view is not shared by all Jedi, most notably the crass Pong Krell. However, it is this lack of self-worth that clones seem to be programmed to feel that is interesting. Surely, they are taught to sacrifice themselves, that their one and only duty is the protection of the Republic. My question is this- when you can completely manipulate the mental patterns of these clones (as it is believed that the Kaminoans can) why program professional warriors that they are cannon fodder, as opposed to- well, warriors? Was this a specific request of Sifo-Dyas to ensure that these clones would fall in line behind Jedi leadership, was it a change in their programming that Sidious added, or is it simply a byproduct of the realization that one is a clone? Surely, it is not a quality shared by Jango Fett. This is a principle that I have never understood, and one that rears its head multiple times in this series.
Secondly, we have a good example of Anakin trying to put on his Obi-Wan mask to scold his young padawan for speaking out of place, but then reverting back to his own principles, which include diving headfirst into the most difficult scenario he can find. Although he later tells Ahsoka that she will “share some blame,” for what Yoda labels a “reckless decision,” and even defies a direct message to his ship from Palpatine to turn around, Anakin’s actions are proven just, and the rigid, overcautious Jedi leadership are once again shown to be completely in the dark, and pawns of Sidious.
Rising Malevolence, the first in a three-story arc, receives an 85/100. It is our series introduction to General Grievous and many other characters who were featured in the film, but not in Yoda’s introductory story on Toydaria. While Ventress proves to be the “assistant” to Dooku with a much deeper and interesting story throughout the course of the series, it is rather cool to see the joint command of Dooku and Grievous, especially with the red, evil lighting that their command center provides. Excellent voice acting as always, and neat inclusion of a minor character in Plo Koon, who will become a large part of this series. An enjoyable start to the arc.
Our scores to date are:
Rising Malevolence (85/100), Ambush (75/100).