Good morning, all! As we did yesterday with our weekly look at comics, we begin a weekly series in which I will review each of the 102 episodes of the hit Cartoon Network series, The Clone Wars. The final episodes are rumored for a web release, after which they will also be included.
As a brief recap, we join Yoda and three clone troopers on their way Toydaria to meet with King Katuunko regarding plans to build a Republic base on the system. As is often the case, Count Dooku has picked up “intelligence,” and cuts Yoda off at the pass by sending the bumbling, stumbling Asajj Ventress to await him, as well as an ambush fleet to divert the Republic cruiser. What can only be described as a game ensues, and Yoda is predictably victorious, topping things off by humiliating Ventress in front of holoDooku. Toydaria then joins the Republic effort.
As we know, this is not the first story, chronologically, in the puzzle that is TCW. It is assumed that this story takes place shortly after the first Mandalorian plotline. However, as the first episode that was produced, there was a remarkable amount of pressure to succeed in what was a relatively untapped medium of 3D animation. This episode, in comparison to those that follow, is not all that memorable in terms of plot complexity and character interaction- we will see and study some of the finest contributions to the Star Wars Universe in later reviews. Nonetheless, this episode was tremendously important, as it connected back first with Empire (in its portrayal of Yoda as a crazy old coot, in contrast to his deadly serious nature of the PT), and then with Sean Stewart’s masterful Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, through Yoda’s tense, brief interaction with Dooku. There are no threats between them, just a simple acknowledgement, but they do still refer to each other as old “master” and “Padawan,” which always brings to mind one of the most memorable quotes from the EU, the timeless promise that Yoda once told a young Dooku: “When you fall, be there to catch you, I will.” They are now mortal enemies, and Dooku undoubtedly engineers multiple attempts to kill Yoda, in this episode alone. Yoda knows what Dooku is capable of, and that the boy he trained, “gone he is.” However, it is difficult to miss the foundation of respect that remains betwen them, even though it is a respect for what once was a powerful bond and partnership. A rare visual example of interaction between two wise Masters who took different paths is the image I am left with from this episode.
“Ambush” receives a 75/100. The voice acting from Tom Kane is exquisite, as always, and the imagery of Toydaria, a new visual frontier, is impressive. Unlike most episodes that we will discuss, this was a “one-shot,” and there are no loose ends. The story, albeit basic, is touching, particularly Yoda’s interaction with the clones, who are distinctly aware of their lack of humanity. Feel free to leave your own grades for the episode in the comment section below!
Until next week, when we delve into the Malevolence trilogy, may the Force be with you. Enjoy your Sunday,