Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Clone Wars Review: Witches of the Mist

Well, buenos dias, clonebites, guess who's back.

And no, I'm not entirely sure what I just said.



On that note, Witches of the Mist!

Anyway, su cuy'gar, let's get this show on the road.

Following hot on the heels of the previous episode, Monster, we return to a galaxy far, far away at the Jedi Temple where the remains from Devaron are taken to be CLONE COMMANDOS CLONE COMMANDOS CLONE COMMANDOS CLONE COMMANDOS jedi talking who cares blah blah CLONE COMMANDOS CLONE COMMANDOS

So. Anyway. It's established that whoever killed the Jedi was a reckless, impulsive animal, and we cut to... somewhere, where Dooku and Savage are practice-dueling. The duel doesn't last long, however, as Dooku easily counter's Savage's huge, sweeping swipes with his own precise Makashi strikes, claiming he has no technique. Dooku then proceeds to finish it by choking him, taking his Darth Maul copycat lightsaber and foreshadowing his own death.

MEANWHILE AT THE JEDI TEMPLE, IT IS TIME FOR PLOT. In the council chambers, Yoda, Mace Windu and Obi-Wan confer about the attack on Devaron. Obi-Wan is shocked to see what he thinks to be Darth Maul alive, but Yoda corrects him, telling him it is another Zabrak who is responsible for the slaughter. After some minor retconning, Obi-Wan is sent to Dathomir while Dooku attempts to train Savage in the ways of the Force.

Savage gets a Sith version of the Luke Skywalker scene, where Savage thinks the task of lifting many heavy stone structures, much like the X-Wing, is impossible. Dooku corrects him, saying that it is only impossible because Savage has deemed it so, and the must connect with HOLY CRAP SITH LIGHTNING BAM. After some shock therapy, Savage finds himself able to complete the task. Of course, a good magician never reveals his secrets, and Dooku does not tell Savage how to defend against such power.

Out in space, Obi-Wan and Anakin find their way to Dathomir, where they meet the Zabrack tribe where Savage was raised. After a quick surprise attack, Anakin jumps up atop a building and holds their leader at lightsaberpoint in a very un-Jedi-like manner. The Jedi learn they need to speak with the Nightsisters, and Anakin releases the leader and performs a salute (Much like I would, amusingly.), before heading back to the shuttle.

Back on... somewhere, Dooku gives Savage his first mission- Bring back King Katuunko from Toydaria, who was intruduced back in the very first episode, interestingly enough.

We cut back to the Jedi as they find themselves in the presence of the Nightsisters, who surround them and take their lightsabers before introducing them to Mother Talzin. After some negotiations that almost hit aggressive, they learn of Savage's presence on Toydaria and make their exit, while Ventress and Talzin plot to use Savage against Dooku. (Wow, lotta names right there.)

Meanwhile, Savage storms the Toydarian castle and kills... well, everyone in his way. He makes his way to the throne room and kills everyone else, while Katuuno draws his ceremonial sword. The Jedi swoop in just in time for Katuunko's sword to be chopped in two before he's knocked out. The Jedi then engage Savage, who, in  the middle of the fight that I will again not describe, snaps Katuunko's neck and makes is escape and shoves the Jedi's shuttle off the platform into oblivion.

On a Separatist cruiser Dreadnaught, Savage brings the dead Toydarian king to Dooku, who is so pissed he zaps Savage with lightning for his failure. All of a sudden, Ventress shows up and takes control of Savage, and the pair engage Dooku in a sith-on-sith three-way lightsaber brawl. Amusingly, Savage's weakness seems to be lightning and je just goes berzerk and starts trying to kill everything. Dooku and Ventress make their escape as Anakin and Obi-Wan engage Savage again.

Meanwhile, Dooku and Ventress start fighting again and Ventress leaves in an escape pod. As the fight between Anakin, Obi-Wan and Savage makes its way to the hangar, the droids start attacking Savage as well, who performs a Force Repulse and hops in Dooku's Solar Sailer, and the Jedi make their own escape.

Back on Dathomir, Savage returns to Mother Talzin to learn that he has a famous, red-skinned brother who lives in exile in the Outer Rim who will not be seen until Season 4 and will train Savage to be a plot device later in the show.

The end! Roll the credits!

Final comments? Really, I wasn't completely sold on this story arc, but it was pretty fun and nice to see a darker side to the Clone Wars. Savage was a strong character, and it was interesting to see Ventress stop being Dooku's lapdog and to do her own thing for once. The Jedi's inclusion seems a tad tacked on and I wish the Clone Commandos had more to do, but other than that, a strong story overall. And next, we have that Chosen One arc... ugh. Not looking forward to reviewing these.

Until next time k'oyaci!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Clone Wars Review: Monster

And not the energy drink.

Su cuy'gar, everyone, and welcome to another Star Wars: The Clone Wars review!

Apparently, in a galaxy far far away, there is no greater fear than that of tattooed stuntmen with horns on their heads that jump and flip and wield double-bladed lightsabers. How do I know this? Well, because Darth Maul's fame refuses to die. I don't entirely know why. He's not particularly iconic like Boba Fett or Darth Vader. He's not particularly powerful like IG-88. I suppose it's because the little kids who saw Episode I were scared to death of him, and the older viewers saw the only threatening villain in the entire film, therefore instant awesomeness. Personally, I never got either of them. I was never particularly frightened by Darth Maul as a little kid when this film came out and I never really got hooked by any potential awesomeness of his. He didn't have the presence of Boba Fett or the raw power of Darth Vader, or authority and raw evil of, say, Palpatine. But something about the tattooed terror struck a chord with some dudes, so Maul is something of a fan favorite now. And despite the fact that a few sources have elaborated a bit on his past, Maul is still something of a mystery. However, this episode pretty much has nothing to do with Maul, the marketing is just capitalizing on his status as a freakshow villain and that ticks me off. See, this episode deals primarily with the Nightbrothers, the clan from which Darth Maul was taken by Sidious as a young child. (According to Wookiepedia.) In any case, here it is, Monster!

Tom Kane tells us of what happens in the last episode and reminds us of how easily duped Count Dooku is (Seriously, RIGHT after he has Ventress killed off, he's attacked by invisible Jedi (a tactic he KNOWS the Jedi would not stoop to), and then IMMEDIATELY contacted by the HEAD OF THE NIGHTSISTERS? Is Dooku really that stupid?), we see him land on Dathomir and speaks with Mother Talzin about a new apprentice, and she mentions Darth Maul, and offers to provide another apprentice, of Maul's calibur. As Dooku stupidly mentions his weakness in front of her, he agrees and leaves Dathomir. Once he's gone, Talzin and Ventress plot to use the new apprentice to attempt to kill Dooku. Ventress then proceeds to make her way to the far side of Dathomir, where the Nightbrothers live, the clan in direct opposition to the Nightsisters, and the apparent origin of Darth Maul. Heads of each tribe line up so Ventress can select one, as apparently the Nightbrothers aren't on equal footing with the Nightsisters, who are seemingly superior. I'm... not entirely sure how that works.

Ventress slaps around the Zabracks and selects a handful for what are essentially gladiator games. The The first game essentially pits them all against Ventress, and after a cool fight scene, their numbers are thinned to four. The fight ends with Savage demonstrating caring for his brother Feral, and Ventress punches him for being "pathetic". The second is more or less the same, but turns out the lights to "see what cannot be seen". Two more are killed before the final challenge, where only Savage and Feral remain. (I'm likin' these names.) Another fistfight is incurred, but this time with MOVING PLATFORMS to shake stuff up. After Ventress almost kills Feral, the two fight, and Savage gives himself up to Ventress to spare the life of his brother.

Savage is then taken back to the Nightsisters village and beef him up with their magic. He is turned into a savage and oppressive being (Haha, see what I did there?) and nearly strangles Ventress to death. As a final test, he is forced to kill Feral- the very brother he swore to protect. In an act of pure wickedness, he snaps his brother's neck. He is given a new weapon and brought before Dooku as his apprentice, who accepts him without hesitation. (Man, Dooku's kind of an idiot sometimes, huh?) He is then unleashed upon Devaron, where he slaughters everyone, Jedi and Clone alike. Notably, after Savage kills the Jedi, we do not see the tip of Savage's blade, therefore, we don't see any blood. Savage then returns to Dooku, and officially takes Savage on as his apprentice.

Whoo! What a rush, huh?

Anyway, this episode was pretty no-surprises, but it was still REALLY GOOD. I enjoyed it, and I liked seeing a little of Darth Maul's heritage, as well as Savage having some... *gasp* CHARACTER! This is madness.

In any case, the commandos had better be used more than that dumb two-second clip we saw at Celebration V. Until next time, k'oyaci!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Clone Wars Review: Nightsisters

Su cuy'gar, everyone, and welcome back! It's been long enough of a break between halves of this so-far-idiotic season of The Clone Wars, so let's see if it's gotten any better!

Before I begin, normally I don't mention the pre-episode "moral" (read: bullshit) text, but I think this one deserves a mention. Mostly because it's REALLY STUPID.

"The swiftest path to destruction is through vengeance."

Okay, WHAT the hell does that even mean? Even in the context of Star Wars? I mean... Whose destruction? Yours? Your enemies? And if you want to destroy your enemies, does that mean you should take vengeance upon them?! And even if it means YOUR destruction, Ventress is the only one getting revenge in this episode, and doing that doesn't hurt her AT ALL! At the end of the episode, SHE'S FINE! So what the hell, writers?! Would it kill you to make some sense every once in a while?

Okay, so the episode opens with a vaguely-defined space battle in some part of the Outer Rim where Tom Kane tells us stuff we could have figured out by just looking at the screen for two seconds. Everybody's wearing their new outfits, Tri-droids are being used, and Ventress is using her fan-fighter thing again, which is nice to see. We cut to... erm, somewhere, where Dooku and Darth Hideous talk of Ventress' power, and Sidious gives Dooku the order to end her. The space battle happens which reminds me a lot of Episode III's opening (In a good way), and the three of them end up in a Seppie flagship due to damaged starfighters. Ventress calls Dooku for help, but all she gets is a death sentence from her Master. Dooku then orders a tactical droid to open fire on the flagship Ventress is on. The Jedi then engage Ventress on the flagship, having a pretty cool-looking lightsaber duel. During the fight, it's evidenced that Ventress has actually gotten stronger when she's able to hold both Anakin and Obi-Wan on a double force stranglehold thing. The Seppies open fire on the command ship, and Obi-Wan and Anakin escape, while Ventress appears to be caught in the blast. (What I wanna know is, Obi-Wan crashed in the hangar and all of a sudden, his ship's operating just fine..? What the HELL. At least Ventress' ship, which was a smoking wreckage, had some trouble getting out of the hangar because of the damage, but... Obi-Wan's is working fine. Um, HOW?)

After the commercial break, Dooku reports back to his Master, while a KO'd Ventress is dragged aboard a salvage freighter. A twi'lek version of the Engineer from TF2 who's obviously being voiced by Dee Bradley Baker holds Ventress at knifepoint while surrounding her with the rest of his crew, but that's pretty useless 'cuz she just strangles all of 'em and takes over the freighter herself, flying her way to Dathomir, the planet of the Nightsisters. There, the Nightsisters welcome her with open arms... said arms being the "weapons" kind, like laser bows and swords... but the... leader mother... person recognizes Ventress and takes her to the "village".

Said village is a huge underground collection of temple-like ruins under a bigger temple. The Nightsisters put Ventress on a table and use the "Water of Life" to give us some flashbacks which lead to some intriguing insight into Ventress' past. Apparently, she was taken from the Nightsisters as a little baby (I gotta admit, little Ventress is actually kind of cute.) by... I don't know if the guy's a Jedi, he certainly doesn't look like one and he never demonstrates any Jedi-like traits, and is never seen with a lightsaber, but she's taken from the clan at a very young age (like the Jedi) and she calls him "Master", so I dunno. (EDITOR'S NOTE: That guy was a criminal, as Ventress had to be given up as payment for a debt. This is not explained in-episode.) Anyway, she's found by a Jedi who takes her under his wing after she demonstrates her abilities in the Force, and trains her to be a Jedi and she... grows some... hair... on her head... which I thought was impossible for her species..? The hell..? (EDITOR'S NOTE: Ventress has been retconned from a Rattataki to a Dathmorian, so she can grow hair now. This, also, is not explained in-episode.)

Anyways, her Master is killed and she gives in to her anger, becoming a Sith. She is trained and betrayed by Dooku blah blah blah end flashback. She says how she's gonna get revenge on Dooku, and the Nightsisters concoct some weird invisibility potion... or... something... Anyway, Ventress and two other Nightsister warriors use it to become invisible to most. They take a poison dart to dull Dooku's senses and lightsabers to make him think it's a Jedi attack, and set off.

Back at Dooku's house, three big wads of vaguely person-shaped fog- er, Ventress and the Nightsisters, get in undetected with some unnecessary somersaults and flips. Inside, it turns out that Sith, unlike Jedi, are aware of the concept of pajamas, as Dooku sleeps in his bed... without a blanket... Sith don't get cold, I dunno. Ventress uses the Force to stick the dart in Dooku's neck, and as he falls out of bed, he grabs his lightsaber and yanks out the dart. He then utters how he does not need his eyes to see, and he engages the "Jedi" in a lightsaber fight. It's a rather impressive fight, and I always love seeing Dooku's Makashi (Form II) in action because it's a great mix of traditional two-handed lightsaber fighting and fencing. This scene is also good at showing that even drugged, Dooku's a total badass. At the end of the battle, it looks like Ventress is finally going to get her revenge, but Dooku zaps the trio with Force Lightning and tosses them out a window, and they make their escape.

We return to Dathomir where the trio returns to Mother Talzin. They report they have failed, but Mother Talzin sees their infiltration as an opportunity, as Dooku will want to protect himself by finding a replacement for Ventress. The next morning, Talzin contacts Count Dooku, and offers to replace Ventress with a male from their kind- SPOILER- it's a Zabrack Nightbrother, Savage Opress.

And on that, we end the episode with something of a cliffhanger, since the episode doesn't tell us who it is exactly, but we all know Dooku will be training Savage anyway, so who cares.

To conclude!

You'll notice I haven't made fun of this episode a whole lot. Not like the previous ones where I reveled in every dumb joke opportunity I could find. There's a reason for that. This was a GOOD EPISODE. Good? In Season 3? This is madness, you claim! Surely nothing good can come out of the Senatorially Stupid Season 3!

Well, Season 3 Part 2 is on the road to redeeming itself. I'm very glad that this episode didn't just shove a normal Anakin, Obi-Wan, Rex and Ahsoka Adventure on us right from the get-go, since the first two seasons were 80% exactly that. Anakin and Obi-Wan were in the beginning, yes, but they fell by the wayside as plot devices to be used in another episode. It was also nice seeing Ventress' backstory, and although it was butchered a little (She was a Rattataki for the longest time, but was retconned to be a Dathmorian. However, as Baron George Bluecas and his family have shown us, this is not the first time a character's species has been retconned.), it was really for the better. Ventress makes a much better Nightsister than Rattataki anyway, in my opinion. The story also did a really good job of following her original backstory aside from the species change, and she did meet Ky Narec, and she did turn to the Dark Side over his death, so that bit of faithfulness was pretty nice to see. (I just wish they'd saved their faithfulness for Mandalore...) The inclusion of the Nightsisters from The Clone Wars: Jedi Alliance (An action-adventure Star Wars game for the Nintendo DS) was also nice to see, and really added to the dark atmosphere the Clone War is taking. There's evil on the fringes of the galaxy, just waiting for its chance to consume everything. Some serious osik is going down, ner vode. Another nice touch was the new costumes (For Ventress, the revert to her old outfit from the original 2003 cartoon), and the Tri-Fighters. You can tell the war is on its fulcrum here, with the addition of SOME of the new tech from Revenge of the Sith, but you can see not everything is new. (They're still using Jedi Aethersprites instead of Interceptors, Phase I Clone Trooper armor is still in use, etc.) You can tell the war is changing, and I like it.

All in all, a very good episode, a great surprise, and a nice change of pace to a boring Season 3. It has a few flaws, like lack of a couple plot point explanations and a really, REALLY stupid moral, I can't fault it because it really is good. I can't wait until this week's episode, with Savage's reveal, and CLONE COMMANDOS YAAAAAAAYYYY.

Until next time, k'oyaci!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Just an update, not a review

So sorry in advance, folks, but due to a family tragedy, I was unable to catch the latest Star Wars, and because of a number of factors (mostly centering around said tragedy), this week's review might be pretty late. I don't know when it'll get written, but when it does, as usual, it'll go here with my apologies for the inevitable lateness.

Sorry, loyal readers. All five or six of you.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Clone Wars Review: Pursuit of Peace

Su cuy'gar, everyone! I bet you're wondering why I haven't gotten to Pursuit of Peace until weeks after its debut. Well, I have a very good reason. Aliens from a galaxy known as Southern Maine Community College took out my brains and replaced it with DOS code and algebraic formulas and made me take some tests. I was too smart for 'em, though!

However, the real, non-copout excuse reason is that I've been watching Megas XLR. ALRIGHT?! YOU CAUGHT ME, I'VE BEEN WATCHING BETTER SHOWS THAN THE CLONE WARS. And why shouldn't I? It's one of the best original shows to come out of Cartoon Network, especially compared to today's nonsense like Chowder and those stupid non-cartoon shows on CN these days like Tower Prep or whatever the hell it's called. Dude, if your show's on Cartoon Network and it's not a cartoon, WE HAVE A PROBLEM. Ah, I miss the days when Cartoon Network was awesome, and we had Ed, Edd & Eddy, Megas XLR, and Dexter's Lab running rampant with our brains...

But enough ranting like some retroderp. Back to the subject at hand.

I don't even know about continuity with this show anymore, what with Farr being alive in the season after he was murdered, or why the show is allowed to be this boring. There should be a law that has a specific limit on how many episodes centered around Padme and/or diplomacy per season, that limit being three or four at max. Granted, placed well in a season, these shows can be a good change of pace to show the other side of the war, the diplomatic side, showing the fall of the Republic from the outside and from within. But when we have an ENTIRE HALF SEASON dedicated to it, WE DON'T CARE ANYMORE. I DON'T CARE HOW MUCH THIS WAR IS COSTING, OR HOW IT'S TAKING A TOLL ON THE CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC. I just wanna see Rex kick some clanker shebs, ALRIGHT?! IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?!

Sorry, this show's wearing on my patience, and this episode really makes me not give an osik about Padme or any of the Senators. I just wanna punch them and go watch clone troopers fight. Which I doubt the creators wanted, but hey. Whatever. This is what I have to review, and I AM GOING TO FINISH THIS REVIEW IF IT KILLS ME.

Now allow me to continue SHOUTING AT RANDOM. Which I will probably do a lot throughout this review.

If he could be turned... he would make a powerful SPOILERS!

So, once again, Tom Kane recaps the previous episode, telling us how the banks have now been deregulated, and the Republic will be getting more troops, escalating the fighting which we have yet to actually see any of. We cut to the Senate where everything is pretty much out of control, as the members of the Senate are all high-strung about the attack on Coruscant (Which appears to have done absolutely nothing since power's back everywhere) and about the clone bill and the costs and the *THUNK* Zzzzzzz.

Seriously? I'm as angry as anyone in the Senate, but because I don't care about what's going on. We've heard this a thousand times before, why is it suddenly supposed to be interesting? I don't want to see the Senate paying for clone troopers, I WANNA SEE THE SHABLA CLONE TROOPERS.

I do find it amusing, however, when some of the Senators call Padme a traitor. Pay close attention in that scene. Some of the Senators yelling at Padme will later be seen speaking with her about ending the war in the deleted (but still canon) scene from Revenge of the Sith, concerning the Delegation of the Two Thousand, a movement to open peace talks with the Separatists. HA HA HA man these guys writing this show aren't even paying attention.

So we learn that Mina Bonteri is now dead, and Republic intel notes involvement by Dooku's thugs. Bail Organa and Padme talk about defeating the bill, and Bail talks about how, to do it, he'll need "Ammunition".
"We can't afford ammunition, remember?"

*cue collective groan*

Padme and Farr head to the Banking Clan to discuss interest rates. Turns out they'll be asking for a 25 percent rate, but the real problem with all of this is I don't care. At all. How is this supposed to be entertaining for kids? Interest rates? Banking deregulation? WHO CARES?! JUST GET TO THE FRIGGIN' ACTION ALREADY!

Blah blah blah, Banking Clan is evil, Dooku is powerful, skip this scene. Bail and Padme talk about the bill, and- Y'know what? Whenever the topic is politics, I'm just gonna do this- LOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICS

So the two talk about LOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICS, and we cut to the next scene where Farr is going... somewhere, and is jumped by a Selkath and that weirdo Duck Tales reject from Season 2. Okay yeah, that Selkath being there is pretty awesome. So we cut to Padme talking to some Senators, talking about LOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICS,
and Farr tells Padme about the thugs. Cut to a Coruscanti cantina where WHOABOY, is that Twi'lek poledancing? Sans clothes?

Y'know, for kids!

and Padme convinces Bail to speak out against the bill.

Y'know, I can't remember exactly when, but when my friend Screech and I were watching this, we ended up getting into a discussion about how if  Padme and Bail weren't married to other people (thus making Padme a gratuitous plot point for Episode III), the two would have made a perfect couple, then we got into how an affair between the two would have made for a really amusing plot point for this show. We weren't even paying attention to the show at this point.

So Padme and Farr are dropped off at a Quarren's residence, where said Quarren appears to keep the Wisps from Sonic Colors as pets in a fishtank. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?) They talk about how the clones are/aren't people, and more about LOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICS
Farr and Padme part and Padme leaves to roam the streets alone like a FREAKING IDIOT, considering she's being TARGETED BY DOOKU'S THUGS. The Selkath and the duck fish dude get the jump on Padme, natch. Two droids attempt to apprehend the pair, but they get shot down.

See, if the Coruscant Guard were here doing their jobs, this wouldn't be happening. Padme's an idiot.

So when Padme doesn't see her driver she hijacks a speeder bike and we get a somewhat creative but mostly boring speeder chase through Coruscant. In lieu of trying to explain this scene, I'm going to stop paying attention to the episode and watch this instead.

So Padme is caught by the CSF. Later, Padme is being attended to by one of her aides, and Padme eventually asks about how the war is getting worse for her family. The next morning in the hangar, the two thugs try to off Bail, but end up failing again. Bail is taken out temporarily, and it falls on Padme's shoulders to give the speech. But OHNOES, PADME SUDDENLY DOES NOT HAVE CONFIDENCE ANYMORE. Padme's aide then gives her a boost of confidence in the form of her headdress that looks like her hair (WAIT A SECOND, I thought that WAS her hair in the headdress, now it's a hat wig thing?!) Anyway, we cut to the Senate where Padme gives a rousing speech, but all I hear is LOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICSLOLMONEYLOLSENATELOLPOLITICS
 I don't care.

I don't care.


Nobody cares. Does anybody care? Probably not, because this is NOT INTERESTING. Yes, your Senate set is very pretty, Filoni. We're sick of looking at it, can we PLEASE go to new worlds and see war now? Thank you.

Anyway, after the speech, we get the only real payoff this craptastic half-season has led up to. We cut to Chancellor Palpatine's office, where Palpatine is actually acting evil. This is actually somewhat remarkable, since we really haven't seen a whole lot of this in this show- Sure, we've seen little shades of Sidious and we've seen him in his robes on hologram, but have we ever seen him really acting evil in office? Not so much. Him and Mas talk about how they need to let the wheels of democracy turn, and then, on that note, we end the episode HOLD ON A SECOND THERE. NO, DON'T ROLL THE CREDITS, DON'T SLAP ME WITH THE THEME SONG, I WANTED TO SEE MORE OF THAT! I WANTED TO SEE MORE EVIL PALPATINE!! WHAT THE HELL?!

*sigh* I am SO sick of this drudgery. You, sitting there in your comfy computer chairs, probably think I have a blast watching Star Wars and making fun of it, and... you're probably right. Making fun of it is amusing. But this kind of episode, this kind of boring drudgery, seeing the magic and the fun just sapped out of something I've held dear since my childhood... It pains me, dear reader, it hurts to watch Star Wars fall so far that it's turned into such a terrible show. However, the next half of Season 3 holds promise, with Savage Opress, the Nightsisters, Republic Commandos, and Ahsoka turning to the Dark Side. The Clone Wars won't be returning until next year, let's hope the break does some good in getting the show some better writers. However, I won't bid farewell, as I have plans- I'll either probably end up doing another MSOSW segment or review the first story arc of Transformers: Prime- a show which genuinely surprised me with how good it is, as opposed to this, which surprised me with how boring it's gotten. How sad.

Anyway, if I don't post this week, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Hannukah, Happy Life Day, and, to all my Mando'a vode, K'oyaci! God bless us, every one.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Clone Wars Review: Heroes on Both Sides

Su cuy'gar, everyone, and welcome to another Star Wars: The Clone Wars review!

Honestly, I can only talk about how awful this season is so many times before it gets stale, so I'm just gonna talk about the episode. For an episode entitled "Heroes on Both Sides", I was expecting a heck of a lot more action. Nobody does anything particularly heroic, we don't really see that there are any "heroes" on the Separatist side, and we know of the heroes of the Republic only because they've been previously established as heroes. Kinda false advertising, if you ask me.

And kudos to the writers for asking the questions we've been wanting since Season 2 (Are we doing the right thing? Are we doing it for the right reasons? Who is it, exactly, that we're fighting?), but better late than never, I guess. (Personally, I've been asking questions of this show like "Where are the Coruscant Guard" and "Why did Lucas and Filoni let such ineffectual writers work with this show", but haven't gotten any answers.) Although considering this episode apparently takes place in the middle/towards the end of the war, I guess now is as good a time as any. The jist of the Clone Wars is essentially the Jedi enter a war, and as it drags on, they begin to question the how and who and why, but when they finally discover the answer, it's too late. I suppose the first two seasons are essentially supposed to be that beginning period where the war has just begun, and most of the Jedi haven't begun to question the motives or consider alternatives, as Palpatine so deftly pulls the strings of his galactic puppet show, leading the Republic to its downfall. And, considering that Lucas and Filoni talk of more seasons (As in, plural, so we're at least getting a season 4 and a season 5, and perhaps a 6.), I guess now is a good time to establish changes in the war, from facing a clear-cut evil to a mysterious enemy among the Jedi, as the Dark Side continues to take its hold on the galaxy.

But... it's just NOT VERY INTERESTING. I am truly sick of all these diplomatic missions, just get to the friggin' action already! With the way I just described it, you'd think this "turning point", the fulcrum of the lever that is the Clone War, where lines blur and black and white become hues of grey, would be a little more epic! On a grander scale, with more war! It's not! It's boring! There are huge plot points happening here, and nobody's paying attention because it's JUST NOT INTERESTING!

Here's how I think this episode SHOULD have played out:
(Note: It's been established that not all Seppie fighters are droids. The books and comics and even the 2003 cartoon detail more warriors than just droids, a good example being the Quarren Isolation League who fought in the Battle of Mon Calamari.)
During a battle on a Separatist planet, Ahsoka, a Separatist commander, a few Seppie foot soldiers and a small group of clone troopers get trapped in a network of caves miles beneath either of their bases. When they all come to, the clones and soldiers start fighting, but Ahsoka realizes that the only way they will get out of this situation alive is if they work together. While they try and find a way out, Ahsoka and the commander talk about their factions' different points of view, and the clones talk to the soldiers about similar topics. At first, the two groups hate each other, but they soon agree to disagree and eventually become friendly with each other, at one point the Commander saving Ahsoka's neck (Somehow.) Eventually, they find a way out. Ahsoka is able to convince the commander to surrender because the Republic has greater numbers and firepower, and the two part. Here, this could go one of two ways: Either the commander could say that he'd fight to the bitter end for his planet's freedom, but he admits that he does not want to fight against his newfound friend. Or, the commander returns to his base and orders a cease-fire. This can either end with the planet deciding to remain neutral, or the commander being killed by Dooku for his failure. Or both. This idea can be tweaked and messed with how you like, but whatever way you slice it, it'd be a heck of a lot more interesting than THIS.

Alternately, you could have a situation where a clone trooper/officer (Rex would be a really good candidate for this) and a member of Death Watch are stranded on a planet/moon during a space battle. Same situation, they have to work together to survive, but they talk about Mandalorian heritage and virtues, exchange a few Mando'a swearwords, and realize that they're fighting for very similar ideals, and their only real difference is the faction they swear loyalty to. Again, they eventually get off the planet/moon, go home, but remain friends of an enemy. (Alternately, if it ends up not being Rex, the trooper could defect and join Death Watch, setting up some REALLY interesting episodes later when Death Watch fights the trooper's old squad.)

Man, I should write for the Clone Wars show. Who writes this garbage? I should replace them.

Anyway, for the time being, all I can write is reviews of ridicule, and that's exactly what I am going to do for the time being. So let's dive right in to Heroes on Both Sides!

Search your feelings, you know it to be SPOILERS!

So Tom Kane sets up the episode by showing us how the war seems to have no end in sight, and that clones are suffering casualties in the war, but instead of watching cool things like THAT, we are taken to an emergency session of the Senate to "determine the true cost of the war". Again, I'm getting a distinct feeling of cocktease from this, because with this opening narration, the show is basically saying to us, the viewers "There's a huge war going on with action and violence and death and plot, but we're not going to show you that. Instead, have the same exact session of the Senate we've rehashed a hundred times in this show about how the war is costly and/or wrong!"

The Senate session this time is, again, about a bill to create more clone troopers for the GAR. Normally, I would hate this kind of rehashing of plot points, but then I sit back and think- Bills and proposals in our government many times take weeks, months, sometimes years to get through. In these years, the bill/proposal in question is brought before our own Congress and President (Or local government, depending on what the bill/proposal is designed to affect) a number of times if it does not succeed the first time. So far, the bill to create more clone troopers has yet to succeed, so it only makes sense that supporters of it are trying to get it to pass.

So the villains in the Senate (Such as the Trade Federation reps and the Kaminoan rep) are trying to push the bill, when Padme steps in and says it's not a good idea. Since apparently the Seppies can't be negotiated with, we get another chant of "vote now, vote now" before Bail steps in and suggests tabling the bill. Which is exactly what happens. After the session, a Muun (Banking Clan) rep and a Nemoidian (Trade Fed) rep convene with a representative of an unnamed planet (He's a minor character, so it doesn't matter where he's from), determining that Padme Amidala is the problem, being one of the few voices of reason in the Senate. Unnamed rep offers to hire someone to deal with her, but the Nemoidian turns him down, saying that doing so is more difficult than he might realize. (Haha, Episode II reference.) Then the Muun and Nemoidian have an interesting bit of dialogue I'd like to share with you.

Muun: "Gentlemen, the Banking Clan and the Trade Federation are about business, not violence."
Nemoidian: "In this case, our business IS violence."
Muun: "Precisely."

I just find it interesting that the Muun says one thing, the Nemoidian more or less contradicts him, and the Muun agrees with him.

The two then determine that perhaps it is time for some "unexpected bloodshed" on Coruscant, citing the planet's false sense of security and that, were the planet attacked, the Republic would fall to pieces. When we cut back to the Senate, Padme is talking to Anakin, who is sporting a new look. Personally, I dig Anakin's new style, it's got more conventional Jedi robes (Which we don't see Jedi in anymore), and Anakin's grown his hair out a bit, which harkens closer to his style in Episode III. Following them is Ahsoka TanWHOABOY, did SHE grow up fast. Ahsoka's sporting a new look as well, with slightly taller montrals and longer head-tails, showing that she is, in fact, growing up a bit. But then this sort of brings up the issue of timeline; when does this all take place, and how is it, in such a short period of time, that Ahsoka grows three inches and a bra size or two?

Now, before you all jump on me, rabidly yelling "AAARGH TIMELINE SCREWUP FILONI SUCKS", let's think about this rationally for a few minutes, 'cuz hey, maybe there's an answer to this mess.

However! To understand anything relating to the passage of time in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, you must first understand the timeline in which this series takes place, and how events fit into this three-year period. So if you haven't already, I highly recommend you read my Making Sense of Star Wars: Timeline of The Clone Wars segment, as I will be using terminology (I.E, Early War, Year 3, etc) from that post and essentially be assuming that you read that segment, so don't come crying to me if THIS explanation makes no sense if you didn't read the Timeline segment first.

If you were too stupid to figure out that the underlined title above was a hyperlink, click here to go to Making Sense of Star Wars: Timeline of The Clone Wars.

Now, concerning Ahsoka's age...
It's been established by a number of canon sources that Ahsoka is fourteen years old by the time Anakin takes her as his padawan learner. (George Lucas said once that she was eleven when the series begins, but we all know he's slowly growing senile from all the Star Wars he's been involved with over the years.) Now, the Clone Wars span three years, as discussed in MSoSW:TotCW. Assuming she's fourteen in the film, she very well could have turned fifteen in Season 1, as early as the first or second episode (Who knows, maybe she became a Padawan right before her birthday) during the beginning/middle of the Early War year, then turned sixteen in the beginning/middle of the Mid Year war. This does raise the question of why nobody has noted that she's grown older, but to be fair, I don't think anyone has ever had a formal "birthday", per se, in Star Wars. So, by that logic, Ahsoka, with her new outfit, montrals, bust and all, is now sixteen in this episode. This does leave us with a small time gap placed before the events of this episode, given that nobody grows that much overnight, but that's fairly negligible for the purposes of this writing.

Anyway! Getting back to the episode!

The three talk about how peace is the right way, Jedi need to look for peaceful solutions, Anakin argues that politics isn't his role. When Ahsoka brings up advising the Chancellor, Anakin hastily suggests that Padme teach Ahsoka about politics. In a previous review, I had mentioned that political allegory really doesn't have much place in Star Wars, but Ahsoka said something that I honestly think rings true in our own world, and our own wars.

"Truthfully, I don't understand any of it. I know the Separatists are evil, but all anyone argued about was banking deregulation, interest rates and, well... Almost NOTHING about why we're fighting in the first place."

Anakin's response is, in my opinion, rather fitting, and fits with his character, which keeps the political undertones firmly grounded in Star Wars fiction instead of the episode becoming a watered-down attack on our own government. However, I can't help but wonder how many people on our side of the wars we fight actually share his view.

"War's complicated, Ahsoka. Let me simplify it. The Separatists believe the Republic is corrupt... but they're wrong... and we have to restore order."

I'll let you draw your own conclusions from that, but honestly, it makes sense that that's what he believes. Padme thanks Anakin for his help and leaves, taking Ahsoka with her, saying she's going to teach her about politics.

Oh good, so we're going to focus on Anakin and the 501st again? HAH.  HIGHLY unlikely.

We cut to Dooku talking to Grievous on his flagship, about the Senate. Y'know, 'cuz Grievous is such a political being. They talk mysteriously about some mission Grievous is going to enact, before we cut back to Padme's apartment, where the two are talking about how talking with the Seppies is illegal, and how it's a shame the Jedi can hold "aggressive negotiations", but peaceful ones can't prevail. The two devise a plan to visit Padme's Seppie friend via smuggling Padme behind enemy lines. Ahsoka then has an interesting line of dialogue, saying that Padme and Anakin have more in common than they think, and it's no wonder they get along so well. Padme just shrugs it off. I find it amusing that Ahsoka hasn't read any more into their relationship, at the very least coming to the conclusion that they at least like each other. For such an intuitive (sometimes) padawan, Ahsoka can be pretty dense sometimes.

Cut back to Grievous, where he plans to deploy the "Infiltrators", droids designed to infiltrate (natch) the most secure places on Coruscant. But what will these villainous creations do?

We won't find out at the moment, because Ahsoka and Padme are on their way to Raxus! Their ship lands, with the idiot droids not noticing the Togruta and Senator among the passengers. The two meet up with Padme's friend, Mina Bonteri, a Separatist senator. (Huh. Didn't know THOSE existed.)

Actually, for all the bashing I do on this season, this episode does bring up a few interesting plot points and answers some questions; specifically, how Dooku and Palpatine keep the Seppies under their thumb, and why the Republic doesn't attempt peace talks with the individual planets. Reason being, they have a setup that isn't so different from the Republic, with a Senate and whatnot, but the man in charge still calls the shots. Doesn't make up for the complete lack of any kind of action, but it's nice to have some clarification.

Mina warmly greets the pair, and takes them to her home. I actually kind of like Mina, as she kind of strikes me as the kindly grandmotherly type, which does show a different side of the Separatists. The side that is still human, not necessarily evil, the side that really does believe that the Republic is corrupt, but aren't all bad guys. We're introduced to her well-dressed son Lux, who doesn't appear to be much older than Ahsoka. Amusingly, Ahsoka isn't fond of Lux, giving him a strong glower when he tries to take her bag.

When they go inside, Ahsoka makes a blunt comment about the Seppies being responsible for the war, but Mina brings up a good point- The Separatists feel the same way about the Republic, that it's corrupt, and not doing the right thing. Mina mentions how clones killed her husband, and Ahsoka sees herself out.

Way to make everyone feel awkward, Ahsoka.

Back on Corsucant, the "cleaning droids" arrive, much to the pleasure of the Coruscant GuaWAAAAIT A MINUTE.

I refer you to my review of the episode "Assassin"  for my full reaction. However, Filoni, I'm still VERY sour that you insist on relegating these awesome characters to mere cameo appearances. I DO NOT APPROVE.

Back on Raxus, Lux strikes up a conversation with Ahsoka. He mentions that Ahsoka is a Jedi, and that he used to be told that Jedi were good, but now that the war has begun, he doesn't know if that's the case. Ahsoka responds by asking if she's the first Jedi he's met, saying "Look at me. Not so bad, am I?" To which Lux gives her elevator eyes (And giving the audience a good look at her new outfit), responding "No, not bad at all." Ahsoka rolls her eyes, annoyed, saying that, whether they're Republic or Seppie, boys will be boys.

Hun, you just came back from your last episode significantly sexed-up. You basically stood there, posed, and ASKED him to get a good look at you. What were you expecting, a friendly handshake?

Lux turns around and asks her how many Seppies she's met. She admits that, aside from military officers, she hasn't met any. Lux amusingly asks her if he's "so bad", to which she respondsOHWAIT jump cut to Padme and Mina.

Padme "senses Dooku's dirty hand in all of this", to which Mina responds that he only leads the Senate, not the entire universe.

OH lady if only you knew who DID lead the entire universe.

The two talk about how they agree how the war needs to stop, and Padme tells Mina of her plight. Interestingly, the Separatists are in a similar situation. Padme advises that Mina suggest peace talks with the Republic, and Mina agrees. Padme sees Lux and Ahsoka outside, talking, and Mina and her old friend toast to peace, and to hope.

Lux/Ahsoka. I can just sense the horrible, horrible fanfiction being written at this very moment.

Actually, bad fanfic aside, this would be a very interesting plot point, if Ahsoka and Lux fell in love. Screw Romeo and Juliet, we've got a GALACTIC CIVIL WAR going on, that oughta step things up a bit for a romantic subplot.

Later, at the Separatist Senate, Mina is suggesting peace negotiations, but is met with strong resistance. Dooku mentions that they need to vote for anything to happen, and when the votes are counted, it seems the ayes have it- Time to open peace negotiations with the Republic and end this war!

Wait, what?

Back on Coruscant, The Banking Clan and Trade Federation are planning their attack, and on Raxus, Ahsoka and Padme finally depart for home. Ahsoka and Lux say goodbye, hinting that Lux has a thing for Ahsoka.

Back on Coruscant, the Infiltrators are doing their job. Grievous orders them to initiate Phase II of the plan, and the droids converge to a single point after a commercial break. The droids drive up to get past the security check, headed by Commander FoxHEEEEY WAIT A MINUTE.


The droids, with fake work orders authentic enough to fool the Commander, get past the security check. Fox doesn't even catch that the droids, programmed for "generator maintenance", are going the wrong way.

Why, Fox...? Why didn't you catch that..?


*muffled crying*

Anyway, in Palpatine's office, Palpatine is sporting a new robe. They talk about the peace vote, and Palpatine mentally puts Bonteri on his hit list, saying that he'll put the vote on the floor. Down in the generators, the Infiltrator droids kick some serious ass and kill the entire maintenance crew and, while the vote begins to go through, the Infiltrators set themselves up on the generators and detonate, which cuts power across all Coruscant. DUN DUN DUUUUNNNN, CUE THE OMINOUS RED LIGHTS ON BACKUP POWER.

Without power, Coruscant is thrown into chaos. Palpatine ends up deregulating the banks, and Padme returns Ahsoka to Anakin like a borrowed Pokemon. Anakin chastises her for going to Raxus to meet with Bonteri, saying that the Republic has eyes and ears everywhere and that her trip was dangerous and illegal, saying she'd gone too far. Ahsoka says that Anakin would do the same, but Anakin says she's gone too far. We end with Ahsoka mentioning that the politics of the war aren't as black and white as she once thought, and on that, we roll the credits!

Okay, so, admittedly, this wasn't a bad episode. In truth, I would go so far as to say it was GOOD, but... It's ill timed. If the Lucasfilm team honestly wanted to sell this episode, they would have put it in the middle of episodes centering on the goddamn CLONE WARS. Heck, we don't even know what's HAPPENING in these galaxy-ravaging conflicts anymore, other than what the Senate has to say, and they're all idiots! Can we PLEASE be done with the filler and get back to the actual war? PLEASE? Yes, this episode brought up some interesting plot points/plot devices, but it just wasn't that interesting. And it's on the tail end of uninteresting filler. The only clones that showed up were just STANDING AROUND. For it to be a "Clone War", you need both clones AND war. Take either one of them away and it's not the CLONE WARS anymore.

All we're asking for is Star Wars. That's all we want, Lucasfilm.

Until next time, k'oyaci!

Making Sense of Star Wars: Timeline of The Clone Wars

Su cuy'gar, everyone! With this post I bring you not a review, but something different! Something new and exciting! Welcome to the first segment of Making Sense of Star Wars!

Like most fans of the Star Wars saga, I would really like to make sense of the series. However, there are times when that seems impossible, even with Leland Chee and his Holocron continuity database. Sometimes things need more explanation, sometimes books, shows or movies don't fit in a conclusive timeline, and sometimes things just defy explanation. George Lucas certainly has made a mess of his saga, especially when it comes down to the Clone Wars. A lot of the timeline of the saga is relatively solid (with some canon issues here and there), but this three-year period between EpII and EpIII seem to be the messiest part of George Lucas' grand vision. And that's where I come in! With this blog entry, I aim to create a sub-division of the posts I make here at Clone Army Reviews, called Making Sense of Star Wars. When I come across something I would like to explain, speculate about or make sense of, I'm going to post it as a MSoSW post, and try my best to shed some light on the issue. In these segments, I'll try and explain the subject matter as best I can in a way that can be easily understood by someone actively reading and absorbing the information, but if I really go off the deep end and start babbling on and making no sense, leave a comment, directly quoting (That means copy/pasted, in quotation marks "") the part that didn't make sense to you and I'll try and explain it better.
So, that said, let's jump into the first segment of Making Sense of Star Wars!

And what have I got in store for our first segment?
The timeline of the Clone Wars, of course! Nothing is quite as in pieces as the Clone Wars' timeline.

I was in the middle of writing my review for Heroes on Both Sides, in which I try to explain why Ahsoka suddenly looks like she's at least a year or two older. I realized that, to explain anything relating to the passage of time in The Clone Wars, I first needed to make sense of the Clone Wars as a whole. I went off on a mad rant explaining how everything fit together, before I realized that it broke the flow of the review, and I would probably be best off writing a separate blog post explaining the timeline, as I might have ended up writing more about the timeline than the actual episode I was reviewing. This post consists of that explanation, and concludes it, providing a timeline with both Genndy Tartakovsky's and Dave Filoni's cartoons. It does not deal with the specifics of Ahsoka's physical maturity, that is detailed in the Heroes on Both Sides review.

As I have not read the comics or plowed through all the books (Note: There is a small aside at the end about where the books/comics fit in the whole timeline), today I'll mostly be dealing with the two main media outlets for The Clone Wars; the television shows. Genndy Tartakovsky had a go at telling a grand tale of Star Wars once, and by the Force was it grand indeed. Then Filoni came along, and with Lucas' help, made a mess of the timeline. Well, we have all the pieces in front of us, let's try and figure out what's what!

NOTE: This explanation does not take into account direct clashes in canon, like the Battle of Coruscant, which was depicted in both Genndy's 2003 Clone Wars cartoon and the novel Labrynth of Evil. Karen Traviss' novels are another matter entirely, and I will attempt to mesh them with the Mandalore story arcs of Filoni's Clone Wars cartoon in another Making Sense of Star Wars segment.

It's an established fact that the Clone Wars lasted three years (22 BBY to 19 BBY). For ease of explanation, let's divvy up the war into three sections, each represented by a year- Year 1, Early War (22-21 BBY, when the conflict began in its early stages) Year 2, Mid War (21-20 BBY, when the war reached a turning point and everything started to become muddled and unclear) and Year 3, Late War (20-19 BBY, when pretty much everything went to hell). If we try to mesh Genndy Tartakovsky's cartoon with Dave Filoni's, we more or less come up with something like this- Genndy's story from the beginning of Season 1 to mid-Season 2 (when Anakin is knighted) details the very beginning of the Clone Wars, probably taking up a good part of Year One, the Early War year. From Anakin's knighting to the scene that takes place directly after the ceremony, there is actually a huge time gap (Even though the show's pacing and editing would lead us to believe it is a much smaller time frame). The time period between before and after Anakin's knighting in Genndy's show is where the entirety of Dave Filoni's (so far) takes place. Much like Episode II and III, which jumped from the very beginning of the war to the very end, Genndy too leaves us with a large, unfilled gap, which is slowly but surely being filled by this new show. This actually works well because, while Genndy's cartoon was very grand and very busy, it detailed only a handful of key events in chronological order; specifically the Battle of Muunilist, the Battle of Mon Calamari, the Battle of Dantooine, the Battle of Illum and the Battle of Hypori, which takes place off-screen. Other key events that happen in Seasons 1 and 2 are Asajj Ventress' introduction and presumed death, along with the introduction of Grievous at the end. The battles on Muunilist, Mon Calamari, Dantooine and Illum are all concurrent; happening at the same time. Anakin's battle with Ventress on Yavin 4 didn't last any more than a day (As the Battle of Muunilist, which Anakin was fighting in when he left, was drawing to a close when Anakin left, and the clones and Obi-Wan were cleaning up when he returned. Also, on Yavin 4, late day became night during the fight, and had not become day again while Anakin was there.) The beginning of Season 3 of Genndy's cartoon (when the show had become fifteen-minute mini-episodes instead of the five-minute microepisodes the first two seasons had done) wraps up the Battle of Hypori and then proceeds right into Anakin's knighting in Year 1, then jumps to the third year of the war, the Late War year of 20 BBY to 19 BBY, leaving out a large part of Year 1 and completely skipping Year 2. The period before the time jump, because it detailed only a few key battles and events that were all happening at about the same time, could have been told over the course of somewhere between a month to half a year, give or take. (The same idea of things happening at the same time could be applied to the new cartoon as well, if we begin to have continuity issues later on top of the ones we already have.) Dave Filoni's The Clone Wars picks up more or less right after Anakin's knighting. (SPECULATION: Given that Anakin has grown out his hair a bit and he has matured slightly, I estimate that the period between the knighting and the Clone Wars film spans somewhere between a few weeks and two months.) It picks up in the middle of Early War (22-21 BBY), and if we approximate a rough timeline, Season 1 and somewhere between the first three quarters to almost all of of Season 2 cap off the Early War year, and mid- to end-Season 2 is when the Mid War year begins, which then leads into Season 3, somewhere in the early to the middle of the Mid War year, which takes place between 21 and 20 BBY. This puts this episode, the "current" episode, which constitutes where in the war we are now (since the next episode, Pursuit of Peace, is an out-of-order episode from before Onaconda Farr is murdered, as Farr is still alive in that episode), placing us somewhere in the Mid War year, probably either at the end of 21 BBY or the very beginning of 20 BBY, assuming the years change in the middle of the year-long periods. To make a rough timeline of it all...

Genndy Tartakovsky's Show

Genndy's Season I, Season II, Season III Pre-Knighting (Battles of Muunilist, Mon Calamari, Dantooine and Illum)= GTS1, GTS2
Undisclosed Period of Time = UPT
Genndy's Season III Post-Knighting (Concluding battles of the Clone Wars) = GTS3
Episode III, Rise of the Empire, end of the Clone War = EpIII
YOU ARE HERE = Where in the timeline we are now as of the most recent episode, as of this writing, with Heroes on Both Sides being the latest episode. This will not be updated, so essentially this means where Heroes on Both Sides is.

Timeline graphic: (Notes: Timeline reads from top to bottom, events are bolded for ease of reading. V indicates forward direction of time passage, and order in which events take place.)

EpIII, End of Clone War

Filoni's Show (Out-of-order episodes not taken into account)

Dave Filoni's Show

Dave's Clone Wars Film = DFCWF
Dave's Season I, Season II, Season III = DFS1, DFS2, DFS3
Dave's future seasons, unproduced episodes = DFFS

Timeline Graphic:

Other events
EpIII, end of Clone War

Now, if we mesh these two timelines together, what we get looks something like this...

Timeline graphic:

EpIII, End of Clone War

Now, when we take all this into account we need to remember that, even between episodes, there are gaps that can be filled, and events that can take place in between the episodes of these shows. The period between two battles can span anywhere between a day and a month, if not longer, so a number of events can occur either concurrently or between episodes. These events are detailed in the comics and books, among other media. While the comics and books do not enjoy as high a canon status as the films and shows, they are still a vital piece of the Star Wars saga that can fit in between these stories. One example is Jedi Trial, which tells a tale of Anakin before his knighting, where he befriends a particular Jedi Knight and leads a battle on the Outer Rim world of Praesitlyin. Because individual battles in either show are never set in stone as to exactly WHEN they take place (I.E. the Battle of Muunilist could have taken place mere days before Anakin is knighted, but by the same token, it could also be a period months, enough time to wage more battles on more planets), Jedi Trial could take place anywhere in the war before Anakin's knighting. Many, if not all of, the books' and comics' stories, many of which center around characters other than Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi (unlike the shows, which focus most of their energy on the pair) could be melded into the timeline in the same manner, being explained as concurrent events, battles occurring between episodes, and so forth.

And there you have it, Clone Wars' timeline explained. Whoo, what a rush! I hope that made sense to you, 'cuz I swear it made sense in my head as I was writing it.

Be sure to catch the next segment of Making Sense of Star Wars, where I try to mesh Karen Traviss' Republic Commando novels with Dave Filoni's Death Watch story arc, which takes place on Mandalore. Said segment might end up being a good bit of speculation, but I will cite only canon information relating to the books and episodes and try to come up with a solution, provided Filoni doesn't bring us back to Mandalore. (If he does, Vizsla needs to shoot Satine in the face.)

Well, until next time, k'oyaci!