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!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Clone Wars Review: Hunt for Ziro.

Su cuy'gar, everyone! I hate Ziro the Hutt!

A lot.

And really, who actually LIKES this character? He's a sexually ambiguous hutt with an annoying voice, serves no purpose, and wastes a REALLY cool name. What if I wanted to name a fancharacter Ziro? I couldn't, 'cuz the fanbase would be all "Oh, like that annoying purple people eater hutt?" Ziro needs to die.

Aaaand that's where this episode comes in! Again, a mediocre work. Granted, it's better than the other garbage this show's been throwing at is (IGN has given each of them at least a "passable", for video game reviewers they are WAY too nice to this show.), but it takes all the boring and replaces it with bizzare, weird and disgusting.

Y'know, for kids!

And while I do appreciate the fact that this show is willing to go to "darker" areas, that only works if the episode is any good. Is it? Well, I'll let you judge for yourself.

As if millions of voices cried out in terror... and were suddenly SPOILERS!

So, in case you didn't see the onslaught of advertising for this episode, Quinlan Vos finally makes his debut in this show!

Now before we go any further I need to say I know nothing about Quinlan Vos except that he was kind of a jerk in the comics, turned to the dark side at one point and survived Order 66 on Kashyyyk. So my assessment of his character is going to be fairly unbiased going in to this episode, seeing as how I don't know if he's faithful to his source material or not. So if you hate him, go ahead, you probably have your reasons that I am not aware of, since I barely read the comics anyway.

So Tom Kane fills us in on the events of Hostage Crisis, putting things back into timeline perspective and showing the Coruscant Guard doing their jobs for once (In recap form, of course. New material with cool characters would be silly!) Obi-Wan and Quinlan Vos are on the case, and we cut to Nal Hutta, where the Five Hutt Families are trying to figure out what to do with Ziro. This is a rather interesting conversation, if only because we don't entirely know what the Hutts are saying, we only know that through what Ziro is saying. But really, I gotta ask- Why not subtitle the Hutts' speech? It'd make Ziro's dialogue in this scene less stilted and forced. He has to repeat everything the Hutts say so the audience knows what's going on. It's determined Ziro needs to be kept alive because he holds highly sensitive information in his memory.

Cut to a landing pad on Coruscant, where Obi-Wan is troubled. Cody picks up on this, with Obi-Wan responding that Quinlan Vos has that effect. His ship arrives after a little dialogue, and Vos leaps off the Larty and sticks the landing, complementing Commander Cody and telling Obi he looks "worse for wear". He asks "how's temple life", only to receive a glower from the Jedi Master.

"Good to see you too."

So Vos and Kenobi discuss the mission and board the shuttle, heading to Nal Hutta... without Cody.

Yeah, sure, leave the coolest character in this episode behind, that'll go over well with the fans.

So, we return to Nal Hutta, where... What the HELL?!

The Hutts are watching Avatar extra rejects in ridiculous headwear dance around, and- WHOA SY SNOOTLES, where did you come from.

Okay... So... after that... BIZZARE bit of Hutt... um, ENTERTAINMENT... Sy Snootles goes to Ziro's cell, and... wait, Sy is Ziro's girlfriend?! WHAT THE HELL?!


My mind, she is broken. Help.

Okay, I need to step back and ask- WHY was this necessary?! I mean, REALLY? This concept has an ungodly amount of disgusting, 'cuz, y'know, it's SY SNOOTLES AND ZIRO THE HUTT, two of the most REPULSIVE CREATURES IN THE GALAXY. Together. I don't even want to KNOW how they- UUUGGGHHHHHHHH.

Hey, new credo- Knowledge sucks.

Okay, that scene's FINALLY over. Kenobi and Vos land on Nal-Hutta and are led in by some Gammorean guards. Obi-Wan addresses Gardulla the Hu- Wait, Gardulla?

As in, the Gardulla Jango Fett killed? By shoving into the mouth of a Krayt Dragon?! And then proceeded to KILL said Krayt Dragon?!







 Okay so Obi-Wan and Vos address the Hutts and try to get some info on Ziro. Vos picks up the cup Ziro was drinking from before, and senses that he was there. As the two leave, Vos tells Kenobi. Soooo Vos can use the Force to sense things... relating... to... objects...?

Ah whatever, it's the Force who cares.

HEY LOOK IT'S CAD BANE, THE COOL DUDE. Welcome back, Bane, we missed you.

So Kenobi and Vos find out that Ziro escaped (Big... flippin'... surprise.) Vos thinks he had help (Y'know, 'cuz a half-ton obese slug can totally escape on his own.), and the two run off to find him. When the Hutts find out that Ziro escaped, they think the Jedi did it (Why they think that I will never know), but Bane tells them that Ziro was probably gone way before the Jedi even got there. Of course, the Hutts hire Bane to find Ziro.

Meanwhile, Quinlan Vos is apparently a bloodhound or something because he's trying to track down Ziro with his "tracking skills".

Um, woof woof?

Kenobi comments how this would go faster had they brought a droid (Or, I dunno, specialized clone troopers trained for tracking situations) when a huge eel jumps out of the water and attacks our heroes!

Which is the eel from Episode I... which is not able to breathe on land.


Anyway, they head off to follow Ziro, who goes to a mysterious house in the swamp. Said house contains... a seven-ton hutt that's Ziro's mama.

So what is it with Ziro's family line, anyway, where the males are all femmy and the females are all butch? That's messed up, even by Hutt standards.

Getting back to the episode, Cad Bane and Todo (I guess Bane had a backup Todo for this kind of thing...) are in hot pursuit of Ziro, along with Kenobi and Vos. After a quick commercial break, the two Jedi decide to investigate Ziro's momma's house. Vos is the single least tactful being in the galaxy, apparently, because instead of just walking in the front door, he CHOPS IT TO PIECES AND SHOVES THE PIECES IN. Then he runs into where Ziro's momma is and makes a rude comment about the smell. Momma tells them that Ziro left for Teth, and the Jedi leave.

Meanwhile, on Teth, the single most horrible couple in Star Wars history go graverobbing to find the records this episode has been solely centered around. Sy Snootles picks it up and WHOA PULLS A GUN ON ZIRO. Ziro pleads for his life, but Sy just shots him dead.

Three... two... one...

Bane arrives on Teth with Todo, finding the dead Hutt, mentioning that he hates it when someone does his job. Hey, I'm just glad someone did it in the first place. 

Bane and the Jedi banter a bit, before engaging in what actually is a pretty cool fight scene. I don't like describing fights as it spoils the action and doesn't do them justice, but at one point, Vos is tied by the legs, Bane uses a bunch of his wrist gauntlet gears, and fights Obi-Wan with Vos' lightsaber. It's actually a cool sequence that really shows that even though Bane isn't Force-sensitive, he can hold his own against a pair of Jedi.

Said fight scene is punctuated by a bad pun. Cue collective groan.

Back on Tatooine, Sy is paid by Jabba for getting the records, and the episode kind of just ends there. Roll the credits!

Well, this certainly wasn't a boring episode. Just... kind of... an offensive one. The Hutts are gross enough as it is, then Sy getting involved, and that mother Hutt.. EW EW EW I NEED TO TAKE A SHOWER NOW. This would have been a nice change of pace if the rest of the season was good, but really, this is just going too far. Can we PLEASE get back to the Clone Wars already, Filoni? This is just getting boring.

Until next time, k'oyaci!

Commander Ben

Sorry Folks

So, what have I stacked up, three reviews now? Man, I'm behind. Sorry, guys. I don't have any real reason for not keeping up with this. I'm a college student, what do you expect. Besides, these episodes haven't really given me much motivation to do any in-depth reviewing on them anyway. But I'm back, and now that Clone Wars won't be back until January, I'm just gonna crank these out like CRAZY.

WHOO! Wish me luck!