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.
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!