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The Clone Wars reviews are back! Sorry for the delay, but I’m back in full force now (see what I did there?). Anyway, we’re jumping into the middle episode of a story arc with this week’s episode, “Counter Attack”. Picking up where last week left off, Anakin and Obi-wan have broken into their respective groups to guide the captured Jedi mater/representative of the lolly pop guild and their troopers. Meanwhile, R2 sneaks out of the citadel with the help of the droids he’s re-programmed.
The majority of the episode is a stealth escape mission with banter between the various parties. In these types of stories, the idea is to build tension, watch clever plans being executed by both sides and keep the tension going. If all goes well, you honestly don’t know who’s going to come out on top by the time you get to the third act. You may think that tension isn’t exactly one of the strong suits of the Clone Wars, but they’ve done this sort of thing before in the past two years. It’s impossible to worry about Anakin and Obi-wan, but we can at least worry about the two rookies we’ve been following since Season One: Echo and Fives. You remember them don’t you? The only clones that seem to have any sort of character development. Anyway, I’ll just cut to the spoiler and say that while I might not have been completely surprised, I did recognise the importance of that moment. The reason I wasn’t surprised was because every time we see that group of clones, one or more of them die in combat. It shows honest progression in a show that takes place between two of the worst films ever made. That’s why I love this show. It takes a universe that people became disenchanted with and makes it cool and exciting again.
Focusing on the rest of the episode, I can’t say that it was the best installment the series has given us. When we’re watching the individual groups escape, we should be entertained by what we’re seeing, but I can honestly say that I was more annoyed than anything else. R2’s squad of droids was making my ears bleed. I’ve always hated the droids (in and out of the show), but they’re filling a role that they are the worst possible candidates to fill. When R2 talks, you need another character to relay everything he says, or just let R2’s expression dictated his emotions. That’s why he’s such a cool character. When a character repeats what he says, it’s okay because you have decent voice actors. Now replace those voice actors with the most annoying, ear-rapping, gut-wrenching, cringe-inducing voice you’ve ever heard. I love R2 but I could barely stand the scenes he was in, especially when all the groups converged towards the end. That just made things harder.
It may sound like I hated this episode, but there were actually some cool moments that took place. I already mentioned Echo’s death, but the other smaller moments that I enjoyed was when that admiral-type dude called Anakin out on the whole "peace keepers leading a war" thing. The fact that Anakin didn’t have an honest response for that was also great. It’s like Anakin turned to the screen and said that he knew how bad the prequels were.
Overall, I wouldn’t go as far to say the episode was bad or disappointing. But I did expect more for an episode that turned out to be mediocre. We know what great stuff this show can put out and it’s sad to see slower, more boring episodes like this one. The action at the end was okay, but we’ve come to expect that from every episode. I’m still looking forward to seeing how the end of the arc wraps up. Hopefully it’ll give us what was lacking in this episode: excitement.