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The Clone Wars begins the ending of season 3 with a two-parter. Ashoka and Anakin are raiding a droid base with Master Plo (why he’s there at all is never truly explained other than he’s just there to tell Anakin to give up later) when Ashoka is abducted and taken to an island where Jedi younglings are hunted for sport… gee, where have we heard that plot before? Oh, yeah! The Running Man, The Man with the Golden Gun, Predator and Predators. The Clone Wars has done their own version of classic movie plots with a Star Wars twist on them before, but this was the weakest one by far. But I will say this, I was laughing at the sheer stupidity of some scenes. So it’s not like it wasn’t entertaining, it's just that I was really hoping for more.
Let’s take it from the top. It starts off with a misleading intro, saying that Grievous is preparing his troops on a planet, yet we don’t get any other appearance or references of the general. The assault itself is pretty boring and generic for this show. For one thing, they took one of the planets that we’ve seen before and just changed the code so instead of glowing green and purple, it glows blue and orange. I don’t know if it’s the time of day thing, like with the plants in Avatar, or if we just have some seriously lazy production designers on our hands. Just as Ashoka’s soldiers leave her, she is immediately captured by a creepy lizard man and is taken away. Why Ashoka didn’t use her Jedi sense to feel the incredibly obvious gunman standing behind her with a huge-ass rifle? I have no idea. Anyway, Ashoka is captured with a bunch of other Jedi younglings and is released on an island where she runs into a group of other Padawan that have been there for years. This is where I began to take issue with the episode. For a “man-hunt” plot to work, we need to be scared out of our chairs by the hunters. However, when I saw them, I kept thinking they were reptilian, mentally handicapped versions of the Thundercats. Speaking of our villains for the week, I think I may have found a group of characters that piss me off more than the droids. The voices for these guys were like nails on a chalkboard and their dialogue was super cliché. There’s not a single moment I couldn’t predict what they were going to say, and I didn’t like what I saw in my future.
Now, let’s move on to the other Padawan. They want you to think that these guys have become wise due to their experience in the wild and on the run. But when you actually see them in action, these guys are the dumbest and most selfish attention deficit disorder Jedi I have ever seen in the history of Star Wars (and I watched the prequels). Jedi are supposed to be peacekeeping guardians, yet when they see their friends in danger, they jump at the opportunity to let them become cannon fodder for the hunters so they can escape. But this is the thing that pissed me off the most: the ship. They establish that the other Padawan have been on the island for years and haven’t been able to find the hunter base, despite the fact that it's a huge *^$&%ing floating ship that shoots lasers. I know it’s cloudy, but damn, use your Jedi prophecy powers and tilt your heads up you freaking idiots! If they had established earlier that they already knew where the hunters were coming from but never found a way up, I would have completely forgiven it.
I know it sounds like I completely hated this episode and the truth is that I didn’t. I really appreciated Ashoka’s character (which I never thought I would say) as she was the one who essentially called them out on how stupid they were. I know she’s had a lot more training than the others, but even I’m smart enough to tilt my head upwards every once in a while. Some of the action was okay, even though the fight choreography towards the end was laughably bad, and I liked the death at the end. I knew it was coming, but I liked the way it was executed (see what I did there?).
For those of you that were looking forward to Chewbacca showing up, he doesn’t. I know he’ll be a huge part of next week’s season finale, but I honestly thought he’d have some sort of role in this episode. Not to say he could have saved this episode, but it would have given it a huge step up. Next week, we draw the season to a close. Will it be as good as we hope? I can at least guarantee that it’ll be better than what we got this week.