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Star Wars The Clone Wars: Season 3

"I've seen what I become, and I cannot let that happen."

Season three contains some of The Clone Wars' best episodes. You just need to get through some of its worst first.

Episodes 1-2: Clone Cadets/ARC Troopers

The clones of Domino Squad struggle to make it through their training. Later, Fives and Echo return home just as General Grievous and Asajj Ventress launch an attack on Kamino.

This is one of those times that the series' non-chronology works against it. The first time I watched 'Clone Cadets' I honestly thought it was about a bunch of new characters. So I was a little confused when 'ARC Troopers' started and we were told that the entire squad was dead save for Echo and Fives. I'm embarrassed to admit that it took me far too long to realise I was watching a prequel and sequel to season one's 'Rookies'. If we'd got all three together it would've made for a decent arc. This way, though, it honestly feels like we only got 'Clone Cadets' so that the death of 99 (a deformed clone reduced to working as a janitor) in 'ARC Troopers' would have more of an impact.

Episode 3: Supply Lines

With Jedi Master Ima-Gun Di besieged on Ryloth, Bail Organa teams up with Jar Jar Binks to convince neutral King Katuunko of Toydaria to send aid.

This prequel to the Ryloth trilogy from season one suffers from a serious case of tonal whiplash. In the b-plot we have a lone Jedi and his clone troops desperately struggling to hold out against the might of the Separatist invaders. Unfortunately, the tragedy of their situation is undermined by the fact this is a goddamn Jar Jar Binks comedy episode. Ugh, I honestly thought we were done with these.

Episode 4: Sphere of Influence

Senator Chuchi and Ahsoka Tano investigate when Chairman Papanoida's daughters are kidnapped by the Trade Federation.

This one feels like it was created solely to please the boss. It's an entire episode centred around the background character George Lucas himself played in Revenge of the Sith. Yep, this is a Star Wars adventure kinda starring the creator of Star Wars. Surprisingly, it's not nearly as bad as that description sounds.

Episodes 5-6: Corruption/The Academy

Padme and Ahsoka help Duchess Satine deal with black marketeers and political corruption on Mandalore.

Of all the show's Mandalore episodes these two are by far the worst. Instead of getting back to the unresolved conflict with Death Watch, we're served up two tedious tales about poisoned black market tea and annoying school kids playing Famous Five and accidentally exposing a coup d'├ętat.

Episodes 7-9: Assassin/Evil Plans/Hunt for Ziro

Ahsoka chases after an assassin, Cad Bane kidnaps a droid, and Obi-Wan tracks down a fugitive.

These three episodes form a very loose arc that works as both a prequel and sequel to the season one finale, 'Hostage Crisis'. 'Assassin' is a rather decent Ahsoka story about her trying to prevent Aurra Sing (who is working for an imprisoned Ziro) from killing Padme. 'Evil Plans' is a painfully unfunny droid comedy caper that ends with Cad Bane being hired to free Ziro. 'Hunt for Ziro' is the best of the three as Obi-Wan teams up with Quinlan Vos, the most bro Jedi ever, to chase down Ziro after his escape. Thankfully, Ziro is killed at the end so we don't have to put up with him anymore.

Episodes 10-11: Heroes on Both Sides/Pursuit of Peace

Padme turns to an old friend turned Separatist to help end the war, but several corrupt senators have other ideas.

While not the most thrilling of episodes, this Padme duo does offer us an interesting look at what life is like behind enemy lines. The Prequels never really gave us much insight into who the Separatists were and why they were willing to wage war against the Republic. 'Heroes on Both Sides' tries its best to fill in some of the blanks as well as show the social and economic impact the war is having on the regular citizens. This is also the point where the show's animation underwent a major overhaul. All the characters were given new designs that were more detailed and textured, not to mention more expressive. Oh, and Ahsoka no longer looks like she's about to set off for spring break.

Old look. 
New look. 
Episodes 12 -14: Nightsisters/Monster/Witches of the Mist

After Dooku betrays her, Ventress returns to her home planet of Dathomir to plan her revenge. 

This is it. This is the turning point for me. This is where The Clone Wars went from a show I rather enjoyed in spite of its many flaws to one I annoyed all my friends with by never shutting up about how bloody amazing it is. This arc sees Ventress go from a cackling Sith sidekick to a three dimensional character with her own backstory and storyline. We also get a great new villain in the form of Savage Opress, Darth Maul's meaner, bigger baby brother. The is the first story to really show off the benefits of the new animation. Characters movements are now more fluid, allowing for some truly incredible Lightsaber duels. And then, just when you think it is all over, they hit us with the revelation that Maul himself is somehow still alive.

Episodes 15-17: Overlords/Altar of Mortis/Ghosts of Mortis

Obi-Wan, Anakin and Ahsoka explore the mysterious planet of Mortis, which is ruled by three beings of immense power called the Father, Son and Daughter. 

Since The Phantom Menace, we've been repeatedly told that Anakin is the Chosen One, the one who is destined to bring balance to the Force. This is the first arc to really explore what that actually means by sending the main trio off to the strange world of Mortis. The Clone Wars (and Rebels after it) was never afraid to delve deep into the mysteries of the Force. After introducing a group of Force witches in the previous arc, this one gives us a world ruled by psychical manifestations of the Force. The Son is the dark, the Sister the light and the Father is the balance between the two, who wants Anakin to take his place. This is one of my favourite arcs and one that really benefits from the improvements the animation underwent this season. It's also notable for having Liam Neeson return to voice Qui-Gon Jinn as well as being the first Clone Wars work for Sam Witwer, who'd previous played Starkiller in The Force Unleashed games and would go on to voice Darth Maul.

Episodes 18-20: The Citadel/Counter Attack/Citadel Rescue

Anakin and Obi-Wan lead a team behind enemy lines to free Master Even Piell from an impenetrable Separatists prison known as the Citadel.

This arc feels like The Clone Wars tribute to classic World War II men on a mission movies like Where Eagles Dare, The Guns of Navarone and The Dirty Dozen. It's also the first of what I like to call the Nostalgia Arcs which see the prequel heroes teaming up with well known characters from the original trilogy. First up is Grand Moff Tarkin, who is a mere captain in the Grand Army of the Republic at this point, although he does like to brag about his friendship with the Chancellor. As for the episodes themselves, it's a decent enough mission arc with some good action scenes and character development for Ahsoka (who tagged along against orders), but it does get repetitive at times as our heroes encounter problem after problem as they try to break in and out of Citadel, and the prison's commander, like so many Separatist leaders, is too hammy for my liking.

Episodes 21-22: Padawan Lost/Wookiee Hunt

After she is captured by some Trandoshan hunters, Ahsoka and a small group of Jedi younglings are forced to fight for their survival. Luckily, a certain Wookie shows up to help.

This one is basically The Most Dangerous Game starring Ahsoka Tano with special guest star Chewbacca. So it is somewhat derivative and fan service-y, but still makes for great a character piece for Ahsoka as she's forced to survive against merciless hunters with no master, no lightsabers, and no clones for help, just a trio of scared children, some of whom don't even make it past part one. At this point I think Dave Filoni and his team were really pushing themselves to see just how much violence they could get away with without the network censors objecting.

Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011 More Mark Greig

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for covering these Mark! My views on Season 3 are similar to yours. The Mortis and Ventress arcs are outstanding. The Wookie episodes that end the season are quite fun. I watched the show in chronological order the first time around, so the Clone Rookie episodes worked for me as well. Other than that, the season's episodes are decent to mediocre. So, a pretty solid season on the whole, and definitely better than the first two serviceable seasons.


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