TV Series Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 1 (Episodes 1-6)

Hello everybody! This is a new segment in which I review tv shows. Some of the shows have a lot of episodes per season, so I will be splitting them into a few parts. Today I will be starting with the animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The Clone Wars animated series is set after Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and before Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and it mainly deals with the clone wars in which the clone armies backed by the Republic must fight the droid armies of the Separatist Alliance. The animated series came out in 2008, two months after the tie in movie and has had a fantastic run which produced seven seasons. The show deals more with the actual war and the clone troopers involved instead of just being about the Jedi and the Sith and you learn more about the actual soldiers that fight these battles and more background on characters you would see in the movies.

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Ambush: Yoda and his remaining clones

Episode 1 Ambush: The Clone Wars starts off strong with both the Republic and Separatists trying to gain the favour of a neutral planet, Toydaria. Jedi Master Yoda is to meet with the king of Toydaria on Ragosa to form a treaty and have them become members of the Republic. But Sith assassin and apprentice of Count Dooku, Aseej Ventress gets there first and tells the king that he will be better protected by joining the Separatists. Ventress gives the Yoda a challenge. If he can reach the meeting place by nightfall, she will allow the king to join the Republic, which Yoda accepts. Ventress sends a droid army to stop Yoda and his small band of clone troopers, but they fail to stop them. Ventress attempts to kill the king instead but Yoda stops her just in time. Ventress escapes and Toydaria becomes part of the Republic.

It was a gripping story to start with and it had a lot of action. It also showed that Master Yoda knew his men, because when they were losing heart and losing hope he told them all of their individual strengths and how they could overcome adversity, which they did eventually. It was a nice moment as it showed that some Jedi do care about their men. It also showed how strong in the force Yoda was compared to Ventress as he stopped her from attacking only using the force and he kept her in place until he chose to let her go. Overall a good episode and a great starting point. 8/10

Rising Malevolence: Plo Koon trapped with his remaining clones

Episode 2 Rising Malevolence: Jedi Master Plo Koon is leading a small fleet of Republic cruisers looking for a Separatist secret weapon that is capable of wiping out whole fleets of Republic ships. Koon finds the new weapon which is a ship called the Malevolence. The Malevolence fires an Ion Cannon which knocks out all power on a ship and catches Koon’s fleet with it. With all systems down and no means to escape, the Malevolence, captained by General Grievous destroys the fleet. Koon and a squad of clone troopers make it to an escape pod but the systems are fried on the escape pod, meaning they have very little time before their air runs out. Grievous sends out pod hunters, designed to go to escape pods and kill any survivors. Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano believe that Koon is still alive and go searching for him in the debris, much to the annoyance of Anakin’s master, Obi Won Kenobi, as he was ordered to stay on board his cruiser. Anakin and Ahsoka eventually find Koon and his men and they barely escape with their lives. Grievous contacts his master, Count Dooku, explaining that he failed to destroy Skywalker and now the Republic will learn of the secret weapon.

I thought this was a very cool episode. The Malevolence is an almighty ship with awesome power and the fact that it can knock out whole fleets with one shot of its weapon makes it terrifying to deal with. I thought the pod hunters was a nice touch also, showing that Grievous was thinking about all variables and not being cocky enough to assume that everyone was killed. The pod hunters were vicious in the way that it destroyed a pod by smashing the window of the escape pod and letting the vacuum of space do its thing. Master Plo Koon is a competent leader who looks out for his men and commands their respect. Overall a very enjoyable episode. 8/10

Shadow of Malevolence: The Assault on the Malevolence

Episode 3: Shadow of Malevolence: The Malevolence continues to obliterate Republic fleets. Anakin wants to find a way to destroy it and he thinks he has with the new Y-Wing Republic bombers and hatches a plan to use them to destroy the bridge of the Malevolence, killing General Grievous with it. Grievous is planning to go after a Republic medical space station and kill the 60,000 wounded clone troopers that are on it. Anakin needs to catch Grievous so he forms Shadow Squadron and decides to take a shortcut which leads them into a Nebula that is full of Neebrays, giant space manta rays. Shadow Squadron come out mostly unscathed bar one fighter, Matchstick’s, whose ship was damaged. The Malevolence comes out of Hyperspace and fires it’s Ion Cannon at the fighters, taking out half of the Y-Wings. As it is preparing to fire again, Anakin and the remaining fighters attack the weapon itself and forces it to backfire, destroying a lot of systems on the Malevolence, including the hyper drive. Kenobi shows up with his fleet and starts attacking the Malevolence as it is trying to move back to Separatist held space.

The space battles were really exciting in this episode, especially the fighter attack against the Malevolence. Some of the graphics were beautiful, especially when the fighters were flying through the Nebula shortcut and seeing the Neebrays and the different colours that were in the Nebula. The theme of the episode was slightly darker as the whole plot was about Grievous going to attack and kill 60,000 wounded and defenceless soldiers in a hospital, which showed how ruthless he was. Also getting to know some of the clones, especially Matchstick and watching him get killed was also quite dark. I say this in terms of a show that is more marketed for children and/or a younger audience. Another enjoyable episode. 8.5/10

Destroy Malevolence: Kenobi and Grievous face off

Episode 4: Destroy Malevolence: The damaged Malevolence is being pursued by three Republic cruisers. Grievous needs time to repair his ship so Darth Sidious arranges for Padme Amadala and C-3P0 to fly towards Grievous’s ship, thinking they have a meeting with the banking clan. They get caught in Grievous’s trap and their ship gets tractor beamed and pulled onto the Malevolence. Padme, rigs her ship to explode hoping to kill Grievous before she escapes onto the Malevolence, but Grievous survives. Anakin, Kenobi and R2-D2 lead a mission to rescue Padme and C-3P0. Anakin manages to rescue Padme and just before they share a kiss, Kenobi tells Anakin that C-3P0 still needs rescuing. Padme tells Anakin that the hyper drive is almost finished and then Grievous will be able to escape. Kenobi goes to deal with the hyper drive but Grievous learns of his plan and sends droids to stop him. Meanwhile, Padme and Anakin make their way to the bridge, destroy the droids and use the navicomputer to set coordinates of the Malevolence to fly into a close moon. The good guys escape, pursued by Grievous in a fighter. Grievous tells the droids to send the Malevolence into hyper space, but when they activate it they fly directly into the moon, destroying the Malevolence. Count Dooku, contacts Grievous telling him that he is waiting for him and the Malevolence at the rendezvous point, but Grievous cuts contact and escapes.

Another interesting space battle episode. It was fascinating seeing the raw strength of the Malevolence in terms of the fact that even though it was completely battle damaged and on the run from three Republic cruisers, the cruisers could not penetrate the armour of the Malevolence. That is refreshing to see in a universe where most of the ships seem like they’re made out of cardboard and collapse at the slightest breeze. The humour in this episode was silly for one particular part which sort of annoyed me. During a sequence when the Malevolence was on fire, a droid fire crew was sent to put out the fire. Not only did they have firemen hats on, which I thought was ridiculous, but one fell over bringing the hose because the hose was too tight and another droid was launched into the air because he couldn’t control the power of the hose. I thought this was unnecessary and while I know the show was more marketed towards children, it really takes you out of the belief that the Separatist droid army is in ANY way a competent rival to the clone troopers. Otherwise a good episode. 7/10

Rookies: Clones fighting their way out of a sticky situation

Episode 5: Rookies: A squad of rookie clone troopers are stationed in a listening post on a remote moon which is meant to give the planet, Kamino, home world of the clone troopers a warning if a Separatist fleet is on the way. Commander Cody and Captain Rex are on the way to inspect the listening post. A meteor shower arrives and the listening post raises its shields, but the meteor shower has some droid ships hiding in it that are full of commando droids. The droids gain access to the listening post in a brutal fashion and kill most of the clones including the sergeant. Four clones escape to the surface through an air vent. The droids take control of the listening post and contact Grievous, who makes his way to invade Kamino. The four clones who made it are unarmed and they aren’t sure what to do. A giant worm attacks them and kills another member of their squad, leaving only Hevy, Echo and Fives. Cody and Rex arrive, but the rookie clones have no way of contacting them, until they decide to use a flare. Cody and Rex land on the landing platform where they are met by a “clone” which is just a commando droid dressed like a clone and mimicking his voice. The two officers are suspicious of the trooper as he uses the phrase “roger, roger” which is something that only droids say. The officers see a flare going off behind them which confirms their suspicion and Rex shoots the droid in the head. This begins a firefight which ends with the clone ship destroyed. The officers meet with the Rookies and they formalise a plan to pose as a commando droid using the head of one of the droids to gain access to the listening post. The plan works and clones gain access. They take back the listening post but they can’t get rid of the ‘all clear’ signal being broadcast which is allowing Grievous to move ever closer to Kamino. Grievous sends reinforcements and the clones decide to destroy the facility. As the clones are escaping, Hevy realises that the remote detonator isn’t working and goes back to destroy the base manually, alerting the Republic that the Separatists are near, but killing himself. The Republic sends a fleet which forces Grievous to withdraw. Echo and Fives become members of the 501st legion.

This episode was more clone trooper orientated which I really appreciated as we got to see clones acting on their own without the aid of Jedi. I thought the episode had some pretty brutal scenes, especially for a “children’s” show. There is a scene where a wounded clone trooper is trying to crawl towards his friends before he is surrounded by commando droids and mercilessly shot to death by all of them. Another scene in which a clone gets eaten by a giant worm was also pretty shocking to say the least. Don’t get me wrong, these things do not phase me usually but I don’t expect to see them in a Star Wars show aimed for a younger audience. This episode for me really set the precedence of what to expect going forward and I was looking forward to it. ‘Rookies’ was primarily about the war which I wanted to see more of and I felt it was one of the better episodes in the series. A thoroughly enjoyable episode. 9/10

Downfall of a droid: Assassin droid attack!

Episode 6: Downfall of a droid: Anakin sets a trap for Grievous, luring him into an asteroid belt where Anakin has walkers hiding on the back of the asteroids. Between the fleet in front and being attacked from behind, Grievous’s fleet becomes confused, so Grievous abandons ship on his fighter being pursued by Anakin and Gold Squadron. A piece of shrapnel hits Anakin’s ship and he passes out. He wakes up on the Resolute, a Republic cruiser. He is told that he is lucky to be alive but R2-D2 was never found. He tells Kenobi that he needs to find the droid as he never wiped the memory banks and R2 still has all the plans and tactics of the Republic in his memory. Anakin, Ahsoka and a new astromech droid called R3-S6, dubbed ‘Goldie’, go looking for R2 in the debris of the battle. R2 is already picked up by a salvager, Gha Nachkt. Skywalker and Tano boards the freighter looking for R2, but Gha says he is not on board, even still he allows Anakin to take a look around. Anakin hears R2’s beeps and goes to get him but Goldie accidentally activates two assassin droids. The assassin droids are very skilled and extremely fierce but Anakin eventually beats them. Ahsoka tells Anakin that R2 isn’t there and they leave. Gha contacts Grievous telling him that he has the droid. Anakin has to scout to see if Grievous has any listening posts and Ahsoka tells him to bring Goldie so they can bond. While out there, Goldie makes a lot of errors and almost gets Anakin killed including alerting Grievous to his position and destroying his means of escape. Anakin is saved by Ahsoka in the Twilight and they escape though Anakin is not happy with Goldie.

It was interesting seeing a different side of Star Wars, being how the black market and salvagers work by going to scenes of space battles and picking up anything that is useful or valuable. The soundtrack in this episode is really interesting, it is sort of industrial and really fits with Gha’s ship, as his ship is dirty green and grey and there is no happiness or colour to his ship. The industrial music fits into the life of being a salvager, it’s all business. In saying that, the soundtrack to this episode is really good and one of my favourites in the series. It was exciting to see the assassin droids in action and in a way seeing how dangerous the Separatist droids can actually be if they were given half a chance. Yes, they were defeated but they gave as good as they got. Now my problem with this episode; the plot armour, oh my god the plot armour! If you don’t know what plot armour is, it’s basically when a character can’t die because they are too important to a story so they always get out of impossible situations. Now with that cleared up, this episode turns the plot armour up to eleven. So Goldie accidentally alerts Grievous to Anakin’s whereabouts, then the droid releases Anakin from his ONLY means of escape. Grievous shows up with two battle cruisers and launches EVERY fighter he has to take out Anakin. Not only does Anakin not get hit once, but Ahsoka shows up out of nowhere to rescue him in the Twilight, and hyper spaces out of there. Two battle cruisers and whole squads of fighters couldn’t hit Anakin once? I get it he’s a main character but at least make it somewhat believable. Otherwise, the episode was okay. 6/10

So that was the first six episodes. I will be continuing my review over the next while. I hope you enjoyed reading and as always, thanks for reading!

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