Season 1, Episode 13
Date of airing: January 16, 2009 (Cartoon Network)
Nielsen ratings information: 2.352 million viewers
Well, this show continues to be surprisingly good. The battle scenes during the first act looked great and it felt like I was watching the beginning of Episode III all over again. And with the Republican ship entering the atmosphere and the gravity of the planet was taking over, the episode even reminded me of that spectacular effect of the Galactica jumping into the atmosphere, falling down to the planet and jumping out again during the New Caprica arc in the third season of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. There is some serious good-looking action in STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS, and I’m starting to appreciate it more with each new episode. Even the crash of Aayla Secura’s ship later looked stunning, though a few seconds later I was wondering how Anakin, Ahsoka, Secura and the Clone troopers could have survived that crash in the first place. They were crashing on it pretty much head first. There should have been no survivors, or at least some more broken limbs and injured people than just Anakin, whose only injury resulted out of getting blasted by a wave of explosions and fire.
The “rescue mission” during the beginning was great, and not just because it had a ship falling down on a planet. Secura turned out to be an interesting Jedi character, I have no idea who she is or why she wasn’t smart enough to get out of the attack of the tactical droids, but the show is continuing to introduce more Jedi characters to the audience and I am all in for that. They are supposed to be a force after all, so it always was a bit ridiculous that only Jedis from the council have screentime, as well as those younglings Anakin would later murder during his transformation into Darth Vader. I would have loved to see more of that rescue mission and I am wondering if there will be an entire episode just with that, or a story similar to the opening of Episode III. I would certainly be entertained.
The crash on the planet finally gave the episode a premise. Anakin is unconscious for some story-related reason, and Ahsoka needs to be a good Jedi Padawan to save her Master, because every once in a while she needs to take over the story and be the hero. The story would have worked a little better though if Secura have taken Ahsoka under her wing a bit more, turning into Ahsoka’s impromptu Jedi master while the two were dealing with this strange planet that has huge birds and even huger trees dropping monster nuts. At the end, Secura was just saying the same stuff every other Jedi master would tell her, if Anakin wasn’t around to do the teaching. Jedis turn out to be a record stuck in repeat, and that goes double for strange life on an even stranger planet, which is being discovered for the first time by the characters. The peace lovers of inhabitants led by Tee Watt Kaa were something of a cliche here, especially when they had to push peace while the Jedis and Clone troopers were in the middle of a war. It was nothing but an attempt at putting a mirror between the alien race and the people fighting a war, and to remind the characters and the audience that war is pretty much meaningless, even if you only strive for peace. I would have wished for Tee Watt Kaa to press the peace versus war thing a little more, because then the episode would have had a much greater meaning.
Best part of the episode: Monster birds versus ant-sized Jedis and Clone troopers — that was fun, and it could have been a horror film premise. Maybe stories like these fit better into Disney’s attempt at creating an anthology film series than putting them in an animated show targeted at kids.
Worst part of the episode: Great, now the tactical droids are starting to sound like Dooku. I am not excited about that at all.
Weirdest part of the episode: So, how come the ship’s passengers all survived the crash on the planet, when the ship should have exploded into millions of pieces? And how come that Anakin had to be unconscious for almost half the episode, when his superpowers could have easily woken him up before danger came to kill two Clone troopers?