Tonight was perhaps one of the best episodes of Clone Wars this season. "Cat and Mouse" takes place over the planet Christophsis and refers to the dangerous game played by Anakin and the Separatist Admiral Trench.
Christophsis is under attack and deep blockade by Separatist forces and Bail Organa is left planet side as the lone hold-out of Republic forces. He and the men he's with are in dire need of a resupply and Anakin Skywalker is the man in charge of that operation. Unfortunately, he's in orbit outside the planet's blockade, led by Trench, an evil spider-looking alien who is a master tactician.
Just before Anakin leads a suicide attack with his fleet, Obi-Wan arrives to stop him, explaining that he has a new prototype ship that might give them the advantage. The Republic forces are forced to retreat behind Christophsis' moon while Bail Organa is left to fend for himself. Obi-Wan reveals the prototype ship as a stealth vessel that has cloaking ability and loads it with the supplies Organa so desperately needs and sends Anakin on a mercy mission to slip by Trench's fleet and deliver the supplies.
Predictably, Anakin gets behind enemy lines and decides to take the mission into his own hands and opens fire on Trench.
The two are then engaged in their deadly game of cat and mouse that was oddly similar to all of the great naval films involving submarines. Mandy from The Adorkable mentioned on Twitter (three full hours before I was able to watch the film because of my geographic handicap) that she thought it was like The Hunt For Red October, but I was a little more reminded by Das Boot. In any case, the interior of the cloaked ship was designed quite deliberately, I assume, to resemble the interior of an old nuclear sub.
The episode was quite thrilling. The animation was a cut above last weeks episode and the lighting effects were tremendous. It's always refreshing to see space battles and we certainly haven't in quite a while and these were tremendous.
Also of note this episode were the references to A New Hope. Not only was Anakin on a "mercy mission", so too did Bail Organa proclaim that Obi-Wan Kenobi was his only hope. They were great moments.
This episode was also Admiral Yularen's time to shine. He's always been a minor character in a scene or two, but he was sitting behind Anakin advising him on the bridge of the prototype ship and his counter-balance to Anakin is always welcome. It's a different sort of counter-balance than Obi-Wan provides, because I get the feeling that Yularen is resentful that Anakin is in a position of power in the military hierarchy, specifically because of his recklessness, and Obi-Wan has more of a fraternal counter-balance. In either case it was fun to watch.
Having said all of that, this was a top notch episode and I hope we can see more like this for the rest of the season.
(Last interesting note: According to the episode guide on the official Star Wars website, only two episodes in the series take place before this one, The Hidden Enemy and one of the pieces of an episode called "The New Padawan" that was chopped up into the Clone Wars theatrical release.)
To catch up on Season 1, you can order The Clone Wars: The Complete Season One at Amazon by clicking the link.
For other Clone Wars news and reviews of previous episodes, click this link.
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