Remember that feeling you got watching the first half hour of Revenge of the Sith? The one that made you feel like Obi-Wan and Anakin had spent a lot of time together having adventures during the war? I never felt like we had enough of that feeling, but tonight's middle episode of the Citadel trilogy really went a long way to fill that void.
Tonight's episode was pure, unadulterated high adventure and I enjoyed the hell out of every minute of it.
The writers seem to be bleeding more and more classic Star Wars feeling into the episodes than they've ever done before. And not just the writers, the sound designers as well. From the familiar sound of the mouse droids to the whine of the STAPS and Artoo's beeps and whistles, everything about the audio seemed knocked up a notch. Getting back to the writing, though, this episode felt like a perfect blend between the escapes, chases, and Tarkin from A New Hope and that overriding sense of friendship in a tight spot that the first two thirds of Return of the Jedi oozes.
Last episode Anakin and Obi-Wan rescued Master Piell and Captain Tarkin from an impregnable fortress, or from their cells at least. This episode is spent trying to make their way out, but they're foiled at every turn by Commander Sobeck (voiced unrecognizably by the always brilliant James Arnold Taylor.)
Perhaps the most fun of these episodes is the fact that Artoo is commanding a squad of reprogrammed Battle Droids. Artoo always works better with a droid next to him that can talk and this trio of droids is no exception. It's charming and funny, and serves a number of turning points in the story that are at once logical and tremendously fun to watch. And I love that they call him Commander.
The violence in this episode was noticeably more brutal than in episodes past. I've no problems with that, in fact, I love it. It was sort of fun to watch my kids gasp at moments when things get particularly nasty, between Sobeck cutting clones in half with blast doors or shooting them in the face at point blank range. It was brutal and had an emotional impact on all of us and I was grateful for it. All of the best movies and stories for kids have a grim darkness to them and this episode was no exception.
The part that I was most shocked by was that there was a particular clone who bought the farm this episode and I let out an audible yelp when he died. He's a clone. I shouldn't care so much, but I'll be damned if this didn't hit me right here.
Speaking of dying, is it just me, or does the preview for next week seem to heavily imply someone is going to die? I wonder if they're going to kill Master Piell, who has turned into a very, very cool character. Would his death here at the Citadel send EU purists into a tail spin? Only time will tell.
Overall, this was a very fine episode. The animation was up to the high quality standards that have come to be expected from the crew, the story was tight, and it was beyond fun. Who could ask for more?
However, the part I'm struggling with the most with this story arc is that it's the penultimate one of the season. And that means I'm going to have to suffer through the summer once more without new episodes. They should double the season orders for the show and put it on year round. Or just get this to alternate with the live action show and Seth Green's cartoon. Maybe I'm just greedy, but I want a new Star Wars adventure every week.