"Citadel Rescue" wraps up the Citadel Saga and the penultimate story arc in the third season of The Clone Wars. It's obvious the writers are getting more and more ambitious with the scope of the storytelling, as this episode had simultaneous space and land battles with an emotional price to the action.
This episode might be my favorite of the three episodes and used all of the characters to the best of their abilities, not wasting a single one. Tarkin particularly seemed to fit and the notes of the Imperial March on their final handshake added an excellent gravitas to the foreshadowing of things to come.
I greatly enjoy the prison escape genre, particularly in the Star Wars universe, and this episode was no exception. Though I must say, I did find it incredibly humorous that the narrator (played by the always capable Tom Kane) spent almost a minute to explain the dire situation the characters were in and how urgently they were on the run and the episode immediately them taking a leisurely walk and then stopping to sit down and regroup. The juxtaposition of that seemed hilarious to me.
With our heroes on the run and the Separatist commander hot on their heels, the Jedi Council sends Plo Koon, Adi Gallia and Saesee Tiin to rendezvous with them once they've eluded capture. But things grow complicated for the rescue party when the Separatists heavily blockade the planet, intent on recapturing the escapees and torturing the vital information from them.
This episode came to an incredibly satisfying crescendo and I'm loathe to talk much about the emotional core of the episode because it's very good and I wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone. Though I will say on a different emotional level I was pleased to see the relationship between Ahsoka and Plo Koon grow. They had a very tender moment I enjoyed immensely.
As far as the action in the episode, I was very impressed. Sobeck, the Separatist commander, launched a double pronged assault against the Jedi starting with canine like hounds called anoobas and personally led an assault on a STAP. Now, I've always loved STAP's. (Single Troop Aerial Transports.) The first toy I ever bought from the prequel era was the preview version of the STAP and I always felt they'd been under utilized in the films. Anakin has done some cool stuff with them in the show, but this was the first episode where I truly thought they were utilized to the best of their abilities. The Jedi (particularly Ahsoka, sporting both lightsabers) made this acrobatics show something truly special.
So with the STAPs and the anoobas bedeviling our heroes egress from the Citadel and the Separatist blockade making the space battle above truly spectacular, we're privvy to an episode of The Clone Wars that reaches some of the shows highest heights and most complicated feats.
I can't even begin to imagine how they'll top this next week... Oh. Right. Chewbacca.
Sweet baby Skywalker, I can't wait. But I also don't want it to come. Because it will be over. And we won't have new episodes for a long time.... a long time....
UPDATE: I'm reading that there are issues with EU wonks angry about Even Piell's handling in this episode. To them I hope they can lighten up. This show is better than just about anything else in the EU. You can't keep carrying this water for the EU. It's expendable. They prove it every week.