Tonight's two episode special began with the episode 17, The Blue Shadow Virus. (You can see a preview of it here.) The episode begins when Captain Typho and the Naboo find battle droids in the swamps of Naboo. Realizing that this is a troubling development, they call Padme and Jar Jar to investigate and they quickly uncover the lab of Dr. Vendi (voiced by Michael York), a mad scientist tasked by the Separatists to create an airborne version of the blue shadow virus, which is one of the deadliest the galaxy has ever known.
Soon, Anakin, Ahsoka and Obi-wan Kenobi arrive to help deal with the situation. All hell breaks loose when Dr. Vendi sets off the bombs containing the virus and tries to escape.
Basically, everything ends up reasonably well, Vendi is captured, all of the virus containers are accounted for and Naboo is safe.
I felt like the first third of the episode was pretty dry and was getting geared up for disappointment, but it really turned itself around in the second two acts. As soon as the Jedi got to the scene, they really picked up the pace. Each of the Jedi had their moment in the sun and it was really cool. I was particularly impressed with the handling of Jar Jar in this episode. Despite his voice being simply wrong, the writers were able to use his clumsiness to advance the story.
I was also quite impressed with the production design of Dr. Vendi's lab complex. It had rounded hallways and lots of bright and hot colored lights and the droids (particularly the droidekas rolling around the action) interacted with it in exceedingly cool ways.
My favorite moment of this episode, though, was the classic standoff between the villain and the hero. Knowing he's caught, Vendi gives Anakin the option between catching him and saving the damsel in distress. In doing so, he turns a pretty gruesome electrical current onto Padme, not realizing that this only serves to piss Anakin off. It was a really interesting moment.
The second episode, Mystery of a Thousand Moons (of which you can see a clip from here) picks up exactly where the last episode left off. Vendi has been captured and Padme and Ahsoka are investigating the lab, looking for all known samples of the virus. Unfortunately, a droid has made off with one of the vials of virus, weaponizes it in a bomb, and the whole episode goes to hell from there.
The lab seals off blast doors to prevent the spread of the virus and, at just the last second, Ahsoka and the clones make it into the safe room. But the virus got in anyway and they all have a death sentence.
Anakin and Obi-wan discover there's an antidote, but they need to travel to Iego to get it.
In the meantime, Padme's bio-suit springs a leak and the stakes are raised for Anakin more than anyone else can know.
Obviously, things turn out ok, but the journey of this episode was one of the best. I knew Ahsoka and Padme were going to be okay, but I was almost ready to cry when I thought they weren't going to make it. And I was struck by how attached Anakin has become to Ahsoka, he was just as concerned about saving her life as Padme's and seeing him push himself to save them both was wonderful to see.
In the lab complex, despite being on their death beds, Padme and Ahsoka lead the clones around, making sure all of the droids left were unable to break any hatch seals, otherwise all of Naboo would be infected with the virus. And Ahsoka looked so sickly through the episode but fought through it.
I think this episode might be a turning point for some of you guys that aren't sure about Ahsoka. She really came into her own in this episode in a way I didn't really expect.
All in all, this was a solid pair of episodes and my faith in this series has never been shaken.
So, until next time...