Star Wars: The Clone Wars (more appropriately “Star Wars: War Journal”) returns for a second action packed season. It is a good thing it is filled with action, because plot wise it is stuck in a very narrow band of Star Wars history, -the most depressing one unfortunately.
The plot synopsis of season two in a sentence? There really was not much of it, but we will try: In a series of overly elaborate battles Jedi find themselves fighting in all manner of contrived situations where scores of clones get wiped out daily and the real bad guys pulling strings behind the scenes walk away unscathed.
Want to see Jedi tortured to death and scores of good guys killed on a regular basis? Yearning for one Pyrrhic victory after another? How about enjoying all this happiness knowing that in a few months of their time the old republic will fall, the Sith will rise to power, Anakin will go evil and butcher the Jedi children and almost every single Jedi will be betrayed and murdered by their own troops. What are we fighting for again?
The Jedi are in a constant state of being tricked, bamboozled, deceived and buffaloed by Sith, bounty hunters and even a pre-pubescent Boba Fett. Add to that marital disharmony between Anakin and Padme and you have to wonder why this period was chosen to host a Star Wars universe show.
Clones may just be clones, but in this series they are purposely humanized. There are ongoing clone characters and plots designed to have you invest in them. So the insane numbers that are thrown away with ridiculous tactics every episode (usually because of Anakin’s foolhardy headstrong impulsiveness) is staggering.
Every scene with Anakin has an uncomfortable tension in it. Like he can go postal at any time on his unfortunate padawan Ahsoka, or his unfortunate master. The latter, Obi Wan, is still on top of his game and one of the few bright spots in the show. He and Yoda spend the season scratching their heads saying things like, “Who is pulling their strings?” and “Sense evil I do…” etc. But they will never find it until too late. We know how it ends! Badly!
There were a few mid-season episodes which were witty and enjoyable. It was interesting to see Mandalore, home of the infamous suit used by Boba Fett. Obi Wan and an old flame got reaquinted there. He is a very reliable and comfortable character. One of the few you can fully get behind, and one of the only you know for sure will live another year. Outside of that the episodes grew largely repetitive. What can happen? Can Palpatine’s schemes be stopped? No. Can Dooku be killed? No.
Lucas did want to show off Jedi at their peak, and seeing them in action is fun. Although the technology is inconsistent and in many ways acted out in a very WWII fashion. The way bomber strikes are called in, tanks are used– apparently there is not an objective in this war that cannot be taken after a forced battle between a gross of robots and scores of clone troopers firing small arms.
There were some amazing vehicles and scenes to appreciate that could not have been done easily in live action. For that we are grateful. Additionally the makers craftsmanship grows with experience and we see many beauty shots. The season goes on to end with good but out of place small stories. Very un-finale. Overall it was like eating a candy bar for dinner; tasty but in the end unsatisfying.
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