Friday, January 2, 2009

Season 1, Episode 11 - Dooku Captured

Dooku Captured turns out to be the beginning of yet another story-arc. There's little that goes on in Dooku Captured that breaks the mold. It does, though, have some of the best traits of any good Star Wars story: it starts in the middle of the action, it flies forward, and it features tons of characters and complications. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

For an episode called Dooku Captured, Count Dooku doesn't wind up in that particular predicament until about half-way through. Much of the first part of the episode is dedicated to Anakin and Obi-Wan implementing a plan to capture him. As with the Duel of the Droids two-parter, this episode suffers a bit from its well-trod territory. We know the fate of all the main characters, including and especially Dooku, so there's not very much suspense.

There doesn't seem to be much going on here but the desire to crank out an entertaining adventure. On that level, the mission is accomplished. Anakin and Obi-Wan make, in this series, an entertaining duo, and watching them get into and out of trouble very much speaks to the serial roots of Star Wars. They go from prison cell, to chase scene, to crashing on a planet, to buried in rubble, to running away from a monster, to...need I go on? In just under 30 minutes, we watch our heroes get into an out of countless scrapes. Moreover, it's simple and entertaining team stories like these that make what eventually happens to Anakin and Obi-Wan all the more tragic.

There is, though, more than just another story about Anakin and Obi-Wan to recommend this episode. The Weequay pirates, led by new character Pirate Chief Hondo Ohnaka, are an entertaining bunch. It's good to know that the Lucasverse is still big enough to throw a much needed wild-card into the mix now and then.

The pirates will likely send some fans into eye-rolling apoplexy. How could, one might ask, a character as powerful as Dooku wind up captured by a band of guys with guns.

I was happy to see that choice made. It's fun to play around with unbeatable force powers in a video game, but in terms of storytelling, the Jedi and Sith have always seemed more like samurai than superheroes. As much as I loved playing The Force Unleashed and seeing the awesome Mace Windu episodes of the original Clone Wars series, those mediums were simply wish fulfillment. They didn't have to carry the weight of drama. If even Sith can be outnumbered, if blasters pose an actual threat to Sith and Jedi alike, then we're in a far more dangerous universe, and it's all the better for it.

The dialogue in this episode, also, stood out to me as being very much on-tone for Star Wars. In fact, this was an episode where the characters and their dialogue took the lead over the action, and that was a refreshing success.

It's hard to say just how this story-line will close out (the preview for the next episode shows a fair amount of Jar Jar) but the set-up hits all the right notes. Maybe not the sort of episode that thrusts the series into hyperspace, Dooku Captured is nothing more than an enjoyable romp.

Rating (out of five): ***1/2


Dave Williams said...

This just got shown in the UK.

I thought this was a great episode for a number of reasons.

One thing that really struck me is that the way Dooku is portrayed here he espouses the Jedi principles so much more so than any of the Jedi we've seen, particularly our heroic trio. He is stoic, unemotional, focused and determined. He seems content to allow the Force to guide him.

This really reinforces for me the idea that Dooku was indeed this great Jedi who felt he could "infiltrate" the Sith but for whom the lure of power was too great.

I don't think for a second that he couldn't escape if he wanted to. While these Jedi/Sith are weaked than the Tartakovski (sp?) versions I still feel that they've established them to be powerful enough to deal with that particular challenge.

This is the 1st episode where the pathe-style clip at the beginning has confused me and made me think I had somehow missed an episode. I do like it as a technique to move the story along quickly but I think it needs to be used carefully.

p.s. keep up the great work on the site. It's my first destination having watched each episode.

David D. said...

I thought it was funny that they used Middle Eastern (or maybe Egyptian) pop/dance music for the pirates cantina scene. I think it was meant to be an inexpensive way for the setting to sound alien to us, but all I could think was, 'That sounds like all the cafes and delis in my neighborhood!'

Queen Bee said...

Actually its a Hindi song. Great episode. I was worried that this animated series was going to suck, but I love it.

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