Saturday, March 21, 2009

Season 1, Episode 22 - Hostage Crisis

As a season finale, Hostage Crisis owes something to the original Clone Wars microseries. Instead of tying up loose ends, they're teasing what's next. Grievous made his debut at the end of the first season the original Clone Wars cartoons.

The first season of the new The Clone Wars also comes to a close with a debut. Less a stand alone story than an introduction, Hostage Crisis features Cad Bane, a Bounty Hunter inspired by Spaghetti Westerns. Impressively, he storms the Senate Building with some other well-paid scum (notably fan favorite Aurra Sing) kills a whole lot of Senate Guards, and quickly has the place in lockdown. His demand: release Ziro the Hutt.

Oh God No. Please don't release Ziro the Hutt!

I mean it. Any episode with Ziro the Hutt in it instantly loses a half star from me, at least. Because Ziro the Hutt is just plain ... oh boy. Not good.

What could possibly make up for him? Cad Bane pretty much being as cool as promised. He fits well into the gunslinger feeling one which much of Star Wars lore is built, and he was given the benefit of getting the best of our well-known characters in his first appearance. It's always good to have a character around who plays to win, and is a wild card (see Omar in The Wire). Cad Bane has great potential for the upcoming season.

The episode itself was good, but not one of the best. It was hard not to notice that the Senate Building on the Capital of the entire Republic is guarded incredibly poorly. (Meaning: not credibly.) The way in which Anakin lost his lightsaber was also overly contrived. His scene with Padme was yet another not terribly good love scene between them (you'd think they'd just leave it alone at this point) and it gave new meaning to the phrase "Giving Padme my Lightsaber."

I'm sorry. I had to.


Anakin's own attempts to fight and win without a weapon were certainly entertaining. The direction was solid in these action sequences. The dimly lit hallways, the Senate chambers, all felt a bit eerie with the place locked down. I also enjoyed Anakin's hand to hand combat with the Assassin Droid - energetic, fun to watch, all around cool.

The Anakin and Padme dynamic, too, even if some of the dialouge is clunky, is a key one to the Star Wars story. It is, after all, the reason Anakin becomes Darth Vader. So kudos to the writers for bringing that front and center even as clone troopers and bounty hunters populate their frames. Star Wars isn't about cool killers, in the end. It's a heroes journey. Everything else is decoration.

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

And so, the first season comes to a close. Thanks to everyone who has followed this blog so far. If I find time, I'll do first season recap (some of those star ratings could change in retrospect!) and a little bit of posting here and there. I'll be sure to be back with reviews when Season 2 appears, and a write up of the DVD release when it arrives.

May the Force be with You!


RGG said...

Eh. It was OK. I dunno. At this point, I can't see much getting me excited about the second season. They're just standalone episodes, no throughline, and I'm pretty much Star Wars-ed out at this point. No real need to stick with it. It's OK for what it is. I was a HUGE fan of Clone Wars when it premiered, now I'm kinda just thinking.....let it go already. Just be done with it. No more Star Wars for about ten years, then come back to it. Just. Too. Much. Already.

Anonymous said...

I like Ziro the Hutt, but you gotta understand Truman Capote to get the character. Ziro was made to sound like him, really really gay. BUT Capote was a writer who wrote some very dark and disturbing books. So it's a contrast between comical and utterly disturbing that Ziro captures.

The Wick said...

Dug this episode a lot until the exact moment Ziro showed up.

When I heard about the character last summer, I was actually amused. I never thought of the character as gay (pondering the sexual mechanics/practices of fictional aliens is not something I do with my leisure time). I just thought he would look like a normal Hutt with a more "Capote-ish" face and voice. Instead, he looked like a tarted-up, two galactic credit hussy.

I should have remembered before seeing the film that humor + Star Wars - Harrison Ford = fall flat on face. It's not that the character sounds like Capote or is "gay." He's quite literally the Queen of All Gay Stereotypes.

Even worse, he's just not funny.

Now if Mr. Bane had shown up to kill him... That might have made the whole Clone Wars movie worth it.

Dave said...

Bit torn on this episode. The idea of Clone Wars Die Hard was good but the execution felt contrived.

If Anakin really is one of the most powerful Jedi then the loss of his lightsabre shouldn't mean he turns into a complete pussy who was totally unable to take out a small handful of bounty hunters. I think this episode diminished the character of Anakin. If it was Ashoka in that role it would have made a lot more sense.

Bane was bad-ass and I was surprised at the brutality he showed, which were plus points in making the episode interesting.

Could have easily been a ***** but in the end I think a ***