Saturday, October 3, 2009

Season 2, Episode 2 - Cargo of Doom

I'm not sure if it's my enthusiasm for the new season clouding my vision, but Cargo of Doom, the second part of the season premiere, is the first five-star episode of the series. The characters are vividly drawn, the action sequences are stunningly rendered, the story is thrilling.

Skipping the perfunctory search that was set up in the previous installment, we literally cut to the chase, in Star Wars tradition. From the first moment to the last, Anakin is forced to anticipate and guess as Bane proves a slippery mark. We see Anakin's boldness, of course, but also how it can be used against him. We also see the strains it seems to have put on Anakin's relationship with Yularen, who is finally given an attitude worthy of his position and future in the Empire.

Obviously, the death of Bolla Ropal was calculated to establish Bane's threat: a smartly executed scene, chilling without being grisly. It's also the darkest the Clone Wars series has gone by far. We're unlikely to see many scenes like these in a show that is being billed as family friendly, but it was gratifying to see it here.

The action sequences were all some of the best of the series: the anti-gravity shoot out likely to be a signature of any fans Clone Wars highlight reel. Bane's battle with Ahsoka, the boarding of the ship with walkers... fantastic.

The character work does not get short shrift. Ahsoka's headstrong behavior is put into a far better context now as she is clearly aping Anakin's behavior. Anakin's confrontation with Bane shows just what sort of danger the two of them can get into when faced with a villain more impressive than a Battle Droid. Yularen's anger at the utter failure of their mission is well founded, especially if eagle-eyed viewers catch Bane's escape.

The episode was directed by Rob Coleman, animation director of the prequel trilogy. He directed Downfall of a Droid, Jedi Crash and Liberty of Ryloth...some of the most cinematic and sweeping episodes of the last season. With this episode, he's directed some of the best original Star Wars of the last five years. Someone needs to give the man 120 minutes and a story arc and let him play. His work could easily produce an amazing new Star Wars animated picture.

Rating (out of five:) *****


Anonymous said...

I like this episode. I only thing that bug was Anakin's spacesuit. It took me out of the moment.

***Flinn-fan-of-the-Twins*** said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

Another strong episode. The zero-grav scene was stunning and the general level of animation and model detail is a real step-up from S1.

How Bane escaped was a little weak but in a great episode I can forgive that.

Rose said...

OMGOSH I loved the "no-gravity" scene. (OK, I'm really late w/ this comment...sorry!) I liked this episodes because of its unpredictable plot. I was expecting the Jedi to rescue Bolla...after all, it IS a children's show. I got kinda' giddy when I realized he died. (Uh-huh, I'm weird.) It was...I dunno, odd...?

Anyways, nice episode. I LOVE your blog. ;) Can't wait for season 3!!