Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Season 2, Episode 6 - Weapons Factory

Beginning immediately after the events of Landing At Point Rain, this episode contrasts Anakin's relationship with Ahsoka and Luminara Unduli's relationship with her Padawan, Barriss Offee. It's another strong episode, carefully avoiding obvious story points and, in the midst of more well-staged action, feels emotionally grounded.

The action is two-tiered: Anakin and Luminara lead the clone army in a full-frontal assault on Poggle the Lesser's forces on Geonosis, while the Padawan's slip underground into a maze of tunnels. The Padawan's mission is to plant charges and escape. The battle is a diversion, but one that's a lot of fun to watch.

The relationship between Master and Padawan is highlighted again here: Ahsoka, already a willful kid, has learned to be daring, even reckless, from Anakin. But she's also learned to improvise, and never give up. Barriss has learned the importance of selflessness from Luminara, and the importance of being well-prepared. You see in Barriss and Luminara the weight of their actions, a sense that lives are at stake. They'd never play a game about counting Droids as clones die around them.

When the premise was set up this way, I was concerned that we'd see Ahsoka rebel and sulk in the shadow of her straight-laced counterpart and we'd get a series of mini-contests or something comparably dull. Instead, Ahsoka never shows Barriss anything but respect. She's just different, but she never seems competitive with her peer. She seems annoyed by Anakin, but eager to do well and win the day.

I liked how the episode left the viewer with a very ambiguous message. Certainly, we see Anakin's refusal to let Ahsoka go pay off... this time. The lesson would seem to "never give up." But Luminara reminds us that refusal to accept what one cannot change is not the Jedi way. It's this very good impulse in Anakin, this seemingly heroic impulse, that also drives his ultimate turn to the Dark Side.

If I had any mild critique of this episode it's that Anakin and Ahsoka's bickering felt a bit contrived in the beginning of the episode. We've already seen Anakin be extremely gentle with Ahsoka in previous episodes, so this felt a bit like the writers illustrating a point more than following through with the character's relationships. Also, after the groundbreaking action of the last episode, and the not-exactly-new message here, I never felt like I was watching anything truly special. Just another strong adventure.

Nonetheless, this Geonosisan campaign has been fantastic thus far.

Rating (out of five): ****

1 comment:

Rose said...

Yeah, I'm late commenting, but I just found your A-MAZ-ING blog, so I'm commenting on a bunch...sorry.

Anyways, I just about shrieked when they blew up the factory. (BTW...so you don't think I'm a freak, I'm a 12-year-old girl.) Anyways, I thought Bariss' character was beautifully portrayed in this episode. She's the complete opposite of Ahsoka, and they have to work togethor, which somehow struck me as funny. I have a weird sense of humor...

I loved your little comment about counting droids. That was SO funny in Landing at Point Rain!! "65, Skywalker. So what do I win?"


Yes, I am weird, and proud of it. :)