Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Season 2, Episode 10 - The Deserter

The Deserter is the second part of the "Let's go find Grievous and kill him" duology. The prior installment is chock full of lightsaber duels and daring escapes. The Deserter is the opposite. Instead of providing fans with retreads of old thrills, it asks questions about choice and individuality.

As Obi-Wan leads an attack on the surface of Saleucami, Captain Rex finds himself in trouble. Shot by an enemy sniper, he needs serious medical attention. His clone retinue decide to leave him in the care of a local family, while they seek help.

The head of that particular household turns out to be Cut Lawquane... a clone who has left the army.

What follows is nearly essential viewing for any Star Wars fan. Certainly the series has promised to explore what it means to be a clone, and how they become individuals through their experiences; but this episode allows a clone to make greater choice than what his haircut looks like, or if he likes the Jedi. In The Deserter, Cut Lawquane asks Rex essential questions about what it means to fight in the Clone Wars, and why a clone's identity is bound to military service.

As a character, Captain Rex has incredible potential. Unlike Commander Cody, we don't see him in Episode III, so his actions are not pre-ordained. We can watch him learn, what him experience new things, and we don't know his fate. If he were to be, for example, shot by a sniper: he could die. There's nothing preventing it except the will of the writers.

No small credit must be given to Dee Bradley Baker. His work on this series is astonishing. I know quite a few people who work in voiceover, and it is no small feat to distinguish tens of characters who have, essentially, the same voice. I certainly hope he's paid by the character. The scenes between Rex and Lawquane are beautifully performed.

This episode isn't perfect, of course. There's a bit of a pat ending as the two clones defend the homestead together, for example. But The Deserter lives into the spirit of an Expanded Universe. We meet new characters, learn who they are, and learn to care about them.

Rating (out of five): ****


Dave Williams said...

A good episode.

My major bugbear is that I don't understand why Kenobi never seems to use his force powers when fighting Grievous. Given how much trouble Grievous gives him in the cartoon it seems odd how easily he's dispatched in Ep III.

And let's face it, Aayla needed some competition in the busty Twi'lek stakes.

Bessmay said...

I like that line: "let's go find Grevious and kill him..."