Sunday, January 3, 2010

Season 2, Episode 9 - Grievous Intrigue

The first of a two-parter, Grievous Intrigue is curiously titled. The episode is certainly fun, fueled by punchy lightsaber battles, nail-biting escapes and tense battles. It also nods its head to the question of Grievous's motivations, and his skill as a tactician. It is, though, not an episode that offers much that's new, besides character models and taut animation. There wasn't... intrigue.

What happens? Grievous attacks a Republic envoy, and takes Eeth Koth hostage. An attempt to capture Grievous and rescue follow. Beautifully animated, well-staged, dark and fun. Catnip for Star Wars fans. I can't say I didn't enjoy it on a basic fan level. I certainly did and, if you're reading this, you probably did too, or will.

The problem is that a fair amount of the tension is taken out of episodes like these by their very nature. Anakin doesn't meet Grievous until Episode III. Which means they do not meet here. Grievous doesn't die here, neither does Obi-Wan. Koth, frankly, could have died here but I don't feel particularly invested in him at this point. In short, the outcome is decided. The tension is there in form (well edited, well put together) but if you're a fan like me, and not 10 years old and new to the Star Wars universe, I can't imagine you're gripping your chair as you watch.

Also, loathe as I am to admit this, lightsaber duels have come dangerously close to overkill. Where once I would thrill to see a single duel, now I feel like there isn't a lightsaber move left that I haven't seen. When Darth Maul showed up in Episode I, I was floored. Now, when Grievous whisks around 36 lightsabers, I resist the urge to look at my watch. I am a Star Wars fan and do not want to feel this way. Episodes like this one, practically covered in lightsabers, need to be doled out carefully.

Does this all sound like the complaints of a curmudgeon? Maybe so. I can't say this episode wasn't a rollercoaster. But there's more depth to mine in the Star Wars universe (see: the next episode of this series) and there's no need to feel deja vu.

Rating (out of five): ***


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