The second episode (or the second part of an extended episode, depending on how you look at it) of Season 3 is ARC Troopers, which fast forwards us past "Rookies" in the chronology of the series and into the defense of Kamino against a cunning and sinister attack by General Grievous.
The episode is action packed, and it throws quite a bit of the best of Star Wars tricks at us: lightsaber duels, firefights, underwater and space battles. It's all in there, and all thrilling. It's so good that, in a way, it would have benefited from being given more time. In Season 2, the battle for Geonosis took place over multiple episodes, turning it into a stirring campaign. Kamino could easily receive that sort of treatment.
That being said, it's unfair to review what you didn't see. What I did see what exceptional characterizations and great action. It's episodes like this one that excited Star Wars fans when this series was announced in the first place. It, like Clone Cadets, also benefits from being a part of a larger in-series mythology pertaining to this five-clone coterie.
Nitpicks? Sure! First of all, Obi-Wan once again has a lightsaber duel with General Grievous and, let's face it, it's starting to feel like duel number 3,000,0000 with those two.
The other nitpick requires a bit SPOILER ALERT! Do not read past if you have not seen this episode!
The death of 99 is yet another example of them pulling the trigger, literally, on character's too soon. 99 is a fantastic character whose death could have been absolutely tragic. By introducing him and killing him off in the course of less than an hour, the writers robbed themselves, and the viewers, of a terrific extended and well-earned story arc.
That all being said, I loved watching this episode, and certainly hope there's more extended and impressive battles like these in the future.
Rating (out of five): **** 1/2
Thanks to the guys over at MF.com for posting this deleted scene. One can see pretty quickly why it was cut out. Still, though...bad ass.
The Clone Wars Season Three - ARC Troopers Deleted Scene II
Uploaded by millenniumfalcon. - Full seasons and entire episodes online.