Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Season 3, Episode 3 - Supply Lines
Supply Lines is an oddball of an episode, wedged into the Clone Wars continuity and starring characters usually relegated to the sidelines. The battle for Ryloth rages led by the unfortunately named Master Di and season 2's Ryloth rebel Cham Syndulla. They appeal to the Republic for aid - food, ammunition and medical supplies. In order to fulfill this request, Bail Organa and Jar Jar Binks travel to the planet Toydaria, in an effort to secure a route.
As a stand-alone episode, it's a ho-hum affair, focusing on a sort of kid-friendly version of diplomacy. It would be interesting (as with other episodes in the series as a whole) to see a prolonged negotiation that involves the interest of various parties as opposed to the oft-repeated assertion of neutrality (see: Madalore). It's laudable that the writers want to show the effect of politics on the war front, but because of the brevity of episodes and the demographics of the general viewership, the limitations makes scenes like these better in theory than in practice.
The debate before King Katuunko isn't without interest for fans: it helps to clarify the Trade Federation's public position of not being an active Separatist supporter. It remains unnecessarily sticky and confusing as a story point, but it adds layers to what a character like Lott Dodd can contribute. Later, "diplomacy" is reduced to an amusing enough song and dance number by Jar Jar Binks as ships fly past the windows.
The battle scenes here are there to serve debate on Toydaria, not the other way around. As such, they work, and the animation is fluid and fun. Once again, new characters are cut down quickly. This time, though, it's in service of showing the timing of Bail Organa's and Jar Jar's efforts impact lives, not just who gets bandaged up and when.
It's an interesting trend for Season 3 to wedge episodes into the continuity. The first two episodes of Season 3 were bookends for an episode in Season 1. This episode is glue that connects the very first episode of the series and the Ryloth campaign. This is a six of one, half a dozen of the other choice for me. I like that that they're using their existing narratives to weave a larger tapestry. I am, though, excited to see extended stories that reach beyond the core characters and show us things that are entirely new. Supply Lines doesn't cover new ground in the least. In fact, it's actively retracing the series' steps.
Rating (out of five): ** 1/2