Monday, November 8, 2010

Season 3, Episode 7 - Assassin

Ahsoka Tano is having terrifying visions, which lead her to believe that Senator Amidala's life is being threatened by Aurra Sing. Another episode that is focused on our female cast ("You've come a long way, baby!"), Assassin puts Ahsoka in charge of protecting Padme during an important speech on Alderaan.

Before I go into the details of this episode, I'd like to quote the official site:

This episode, more than others, reveals the convoluted chronology of stories from the first two seasons. The Season Two finale, "Lethal Trackdown," actually takes place before the Season One finale, "Hostage Crisis."

In a chronological flow of events, the series begins with the action on Christophsis ("Cat and Mouse," "The Hidden Enemy"), which introduces Ahsoka to the Clone Wars ("The New Padawan," which was incorporated into feature film). Then, the kidnapping of Rotta the Hutt introduces Ziro the Hutt, and the movie ends with Ziro's incarceration. Many Season One and Season Two episodes then follow, with Season Two's trilogy of Boba Fett episodes introducing Aurra Sing into the storyline. The crashing of the Slave I leads the Jedi to mistakenly believe that Aurra is dead, until she surfaces in this episode, which brings back Ziro -- chronologically -- for the first time since his imprisonment. The story continues in the next Season Three episode, "Evil Plans", and Aurra will somehow be freed from captivity in time for Cad Bane's attack on the Senate in Season One's "Hostage Crisis." The drama surrounding Ziro and his freedom then picks up in "Hunt for Ziro," the ninth episode of this season.

Get that? Right. Look, I really don't mind any of this if the episodes are good. But in upcoming episodes (see: the next episode Evil Plans) the Secrets Revealed theme might as well be "Retcon - The Season." Continuity is important to someone - but let's face it - I'm someone who follows this stuff closely and even I don't care exactly when Ahsoka got good at using a Jedi Mind Trick or when Aurra Sing bit the bullet. Continuity isn't plot.

That being said, this is yet another Perfectly Fine Episode. Aurra Sing seems threatening enough to warrant a few moments of stylish action and Ahsoka's visions are cryptic enough to have some mystery about how they play out. Padme, even, gets into the action is absolutely fun ways.

The problem though (and it's not small) is that we know that Padme is not killed here. Our visions of the future are 100% more accurate than Ahsokas. We are absolutely certain of the future, because we have seen Padme's funeral already, folks. We also know that Ahsoka's attempts to be the best Jedi she can be and believe in herself will have little bearing on the larger Star Wars narrative. Certainly, there might be a little girl watching who is learning to trust her instincts and be confident (and hey, I'm not completely heartless) but without a whole lot of help from some expert animators, this story lacks much tension, and this type of story deals entirely in tension.

Not that I have any illusions about being listened to by the creative staff - but maybe if Ahsoka were to protect another Senator whose fate is unknown, the exact same episode would have been doubly effective.

Rating (out of five): ** 3/4


Alex Johnson said...

Man! I really enjoyed the prequel episodes like Hidden Enemy and Clone Cadets before, but is it just me, or have they taken it too far?

Is a straight forward trilogy too much to ask for?

Anonymous said...

Just started watching this series a few months ago, and I thought the exact same thing when watching this episode. Imagine how much more suspenseful/interesting it would have been if they'd used Chuchi instead of Padme!