Friday, January 14, 2011

Season 3, Episode 12 - Nightsisters

The Clone Wars returns from it's holiday hiatus with the Katie Lucas penned Nightsisters. After a full half-season largely consisting of episodes about interest rates, Nightsister is a welcome return to some of the more exciting elements of the Star Wars universe, namely, the machinations of the Sith and the character of Asajj Ventress.

Ventress takes center stage here. Her original introduction, as a part of the original Clone Wars miniseries of awesome animated shorts in 2003, has been nearly written out of the mythology. Now, in flashbacks, we are privy to a more complex and rich history for her than ever before. In many ways, Asajj has been useful because she can handle the lightsaber dueling, keeping Dooku where he should be: largely behind the scenes. She also has developed a fun flirtation with Obi-Wan. Other than that, though, we've rarely seen her as more than a hired sword, a sort of extra-powerful bounty hunter. With Nightsisters, she's given some long-awaited depth. (I'm aware that much of this mirrors existing EU backstory, but we all know until it hits the screen all bets are off.)

We also confront the inevitable: Asajj is that she is a third Sith in a universe where Sith come in pairs. She is Dooku's apprentice, even as he serves Palpatine. Nightsisters finally pulls the trigger on this loaded fact.

We also meet the Nightsisters themselves. Designs that mirror the "Sith Witches" that have floated around the EU, we see now that they are matriarchal mystics from Dathomir. Spectral and frightening, I loved the introduction of a powerful new force and their bizarre rituals. Truly fun.

In many ways, Asajj is the Sith Ahsoka. We know she won't see Episode III, and we know she's a Clone Wars era character only. I'm heartened to see they're taking new steps with her, and look forward to see how the depict her fate in this series. I hope they'll take the same approach with Ashoka soon.

Clearly, this is set up for the coming of the much hyped Savage Opress, and in that, the episode has a bit of a "only the first act" sense of being incomplete storytelling. Still, a great return to form for the series, and I look forward to the next part of the tale.

Rating (out of five): **** 1/2

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