Saturday, September 24, 2011

Clone Wars Recap S4 E03: Prisoners

Despite a high level of anticipation about the debut of season four, episodes 1 & 2 of The Clone Wars quickly SPRUNG A LEAK. Even though we saw a battle at the bottom of the ocean, the stories lacked DEPTH. Let's SEA if it's  any better this time. Or WATER catastrophe it will be! At least the writing has to be better than this intro...

Episode three finishes up the Soggy Lobster Battle trilogy, so join me after the jump to find out what Admiral Ackbar can secretly do with his stick... (SPOILERS!)

This story played out pretty much how you'd expect with no real twists or turns. Anakin, Kit Fisto, Padme and Jar Jar have been captured and are being gratuitously tortured by the scenery chewing shark-guy Riff Tamsen, while Asohka and Mon Calamari Prince Lee-Tard are trying to find a way to end the war and save the lobsters. It should come as no surprise that he finally figures out that the only way to do this is to unite the warring Mon Cals (lobsters) and Quarren (squid) against Tamsen, and in the process we learn a pretty obvious lesson about being cool to each other. Be cool, lobster and squid men. Be cool.

And this is really the biggest problem of this trilogy. It's pretty, but predictable, and its biggest crime is that it takes the spotlight away from our heroes - Anakin is pretty much trapped by electric eels for a large portion of this episode, rendering him pretty much impotent. We've been looking forward to this season and reuniting with its stars, so doing this to Anakin is pretty unforgivable. I don't want to see an impotent, Anakin, Mr. Filoni. At the start of a new season I want to see him dangerously rigid. Engorged even. Instead we're focused on the equally flaccid lobster prince with the Disney hero voice and he's just not a compelling enough character to carry the episode.

But I don't want to focus solely on the negative, because once you accept that this is the story being told, it's actually a reasonably solid episode with some engaging action, particularly towards the end.

Spoilers now, but here are the three most intriguing things about this episode...

1. The helpless/useless Padme (is this the same plucky warrior Padme that fought a spidertiger in the arena in Episode II??) is strapped up in a bondage position while Riff menacing tries to penetrate her diving helmet with his mouth. She gets a crack in it and water begins slowly filling her helmet, so a smug Riff leaves her to die. It's looking grim for helpless/useless Padme until Jar Jar Binks has a brilliant idea. He spits up an indeterminable wad of sticky green goop into her face to seal her mask. I'm not kidding folks. Jar Jar Binks SPITS some vile disgusting phlegm INTO PADME'S FACE. And she's actually pretty happy about having miscellaneous fluid flicked at her. Jar Jar says that the mystery goop, "helps him swim" but what kind of bullshit excuse is that?

I have to say it again. JAR JAR SPIT IN PADME'S FACE.

2. Forget lightsabers - shark-man Riff Tamsen introduces the most awesome new weapon I've ever seen. Serrated knives. THAT EXPLODE. In one of the most gratuitous scenes of Clone Wars violence to date, Tamsen digs knives into a bunch of dudes' shoulders and backs and then does a runner as they blow up into a billion tiny chunks of flesh. Not long after he gets an explodo-knife stuck in his own shoulder by the dulcet Prince Lee-Tard, and his entire head BLOWS OFF and his severed head floats past the camera. Well played!

3. Okay so have you ever owned/seen a vintage Admiral Ackbar action figure? He looks like this:

See that ribbed-for-her-pleasure black stick he's got there? Well that's his pointer for briefings and the like - you know he'll wave it around and point it at maps and things and say, "So we'll enter here, but don't go near there." And if you're chewing gum in said briefing he might even sternly point it at you and send you out of the room. 

Well, towards the end of this episode he's FIRING GODDAMN LASERS out of it, like HARRY FRIGGING POTTER. I'm not making that up. He actually fires off a laser out of the end. How dangerous are those briefings now? "Okay, so if you look at the exhaust port right here on the map -" PEW PEW! KABOOM! "OH MY GOODNESS! I'm so sorry! Was that screen expensive?" or how about, "Porkins! Are you chewing gum?" PEW! PEW! ARRRRRGH! "Porkins! I'm so sorry! Was that the only head you have?"

This begs the question: What other classic Star Wars props actually fire lasers? Does Yoda's walking stick fire lasers? What about Lando's moustache or C-3PO's crotch? 


Star Water World Wars is all wrapped now, and we'll get a change of scene and pace next episode so I'm looking forward to that one. Not the strongest start we've ever had, but it's going to look fantastic on Blu-ray.  Next!

1 comment:

  1. I appreciated the water puns and Anakins penis jokes. WELL PLAYED.