Saturday, October 8, 2011

Clone Wars Recap S4 E05: Mercy Mission

Star Wars, you guys! How lucky are we to live in an age where brand new Star Wars is greedily shovelled down our throats on a weekly basis. It's 1977 all over again, except with smaller pants and less body hair!

This week it's Mercy Mission, starring R2D2, C3PO - two plucky droids with conflicting body shapes who alternate wildly between love and hate. Will one of them finally succeed in killing the other? Join me after the jump and we'll surely find out! (Spoilers!)

Jedi Master Plo Koon's "Wolf Pack" - a contingent of especially gruff clones with space-wolves painted on their armour - are sent to the planet Aleen to provide food and relief to the hungry locals. Fun(ish) fact! The Wolf Pack exist because Supervising Director Dave Filoni is a fan of some type of sports team that consists entirely of wolves!).

The begrudgingly take the continually yapping C3PO and crafty fatty R2D2 with them (one for translating and one for hacking the interwubz) but the clones take every possible opportunity to shove, bully and humiliate the wretched droids. Don't forget that these guys are specifically grown in a lab to destroy droids. They hate them. They want to punch C3PO in his golden crotch. Droids killed all their friends.

So they arrive on Aleen only to discover that the locals are pudgy baby-bodied aliens with manic grins who look like the crazy frog. One clone aptly sums up what we're all already thinking, "Oh, it's going to be one of those planets..." With tribal masks and high-pitched gibberish, we are firmly in full-blown ewok country now...

He's saying, "Would you like to use me as your ringtone?"
I like how the cynical clones have gradually become the voice of the equally cynical audience, but don't get too excited about it because this is far from clonecentric episode. They disappear to go and do something presumably awesome and badass, and instead we focus largely on Threepio and Artoo who are baby-sitting the baby-bodies.

It's not an especially fast-paced or action packed episode by this stage (although it does look stunning) so I'm thinking that the creators certainly have something up their sleeve. It's all leading up to some kind of mysterious conflict and I'm eager to see the hidden menace revealed. Sure enough, the  crazy frogs soon lead Threepio to a massive symbol-covered, golden, open man-hole that leads deep beneath the planet's surface. I wonder if Threepio has ever used the phrase, "golden open man-hole".

As you'd expect, C3PO tumbles like an idiot into the hole, and the loyal R2D2 flies in after him (yes, this is the Artoo with jets). They find themselves in a bizarrely beautiful subterranean cavern and we soon realise that the threat of the week is... creepy tree-people! Just what Star Wars has been missing! And here's where things begin to get a little hazy for me...

The tree people are sort of threat and want the droids to leave, but then they decide to send them to chat to Orphne who is their enigmatic mystical leader who looks nothing like a Star Wars character. (I guarantee that you will never hear the following exchange: "Hey man, who's your favourite Star Wars character?" "Oh! Orphne! Definitely!"). She looks like a frog crossed with Carmen Miranda and has all sorts of fruit dangling from her head.

But it was the voice-acting that threw me off - it was overdone and not entirely convincing - immediately making me feel like it was being performed by someone who was just not used to performing off-kilter voices and was trying too hard to make it otherworldly. Very pantomime. Sure enough I soon began to hear Ahsoka in her voice, so while I'm not 100% sure, I'm guessing that this character was thrown to Ashley Eckstein to play with, and I'm not convinced that this is entirely her area of expertise.

By now it's all falling apart from me. Orphne inexplicably gives them a riddle which C3PO dully agonises over until the plucky Artoo (also sick of where this is going) solves it and sends them back to the surface. It all ultimately boils down to another George Lucas symbiotic relationship story and all that needs to happen to solve is to close the gaping man-hole. (Guffaw). These tiny aliens must be super pissweak if they need the effeminate C3-PO to do their heavy lifting, but sure enough, he and Artoo close the hole and everybody's happy. Except for the clones, who return from their unseen awesomeness, and tell the protesting Threepio that he's full of bullshit. Well said!

This episode was a real mixed bag for me, but I do love the droids and like it when they're a focus. Their banter here is as good as it has ever been - in fact the characterizations across the board are great, with the sole exception of the dread Orphne - so it's really the bland story that lets this one down if anything. That said, it looks like the droids are thrust into a new adventure next week so fingers crossed that a second shot at this will be a bit more lively. And not contain melon-headed riddle-ladies!

1 comment:

  1. Star Wars <333333333333333333

    I haven't watched the season 4, but this has pushed me to start watching them again.