Saturday, January 14, 2012

Clone Wars Recap S4 E14: A Friend in Need! MANDALORIANS PEW PEW!

Holy crap, you guys, the Mandalorians are back on the Clone Wars! And not the sissy Arian dignitary Mandalorians that talk endlessly in glass cubes and poison each other's tea. I'm talking about the badass Boba Fett T-visor helmet, jet backpack, flame-thrower wrist PEW PEW I'MMA KILL YOU Mandalorians led by Pre Visla (voiced by John Favreau).

If you're entire body is suddenly rocking violently with bloodlust and testosterone then join me after the jump!

So the episode starts with a thousand explosions, right? While Boba Fett shreds a sweet axe? Well, no. It starts with aforementioned sissy dignitary Mandalorians sitting around a table talking politics with Mon Mothma. But then Lux comes running in like an idiot - and if you don't remember Lux, he's the young Separatist dreamboat that Ahsoka got a lady-boner for last season when they switched her from being grating pre-teen croptop Ahsoka to grating barely legal Ahsoka. Lux and Ahsoka are politically opposed but totally want to bang, so when Lux breaks up the meeting with his idiot ranting Ahsoka feels a tremor in the force down below.

This is Lux, 'tudin' like he's in a Dreamworks movie.

Lux is wicked pissed because the nefarious Count Dooku killed his mommy and he wants justice/vengeance, or as I like to call it JUSTGEANCE!

Lux is arrested by commando droids and brought before a hologram of Dooku who issues the kill command but Ahsoka, fuelled by the stirring in her loins, rescues Lux and the two of them hop the planet in a cruiser together. Alone. Together. Alone.

So young love can be pretty weird and Lux whips out an unexpected pistol on Ahsoka and then electrocutes her to sleep. His made plans to meet with the Deathwatch, a rogue group of Mandalorian backpack jet wearing Boba Fett style badasses who are hiding out on a snowy cherry blossom planet, and will help him get the drop on the murderous Dooku. When Ahsoka wakes up missing her lightsabers - and probably virignity - Lux is already on Cherryblossonia's surface meeting up with some jetpacked Mandalorian mercs.

We're introduced to a new female Mandalorian voiced by Katie "Starbuck" Sackhoff too, who leads them back for a meeting with Favreau's Pre Visla, forcing Ahsoka to pose undercover as Lux's wife (he even forces a kiss on her when they're sprung arguing).

Naturally Ahsoka is pissed that Lux is making a deal with a bunch of murderers, and matters only get worse when it's revealed that the Mandos have pillaged the village (rhymez) that they have camped at and have stolen all the native women. The native leader has a hissyfit and Visla agrees to turn over the women in the morning but TWIST YOU GUYZ when they meet up again he starts murdering the women and the Mandos fly around and torch both buildings and running/screaming civilians.

Can I take this point to say that the Clone Wars has really amped up the violence this season? The razing of the village and its inhabitants is actually quite shockingly brutal and I'm actually quite torn because it's also the point where the episode gets really good. Clone Wars is often pegged as being a children's show, but it really isn't in the slightest anymore and features more death and violence every episode than most adult dramas. And   it's not just the bad guys that do the killing either - our heroes have been offing people on camera more than ever. Case in point...

The attack gives Ahsoka no other option than to break cover and respond but she is quickly outnumbered and grappled to the ground. She winds up in a tent, tied up and surrounded by a circle of Mando troops while Pre Visla whips out the legendary darksaber (an ancient black lightsaber) to execute her. But Artoo is close behind and he pops out Ahsokas own two lightsabers allowing her to free herself and in one swift move GRAPHICALLY BEHEAD ALL FOUR MANDOLORIAN GUARDS!

Now this is the bind I'm in, because without a doubt, this is the coolest and most unexpected moment in the episode and turns Ahsoka into a total badass - and when the heroes pull shit like this in episodes I am always hearing the fan community give their approval. But should a hero cutting off heads be considered "cool"? I don't know! It's all about tone I guess...

For example, I love Game of Thrones and think that it should be ultra violent because that's the time those characters live in and the way that the story is pitched. And it's very adult. Now, conversely I don't think Clone Wars (or even Star Wars in general) is aimed exclusively at children, but I don't think it's aimed exclusively at adults either. It's a universal series, intended in many ways for everyone. But I think it's hard at this stage to ignore that the tone has radically shifted. If you rewatch the critically maligned Clone Wars movie then it's hard to imagine that Ahsoka cutting off heads. She's grown, which is good, and the audience has grown too, but we're also going down a slippery slope where that audience is bored/angered by politics, or romance, or humour, or depth, but will cheer and applaud when it's about violence and death.

I would just hate for Star Wars to be backed into a corner where going down this path is the only way they can win over jaded fans. Because, if I'm honest, I like this moment with Ahsoka because of what she does, but I still don't really like her as a character. She's still the smug, overbearing, shrill teenager she always was, but I think people give her a pass if she does something badass. There's more to a character than "kicking ass" but if you listened to half the Star Wars roundtable podcasts that I do then you wouldn't know that.

That all said, in this episode we see a very satisfying high-stakes action sequence with the retreating Ahsoka fending off crazed Mandolorians, and Artoo adding fuel to the fire by joining the fray with a droid army that he has Frankensteined out of parts at the camp. Sackhoff's female Mando gets some time in the spotlight, but her true identity is never revealed and she escapes to fight another day. I would really liked to have seen what was going on under that mask.

Ahsoka and Lux escape and are about to return home when Lux bails in an escape pod. The two share a touching moment on either side of the glass before he rockets into space. It's sweet, but it kind of undermines what a colossal prick Lux has been throughout this entire episode, the only logical conclusion being that Ahsoka is only thinking with her boner.

It's a solid done-in-one story, and if you haven't checked in with Clone Wars for a while then I recommend it.

1 comment:

  1. Soooo a female Bobba Fett voiced by Starbuck....

    Looking for the episode right now!!