This week on The Clone Wars: Let's get back to basics with "Missing In Action." After a few fairly non-traditional episodes, we return to more action with #100. Wow! We made it! Uh... so how many more episodes do we have left? Hopefully lots. More after the break.
Unlike last week's "A Sunny Day in the Void," "Missing In Action" brings back Colonel Gascon and the boyos are back to what you might expect from the series. A nearly all-droid episode, followed by an episode with only 1 "human" (barely) character in the harsh reality of nature surrounded by robots and fear, has now given away to an episode which is par for the course. "Missing In Action" is by no means bad, it's one of the better episodes of the series... it just manages to recall other kid-friendly, adult-fan franchise shows in a way that didn't tickle me in quite the same way. Those were incredibly out-there. This is merely really good.
The Clone Wars without Clone Troopers probably seems like a cop-out, and I'm sure to anyone under 20 it really was. This week we get to meet Gregor, a Clone Commando who just happened to forget his identity and he was being used as slave labor on Abafar. It's a lot like that episode of Batman: The Aniamted Series called "The Forgotten," only less miserable. The Clone crashed on this planet and has been basically conscripted into the life of a dishwasher. The reality is that he's a missing-in-action solider, as confirmed by scanning something in his wrist which, apparently, can be done by an Astromech droid. So all these droids are carrying around a database of millions of troopers on them, or there's some sub-ether radio which acts as intergalactic wi-fi. I'm not sure which. I guess it doesn't matter.
Also, Walrus Man shows up a few times. You can't miss him. Hello, Kenner 1979!
Last week we got to see Meebur go through the "Space Madness," as it were, and was taken down a few pegs emotionally as he comes to terms with the possibility that he will die in a desert alone. For a series that kills people every week, it's hard to be dark... but this was dark. This week? "Your meal awaits you, sir!" WAC-47 introduces Col. Gascon to a pile of garbage behind a diner. Food is funny, garbage as food is funnier.
The reason for this is because the diner's owner, Mr. Borkus, doesn't want him reminding his dishwasher who he is or where he came from. The chubby Sullustian carries a vaguely Russian or Eastern European accent, and (surprisingly) actually has hair. Sure, he's going bald, but... hair. I like the hat. It has little burgers on it. Kudos on great character design there, particularly for a body type which I assume will not be recycled later on the series.
The droids were pretty much absent from the bulk of the story, and it seems like our brief tangent toward stranger places may be over again as or heroes stumble on, you guessed it, Separatist Battle Droids. No commanders, no Tactical Droids, no organic leaders... just plain ol' Battle Droids. I'm sure the reason for this was animation cost, but still, it'd be nice to see bad guys that aren't generic troopers show up. Remember Admiral Trench? Lok Durd? I don't mind villains of the week, although I guess if there are to be no new action figures of them as of late, there's really no reason to make them for the narrative when you have perfectly acceptable generic baddies to dole out week over week. I suppose Mr. Borkus took up the week's animation budget for the token new villain, and a diner owner is a much better addition to the Clone Wars galaxy. We've met killers, admirals, and warlords... but burger jockeys? We need more of those.
The episode winds up pretty much as you'd expect, with an intense action sequence of Gascon and the droids escaping while Gregor may or may not have sacrificed himself for the Colonel's mission. The sequence involved a lot of exploding fuel, with the clone tossing out a barrel of the stuff toward the droids, firing, and ka-blammo. I figure he'll be back soon, he seems like a nice enough fellow to not kill off just yet.
Takeaway from this week:
Mr. Borkus! Heh.
Gascon eating garbage. Anyone else reminded of Goof Troop?
Is there such a thing as a planet that isn't a Separatist Outpost? I mean I know we need excuses for combat, but after last week I was hopeful that the Decepticons didn't have to be everywhere.
I still want action figures of these droids, Colonel Gascon, and now let's throw Gregor into the mix. And Mr. Borkus, because why not. (Hat.)
Four stars **** because I more or less got what I expected. After seeing Gregor in action at Celebration VI I was expecting to see him do more or be the baddest-ass Clone we've ever seen, and while he was certainly a nice guy he didn't get to do a heck of a lot once he put on the armor. He also took the spotlight for the episode which, while not bad, and arguably essential to staying true to the series' mission statement, was sort of a bummer. I liked hanging out with the droids.
Next time: D-Squad returns, possibly for the last time, in "Point of No Return." There's no preview video online yet.
See you then!