This week on The Clone Wars: D-Squad's possibly final mission with "Point of No Return." Sadly, all good things must come to an end and one of the most engaging arcs of the entire series ends here! Will Gascon and the droids return the encryption module safely? Will there be a new menace? Could we see a returning villain? More after the break.
Finishing up one of the more entertaining arcs on the show, "Point of No Return" gives us a glimpse at the final days of Colonel Meebur Gascon's mission to retrieve the code dongle from the evil robots. Gascon's puffed-up sense of optimism and duty is consistently deflated by the cold hard logic of his companions, as are his quests to find a decent meal. (The poor guy.)
The plot: the droids take over a shuttle packed with explosive material, which is sent to a larger ship, which is, in actuality, being used as a Trojan Horse to blow up a Republic outpost stuffed with Jedi Knights. Oh no! What can we do? Well, save the day of course! The Republic cruiser is mostly abandoned, but a few stragglers are left. Droid fans, this is your week! Seeing Power Droids and a few other returning favorites come out of hiding was pretty awesome, combined with an episode that seemed to try to out WALL-E Pixar's robot opus, in less time.
While there aren't too many new characters our droid pals do get some quality screen time even if precious few get a lot of characterization. Still, how often do you get to see and head Gonk droids in shootouts with Battle Droids? The classic robots are actually a pretty good source of gags, and it's nice to see them as more of a pathetic, impotent force rather than a sort of never-ending wave of death. The comic appeal of robots is limitless, as we have the plucky, quick-digital-witted Astromech droids, the C-student Pit Droids, and the built-by-the-lowest-bidder Battle Droids each working on a different strata and working as great allegories for modern technology today.
My favorite surprise this week was the return of the underused Buzz Droids, evil and creepy bug-like entities first seen in Revenge of the Sith where R2-D2 managed to take one out. In this episode, Artoo is flying around an abandoned ship while he and his buddies are eventually herded into a trap filled with the buggers. This sort of robot action would probably cost a heck of a lot more in a live-action movie, so a cheaper, animated CG world allows us to do some things with an aesthetic more conducive to accepting high-flying overweight blobs of grease. It really works well here!
The writers and animators took on a big challenge with these episodes and I feel did a magnificent job. Meebur Gascon could have been a laughing stock, and while the character is comical in spots he's also imbued with a fair amount of pathos. A strong sense of honor and duty masks inexperience and uncertainty, which is only compounded when he has to be in charge for his team. Which is, of course, much funnier when his team is practically beeping "JUMP!" at him while he stands on a high ledge.
Takeaway from this week:
In the grand scheme of things, the three episodes could probably have been hacked down to four. But if it meant losing any of "A Sunny Day In The Void" this would be a crime against humanity.
Nothing particularly new was introduced but we did get to see a bunch of cool robots doing stuff. We need more episodes like this.
For relatively low-key episodes we sure got some killer explosions this week.
I bet Gascon would make a great accessory to an R2-D2 figure. Wouldn't you?
Five stars ***** because I appreciate the insinuation that Gascon might still be out there. I had schmaltz, and by and large sincerity doesn't sit well with me. This arc walked a line between cynicism and wide-eyed hope quite nicely, while reminding audiences that Star Wars doesn't have to be bad-ass or "adult" to tell a fairly mature story through the unknown. Even though we knew R2-D2 has to be OK in the end, it was impossible to look away form these four episodes as he and a really great crew of new characters took us far away from the squabbles of the Senate and the drudgery that is the dogma of the Jedi order. I would absolutely watch a series based on these guys, just as I would with the Young Jedi. These two arcs would make for a great place to return in the future some day. I hope Meebur Gascon is still out there somewhere, reading maps like all of the rest of us non-Force-sensitives.
Next time: Darth Maul is back in "Eminence." Mandalorians, too! Supposedly these are based on pre-existing books, and it appears this is going to be the most amazingly ridiculous crossover of fanboyisms yet!
See you then!