This week on The Clone Wars: Let's ape the police procedural in "Sabotage." The Jedi Temple is attacked, and even the Jedi are suspects. Call in Anakin, Ahsoka, and the David Caruso Robot to investigate! This story kicks off what we are told is the final arc of an abridged season, although to be honest, the storyline could probably end right here and you wouldn't miss much. (And this one is a little late thanks to Toy Fair, but we'll have the next installment in a couple of days.) As always, video and spoilers await you after the jump!
With the ubiquity of the police procedural makes it difficult to go more than an hour or two without stumbling on some cop finding some dead body on one or more channels, it's tough to say if it's welcome to cram this kind of story into Star Wars. Seeing as we've had psychic Jedi who can read objects to help solve crimes and track suspects, but it is an interesting break in format.
The plot: There's a big war on Cato Nemoidia, the bridge world. We get to see Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka do all sorts of awesome things and a pretty awesome space battle, which are a decoy to distract the audience from the fact that the next 18 minutes have pretty much no action whatsoever. (The same device was used with nudity in the movie Machete, you see a little up front and then you only see glimpses for the rest of the movie, but no actual body parts.) The bulk of the rest of the episode is setting up suspects, interviewing victims, and providing the groundwork for the whole Jedi revolt thing in the last movie.
There were traces of Jedi elitism in the prequels, but they come through quite nicely here. After Anakin and Ahoksa go to investigate the bombing of the Jedi temple, we get a glimpse into the life of the people who clean up after them. Apparently the Coruscanti working class has faux-European accents and lives in squalor, plus they're subjected to a fairly harsh screening process for the honor of serving the warrior-priest class of the galaxy. With shades of the Soviet revolution in here, it's sort of a bizarre political twist for the show which has had a strange history of bizarre political twists.
The episode's central gag is that the Jedi are joined by an investigatorobot named Russo-ISC, a play on David Caruso of the CSI franchise. He has a little tick with his glasses, you see. We're treated to a number of interviews and this sort of thing properly mimics the structure of your typical crime drama, which, well, I've been pretty proud to avoid for the most part. It's very by-the-books, sort of like the old Police Academy cartoon if any of you remember that. A worker at the temple was thought to have set the bomb, but it turns out that the poor sap was unwittingly the explosive device and his wife, Letta Turmond, probably fed him the nanoweapon. The sci-fi twist sucks the fun of trying to guess whodunnit, particularly since we really didn't have much time to size up the suspect before basically being handed the answer.
Since there was a pretty awesome battle and starfighter dogfight at the top of the episode, it seems that we're being set up for possible tales of morality or cultural upheaval which, frankly, is not the most exciting thing in the world. I know space battles cost money, but the Buzz Droids and crash landings which kicked this week off were truly top-notch stuff. This season has proven that in the right hands, Star Wars really can be exciting and fun, and can also be extremely boring if a story has 22 minutes worth of plot stretched out over four long weeks. I'm ready to move on to another story now, but I'm hopeful whatever comes of Ahsoka badgering Ms. Turmond turns out to be interesting. Hopefully this is all building up to a season finale for the ages.
Takeaway from this week:
This episode could have stood alone, or better yet set up an arc we wouldn't see conclude until later (like the Darth Maul story).
I would argue there weren't many good candidates for toys this week other than, maybe, Russo-ISC. (YEAHHHHHHHHHHH!)
The holographic recordings playing back had shades of Prometheus and was pretty awesome.
Next time: Anakin and Ahsoka are back to continue this story in "The Jedi Who Knew Too Much." Well, at least it isn't a senate episode, right?
See you then!