We're back? I'm surprised too! Welcome to the temporary return of Galactic Hunter Video Theater as we look at the encore of The Clone Wars on Netflix. This week's story: The Unknown, in which exposition happens and fan-favorite Admiral Trench returns! We'll look at one episode per week until supplies (or authors) are exhausted, so let's dive back into the prequel era for what may well be one final round of stories.
Given the fairly strong and satisfying end of the fifth season, seeing "The Unknown" storyline feels more like an encore after the curtain - we get more Clone Trooper action, some awesome new designs, and some great space battles. Truth be told, this episode gives us all the kind of action we would want from a show like this all along. There's a giant space station that looks like a ring around a planet, and we're dropped smack dab in the middle of that battle - and boy howdy, do we get a good battle.
New Jedi Tiplar and Tiplee are a new race of aliens, and the twin Jedi make up a big part of the emotional core of this episode. Clone Trooper Tup basically wigs out and slaughters one of the warriors, resulting in the space station battle being aborted and now we get to suffer through the worst kind of mystery: one to which we basically know the answer, and then we reveal that the Sith know the answer, too. So why tell this story? I have no idea.
I can understand the need to play up Order 66 a bit, but putting it here takes a lot of punch out of the movie - the sudden surprise attack of the Clones worked in Revenge of the Sith because there was relatively little foreshadowing and nobody came right out and told us that this sort of thing was going on. Chronologically speaking having Tup freak out makes sense, and given that as of my writing this I haven't watched the second episode yet it just seems kind of preposterous to even contemplate this kind of story other than as a thin excuse to let us have some superbly cool space battles and kidnappings.
If you can turn off any judgment of the narrative, you'll adore seeing ARC 170 fighters drilled into by Separatist droids, with space rocket-enabled Super Battle Droids coldly punching through space ships in a manner so efficient you'd think they were studying the Borg. There's no fear or comedy in their slim eyes, they're just here to do their job as ruthlessly as possible. The episode's 22-minute runtime gives us an entire arc's worth of lightsaber action, Destroyer Droid explosions, and zero-gravity craziness while doing relatively little to make you care about any of it. Sure, it's sad to see New Jedi die, but it's not like we had any real attachment to her. It's also not like we had a ton of attachment to Tup - if Rex was the one who went loco, that would certainly have raised the stakes and explained his absence from the movies.
I'm rambling - so I'll just say this would have been a fine filler episode, and if the show were on every week like any normal show you'd watch it, be happy, and eagerly await the next installment. As we know nearly every tale is a 4-parter and this is technically a season premiere, I was hoping for a greater sense of wonder, rather than a creeping dread of "Oh yeah, I know how this ends."
Takeaway from this week:
Tim Curry's back as Darth Sidious... and sadly no Sam Witwer.
Admiral Trench is back! Half of his face is cybernetic now, but at least he's still here right?
Anakin's space suit is a lot cooler than the one he had as an action figure.
There was zero fall-out from Ahsoka's storyline - maybe next time? Probably not.
Next time: a visit to the doctor's office! Medical antics await you in "Conspiracy." See you next mission!