Monday, October 10, 2011

Battle Meditation Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Mercy Mission (4.05)

Send in the clowns.  This week on TCW we got an episode geared more towards the younger audience with some cute little aliens and the misadventures of C-3PO and R2-D2.  What Dave Filoni hasn't disclosed yet is that the Wolfpack is actually attached to the Grand Army of the Republic Corps of Engineers.  Time for a Republic Aleenaterian mission. 

"Understanding is honoring the truth beneath the surface."

After groundquakes have devastated the planet Aleen, a Republic relief effort arrives, including the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO. When the native Aleena's pleas go unheard, it becomes the duty of the droids to embark on a surreal journey through Aleen's subterranean world to save the planet.

The small reptilian Aleena are adorable, I kind of want one. While this episode is hardly my favorite one ever, it was entertaining enough and provides a nice reminder for this viewer about one of the target audiences of the show.

I am an adult Star Wars fan, but take a look at the TCW merchandise and think about who the real target audience for the show is, it is the kids.  The Clone Wars has grown steadily more mature and darker in tone as the series has evolved.  There has been a lot of violence and death so far this season, and while we got some comedic relief with Jar Jar last week, I think it made sense for TCW to take its foot off the gas pedal a bit and give a show more geared to the younger fans.  In a 22 episode season I think there are times for episodes like this, after all, I think this is better then poisoned tea peddled by corrupt pacifist Mandalorians. 

The premise of the episode is interesting in that we are presented with a world of Aleen that has two completely separate ecosystems, one above ground and one subterranean.  We also are given as we often see two evolved sentient species sharing a world. This is much like the Mon Calamari and Quarren on Mon Cala, or the Gungans and Naboo on Naboo (I know technically the human Naboo were settlers at some point in the distant past).  The difference between Aleen and the other worlds we have visited is that the separation between the two ecosystems is essential to the survival of both sides because the air above ground is toxic to the subterranean Kindalo and the air below ground is toxic to the Aleena.

Apparently someone accidentally dislodged the planets drain plug and the two ecosystems were mixing, killing the Kindalo and causing them to retaliate by creating massive earthquakes killing the Aleena.  How exactly did the space Ents cause the earth quakes?  The Kindalo were very interesting looking, I liked the electrified or phosphorescent look to their structure.

The episode began to lose me with the alien wood nymph, Orphne.  Last week the writers of TCW borrowed from European history for the villain of the week's name.  This week they borrow a character name from Greek Mythology. 

In Greek Mythology, Orphne is also known as Gorgyra,"Orphne, also known as Styx and Gorgyra, was a nymph that lived in Hades. With Acheron, she mothered Ascalaphus." Orphne is also associated with darkness.  This seems to be a fitting name for the nymph like creature, but her role as riddling Oracle while visually stunning just leaves me with lots of questions about what is going on in the Star Wars universe. In TCW we have seen a move towards more fantasy and mythic story telling with the introduction of more magic as a distinct entity from the Force, and now we get very strange alien creature that is almost straight out of mythology.  It is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a different flavor of Star Wars. 

My favorite part of the episode was the Wolfpack providing the voice of the adult audience throughout the episode.  It's like Dave and the crew are breaking down the Fourth wall and letting the adults in on the fact that this one is for the kids. 

Commander Wolffe's cyborg-eye looks really cool in close up.  Apparently one brief mission is more then enough for Wolffe and his clone as these are not the droids he is looking for and he quickly plans to dump them off to Jedi Master Gallia as quickly as humanly possible.   

I really liked the Jedi Transport ship that was pictured in the episode, I may be wrong but it looks like a new digital model of the ship, it had some very interesting contours to it.

Rating: Mercy Mission gets 6.0 merciful protocol droids.  While this one won't be in my re-watch rotation very often, it wasn't a horrible episode, but one I would have to be in the whimsical mood to want to watch again. 

Direct Link to view Episode 4.05 Mercy Mission on

Next Week on The Clone Wars: Episode 4.06 Nomad Droids

"Who's the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?"

C-3PO and R2-D2's bizarre caper continues. Forced to escape a Separatist attack in a Y-wing fighter, the droids visit the world of the Patitites, the odd planet Balnab, and the inside of a pirate warship where they are forced to fight in a gladiatorial arena.

SOURCES: and Wookieepedia

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