Sunday, January 29, 2012

Battle Meditation Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Episode 4.16 Friends and Enemies

Author's Note:  I would be remiss if I didn't take a brief moment to mourn the passing of actor Ian Abercrombie who passed away on Thursday at the age of 77.  The actor perhaps most famous recently for his recurring role on Seinfeld, did a magnificent job on Star Wars: The Clone Wars as the voice of Chancellor Palpatine and Darth Sidious.  Mr. Abercrombie's perfromances will be missed from the series by this viewer a great deal.  

Part two of the Undercover Brother arc kicks the action into high gear as Obi-Wan tries to stay one step ahead of his criminal pals, the Hutts, and his former Padawan.

"Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer."
Fleeing across the galaxy with criminal fugitives, a disguised Obi-Wan, Cad Bane and Moralo Eval are tenaciously pursued by Anakin and Ahsoka, who have no idea they're chasing their friend.

Before I get into my thoughts on this weeks episode let me do a brief cataloging of what Obi-Wan went through in this episode. He survived two crash landings, poison gas to the face, the business end of the staff to the face knocking him out, he was suspended upside down, electrocuted, punched in the guy by the business end of the staff again, choked by Cad Bane, and kneed in the groin during a hand to hand brawl with Anakin.  Is it any wonder Obi-Wan doesn't like flying?

This episode was amazing, and only after watching it a second time did I appreciate how layered the storytelling was.  It made 22 minutes feel like an hour.  There were some really impressive visuals particularly in the final ship to ship duel towards the end of the episode, but there was so much to mention in this episode that I am sure I will leave some things back.  Let's just cover a few things quickly before I get into the meat of the review, I think we can all agree that Cad Bane is pretty awesome and that the sparring between Bane and Obi-Wan in the guise of Rako Hardeen was particularly satisfying.  It also is revealed though hardly surprising the relationship between Eval and Dooku.  Now on to some aspects of the show I found particularly interesting.

Finally we get to see what to me is one of the most interesting and least explored parts of the series, the little private chats that Palpatine and Anakin have as Palpatine on the surface is mentoring his friend but under the surface is grooming Anakin to take his place at Palpatine's feet as his next apprentice.

This mentor/surrogate father relationship that Palpatine foster's is certainly a lot different then how he treated young Darth Maul, and is interesting and fitting with his character as the ultimate political chameleon that he tailor's his approach differently to different audiences.  Palpatine's raising of Maul was more like the forging of a weapon, whereas his approach with Anakin was much more of a seduction to the Dark Side.  You have these two profound influences on Anakin's life in Obi-Wan and Palpatine, and while we see a ton of the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin, it feels like the Anakin and Palpatine relationship has not been fleshed out in a way that shows these little seeds that Palpatine plants in Anakin's mind and slowly watered over the years, making his rather abrupt break from the Jedi and fall in Episode III make more sense.

Complete this little scene with the fact that Mace is having a "private" holocom call with the Chancellor and unbeknownst to Mace, Anakin is sitting in the Palpatine's office, a little play acting that Palpatine uses to flame the fire's of Anakin's anger and resentment against the Jedi for their inaction.  Palpatine sending Anakin on a mission without consulting the Jedi Council, positions our characters in a way that seems much closer to their Episode III relationships then we have seen so far in the series. On a lighter not,  did anyone else catch the nifty Revenge of the Sith statuary in Palpatine's office?

Sistros or Braata statue

We got to see the Glorious Jewel of Nal Hutta, which looked really cool.  We got a wide variety of aliens, mostly low-lifes, a very brief but very inebriated Sy Snootles, more angry including a very Vader-ish Force choke, followed up by Anakin calling Ahsoka Snips.

I really enjoyed the way they portrayed Rako Hardeen, he comes off much more then just Obi-Wan pretending to be someone else, you can almost forget that this isn't Rako Hardeen except for the brief bits of morality that slips from behind the mask.

Hooray for hat jokes, this episode was replete with Cad Bane taking shots about his fashion calling card.  I particularly enjoyed the Indiana Jones hat as well as a hat that looked a lot like the one worn by the smuggler in the SWTOR cinematic "Return" trailer.

How about haggling with a Bith starship salesman, that would be rough.  Of course this episode of the series made the Bith seem a bit like the Ferengi in their duplicitous business practices.  

Captain Rex had a brief but memorable exchange with basically the second ranking Jedi in the galaxy.  When pressed for information on his General Anakin Skywalker's whereabouts, Rex ignored Mace Windu's direct question about Anakin's location.  In the military command structure Rex should have complied with Mace as he outranked Anakin, however it appears that we are seeing some added depth here where we see  the personal bond between Rex and Anakin being more important to Rex then following a superior's orders.

Rating: Friends and Enemies (Frenemies) gets an 8.5.  Tons of action, tons of scum and villainy, and some really interesting intrigue.  Thus ends my ramblings for this week.

Direct Link to Watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Friends and Enemies (4.16)

Next time on Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Box (4.17)

Are you ready to rumble?  Reason the Sith are awesome reason # 193, who else would hold a battle royal between the galaxies best bounty hunters inside a floating cube?   Once you enter, resistance is futile.

"The strong survive, the noble overcome."
The disguised Obi-Wan accompanies Cad Bane and Moralo Eval to Serenno, where they enlist in a brutal competition with other bounty hunters from around the galaxy to determine who will participate in a plot to kidnap the Chancellor.

Link to Watch The Box Trailer on 

1 comment:

  1. I don't think the bond between rex and anakin. I thought it was that they were showing the military more. The chancellor is supreme commander. Mace saying,"You can't,or you won't" was great. It really seemed like umbara was starting to press down on him