Sunday, March 11, 2012

Battle Meditation Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Episode 4.21 Brothers

What's up Bro-Sith?

It is entirely possible that I watched way, way to much Scooby-Doo as a child, because the entire first act of this weeks episode I kept seeing Savage Opress channeling Velma.  Jinkies he found a clue.  I am not sure if I will ever view the character again, next week I expect him to throw on a turtleneck and glasses.

"A fallen enemy may rise again, but the reconciled one is truly vanquished."The dark warrior Savage Opress is on a quest to find his long-lost brother. Could Darth Maul truly be alive, after more than a decade since his gruesome bisection at the blade of Obi-Wan Kenobi? Savage voyages into the depths of a twisted planet to find whatever became of the fallen Sith Lord.

He's Back!  In this Season's penultimate episode we finally see the long talked about return of Darth Maul to  the Star Wars universe.  In an episode that is mostly set up for next week, we see Savage Opress track down and finally find what remains of his brother.  Meanwhile we get a nice little collection of cameos as other characters are set up for next week's episode, featuring Anakin/Ahsoka, Ventress/Latts, and Obi-Wan/Yoda.  It's the Survivor Series, Clone Wars style.

Apparently Savage Opress didn't think his coffee at Plop Dribble's was very good because he choked out Sassi pretty brutally.  After taking out his waitress, Savage goes around sampling dust to make his amulet glow until his magik amulet lights up and Savage stows away then commandeers a ship to the planet Lotho Minor. I loved Will Nichols' design of the Turtle Tank ship.  One of my favorite new ships this season, I am sure it wouldn't do well in atmospheric flying, but on the ground and in space it is a very interesting and functional design.

There is a certain stiltedness to Savage's dialogue in this episode, I have already noticed some criticism of this on social media.  Let's rewind to the Nightsister's trilogy from last season, before his transformation by Mother Talzin and the Nightsister's magiks, Savage had rather normal dialogue.  After Savage was transformed into the "monster" that he became, he was much less vocal and what dialogue he had was much more stilted and much simpler.  It was almost as if his intelligence was clouded by the magiks that made him hulk out.

The Savage Opress we see in this season seems like his mental clarity has improved, while he still feels brutish, there is more intelligence behind it than was portrayed last season.

It is also interesting to see Opress' skills with the lightsaber looking much more advanced in his decimation of the Junkers.  I think someone has been practicing his skills.

While I am on the subject of the Junkers, I am wondering what exactly they are.  Visually it is pretty clear they are droids of some sort, but the Episode Guide concept art refers to the Junkers as a "creature."  Does this mean they are not droids?  Are they cyborgs of some sort like Grievous or are they some kind of sentient droid?  The concept of droid sentience is one of the more intriguing meta sub-plots that spans the Expanded Universe.

The planet Lotho Minor looks very much like The Force Unleashed's Raxus Prime. The galaxies landfill had me wondering about how Darth Maul got to the "Junk World."  Did he simply fall into some garbage chute during his fall in the core on Naboo, and get transported by droids to a garbage freighter and then unceremoniously deposited on Lotho Minor?

Savage likes to choke things, as he did with Maul's pet anacondan Morley.  Morley was an interesting character, we had seen a member of his species earlier this season serving as a bartender.  I think the casual way that Savage kills Morley helps illustrate the character's singular focus on his own goals and desires.  He is a cyclone of destruction that erases everything between himself and his goal.  The lives and feelings of other beings mean nothing to him, which makes me wonder if his desire to find his brother is purely selfish in nature.  It is pretty clear that the Clone Wars team is setting it up for Maul to take Savage as his apprentice next season and we will have a potential secondary line of Banite Sith running around the galaxy.  The question becomes will the familial bonds keep Maul and Savage united, or will Savage come to see them as chains which he must break to reach his destiny?  Will Savage eventually betray his brother, it would hardly be the first time after his murder of Feral.

The look of Maul himself was most impressive, I expected them to go with a spider-leg design much more like the B'omarr monks that inhabited Jabba's Palace.  The design they went with instead was a much rougher and more organic look.  Whether consciously or subconsciously it appears that Maul constructed or is holding together his "legs" with the Force.  It also is pretty clear that he is going to get a jazzy new set of droid legs in next week's episode.  It seems likely that he will be "healed" by Mother Talzin, i.e. the preparations that she was alluding to making.  Does she simply conjure his new legs like she did Savage's blade or do the brothers stop by some cyborg-prosthetics shop on the way to Dathomir?

I really enjoyed the four scenes we got with series regulars.  The episode opens with Dooku talking to Grievous as he sense a disturbance in the Force.  After Savage forgets to leave a tip at the dinner, we see Ahsoka and Anakin arive at the same establishment looking for a snack, it is interesting that Savage just happened to be on the same backrocket world that Anakin and Ahsoka are.  Elsewhere, presumably on Tatooine we see Latts and Asajj having a girls night out at the Cantina when Asajj also feels the same disturbance in the Force.  Meanwhile back on Coruscant at the Jedi Temple, Yoda calls Obi-Wan into his room to discuss the disturbance that they both felt, but perhaps showing Yoda's greater power in the Force then any of the other characters, he is able to not only sense the disturbance but sense the cause of the disturbance, that Darth Maul has risen.

Rating: 7.5  I found this episode very entertaining, but it is hard to view it as more then simply set up for next week's episode.  Some of these arcs are really best viewed as whole and this is one such time that when broken into segments it leaves something to be desired.

Direct Link to Watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars Episode 4.21 "Brothers"

Next time on Star Wars: The Clone Wars: "Revenge" Episode 4.22

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."Savage and Maul, now reunited, pursue Obi-Wan Kenobi in search of revenge, and the Jedi Knight finds himself forced to unite with a surprising ally to defend against the deadly siblings.

It is on.  Can't wait to see the Season Finale and how Maul and Savage escape their confrontation with Asajj and Obi-Wan.

Link to High Quality Preview Clip from "Revenge"


  1. good review. it seems you like it more than i did :)

  2. My only question is how does Obi-Wan know Maul's name? I never knew this was mentioned to him.