Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 5 Episode 6: The Gathering
What is it ? : Ahsoka is taking some younglings on their "most" important mission as a Jedi youngling, The Gathering, where they go to the Crystal Caves on Ilum and gather the crystals for their lightsabers.
They first trek across the surface of the ice world, arriving at a cliff face, and Ahsoka gets them to work with her to open a way into the entrance area for the caves, an area dominated by ancient statues and a frozen waterfall.
Inside awaits Yoda, who informs them of the rules of the test. The sunlight is melting the frozen waterfall, and the way will be opened to the caves, but sunset is soon and the waterfall will slowly freeze up. They must find their crystals and exit the caves before it freezes, or be stuck inside until the next Ilum day, which is 18 standard days away.
The younglings enter the cave, and Petro, a Human separates from the group, believing he can get his crystal quicker alone. The other soon have a separate, and each encounters a test for their crystal based on their personality. Gungi, a Wookiee, must be patient to cross a frozen lake without cracking it. Zatt, a Nautolan, is dependent on his scanner to help him and must discard it to reach his. Byph, an Ithorian, has to get his crystal from the maw of a giant creature, which turns out to merely patterns in the frozen ice. Katooni, a Tholothian, has to climb an ice cliff, and Ganodi, a Rodian, has to find his from among many thousands.
Petro however has to return to the cave, when Yoda points out his easily obtained crystal is simply ice.
They all succeed, except Katooni who is stuck behind an ice wall she cannot break herself, and sees Petro on his search of the cave, calling on him for help which he refuses as time is now short.
Petro changes his mind and help Katooni, both using the force to shatter the wall, but as it shatters, he finds his crystal frozen within, but the delay in gathering is means the waterfall has frozen solid once more. But Petro shatters through the wall as it is only frozen water, and joins his team-mates in success.
Yoda explains to them that the crystals are important, but the challenges they overcame were more important.
High Points : As a standalone episode this would have been an interesting little diversion and some insight into the training of the Jedi. I would especially be interesting if the cave is mystical and somehow changes dependent on those entering, and if so how it would react to a Dark Jedi or Sith entering the cave. Or if the fact Yoda was waiting in the cave meant he had already entered and prepared it for the younglings who were travelling here.
I especially liked the waterfall method of entering the caves, the sun beaming in through the top of the entrance chamber, it's rays hitting the waterfall which melted and flowed away revealing the entrance. Then as night falls the slow flow of water leading to the waterfall slowly freezing from the top creating a ever shrinking entrance, closing from the top. It was an entertaining and memorable way to create a time limit for the younglings to complete their task.
Low Points : While a fairly enjoyable episode, I did find it a bit too forced. The characters all had to learn something, and all within a time limit. This became apparent fairly early in the episode, and the group was a little too large to become invested in within the running time of the episode. So for much of the episode, it just seemed to be checking off a list as each one achieved their goal.
Perhaps if more of the challenges had been teamwork based, the characters would have had more interplay and I could have become more invested in them. But to introduce six new characters and have each one attempt a life changing challenge all within around 20 minutes meant I really didn't much care whether the succeeded or failed.
So what do you really think ? : I mention about that this would have been an entertaining standalone story, but sadly we're in the first part of another four parter, so how good it is very much depends on what is to come. However, I find it difficult to see how well they can connect to this story, as it seems to be self contained, so I am, at least, intrigued by what is to come.
Final Words : I'm thinking that this episode isn't going to be an amazing source of stats for the site, since the characters are mainly alone in some caves.
Score : 8/10
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