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Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 1 Episode 7: Duel of the Droids



What is it ? : Continuing from the last episode, R2-D2 is still missing and getting him back is a top priority before the data he stores is captured by General Grievous. The Trandoshan Salvager from the last episode is delivering R2 to Grievous, at the same hidden monitoring station the Republic is looking for, but R2 gets a signal out letting Anakin know where he is. Anakin, Ahsoka and some Clone Troopers know where he is (I feel that Rex and Cody are in it enough that I should start recognising them by now, and the Clone Troopers in this episode are headed by Rex).
They board the station, discover R3-S6 is actually a traitor, and rescue R2 and destroy the station.

High Points : While I gloss over the action aboard the station in the description above, actually that action is really good. The episode is action packed, with plenty of battles, and a rather good sequence of Ahsoka vs Grievous (basically hide and seek in a storage chamber).
There are a lot of anti-droid weapons in this episode, which made me wonder how effective they are on Grievous, but I liked seeing that they're making weapons which are designed to take out their enemy (very useful if Battle Droids ever have hostages, hopefully a use we'll see later in the series).
The twist with R3 I never saw coming, with it being highlighted early in the episode how incompetent the Battle Droids are, I just took R3 to be a character in that mold, so was surprised to find out he was a Droid infiltrator. Given the prevalence of droids among the Republic and it's military, especially Astromechs, it's a really good plan on the Confederacy's side.
The sequence after they sabotage the station, and it's plummeting into the planets atmosphere is also great, could have been done marginally better, but gave a real feeling of impending doom and that time was running out for them to get everyone out safely.
And the sequence where Grievous is taking R2 apart to get information out of him was actually quite harrowing. While obviously still done not to distress children, I found that R2 being dismantled while still switched on to be quite disturbing, and seeing him reduced to helpless pile of parts all while aware of it distressing to the 7 year old me who adored that droid when A New Hope first came out.

Low Points : There's not a lot to criticise, the music is back to more traditional (and to be honest "good"), the action is excellent. Ahsoka sticking up for the droid while everyone else is critical of its mistakes changes from "Young character is more open minded than stuck in their ways older characters", to "Older characters experience is proven right" in a rather nice way.

The one criticism I do have of the episode is that Grievous escapes in his starfighter as his command is destroyed again. Exactly how the Malevolence storyline ended. Given how Sith Lords are show to usually deal with failure, I am very, very surprised he survives through to Revenge of the Sith, he's lost you a super-weapon and an important listening station within a very short period of time.

So what do you really think ? : Liked it a lot, it redeemed the story very well, had a nice twist in it and some great action, almost makes me forget the last episode, almost.

Final Words : The quality in Clone Wars seems pretty variable, I suppose we're still early in Season 1 and it's finding it's feet, but while I'm enjoying these episodes, there's nothing here that I think I'll ever want to watch again. But time will tell, it's entirely possible that I'll be eating my words pretty soon.

Score : 8/10






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