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Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 5 Episode 8: Bound for Rescue

What is it ? : Following on from the last episode, Ahsoka has been captured by Hondo and the Younglings have jumped to "safety" in the Jedi Training Ship. The younglings contact Obi-Wan to report Ahsoka's capture, and want to help in the rescue, but Obi-Wan orders them to wait for rescue themselves.
However Obi-Wan's cruiser comes under attack by General Grievous and is disabled, before Obi Wan is forced to order it's destruction and evacuation.
The Younglings complete their lightsabers, and realising that help isn't coming combined with the fact that their ship needs to land on a planet to allow the generators to cool off or it will blow up, they decide to head to Florrum to rescue Ahsoka.
On Florrum, Ahsoka is told that Hondo has a non-separatist buyer for her, but they are more dangerous than Hondo, and don't care if she's dead or alive.
The younglings meet a travelling carnival which is heading to entertain Hondo's pirates, and join it as acrobats. During their display, they release Ahsoka, stealing her lightsabers back off Hondo, and escape on a landspeeder.

High Points : Hondo is a wonder in this episode, he's more menacing than he's ever been, the edginess of the character which has always been there (Hondo's not a nice guy, even if he is likeable) is now on full display, threatening to kill Ahsoka, and even threatening to kill the carnival members if they're not entertaining enough, "like last time".
But he's also at his funniest, he gets some great lines throughout the episode, from flirting with Twi'lek dancing girls to threatening Ahsoka, to consoling a beast left behind when the entertainers flee without it.
And it's the marvel of the character, he's the bad guy here, far more so than Grievous and Dooku, he wants to make cash from enslaving one of the heroes and possibly killing her if she causes too many problems in her imprisonment, and he's not doing this for any reason other than he thinks he can make some money out of it. But he's funny, he's entertaining, he's likeable, and for that reason you don't want him to be the bad guy, the series ties you in knots as you try to work out a way what he's doing isn't bad, but it undeniably is.

I must also take a moment to mention the space battle between Obi-Wan's Star Destroyer and it's supporting fleet, and the Separatist fleet headed by Grievous. It cuts between this battle, and the boarding of Obi-Wan's ship throughout the episode, even though I only dealt with it cursorily above. The action is great and it leads to a battle which is definitely as epic as anything we saw in the prequels, the smaller cruisers weaving around the massive destroyers, and the fighters zipping around between those. Then the fighting in the landing bays as they're boarded and overwhelmed leading to a retreat through the corridors. This could have supported an episode on it's own, however this is just the b-plot, supporting the story of the younglings, fantastic.

Low Points : Obi Wan really needs to learn poker. Obi-Wan realises that his ship is being overwhelmed, so orders it's destruction and evacuation. However, he feels it's necessary to leave a message to Grievous telling him this. If he'd not told him, then he'd have successfully killed Grievous.
However, my real point is that Obi-Wan should learn to bluff, if he'd just left the message but not set the destruct or evacuated, then Grievous, true to form, would have run away (as he does), and they could have saved the ship. Someone really needs to start a Jedi Temple Sabacc tournament.

I've noticed this since around half way through season four, but it's got to such a stage I need to mention it now. But I'm starting to get a little tired of the same ship models getting used all the time. When they improved the visuals at the start of season 4, they got new character models and starship models for rendering in the animation. Now at the time I mentioned how good they look in comparison to the old, and they do. And they took the opportunity to move from the Phase 1 Clone Armour, to the Phase 2, and we got some great new ships and vehicles. However, they've not added to the number of models, so we keep getting the same ships over and over again. The Tygerian Slaving ship which we had never seen before the Tygerian were introduced has turned up numerous times, sometimes as an important ship (Maul and Opress use one), and sometimes just in the background. In this episode it turns up being used as a large speeder for the Carnival.
Using models over and over again is fine, but there's so few of them that it's really looking as if the universe has only a very few designs of ship, and it is making the universe feel smaller than it should, especially when these are introduced as virtually unique, such as the Tygerian Slaving ship, but now is common as muck (the Yacht model used by Obi-Wan and Cad Bane after their escape from prison keeps showing up as well, Hondo sometimes uses one, and we've seen it at least on two other occasions).
What perhaps makes it worse, is knowing that a number of models used in the first three seasons have never been updated to the new rendering detail, so just aren't seen any more.

So what do you really think ? : I really enjoyed this one, both the A and B plots were good, the action was excellent, and the kids were actually smart rather than the pirates needing to be stupid. Normally when an opponent is beaten, they look weaker and less menacing because they've been defeated, but Hondo actually comes out of this pretty darn well, having been outsmarted instead of being stupid.

Final Words : I'm guessing since they're racing away on the speeder rather than in their ship, we're in for a further story set on Florrum before Ahsoka and the Younglings escape, since the last 2 parts have been so good, I've high hopes for it being a good one.

Score : 9/10

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