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Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 6 Episode 1: The Unknown

What is it ? : In the massive orbital space station of Ringo Vinda, Anakin Skywalker and two Jedi Sisters are leading the attack on the heavily entrenched Separatist forces, and with a combination of Jedi powers and Clone Trooper tactics they manage to push the enemy to breaking point.
However, one of the Clone Troopers, Tup, begins behaving oddly, talking about good soldiers obey orders, and then murders one of the Jedi sisters who is his General. This causes the Republic attack to falter, and they are forced to withdraw. The enemy general, General Trench, also witnesses the murder and realises that it is something special. He contacts Count Dooku to inform him what he has witnessed. Dooku in turn contacts Sidious, and they discuss how this could derail all of Sidious's plans. After discussion, Dooku orders Trench to capture the effected Clone Trooper for analysis.
Meanwhile, it is decided by Anakin and Clone Medics that since they can find nothing wrong with Tup, he should be returned to Kamino for examination by the cloners there.
A shuttle launches to return him to Kamino, but is intercepted by the Separatists, and the crew killed, and Tup taken by Battle Droids.
Anakin, Rex and Five's board the shuttle and realise that Tup was the target and was captured, so they set out to rescue him, grappling their way aboard the transport he is transferred onto, and sending him onto Kamino once more, this time accompanied by Five's.

High Points : Based just on one episode it's difficult to tell, but Clone Wars seems to have taken a darker, more adult turn. The music is more ominous, the kidding and joking which occurred in previous seasons seems to be missing. Is this just the lack of Ahsoka? Is it just me knowing the end is near? I'm not sure, but I found it refreshing, a real feeling of the weight of war and the deaths it causes.

Also for the first time we see Dooku and Sidious plotting, not being issued orders, not working against each other, but as equals, planning. It makes the relationship make sense for the first time, Dooku obviously is privy to Sidious's plan, and is helping it come about, and made the two more menacing than they usually seem.

The tactics used by the Clone Troopers against the Battle Droids, and an evolution of what we've seen before. Using blast shields to protect themselves from the Droideka's, then using Droid Popper grenades to roll through their shields and disable them. Nice to see them actually using tactics shown before, and the advantage of using Clones (they're adaptable) over Battle Droids.

Towards the end Anakin, Fives and Rex wait on the hull of the space station for a shuttle to launch, then grapple aboard it as it passes out into space. A clever tactic which avoids them facing down the hundreds of Battle Droids guarding the hangar.

When Tup "malfunctions", there is talk of attacks on clone trooper physiology as something the Separatists have been attempting. This really makes sense, the Clones are all identical, so exploiting this, as something one is vulnerable to, is something they all are vulnerable to, is only sensible. It's not something mentioned in the series so far, and there may be very good reasons for that, but nice to see that both sides has at least considered it.

Low Points : Only two points bothered me when watching this episode,

Firstly, Dooku and Sidious targeting Tup, surely this just highlights the importance of what's happening to him? I'm betting that the cover up from Sidious as Palpatine will be that this is just an illness, nothing important (ignore the Jedi killing Clone Trooper, he's not an indicator of future Clone behaviour at all). But the kidnapping highlights that this is something very important indeed, surely would have been better to just use his influence to change the diagnosis later on.

Secondly, when Fives, Anakin and Rex are trying to get Tup back from the separatists, they land their shuttle on the outside of the space station, and no one notices even though this is right next to a large open hangar bay? Then when they grapple onto the shuttle, the shuttles sensors detect a variation in drag which alerts the tactical droid aboard. So they're checking for boarders on shuttles, but not on their base. It's just a little too convenient.

So what do you really think ? : I liked this episode a lot, the change in tone really made it stand out from the recent episodes, and the storyline has really hooked me in. This is obviously more a part of the grander movie storylines rather than the stories which the Clone Wars as a series has been working on, and because of this it feels more important than many of the stories that Clone Wars tells.

Final Words : Looking forwards to seeing how this one plays out, I obviously am aware that some of the Clone Troopers make it through this series and into the Rebels series, and I'm intregued to see if it's down to this story that they resist their programming to be able to join the Rebels?

This season is going to be a short one, but does at least look as if it's going to go out with some epic stories.

Score : 8.5/10

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