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Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 1 Episode 22: Hostage Crisis

What is it ? : Well it's the season finale of the first season of Clone Wars, and it carries on the story from the Clone Wars movie, Ziro the Hutt who organised the kidnapping of Jabba's son.
Ziro (or someone who would like him out) has arranged for Bounty Hunter Cad Bane to organise a team of hired thugs to take a bunch of Senators captive and ransom them for Ziro's freedom.
Meanwhile Anakin is telling Amidala how much he loves her, so much he gives her his lightsaber (hey, Anakin not heard of chocolates or flowers).
When Bane and his cronies take over the Senate, and grab Amidala and Senator Organa among others as captives Anakin begins stalking the Mercenaries and taking them out, however without his lightsaber he is ambushed by a group and captured. His unconscious body is left with the Senators, in the middle of a boobytrapped room, as Bane and his merry men make their escape with Ziro.
Amidala gives Anakin his lightsaber back, he slices through the floor just as Bane detonates the boobytrap and escapes into the Coruscant sunset with the freed Ziro.

High Points : Pretty impressed with this episode, firstly for bringing back a storyline from the very first part of this series, makes me trust the writers a bit more knowing they're not actually forgetting about things and have plotlines waiting in the wings.

After Bane has captured the Senate, and Anakin is stalking the mercenaries in an attempt to free Amidala (and the others, but lets be honest they're a very low priority). There is a genuine feeling of suspense, as he sneaks around, will he be spotted, how's he going to deal with this without a weapon. It's very well done, and very edge of the seat tension. It's actually added to by his lack of a weapon, his only attempt to get one, snatching the rifle from one of the IG series assassin droids, is foiled by the droid bending the rifle in half as they struggle. And unexpected, surprising and fun moment.

Unless I'm very much mistaken, this plot is not initiated by Palpatine, as he has no real interest in freeing Ziro, and the fact that some Mercenaries manage to take out the power in the building trapping him for some time in his office, unable to even communicate with anyone, doesn't make him look in control of the situation. It's interesting to see Palpatine in a situation not of his own making, and I'm sure there's a moment where there's a flash of anger across his face, as these people interfere with his plans for the galaxy just to free a gangster.

Low Points : At the end of the episode, Bane and his team, with their rescued Hutt, just manage to get away. Unless this is filled in somehow, I feel it's just glossed over. Escaping from the capital of the Republic, with a freed prisoner (especially one as recognisable as a tattooed Hutt), after committing a terrorist bombing of the Senate building and holding the Senators of several major worlds hostage, seems to be taken for granted.
Also part of this, given my beliefs above that Palpatine hasn't arranged this situation, I cannot believe that there isn't a massive bounty on Banes head before he even steps off-world. Even if each of the worlds put up a couple of million for the man that arranged this, then the bounty would be massive, and irresistible to the type of people Bane associates with.

Just a slight nitpick, at the start of the episode, Bane kills a bunch of Senate guards, and has at least 2 replaced by Droid Commando's (using their ability to mimic peoples voices to be unnoticed. However, after leaving them guarding the landing pad, the two droids are totally forgotten about, you never see them again, and when Bane is making his escape, they're not there and not mentioned. So what happened to them? Or are they still there, pretending to be senate guards for many years, going back to the guards families, pretending to be them (Wife: "You seem a little distant tonight dear, anything wrong?" Commando Droid: "Just a hard day at work. Roger Roger").

So what do you really think ? : Not sure if this is a high point or low point, so I'll explain it here and let you decide which you think it is.
Anakin is in full on massively creepy mode in the early part of this episode. He is telling Amidala how much he loves her, and how her refusing to go on holiday with him, because she's to busy with Senate work. She points out that her job is to serve, and how both of their jobs save lives, but that's not enough for him. Saying that a Jedi's lightsaber is their life, he gives her his to prove she's the most important thing in his life.
Amidala has always been portrayed as someone who has dedicated their life to public service, and when marrying someone, you really should know and understand the things which are important to them. But Anakin just comes across as creepy and demanding.

Now I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing, because it's certainly accurate to the character, and it's certainly written perfectly to match Anakin from Episodes 2 and 3. But he annoying, whiny and making you question whatever could she have ever seen in this childish creep.

Final Words : Well, so that was the first season of Clone Wars, what can I say.

It was certainly better than I thought it would be, there's some real little gems in there.

The writing is pretty erratic, especially on two parters. The style between two parts of a story can be completely different, even down to the soundtrack.

The characterisation is of variable standards, and sometimes is completely wrong, and sometimes absolutely spot on. The villains especially, in an attempt to appear villainous to the child audience the series is targeted at, often just kill people for no reason (hey I'm a bad guy, so I just murder people randomly).

They can't decide whether droids are useless and incompetent comic relief, or whether they're scary opponents. And they go from being so useless that in one episode they can't even use firehose without falling down, to being mass produced killing machines which the heroes are frightened of when surrounded.

The lack of bad guys is really obvious, with Asajj Ventress, General Grievous and Count Dooku being used far too often. This combined with the need for the heroes to triumph in each episode, makes them look incompetent and weak, and then because they need to be back in the next episode, are instantly forgiven by Dooku. You really start to how this bunch of clowns could seriously be a threat to the galaxy at times.

I'm looking forwards to seeing if they can keep linking episodes together in continuing plot lines, if they can make improvements in the somewhat patchy writing, and whether they can bring some additional interesting character (especially villains).

Score : 8.5/10

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