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Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 3 Episode 9: Hunt for Ziro

What is it ? : Following on from the first episode of season 2, Cad Bane has performed a jail break and released Ziro the Hutt from his captivity on Coruscant. The Hutt Council meets with Ziro, and it is revealed that he has blackmail material on the council which forced their hand into releasing him, but they throw him into their own jail.
Meanwhile the Jedi Council assigns Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Quinlan Vos to recapturing the escaped Hutt, and believing that it is likely that the Hutts organised his escape, the two Jedi head to Nal Hutta.
Meanwhile after a brief song and dance number, Sy Snootles discovers her lover Ziro is on the planet, and helps him to escape after the two briefly make-out. They take a speeder to see Ziro's mother and borrow her ship, with Cad Bane close on their heels.
Obi Wan and Quinlan arrive on the planet, and question the Hutt council, playing good Jedi/bad Jedi, however they discover that their theory is right when Quinlan has a vision of Ziro in the room. Following leads they meet Ziro's mother who tells them where Ziro is going after they pretend to be wanting to help save him from the other Hutts.
Ziro has headed to his fathers tomb, where he's been storing the records on the Hutt council, But Sy Snootles ceases the records, revealing that she wants revenge for his betray and abandonment of her and she shoots and kills the Hutt. Cad Bane arrives and is annoyed someone beat him to the bounty on Ziro, just before Obi-Wan and Quinlan Vos also arrive. The bounty hunter and the Jedi fight, before Bane escapes in his ship.
Later, it is seen Sy Snootles delivering the Hutt records to Jabba, who she receives payment from.

High Points : This is the first time we've seen Nal Hutta, and it's a very different place from the only other Hutt world we've seen, Nar Shadda. Where Nar Shadda is a city world like Coruscant, Nal Hutta is swampy and has more resemblance to Dagobah than anywhere else we've seen. With vehicles unique to the planet (bearing a resemblance to airboats), flora and fauna, and buildings we've not seen before. Nice to see somewhere which isn't just the same things in a slightly different setting.

The stand out character of this episode is Sy Snootles, who goes from that singer in Return of the Jedi, to having a storyline of her own and proving to not just be a singer but a clever character with ambitions of her own. Wonderful to see the writers taking a background character and doing something so interesting with them, I'll never be able to look that character in the lips again without remembering this episode.

Another interesting character is Ziros Mother, and a more disgusting creature we've not really seen in the show. A massively obese creature, with a obnoxious stench according to Quinlan Vos, she seems to use some kind of slugs as a hairpiece (at least that what I think it was, as her hair had several sets of eyes within it). She's not hostile and actually seems to care somewhat for her offspring, and provides an interesting diversion in the storyline while the heroes encounter her.

Speaking of disgusting things, I was massive impressed by Sy Snootles and Ziro the Hutt getting some smoochie action. The sight of these two fairly repulsive characters seemingly finding each other attractive I found mildly heartwarming. And even given Sy Snootles eventual betrayal of Ziro (and his attempted manipulation of her), the idea that even these two could find love is a reminder that love comes in all shapes and sizes.

The climax of the episode (which is kind of extraneous for reasons I'll touch on later) is when the two Jedi fight Cad Bane (and his droid). I mention the droid because it actually plays a vital part in the fight, providing a distraction and rearming Bane when he is disarmed by the lightsaber wielding Jedi. Bane shows himself a worthy combatant in ways that General Grievous never has, using his weapons on the environment to provide rock falls and explosions the Jedi can't parry with their lightsabers with the same ease that they can parry his blaster bolts. And although I've complained in the past about Grievous and Ventress getting in fights and then running away, Bane runs away at the end of this episode, but the fight isn't something he wanted and actually tried to avoid. So this isn't the same as the many times Grievous has lured Obi-Wan into a fight to prove his superiority, then ran away because he was losing. Bane is performing a fighting retreat throughout this battle, so when he runs away at the end, it's actually what he wanted so he is victorious. This truly is how the villains should be written, so they can be evil and menacing, without having all the menace destroyed by them fleeing at the end of every encounter.

Low Points : Just a few small nitpicks, as I thought this was a brilliant episode.

The Hutts have freed Ziro because he has blackmail information on them which he'll give to the Senate. And later in the episode, Obi Wan tells Quinlan Vos that the Hutts are their allies? This confused me, as far as I'm aware the Hutts operate their own space, and unless the Blackmail material is so heinous that the Republic would declare war over it, I really can't see why giving it to the Senate would be the first thing to do. All I could think of is that the history is revised once more, and the Hutts are actually part of the Republic in Clone Wars.
Also, the Hutts being the Republic's allies doesn't seem that believable to me, they seem far more allied with the Separatists, interested in chaos and the profits that can be made from it. The only way I make sense of it at all, is if Palpatine, the Trade Federation and the Separatists see the Hutts as rivals, so have cut them out of their organisation, so the Hutts have allied themselves with the enemies of their rivals.

The Clone Wars isn't an era I know particularly well, however even I have heard of Quinlan Vos, and have read a few Graphic Novels with him in, and never in any of them did I imagine him like this. Quinlan Vos is portrayed in the stories I've read as a bit of an Emo Hero, he lost his memories and almost fell to the dark side, he nearly lost his Padawan, and is a bit of a tragic character. In this he speaks like a surfer dude! Not how I imagined him at all. I liked the character, but he doesn't seem very much like the one I've read before.

Now, I may be mistaken about this, but I'm sure I've read that Hutts, and their massive bulk are highly resistant to blaster bolts. So I was pretty surprised by Ziro being slain be a single shot. Now even if I'm right, it's possible that Sy Snootles knowing she was going to shoot Ziro, had a blaster modified to be capable of killing him, but I felt it worth noting.

At the end of the episode, after their target Ziro is found dead, Bane confronts Obi-Wan, and tells him there is no reason for a fight since their target is dead. Obi-Wan, points out that Bane is a terrorist who held members of the senate hostage. Bane points out that he could easily profit from a fight, as there is a massive bounty placed on the heads of Jedi by the Separatists. So they fight, or at least the Jedi attack, while Bane fights a retreat to his ship. While there are legitimate reasons for the two sides fighting, I find it noteworthy that the ones desperate for a fight are the Jedi, which doesn't seem very Jedi to me.

So what do you really think ? : I really enjoyed this episode, a glimpse inside the Hutt organisation, a good look at Nal Hutta, and a fascinating background created for a minor character, definitely one of the best this season.

Final Words : When Clone Wars can make little gems like this, it annoys me that so many of the episodes are poorly thought out and executed. More like this please.

Score : 9.5/10

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