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Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures: Season 1: Story 31: Mystery of the Opal Cave

What is it ? : The Young Jedi are visiting the Gem Mines on Ootoo Prime, as they marvel at the gems, they notice a blocked off passage. Their guide, Ackler, reveals that this led to the most valuable mines, but an ancient story of a monster has come true and the mine is now abandoned due to this.
Kai finds this suspicious, that an old story has just suddenly come true, so talks Ackler into guiding them into the abandoned mine, and while he is frightened, as is Nubs, he agrees.
In the mines they hear a strange haunted noise and a mist starts rising, but Nubs engages his lightsaber, while Ackler flees. They suddenly see the shape of a large monster on the wall, but discover it is just a small mock up being projected along with the noises and mist, so they explore further.
In the mine itself they discover Taborr Val Dorn, EB-3 and Porg loading gems into a cart while discussing how they've managed this just with a small puppet and some noises. Nubs gets sent back to get Ackler and his people for help, while Lys and Kai remain on watch.
They see Taborr preparing to leave, so to delay him while help comes they confront him. A fight breaks out, but ghostly images and noises disturb this, and knowing he hasn't created these, Taborr flees.
Kai thinking it is Lys using the force to make the shadows and noises asks her to stop, but she tells him that it isn't her and the two begin to become frightened, when Nubs, Ackler and the other Ootoo emerge with glowing crystals which they used to make the shadows.
In thanks the Ootoo give crystals to the Young Jedi, and as they start to glow the Miners cheer. . . .

High Points : While a silly premise, miners being scared of a monster, forgetting that mining itself is a hazardous job, so they should be a pretty brave group. The episode is done fairly well, the idea that Taborr has faked a monster, and automated it to scare people away. I could actually see this plot working in a more adult oriented series, by the villain kidnapping people, and the fear of disappearing due to the monster being the scare tactics used.

Low Points : The silly premise, backed with people showing fear when they never normally do, and Taborr being behind everything once again, doesn't add up to it being a great episode.
I also somewhat question the fact that Taborr is mining the crystals, and the Jedi claim he's stealing them. It's his labor that's collecting them from the ground, by what right do the miners own them? I'm sure they probably own the caves themselves, but it seems a little capitalistic to be forcing on little kids.

So what do you really think ? : It's entertaining enough, but not a well thought out episode, and from decades of use in Scooby Doo episodes it's been done better elsewhere.

Final Words : The message of this one is either, "There's nothing you should be frightened of", or "The profits of your labor belongs to landowners.", but that might just be me.

Score : 8/10

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