Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Clone Wars: Padawan Lost

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for...Clone Wars reviews.  This post contains SPOILERS for “Padawan Lost”, the first episode of the two-part April 1 finale. 
This episode starts out with a reference that tells the more widely read viewer exactly what it’s about-- the koan’s mention of “dangerous game” . “The Most Dangerous Game” is a short story by Richard Connell (yes, I had to Google that, although I remember reading the story in middle school). In the story, the main character is pursued by a hunter who believes humans are the most satisfying prey because they can fight back. The episode, in which Ahsoka is set upon by a pack of Trandoshan hunters, also calls to mind battle royale stories such as “The Hunger Games”. So for once, I liked the koan. They better have done it on purpose.
We see Plo Koon, Anakin, and Ahsoka divvying up responsibilities in a battle against Grievous and his droids, presumably immediately after the Citadel fiasco where Master Plo lied to cover up Ahsoka’s impetuousness. 
The Felucian landscape is beautiful and detailed, with insects crawling around the inside of golden pods reminiscent of something from Avatar. Also cool are clone troopers with jetpacks and striped masks. 
The dialogue is about as subtle as usual. A Snivvian prisoner flatly explains that “These are Trandoshans. They’re going to release us and hunt us down for sport,” about which Ahsoka sounds about as disappointed as if she’d broken a nail. 
The Trandoshans themselves are pretty, especially the white striped one, and the voices are modulated with reptilian hisses and gurgles. But the main voice actor hams up his role like a wannabe warder from last episode channeling a Buck Rogers villain. 
I liked the fellow “younglings” Ahsoka encounters-- a human named Kalifa, a Twi’lek, and a Cerean. They inhabit a tree home that reminded me of the Lost Boys’ fort in Neverland. Unfortunately we don’t get much of a sense of character from them, nor of how long they’ve been on the Trandoshan’s private hunting ground. I’m predicting right now that whoever Ahsoka grows closest to is going to get killed off in the next battle scene. 
And now we come to the third time a Jedi Master has left Ahsoka to die. Plo insists that he and Anakin must leave Felucia, although the Chosen Angstpot refuses to like it. (Maybe Plo’s just trying to cover his own deception, eh?)
There were adorable little things in the background at 09:44, and then we’re treated to the sight of a Trandoshan seated in a wampa-skin chair.
I liked the dirt in this episode. Whatever filter they threw over the characters really works to make the place feel dusty. 
Ahsoka is very empowering in this episode. From cocky lines like responding to “Don’t overestimate your abilities,” with “I’m not,”, to stopping her fellow Jedi hopeful from killing one of the hunters, she plays a mentor figure. I have to resist...cheering her on. And that’s weird for me. At the same time as I want to see her brought down a peg and not be such a blasted Mary Sue, I can’t argue with a character telling others to believe in themselves when they prove that they can prevail against a scary situation, especially when it’s so-called girl power. Because of Ahsoka, Kalifa goes through the kind of transformation I wanted to see in Ahsoka, becoming strong in herself through growth instead of being that way to start with.
But Kalifa still can’t save herself without Marysoka, and...
Prediction correct. Except for the "next battle scene" part. 
I’ll move on to the next episode later and talk about them as a whole. As for this one, it did have a nice slow moment of dialogue at the end, but that dialogue was so muddled that it was practically a placeholder. And Anakin noticed.  I give it a resounding “meh”. 

8 comments:

  1. Sounds like there were more downs than ups. But that's what happens when Ahsoka is involved, I suppose. I immensely dislike her. She is a very good example of a Mary Sue, though. If you ever need to describe a "Mary Sue" to someone, you must utter two words only: Ahsoka Tano. And even if they don't know who she is, they will understand.

    As always, a very amusing and interesting (THAT WORD. AGAIN.) entry from you. Nem, you are awesome. Such an overused word, but it's true. Also, I like your "resounding" meh. That was quite cool. A nice way to finish your entry. I applaud you. (Note: I actually did clap out loud. My sister and my brother were like "what?")

    (Sun Li says "hi"!)

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  2. I dislike the "battle royale" concept with an intense and burning distaste. Just had to get that out of the way. (I remember reading "The Most Dangerous Game" in high school. I actually thought it was pretty thought-provoking. And I also have a SW fic in the works whose title is a play on that title, but I'm not hypocritical because it stars Boba Fett. Yeah.)

    I wish "Chosen Angstpot" had been his real prophetic title.

    I have to admit, from what I've seen of the series, despite everything I dislike about the aesthetic, the animation excels on a technical level. There, I said my required one-good-thing-about-TCW-in-a-lifetime.

    Also, Marysoka. I rofled. I'll never think of her as anything else now.

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  3. @ Xephinetsa: Thank you. Yeah, Ahsoka. She's there in the blog labels. :P I'm all for female characters being strong, but they've got to be strong with complexity or they're just representations of the viewer, which is no fun for me.

    @Misao: I'm glad you liked the words I coined. They will not be forgotten.

    The animation itself really is impressive, even if I think the way they stylize faces is weird. It's come a long way from the first season.

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  4. Coining words is the best, Nem.

    Also: After ten ridiculous minutes of trying to figure out this newfangled contraption, I think I can only get comment notifications sent to my Gmail account, which I only check like once every six months.

    So. I think I'll just follow comment threads until our conversations end on them, and then leave them alone. And if anyone leaves a comment for me after that, well, I'll have to get to it in a few months when I periodically remember that I have a Gmail account that needs infrequent checking.

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  5. Haha...I'm sorry. Google is taking over everything. I have notifications sent to my email but also bookmarked the blog and just check once in a while. But whatever works for you.

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