Now that the movie is under our belts, it is time to jump into The Clone Wars proper, starting with “Ambush.” A note on the order in which I’m reviewing these: since I’m watching the show on Netflix, I will be using their running order for this series. Whether or not that matches the intended running order or not, I’m not too sure, but that’s how we’re doing this. Originally, it was suggested that I watch in chronological order, but I think for reviewing purposes, this will run a little smoother. Off we go!
“Great leaders inspire greatness in others.”
1. Slumming it
Because I have never seen this show before, I was instantly taken by how small of a mission this seems like for Yoda. When I think of Yoda, particularly in the context of the prequels, I think of a very important, very busy, very cloistered Jedi. To see him running around on diplomatic missions seems, I don’t want to say beneath him, but it seems like it shouldn’t be his job.
I’m not going to get off on a rant here about how the prequels do a piss poor job of explaining the Jedi’s relationship to the rest of the galaxy. We know that they act as a sort of pseudo-Green Lantern Corps, aka space cops, but they are also consulted sometimes, and other times seem to be totally in the dark. A Jedi advocating for a military base on an outer-rim planet just seems like a job that would be better suited for a senator or even a page.
That said, I am thoroughly enjoying the idea of popping in and out of these various tableaus to see what’s happening in the far reaches of the galaxy. I was so enthralled by the episode that I didn’t even realize until it was over that I was told this series was really about Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka, none of whom appeared.
2. The perfect use of Yoda
One of my big gripes with Attack of the Clones is the way that Yoda fought Count Dooku. What made Yoda so incredible in The Empire Strikes Back was that you had this tiny little dude who was nothing fancy, but could lift a fucking X-wing from a swamp with just his mind. When/if we saw Yoda fight, I picture it not unlike Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid, where he would put his opponents off-balance, and let them make their own mistakes.
Instead, we got flippy shit.
But here, we get sort of a halfway point between the two: Yoda is still jumping around a lot, but he’s also outsmarting the battle droids and using his small stature to do things like get under the tanks. To borrow a bullshit corporate speak terminology, he’s working smarter, not harder.
But not only that, this episode helped restore some soul to the character, after the prequels ripped all of it out. When we first meet Yoda, he’s joking, he’s tense, he’s hungry, he’s cryptic. Then, in the prequels, he’s a boring dickhead, like all the Jedi. Here, we see a bit of his impish side, a bit of his pride, and some real heart. He shows the Clones that he doesn’t just think of them as numbers, but instead talks about how they each have defining characteristics. It’s a tender moment, and one that goes a long way into letting the viewer know that the Clones aren’t just cannon fodder – thought I suspect that is still their primary use.
3. Supreme Leader Ventress
I was taken by the fact that Ventress was referred to by the battle droids as ‘Supreme Leader,’ a term that I associate with Snoke. I am not reading into any connection between the two characters other than their title, but it is an interesting coincidence. I wonder how closely the folks who were working on The Force Awakens were familiar with The Clone Wars. I’m sure that somebody there was familiar, or that there is a giant story-bible for all the various Star Wars properties.
But, because this in the internet and we have fun here, let’s say that Ventress is Snoke. I’m sure that will be debunked a thousand times over, probably by the time I finish this first season. But, in case it isn’t, I’ll be the smartest guy alive.Continued below
4. The Clones
I mentioned earlier how Yoda was kind to the Clone Troopers, and I’m very interested to see how the Clones are handled in this series. Due to their, well, cloned nature, it might be difficult to build any one of them into a stand alone character that folks can identify when he walks on screen.
What is also interesting is that I intellectually know that they are all Jango Fett clones, but when I look at them, I’m not really considering that. I don’t think “oh yeah, these are all copies of that dick from Attack of the Clones. I wonder if that is a good thing or a bad thing in the long run.
I do not consider myself an expert on the worlds of Star Wars, so I’m not sure of Toydaria is a world that I’ve seen before, but I tend to doubt it. One of the nice bits of this series is that it also gives an opportunity to check in on these little podunk systems, get a quick taste for what they are like, and then move on. Whether or not we spend time here again is almost immaterial.