Right away, season 2 of the Clone War seems like an incredibly refreshing change of pace that I desperately needed from the series. As I said in the previous part where I spoke about the final episodes of season 1, the show had become bogged down with it’s militaristic framing device and really needed to focus on some different aspect of the Star Wars universe for a few episodes, these three episodes do just that.
If you do want to look back at the episodes from season 1, then this link right here will take you to the archive.
Season 2, Episode 01: Holocron Heist
As this episode begins, we’re on Felucia. I’ve noticed that in Star Wars seems to always return to these nigh-inhospitable worlds over and over. There’s no reason anyone would ever want to go to the likes of Tattoine or Hoth, and yet they keep popping up over and over. It’s just a thought.
Either way, the Republic is retreating and we find that, once again Ahsoka Tano is ignoring direct orders, this time from both her master and her master’s master. Didn’t we just do this? Actually my points in my review of the season 01 episode; Cloak of Darkness come back again too, in which her and Anakin’s habit of disobeying orders never seems to come back and bite them because, more often than not, they still come out on top.
Even when Obi Wan voices his frustration at Ahsoka’s insubordination, Anakin’s only comment is to enquire “is she winning?”
Well, she doesn’t win and had to be pulled out of the fire by her senior Jedi, cut to the Jedi temple on Coruscant where she’s getting chewed out by the council and is taken out of action, ordered to run security in the Jedi Library.
From here we cut to the episode’s actual main character; The Duros gunslinger Cad Bane. An entirely new character for the series, he seems like a combination of both the bounty hunter and the smuggler character archetypes from the franchise. He is hired by Sidious to break into the Jedi temple and steal a holocron from the archives.
From here, he becomes the point of view character for the rest of the episode, showing him executing the heist with his little droid companion and a Clawdite changeling partner. All while the Jedi fumble around the temple in pursuit, incorrectly assuming this intruder is after military information.
This different story approach, focusing on bounty hunters and Jedi is an incredibly refreshing change of pace. The tension of the Clawdite trying to avoid detection by Ahsoka and then the librarian Jocasta Nu, added to the little things that go wrong and Cad Bane’s quick thinking to finish the job are thrilling.
And best of all, the Jedi utterly lose in this episode. Cad Bane gets out with the Holocron and manages to pull the wool over their eyes. Part of the reason I was starting to tire of the first series was that it felt like there wasn’t enough drama to what was happening, you always knew the Republic was going to win, it was very rare the Separatists would get one over on them.
Cad Bane is a fantastic addition to the series, as a third party presence who is more than match for the Jedi in terms of strategy and trickery.
Season 2, Episode 02: Cargo of Doom
Following on from the previous episode, we learn that the Holocron Bane stole was part of a list that contained the locations of all of the known force sensitive children in the galaxy. Essentially the future of the Jedi order. And Sidious is after it. We open to a space battle, and it looks like Bane is in charge of a Separatist fleet.
Right away my heart sank, and I thought we were going to fall back to the tired old framing devices of the first series. But much to my surprise and pleasure, that’s not what this episode is. Bane has captured a Jedi Master and tries to force him to open the Holocron using the force.
He ends up killing the Rodian Jedi in the process. All while the fleet is destroyed around him. He doesn’t care though, he’s no Seppy and is only really looking out for himself. Thus the old gears start turning and he once again cooks up a plan to force the Jedi boarding his ship to open the Holocron for him. And the Jedi boarding his ship happen to be Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano.
After a very cool zero gravity action sequence, Bane manages to draw Ahsoka into a trap and is able to disable the Padawan using trickery and a bit of quick thinking. Thus orchestrating a situation where he forces Anakin to open the Holocron for him or he’ll flush Ahsoka out into space. As a side note, I much prefer Ahsoka’s design in that red flight suit compared to what she normally wears.
It’s lucky that Bane is dealing with Anakin, a Jedi who is infamous for his inability to distance himself from his attachments, and he folds quicker than the Flash making a paper airplane. Bane is the most competent villain we’ve had in the series by far, more than smart enough to see through Nute Gunray’s transparent attempt to double-cross him after he’s got the information they want.
And so, once again the Jedi fail in their mission. While they believe they escape the exploding ship with the Holocron destroyed, Bane is still very much alive and continuing to trick everyone around him.
Season 1, Episode 03: Children of the Force
The episode begins with Bane impersonating a Clone Trooper, escaping on the very same escape shuttle Anakin and Ahsoka are on. Amazing neither of them could detect his treachery through the force, but hey, they’ve had a trying day. He manages to remain undetected long enough to steal a fighter and narrowly escape the Republic cruiser.
Anakin should search out a young Padawan by the name of Cal Kestis and ask for some advice on preserving the future of the Jedi children I think.
Now Sidious has the information he desires, all thanks to a Bounty Hunter who has proven his most capable underling since Darth Maul. And why does he want these children? If I had to guess, it would be the first step in him building his army of Inquisitors; a force sensitive army enslaved to him through mental conditioning.
The Jedi fail to stop Bane from kidnapping a Nautolan and a Rodian baby before managing to capture him in pretty anticlimactic fashion while he’s trying to take a Gungan child. Just because he’s captured though doesn’t mean he’s done. After enduring the mind crush of the combined wills of Jedi Windu, Kenobi and Skywalker, he leads the first two to his personal station to retrieve the Holocron.
Meanwhile, Anakin simps out to Palpatine, who has been left out of the loop considering this is an internal Jedi matter and no concern of the Republic. Although Anakin argues against, hence why he stays behind on Coruscant.
On his personal base, Bane manages to activate a trap and escape the Jedi once again. What a bloke. At this point I imagine Bane’s been paid, so he doesn’t care that the Jedi manage to reclaim their Holocron from his base.
Meanwhile, Anakin and Ahsoka use an old smuggler’s trick to backtrack Bane’s journey on his impounded ship based on the fuel he’s used. They discover he’s been visiting the mining planet of Mustafar. Remember how I said hellhole planets seem to come up over and over again in the Star Wars universe.
Anyway, the pair manage to rescue the two children before Sidious is able to do anything to them.
These three episodes were absolutely great. While previous multi-part episodes in the series always felt more or less disconnected, this felt like a true self contained story throughout. The focus on the Jedi instead of the war fantastically refreshing and Cad Bane is an amazing antagonist that kept everyone on their toes much more than any villain from the first series.
With this story being stretched out over three episodes, it felt like the pacing of each individual part was much better too. In the last season, it felt like the writers were rushing through events and rarely giving the characters time to breathe and have those quiet moments. These episodes took their time a little more and actually gave us some time for tension, for character growth and some world building.
I sincerely hope that the second series continues in this way because I feel like these episodes were a genuine step up from those of the first season.
We’re jumping around in the chronology again thanks to the list provided on Starwars.com. This hasn’t come up in a while, but I’m actually watching this series in chronological order rather than airing order. It’s actually been far less jumbled up than I’d been expecting, but here we skip ahead a dozen episodes or so to another bunch of episodes that might be giving us some more Cad Bane goodness.
- Season 2: Episode 17: Bounty Hunters
- Season 2: Episode 18: The Zillo Beast
- Season 2: Episode 19: The Zillo Beat Strikes Back