It feels like a million years ago I last watched these episodes. I’m not sure I’m really happy about having to split these four-parts storylines into multiple parts. I feel like I lose the train of the story between entires. The problem really is that I know for a fact that I’ll end up writing a 2500 word post every Monday if I end up talking about all four episodes in one go. But it seems like that’s how all of them are going to be working going forward.
Maybe I’ll just try it out for the next one and see how it ends up killing me or not. Anyway, I have a storyline to finish.
Season 4, Episode 17: The Box
Having shaken Anakin and Ahsoka, Moralo Eval and his entourage arrive at count Dooku’s homeworld of Serenno. Upon arrival, we were expecting Rako Hardeen (Obi-Wan Kenobi in disguise) to finally learn the details of this plan to kidnap the Supreme Chancellor. Haha, no.
Instead, Cad Bane and Obi-Wan meet a bunch of other assassins and mercenaries there to participate in a tournament arc? Yeah, Dooku and Eval are just delighted to present “The Box”, a giant cube containing a game of death designed to whittle down the 12 participants to five, in order to decide which ones will be going on this mission to kidnap Palpatine.
Oh, I’m sorry. Did it suddenly get way more anime in here? I’m not complaining, but this turn of events is so weirdly high concept that I can’t believe I hadn’t accidentally switched over to Crunchyroll. I kind of feel like we’re just getting away from the original plot that got this arc started. But I’m game if Obi-Wan is.
Meanwhile, back on Coruscant Yoda tells Anakin the truth behind what’s been happening. “Dangerous and unpredictable you can be, to both your friends and your enemies” is what Yoda ends up telling him. Oh, so the Council is aware of Anakin’s lack of control and his every closer wavering to the dark side. Although they apparently have no immediate plans to do anything about it.
It’s just further proof of my feeling that the Jedi losing sight of what they’re supposed to be.
Back in the Box. Obi-Wan ends up taking the lead and helping the other mercenaries make their way through the series of physical challenges presented room by room. All with the hopes of entering the Crystal Dome by the end. Oh wait, wrong show. Either way, the Eval is annoyed that his Cube isn’t killing these skilled and deadly bounty hunters fast enough. A hit to his pride I guess.
Just to further get away from the entire point of this exercise, Dooku ends up pushing Eval into the Box and pitting him against Obi-Wan in a fight to the death. A contest Obi-Wan wins, but refuses to kill Eval when ordered to by Dooku. Which the Sith Lord finds disappointing. Thus, in the end the remaining Bounty Hunters are all chosen to take part in the kidnapping plot, which Dooku announces is being led by Cad Bane.
Season 4, Episode 18: Crisis on Naboo
Here we are, the big kidnapping event that these four episodes have been leading up to. And Obi-Wan Kenobi still has no God Damned clue what’s going on. Cad Bane, as shrewd as ever only divulged the individual roles to each of the members of the crew. Keeping everyone on a need to know basis. Obi-Wan, true to his cover’s identity finds himself playing the role of the Sniper.
As things come together, the characters all congregate on Naboo for the Festival of Light. This is a day to commemorate Naboo joining the Republic, and with Palpatine being from Naboo and its former senator, he goes to the planet to make a speech to its people.
Through a bunch of hologram skullduggery, Bane is able to kidnap the Supreme Chancellor while disguising one of the other hunters as Palpatine to cover their escape. It’s only through Obi-Wan’s sniper scope that he’s able to reveal the plan and put Mace Windu and Anakin on the right track to finding the real bounty hunters.
Upon confronting Bane and Eval, Obi-Wan learns that Dooku has doublecrossed them all. And after a brief struggle, Bane is once again arrested and Chancellor Palpatine is safe with the appearance of Windu and Skywalker. Learning that Hardeen was Kenobi all along is something Bane is very unhappy about. Which made me smile.
Despite their weird begrudging friendship that was forming over the prior three episodes, there’s no resignation in his voice when he curses the Jedi for tricking him all this time.
Upon meeting again, Anakin is understandably upset with Obi-Wan for being left in the dark and being allowed to believe his master had been murdered. Going on to further re-establish his disillusion with the Jedi council by announcing that even Obi-Wan doesn’t know what they might be hiding from him. It’s an announcement that stings of the truth, because while Anakin certainly is being manipulated by Palpatine to turn against the council, there is no doubt that the Jedi themselves are on a downward spiral of becoming more bureaucratic and less connected to what they’re supposed to be.
We’re not quite done though yet. Obi-Wan realises that his sniper case had been bugged, and the reason Dooku had doublecrossed them was because he had realised Hardeen was a traitor. Meanwhile, Anakin is continuing to get groomed by Palpatine who says “I was under the impression the Jedi always worked as a team”. I feel like the further we get into the Clone Wars, the more we need to see moments like this, for Anakin’s turn in Revenge of the Sith. Which looms ever closer.
While they’re chatting though, they walk into a dining room where Count Dooku patiently waits. Getting into another Lightsaber fight between him and Anakin. Although before Dooku can escape with Palpatine, Obi-Wan shows up to prevent the Sith Lord from getting away with the Supreme Chancellor.
These were a very fun bunch of episodes focusing on a very different selection of characters. Bounty Hunter stories are amongst my favourite in Star Wars lore. And these ones focusing on a bunch of new and returning faces hit just right. Coupled with the growing frustrations of Anakin and his views of the Jedi Council who obviously deem him less than trusthworthy.
I do have a bit of a criticism of it all though. I got to the end of these episodes and wondered what the actual endgame of this entire kidnapping plot was from Sidious and Dooku. I mean, Palpatine was obviously orchestrating his own kidnapping here, but I’m not sure what his eventual goal was considering all the setup it required.
Literally, the only reason I can think of is that it was all done to sow the seeds of distrust between the Jedi and Anakin, but it feels like some major 4D Chess planning here that was the case on Palpatine’s part for how the Jedi planned to both insert Obi-Wan into this situation and then also withhold information from Anakin.
It just seems like a long way for him to go for what is ultimately making very little progress in getting Anakin further under his wing.
I mean, had Obi-Wan’s intervention in saving the Chancellor at the end been a little more obviously detrimental to whatever Palpatine had planned, I might have been less critical of it. But the episode plays it all like everything went exactly to his plan, which doesn’t sit right with me. Had we got a single shot of Palpatine looking annoyed or curling his lip when Obi-Wan showed up then I would have dropped it.
It was all still fun though. I liked seeing some intimidating Anakin the prior two episodes and the weird, anime-esque tournament of the Box was fun if totally out of nowhere. It’s about the journey, not the destination, right? And this journey was fun as hell.
Next time: I’m going to start with two episodes detailing the return of Asajj Ventress to the series after a pretty long absence:
- Season 4, Episode 19: Massacre
- Season 4, Episode 20: Bounty