I decided to take a bit of a break after the end of December. It’s taken less than a week for me to get that itch and come back to wanting to write something though. So what better way to ease back into the habit than to get back into this long bloody series about the Clone Wars.
One that, if I’m honest, I’m getting a bit anxious to get to the end of. Not because I’m bored of the series or anything, but just to see how Ahsoka gets from where she is to where she was in the Mandalorian.
Season 5, Episode 08: Bound for Rescue
We pick up this episode following the events of the previous one, with Ahsoka captured by Hondo and his band of pirates and the younglings stranded in a damaged ship. Last time, I predicted that the kids were going to go off on their own and make a very ill-advised rescue attempt. But to the show’s credit, it gives them every reason not to go off half-cocked before they inevitably do.
They try to call for backup from Obi-Wan Kenobi, however, a sudden attack on his small fleet from General Grievous makes contacting the younglings a pretty low priority. On top of that, the ship the kids are on needs to land to reset the damaged engines, so they’re all but forced to land on Florrum which leads right into the cocky youngling; Petro, insisting they go and rescue their chaperone.
Before they head off though, they do manage to actually complete their lightsabers, which means they’ll at least be armed this time. Almost all of them anyway, Katooni still hasn’t managed it.
While moving towards the pirate hideout, the kids happen upon a travelling circus troupe, lead by an eccentric looking Dug. Their Jedi training and force augmented acrobatics make it easy for them to join the troupe and use them as a cover to infiltrate the pirate’s hideout.
And that’s pretty much exactly what they do. Hondo and his men are all a drunken mess by the time the circus barge shows up, and the kid’s thrilling stunts are enough to entertain the pirates pretty easily. In fact, taking Ahsoka’s lightsabers from Hondo, freeing her and stealing a speeder to escape goes incredibly smoothly, so much in fact that Ahsoka can’t even pretend to me mad at them for doing something so dangerous.
There are a few scenes in the episode showing Obi-Wan getting overrun by Grievous and his fleet, which seems a little unnecessary to the story, but eventually acts as a reason. for the Separatists to show up on Florrum in the next episode when they do.
I don’t know what to make of Hondo and his crew so much when I’m watching these episodes. While it’s never overtly stated, they’re a bunch of very dangerous cutthroats and criminals. As seen by the fact that they’re playing with the skulls of people who have displeased them in the past. And yet we see them here, drinking and stumbling about like buffoons.
Season 5, Episode 09: A Necessary Bond
The pirates seem to have sobered up very quickly between episodes and are suddenly hot on the tail of Ahsoka and the younglings. What follows is a pretty thrilling chase sequence in which the ships flies over their speeder and the kids all try to board while being shot at by the pirates and their speeder tank.
As thrilling as it may be, the whole escape turns out to be pretty pointless. As easy as it seemed for the kids to rescue Ahsoka in the previous episode, the pirates just as easily shoot down the ship and recapture all the Jedi, along with the two droids. Putting us all right back where we started.
Before I could get annoyed about the story going around in circles though, Grievous and his fleet descent upon Florrum. It feels like it’s becoming fewer and farther between we see Grievous, although I’ve noticed that as we see less of him the more effective he seems to be as a commander of an army. We’re getting a lot less of the bumbling incompetent Grievous and more of the intimidating, relentless cyborg.
With the pirates and the Jedi seeing the droids descend, it was pretty obvious we were going to get into a “the enemy of my enemy” situation. Ahsoka pretty easily talks the pirates into an accord, liberating Hondo and having him lead them to his secret hanger where they can all escape.
Speaking of Hondo, I mentioned this before, but I get a very strong Pirates of the Caribean vibe from him and his crew whenever they show up on the series. They are obviously, heinous murderers, but there’s just something so likeable about them all. Hondo especially. Which is reinforced by his banter with Grievous and the hologram of Dooku who super obviously hold a grudge against him for the events of the season 1 storyline beginning with Episode 11: Dooku Captured.
During the breakout, with some coaxing from Hondo Katooni manages to finish her Lightsaber and then strangely seems to want to stick to him like glue. Which is useful considering that the whole crew get split up, Hondo and his men arriving at their secret hanger before the rest of the Jedi.
It’s here they board Slave I, which apparently has been sat here since the events of the season 2 episode: Lethal Takedown where it was seemingly destroyed. As Hondo and his men board, seemingly more than happy to leave the rest of the Jedi to their fate, Katooni pretty easily guilts him into sticking around to help.
Which is pretty fortuitous, as Grievous has managed to catch up to Ahsoka and is now duelling her. The last time I remember these two fighting, it was way back at the beginning of the first season. Back then Ahsoka was woefully outmatched by the cyborg. Now, Ahsoka feels like a much more mature person and Jedi by comparison. That being said, Grievous still seems like a powerful opponent that few but a Jedi Master could hope to match.
It’s a good think Hondo decided to stick around, firing upon Grievous with Slave I’s weapons and giving the Jedi all a chance to escape on board. In the aftermath, we get Hondo giving a lot of bluster to Obi-Wan trying top get paid for his heroics, although seemingly leaving with nothing at the end. He does, however, give Katooni a little not in the end as he leaves. It’s a cute little moment to end the episode on.
Hondo’s morality seems to jump around drastically depending on the time of day. In the previous episodes, he seemed to have no qualms about killing kids to steal their kyber crystals and selling Ahsoka into slavery. In these episodes, he seems pretty easily swayed by the pleas of a young girl.
I’d say he’s a rogue with a heart of gold, but I have no doubt that on a different day he would have no qualms about having them all killed. I guess that maybe he does have some kind of moral code to him somewhere, but I couldn’t tell you what it is. Maybe he was just paying them back for rescuing him from his prison cell back on Florrum.
Either way, I know that Hondo has become one of the most interesting characters to come out of the Clone Wars since he started showing up again and would very much like to see a live-action version of him somewhere in the future. Otherwise, though, these episodes were fine. The kids were a nice lead, not overly annoying like a lot of kids in these kinds of shows can be.
Although I feel like, with this new format of 4 episode storylines, a lot of the time the point, in the beginning, feels like it gets lost by the end. Maybe that’s by design though. The events of Ilum feel like they happened a thousand years ago compared to the pirate breakout that ended the storyline, although part of that might be just the time it took me to watch these episodes compared to those ones before.