Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Clone Wars: Episode 13 - "Jedi Crash"

As the final episode of the first season to go into production, Jedi Crash marks how far the show has come since the movie...and what needs to be fixed in subsequent seasons for the show to become the equal of the movies they're based on.

Only a handful of the episodes so far have comfortably fit into the show's half-hour format, with either too much going on or too little - and every episode but Rookies has followed too many characters. Even though this is one of the better episodes of the season, Jedi Crash is rushed and dramatically inert. There's actually two episodes worth of material here, crammed into twenty-two and a half minutes.

Unlike the Malevolence arc earlier this season, there's enough story here for three episodes, because there are three acts to this story: the Jedi arriving on the planet, the Jedi surviving their first encounters with the planet's wildlife and befriending the locals, and finally, the Jedi protecting the locals from The Trade Federation. This episode should have ended minutes after the ship crashed, and the second episode should have ended right about where Jedi Crash actually ends.

The opening battle - enjoyable as it is - ends just as it gets going. The emotional core of the story takes the biggest hit, though. There's actually some intriguing ideas in this episode: the Jedi's attitudes towards attachments is cast in a slightly different light, the pacifist nature of the local villagers, and an interesting - and persuasive - argument that the Jedi are no longer the peacekeepers that they imagine they are. The problem is that these ideas remain nothing but ideas, merely dialog spoken back and forth between characters without any true dramatic conflict.

All in all, still a pretty damn fun episode. Another that I'd recommend to casual fans.

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Postscript: Did anyone else find it odd that the French Jedi was a badass, while the Irish/Scottish monkey hippies (which begs the question, do monkey hippies have more fleas than human hippies?) were, quite literally, a bunch of surrender monkeys?

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