Bounty Hunters: We Definitely Need Their Scum!

6 04 2010

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The Clone Wars gets ever closer to the 3 part Season Finale with the most recent episode, Bounty Hunters. Here’s the breakdown:

After crash landing on Felucia, Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka come across a village in peril. A pirate gang has been raiding their precious supply of nysillin crop. In an effort to curb the piracy, the peaceful villagers have hired a group of mercenary bounty hunters to protect them. The Jedi are faced with the decision to help the villagers or continue on their way; however, the stakes are raised when the pirate leader reveals himself to be the Jedi’s old nemesis, Hondo Ohnaka.

The Monkey: This episode took all of my complaints from the last few episodes and fixed them all. The plot actually made sense; the Jedi weren’t on a random mercy mission that paled in comparison to the larger war (as many episodes do have them do). Instead, they are stranded, having no choice but to stay and become involved. There was a sufficient mix of plot, character and action. The return of Hondo helped tie the episode to the rest of the series, and a familiar face is always nice to see. And best of all, they didn’t kill him off! Frustrated with Admiral Trench’s untimely demise, I was worried this episode would follow suit, killing off an interesting character that continues to have potential. I was pleasantly surprised; Hondo lives to fight (and appear in future episodes) another day!

The animation continues to impress on The Clone Wars. Felucia was beautifully animated (reminding me of the wonderful Felucia levels in The Force Unleashed video game). Production designs were great on this episode as well, with a new Vulture Droid docking station showcased, as well as some nifty ejector seats.

What I loved most about the episode was it truly fit the bill for what the creators have preached from the beginning – that The Clone Wars episodes are mini-movies. But few of the episodes have really lived up to this. Bounty Hunters was the perfect example of the “mini-movie” concept. It truly felt like a feature length film condensed into 20 minutes. Perhaps it was the montage scenes of the villagers learning to fight, perhaps it was the whole “bounty hunters and Jedi unite” plot line, but the episode worked!

In only a few minutes, the viewer is attached to the band of bounty hunters, invested in the villagers’ plight. Sugi is strong and likable, a great counterpoint to the stereotypical bounty hunter, a stereotype even Obi-Wan must overcome. Embo’s fighting style has garnered sufficient buzz and for good reason; his unique “hat tricks” added something new and never-before-seen to The Clone Wars. And Seripas was a wonderfully designed droid fighter, with an even more likable “interior.” The fact that this episode was able to introduce these new characters so quickly – and actually make the viewer care about them – is a testament to the strength of the script and the deftness of the direction.

Last note: I really enjoyed the heightened violence of the episode. The bounty hunters showed the pirates no mercy, smashing them into electric fences, brutally shooting them off speeder bikes. While it wasn’t over the top or gratuitous, it was exciting to see some killer action after a string of less-than-great episodes.

The Weasel: What happened to Rumi Paramita? The hooded Frenk bounty hunter was the least present of the bounty hunter gang. She was wounded during the fight and did not appear at the end of the episode…did she die? If so, why is it totally glossed over? Sugi and the others hardly pay it any mind; when Embo got hurt, it was a great, dramatic moment…why leave Rumi out? I thought this was odd, even a bit callus.

While not really a negative point, I was hoping Anakin would cut the bothersome Kowakian monkey-lizard in half! (He made a swipe for it, but Hondo intervened). Maybe it would have been a bit too much, even for one of the more violent episodes…

Best episode of Season 2 so far…can’t wait for the last few episodes!

4.5 Death Stars out of 5

What do you think? Did the plot and pacing work for you? Do you hope to see the bounty hunters in future episodes? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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