The Zillo Beast Strikes Back: Palpatine Shows His True Colors in Light of Monster Mayhem

28 04 2010

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After the fearsome Zillo Beast was shipped to Coruscant at the end of The Zillo Beast episode, The Zillo Beast Strikes Back concludes the thrilling duology with all the mayhem expected from a Godzilla homage. After all, where else but Coruscant could act as a Star Wars version of Tokyo? Here’s the breakdown:

Intent on using the Zillo Beast’s indestructible scales to enhance clone armor, Palpatine orders the Zillo Beast killed and studied in a research facility on Coruscant. Aware of its imminent demise, the Zillo Beast escapes, wrecking havoc across the city. It’s up to the Jedi and their loyal clone troopers to stop the beast: but is it possible to subdue the beast without resorting to killing it?

The Monkey: The best part of this episode was Palpatine. Audiences were finally treated to a bit more of his darker side. Sure, as Darth Sidious he’s plenty dark, but Palpatine, for the most part, just comes off as an oily politician. This episode showcased his power hungry intentions. Palpatine views himself as superior to everyone around him – the Jedi, other politicians, etc. But when the Zillo Beast stepped onto the scene, Palpatine saw something powerful and uncontrolled – a kindred spirit. That gleam of power-lust in his eyes as the beast was wheeled past him in the opening moments of the episode were chilling.

The episode did a good job of making the Zillo Beast sympathetic; in fact, it was clear the beast was out to get Palpatine, so I even found myself rooting for the big guy. And when Palpatine climbed onto Artoo’s back and zoomed away, I couldn’t help but think, “Artoo! What are you doing? You could have saved everyone a whole galaxy worth of trouble if you’d let the Zillo Beast crush Palp to pulp!” But alas, if the Jedi couldn’t even figure it out, what chance did a droid have?

There was also an interesting dynamic between Padme and Anakin in this episode. Talking politics, it’s clear the two have differing opinions, even echoing the foreshadowing conversation in the meadow from Attack of the Clones. When Padme asks, “Whose side are you on, anyway?” I couldn’t help but shake my head and think, “Oh, Padme, if you only knew.”

The action and animation were good; in particular, I noticed the fabric animation was better than past episodes – the flutter of Yoda’s robe in the wind, the sway of Palpatine’s robes as he walked looked better and more realistic than ever before. It was nice to see the Jedi actually use the Force during the climactic battle – from stopping falling spaceships to blocking toxic gas, it surprised me to realize how little the Jedi use the Force during battles.

The humor in The Clone Wars only gets better and more intelligent. Considering the first season relied almost exclusively on battle droid banter, it’s nice to see the writers taking some more time with the comedy. The dialogue between Obi-Wan, Mace and the clones in regards to Anakin’s harebrained “plans” was funny and helped further character relationships and attitudes.

The pseudo-surprise/cliffhanger ending was well-played and I look forward to seeing how (if at all) it gets brought up in future episodes.

The Weasel: I was hoping for some more destruction. Audiences saw only one or two scenes of screaming passerby, but hardly enough to see the Zillo Beast as a threat to anything but the city’s infrastructure. It would have raised the stakes a bit more to see the beast as a threat to the population; however, it may have been too much, even for the progressive show that it is, to show innocent citizens being clobbered and crushed.

A thrilling ending to the Zillo Beast duology. Nice attention paid to Palpatine and his machinations. Overall, I think Godzilla would be proud.

4 Death Stars out of 5

What do you think? Did you enjoy seeing more of Palpatine in this episode? What do you think the future holds for the Zillo Beast? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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2 responses

29 04 2010

More of Palpatine? Funny you should mention him. Did you pick this up from Den of Geek?

30 04 2010

Ha! No, I hadn’t seen that, but it’s a great article! 🙂

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