Television Series DVD
Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Two
Distributed By: Warner Home Video
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I have enjoyed most of Star Wars: The Clone Wars' five year run. With the completion of the fifth season and the announcement that the series would not be continuing...on television at least...I decided that I wanted to rewatch some of the episodes of the animated series that I really enjoyed. Thus, I pulled out my Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Two DVD set.
In this season, Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) learns a few things about what it means to be a Jedi during the Clone Wars - the maturity needed to endure the losses, the patience needed to achieve your goals and the challenges of the silent moments during the war. The season starts off with The Holocron Heist series of episodes in which Cad Bane (Corey Burton) and associates steal a holocron from the Jedi Temple for a very special buyer: Darth Sidious (Ian Abercrombie). After tricking Anakin (Matt Lanter) into opening the holocron, Bane then uses it to locate several Force sensitive younglings, bringing them to Mustafar where they will be brainwashed into becoming dark side warriors. Of course, it's up to our heroes, Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano and Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) to make sure that never happens.
A stand alone episode features Padme (Catherine Taber), showing her secret husband that she is more than just his wife and a Senate political figure. Padme goes undercover to expose a Separatist conspiracy within the Senate and uncovers so much more when she discovers an old flame (Robin Atkin Downes) and possible conspirator's involvement with war enemy Poggle the Lesser (Matthew Wood).
Of course, the findings in this episode lead us to a new story arc and the return to Geonosis, the location of the first battle of the Clone Wars. Anakin, Obi-Wan, Ki Adi-Mundi (Brian George) travel to the planet with their troops to start the assault in an effort to take down a giant new droid factory and find themselves vastly undermanned and overmatched. After making headway against the Geonosians, the Jedi receive reinforcements in the form of Jedi Master Luminara Unduli (Olivia d'Abo) and her Padawan Barris Offee (Meredith Salenger). Anakin and Luminara devise a plan in which they and their troops distract the Geonosian army while their Padawans infiltrate the facility from the catacombs below and destroy the factory.
Although the mission is a success, Poggle the Lesser escapes, leading Luminara, Obi-Wan and Anakin to an ancient temple where they are attacked by undead Geonosian warriors. As it turns out, the Geonosian queen is located in this temple and her larvae are what controls the minds of the undead. Apparently she wants to add some Jedi to her army. Of course, our heroes want no part of this. Unfortunately, some of the larvae get aboard a supplies ship, taking over the Clone crew and threatening the lives of Padawans Tano and Offee.
After that, we're back to chasing General Grievous (Matthew Wood) again, this time with the assistance of Jedi Master Adi Galia (Angelique Perrin). Grevious has captured Master Eeth Koth (Chris Edgerly) and the Jedi are desperate to save him. Once their mission is achieved, they track Grievous' downed vessel to Saleucami. While on the chase, Captain Rex (Dee Bradley Baker) is injured. Left behind in the care of a farming family, Rex learns exactly what the children mean when they say that he looks just like their father, but will he turn the Clone deserter in?
Up next is a one-shot featuring Ahsoka Tano in which the Padawan loses her lightsaber (much like her master before her) and engages the help of ancient Jedi Master Tera Sinube (Greg Baldwin) in getting it back. After this episode follows the Death Watch story arc. Obi-Wan travels to Mandalore to discuss the possible resurgence of the terrorist group known as Death Watch with Mandalore's leader and former friend Duchess Satine (Anna Graves). The two eventually uncover the Death Watch plot, revealing the leader to be none other than Pre Vizsla (Jon Favreau), the governor of the planet's moon and alleged descendent of the original Death Watch warriors.
After the Death Watch story arc are three vastly different episodes. First up is a murder mystery as Padme and Senator Bail Organa (Phil LaMarr) investigate the death of Senator Onocanda Farr (Dee Bradley Baker) after he presents a motion to cut funding to the military, thereby preventing the creation of more Clone Troopers. After the Senate murder is solved, Obi-Wan and Anakin find themselves racing across the stars to provide aide to Bail Organa and the people of Christophsis using a new cloaking device. But will it be enough against the infamous Admiral Trench (Dee Bradley Baker)? Finally, we come to an episode in which Anakin, Ahsoka and Obi-Wan crash land on Felucia and come across farmers who have hired Bounty Hunters to aide them against pirate theft. Joining together with the Bounty Hunters, the Jedi train the farmers into defending themselves against (surprise, surprise) Hondo (Jim Cummings) and his men.
Up next is the Zillo Beast story arc in which Anakin and Mace Windu (Terrence Carson) travel to Malastare to aid them against the Separatist Army and get them to sign a treaty with the Republic. Unfortunately, the new device they use to stop the Separatists unleashes a frighteningly gigantic monster from the planet's past, one the Dugs are anxious to destroy. Saving the beast from the Dugs, the Jedi are ordered by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine to bring it to Coruscant for scientific study. Unfortunately, the Zillo Beast is none too happy being studied...and especially unhappy with Palpatine himself. The beast escapes and rampages across the planet in search of revenge.
The final story arc of the season features a teenage Boba Fett (Daniel Logan) seeking revenge against Mace Windu for the killing of Jango Fett. Boba has allied himself with some treacherous Bounty Hunters, including Aurra Sing (Jaime King) and Bossk (Dee Bradley Baker). In his first failed attempt, Boba disguises himself as a Clone Cadet and sabotages a Jedi cruiser. Knowing that the Jedi will search the wreckage of the cruiser on Vanqor, Boba and his new friends lie in wait, springing a trap that nearly kills Anakin and Mace. It's up to Artoo Detoo to save them. In the final episode, Boba and his friends are tracked to Pirate Hondo's home by Ahsoka and Jedi Master Plo Koon (James Arnold Taylor), where they attempt to bring the scoundrels to justice.
This season featured a number of story arcs that were loosely based on old movies. There were the crime noir murder mystery plots of Lightsaber Lost and Senate Murders. There was an homage to the undead and Alien films in Legacy of Terror and Invasion of the Body Snatchers in Brain Invaders. Godzilla movies were also paid homage to in The Zillo Beast and The Zillo Beast Strikes Back. I actually enjoyed the way the creators paid homage to these films, much the way George Lucas has done this in Star Wars films in the past.
I enjoyed watching the bond between Ahsoka and Anakin grow as Ahsoka matured. This season also revealed a little more of the dark side in Anakin in his dealings with Poggle and his attachments to Padme and Ahsoka. An old romance was revealed to have existed between Obi-Wan and Duchess Satine, opening the attachment conversation again between Anakin and Obi-Wan. I loved the banter between the two as Anakin teased Obi-Wan incessantly about Satine. And I loved the frustrated banter between Obi-Wan and Satine, a very likeable character in her intelligence, strength in principles and military abilities. This is a woman who can handle herself and, quite noticeably, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
This season also offered up the opportunity to see more of characters we didn't get to see enough of in the movies like Jedi Librarian Jocasta Nu (Flo Di Re); Jedi Masters Luminara Unduli, Windu, Plo Koon, Eeth Koth, Ki Adi Mundi and Aayla Secura (Jennifer Hale); Padawan Barris Offee; Bail Organa; Mon Mothma (Kath Soucie) and more. We got to learn a bit more about each character with every episode they appeared in, but not too much, so as not to disturb too much of the continuity of the Star Wars Universe.
The second season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars had everything a Star Wars fan could ask for: action, adventure, new planets, returns to older planets, new villains, returning villains, lightsaber battles, a cool black lightsaber, glimpses of the evil intrigue of Palpatine, monsters, firefights, dogfights, bounty hunters, Clones showing lots of individuality and a young Boba Fett out for revenge. Unfortunately, that last story arc featuring Boba Fett annoyed me just a tad. Not that I don't buy that Boba Fett would go after Windu, nor would I find it surprising that he would join up with Aurra Sing. It's the way the story arc ended and Mace Windu's last conversation with Boba. Mace is quite arrogant sounding for a Jedi throughout the whole series, but never so much as in this moment and I found the ending of this episode to be extremely flat to me.
Otherwise, I loved this second season of the animated series just as much this time around as I did the first time I saw it. In fact, I enjoyed it more as I realized that the folks who worked on getting this to DVD improved the sound and visual quality of the episodes. I no longer had to turn up the volume or squint at dark screens as I did when the episodes first aired on The Cartoon Network.
Also enjoyable were the featurettes which explained a number of the story arcs, how they came to be, the artwork, the costume concepts, the creation of various visual and sound effects and more. I even enjoyed the booklet insert in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Two, the cover of which pays homage another classic film: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Inside you'll find some really interesting artwork and behind the scenes stuff.
If you love the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series, then it only makes sense to go out and buy Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Two, if only to keep the episodes and watch them as often as you like. If you enjoyed the series, but found that it faded out as the series moved forward, you should pick up this DVD set and watch it as a reminder of how good the show was in its prime. If you are a Star Wars fan that has never seen the animated series, then by all means, pick up the first and second seasons on DVD as these featured some of the best story arcs of the series.