“Destroy Malevolence” – S1/E4

Destroy Malevolence

The whole gang’s back together! Thank God. I was beginning to think Revenge of the Sith was just a dream and Padme actually died in the arena battle.

With the Malevolence in hasty retreat from Republic forces, Grievous goes to one last gambit by capturing “Senator” Padme Amidala, whom Count Dooku reveals is en route — What exactly is Padme doing here? No idea. It’s hastily explained away through Palpatine’s machinations, something Clone Wars has taken plenty advantage of already. Grievous secures Padme, with C-3PO in tow, and uses them as a bargaining chip against the sympathies of Obi-Wan and Anakin. Skywalker, not one to trust Padme’s safety with the incompetent Separatist leader, sneaks aboard the crippled Malevolence with Kenobi and R2-D2. They hope to rescue Padme and goldenrod as well as finish off the remains of the ship — with any luck while Grievous is still on board.

Sure, Padme’s presence here is a cheap but satisfying way of bringing the three together for the series’ first time, but it doesn’t make a great deal of sense in terms of storytelling. Again, I’m not sure why Padme is going where she’s going in the first place, apart from giving her a reason to be in “Destroy Malevolence.” Through its first four episodes The Clone Wars has already milked plenty out of “It was Palpatine,” and in some fashion this consistency with Episodes I and II is nice. But jeez, if the Rebel Alliance were this clueless, there would be no Empire Strikes Back after the “Great Galactic Bitch Slap of Yavin IV.” Padme’s presence does allow for some okay albeit broad character moments. Anakin and Obi-Wan show the chummier side of their relationship, and Anakin shares a nice beat with Padme about trust and love and cool Force powers — you know, stuff of romance.

Clone Wars continues to either hit or miss in its choice of callbacks. In the case of C-3PO’s tumble through yet another obstacle course, it’s a brutal miss. Attack of the Clones’ factory sequence was lamentable for taking too many liberties with the humor the droids lent to the Star Wars universe, exaggerating it to embarrassing lengths of slapstick with C-3PO. This instance is far more merciful in its brevity, and thankfully Obi-Wan’s quick rescue of Threepio is followed by a short duel with General Grievous. I was under the (apparently naive) assumption the two would fight for the first and only time in Sith, but seeing Obi-Wan hurl Droidekas like bowling balls was cool enough to make me forget about canon. Hey Qui-Gon, where was that move in Episode I?

Its exact demise may have been uncertain, but the Malevolence probably wasn’t making it out of the series in one piece, so this episode was more of an inevitability than anything else. Thankfully, it lands on its feet with the decision to send Grievous packing. Anakin re-programming the warship’s navicomputer to crash into a nearby moon was a nice touch; Grievous’ cutting off communications with Dooku mid-transmission was even better. His shame at a resume of successive failures finally provides some self-awareness on the series’ end. I faulted previous episodes’ shortsighted characterization of Count Dooku. Too often the Separatist leader forgot that his droid general was just as likely to fail in the worst possible way as he was to succeed. It remains unclear if Grievous engaged the hyperdrive only to run back to Dooku anyway, but where their dynamic goes from here is something I look forward to. For now, let’s appreciate that The Clone Wars is finally developing its character moments and shifting at least one important relationship, as opposed to merely creating and then destroying surface level MacGuffins.

Stray Observations:

  • The Federation’s “firefighter” droids are a new benchmark of stupid. Why they would resemble anything like a fire department’s uniforms is beyond me, though I suppose an idea as dumb as that requires a real-world proxy.
  • Little from Ahsoka Tano means little complaining on this end.
  • Really thought the writers would try a “Padme as rough and tumble Leia” angle here. Alas, she self-destructs her cruiser in an attempt to take out Grievous and then reactivates Mousy Helpless Mode. Padme’s cogency as a galactic politician was always criminally underused in the Prequels. One can still dream, I guess.
  • Anakin goes to sabotage the Malevolence’s computer while Padme… cleans the droids. Star Wars at its most regressive!
  • Anakin adds insult to injury: “How’s the housecleaning going? Make me a Corellian club sandwich when you’re done too, toots”*

*Only half of this dialogue has been altered

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Filed under Star Wars Sucks, The Clone Wars

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