Hondo Caravan: The Clone Wars’ Greatest Hits Album

Aaaaaand we’re off with Season Three of the Clone Wars!

Clone Cadets
I’ll admit that when I saw the episode title that I was worried that I was going to start screaming about how won’t someone think of the children again but no, there was no need for that.  Instead we’ve got an episode about some clones nearing the end of their training and who aren’t quite measuring up.

I get what they were going for with this much older clone that washed out of training and is a janitor now.  However, it just doesn’t work out mathematically.  Clones age at double the normal rate and there’s no way he could be quite as old and decrepit as he’s depicted here.

Also, I swear that one of the Domino Squad clones sounds vaguely more Scottish than the others.  Not that the clones are supposed to sound Scottish to begin with.  One of them just sounded like he had a bit of an accent.  It’s so strange.

Even though it’s predictable, this was an enjoyable episode.  I’m a sucker for seeing the apparent underdog figure out how to succeed especially when the secret comes down to teamwork.  I also can’t recall if this is the first episode where we saw Shaak Ti but if not, it’s definitely been a while.  I like her as a character and I like that she seems to have a good handle on being the General in charge of training.  She should be around more often.

ARC Troopers
This really is one of the few shows where paying attention to the Previously segment really does come in handy.

Get excited though because this episode finally saw the return of Asajj Ventress and General Grievous!  Goodbye bounty hunters.  Even better?  Their plan actually seems like a good one: seemingly sacrifice their ships in space to send reinforcements directly to the planet where they can then launch their real attack.  Their little verbal battles are excellent due in great part to how superior Asajj is.  Sorry Grievous.

I’d also like to thank this episode for new head canon: Obi-Wan has a habit of just riding strange large aliens all the time.  It’s probably why he hates flying so much.

This was another enjoyable episode with plenty of action to go around.  We got to see the aforementioned evil folks, Anakin and Obi-Wan, Shaak Ti, and even the now seasoned Domino Squad of the previous episode.  And hey!  They even finally got their ARC Trooper promotions.  ARMORED BATTLE SKIRTS FOR ALL.  Mostly, it’s nice getting to see the clone troopers do a lot of the hefty lifting when it comes to defending Kamino.  The Jedi helped, sure, but clones more than did their part.

I feel like a broken record at this point but where the heck is Ahsoka?  What was the point of making her Anakin’s padawan if she’s not going to actually, y’know, be his apprentice and learn from him on a daily basis?

Supply Lines
I’m really starting to see what everyone meant about them writing and airing episodes massively out of order at times.  It was probably not a great idea on the creators’ part.  However, I don’t mind watching them in air order.  It’s nice to experience the show how real time viewers did.

Nothing makes me sigh louder than the introduction of a character that I really like (in this case, Bail Organa) and then bringing in FREAKING JAR JAR BINKS.  Why does anyone trust that Gungan to do ANYTHING?

Obviously the best part of this episode was everything with Bail Organa.  The bits where they’re on Ryloth were okay but CLEARLY the best bits had to do with the Senator from Alderaan.  My Alderaanian bias aside, I really like that they show all parts of the war because the negotiations and resupplying is just as important as the actual battles.  Most shows would just wave off this side of things or perhaps only give it paltry episode or two throughout the series’ run but The Clone Wars continuously returns to it and I really must applaud that.

Okay fine.  I will admit that Jar Jar is good at creating sculptures out of plates and glasses.

Sphere of Influence
Seriously?  Another episode that directly harkens back to one from the previous seasons?  Please tell me that Season 3 is not going to just be The Clone Wars’ greatest hits.

“I still can’t believe they let you teach.”  ME NEITHER, PADMÉ, ME NEITHER.

We did get another political episode though AND we got Ahsoka!  There are parts of this episode that don’t fully make sense to me though.  First, why does anyone believe that the Trade Federation isn’t strongly in the Separatist Camp?  Secondly, if the Trade Federation really isn’t Separatist, then why were they blockading that planet?  What could they possibly have had to gain?  It makes no sense.

Not much else to say about this episode though except for giving some applause to Ahsoka for having successfully mastered the Jedi Mind Trick.

Corruption
Duchess Satine is back.  YEAH THIS IS A GREATEST HITS SEASON.

I still can’t move past this changed Mandalore as this sort of… chicly cultured society with a central government more sophisticated than a Mandalore and with state funded schools.  It’s just strange.

It feels like there was an art continuity stumble within the episode though.  At one point, Padmé and Satine go from their fancy dinner attire to their action looks and then briefly back to the dinner attire and then straight back to the action looks.  It’s doesn’t make sense.

Padmé and Satine really should be best friends.  They’re already great at working together to solve problems and they clearly get along on a personal level.  They can be best friends and talk about their stupid Jedi boyfriends while solving crimes.

I do already really hate the bad guys here though.  Who poisons kids?  WHO?

By itself, the episode was decent enough but it’s clearly there to function as a set up for the next episode.

The Academy
And here we have the pay off for the episode.  A Jedi is indeed going to infiltrate the Academy on Mandalore.  Although I’m not entirely sure if it counts as infiltrating if Ahsoka is going to be the one helping teach at this Academy.  Clearly she’s a Jedi and won’t precisely be blending in.  Let’s be real though: she’s probably severely under qualified to be teaching, even more so than Anakin.

However, this episode really isn’t about Ahsoka.  It’s about the four cadets as the Mandalorian Academy, one of whom is the nephew of Satine apparently, with a side of Ahsoka.    They decided to go investigate and see whether or not there’s really a food shortage.  Turns out that there’s a black market deal going on and that there’s actually plenty of food.  For some reason, Satine won’t help them so they go and meet the Prime Minister who tells them to bring the recording with them and to make sure all the cadets who know about it are there.  Hmm… What does that sound like?  Oh I know:

Oh look.  It’s a trap.  AND THEN ANOTHER TRAP.  (Also it turns out that apparently Ahsoka hasn’t quite mastered the Jedi Mind Trick yet.)

It’s difficult to judge only based upon a few episodes, of course, but I’m starting to get the idea that maybe Mandalore was better off without an actual central government like most other planets have.  The government they have now seems to have more than its fair share of corruption issues.

And that’s it for this week’s batch of episodes!  Tune in next week as we continue the Greatest Hits Album Review.  (Disclaimer: We might not.  I have no idea what’s on the next disc.)  As always, you can read my real time tweets about the show on Twitter @chaosbria or follow the hashtag #HondoCaravan.  Until next time!

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