Hondo Caravan: Some Darn Good Television

It’s an extra long post today as the Season Five discs are supersized.  It’s even an supersized Hondo week as I attempt to watch the entire season before Season Six drops on Friday.  Can I do it?  Will the Hondo Caravan beat me?  Place your bets now!

A War on Two Fronts
This is the episode where we finally get to visit Onderon and I could not be more excited.  It’s one of the planets that I really loved visiting in the Knights of the Old Republic games.  Getting to see it approximately 3000 years later is really neat especially since we get to see Iziz and the jungles and the giant winged beasts.  The animation and the background sounds are amazing because it feels like it’s right out of the game albeit with better graphics.

The Jedi have finally come to Onderon because they see the rebels here as a good potential weapon against the Separatists as they can distract and force them to split their forces.  That means Obi-Wan, Anakin, Ahsoka, and Rex are there to teach the rebels better techniques to combat the droids and to make them a more effective fighting group.  So yeah.  It’s exactly like this:

(Except Anakin keeps his shirt on.)

Of course, their training comes to an end when the droids find their hidden base and attack.  Instead of letting the Jedi cover their retreat, they take the lessons learned and fight back and even win!  The Jedi should write a handbook: How To Train A Rebel Group In Seven Days.

There is also the obligatory subplot with the romance between Ahsoka and Lux.  It’s… sweet in its own way but I’m not going to sit here and ship them.  Actually, out of these characters, I’m way more interested in Steela and watching her kick butt with her blaster rifle.

Front Runners
The Rebels (plus the Jedi) managed to successfully infiltrate Iziz and have been carrying out strikes against the droids.  They’re definitely doing a good job of getting the Separatists’ attention.

I do need to pause and point out how nice it is to see the Onderonians overwhelmingly portrayed as people of color.  It’s nice to see a human planet that doesn’t default to mostly white.

The Rebels are doing a pretty good job of figuring out stealth warfare.  In fact, they’re doing such a good job that everyone else has returned to Coruscant and only Ahsoka remains to supervise.  They’re also doing an especially good job when you take into account how few of them there are.  Taking out the power plant was another really good plan.  Unfortunately, I have a feeling that this might end up working against them.

Anakin?  Talking to your padawan about the romantic feelings she’s having for Lux over an open holocom conversation isn’t a great plan even if you’re talking in thinly veiled terms.

I’m worried about Steela.  It seems like she’s doing way too good at being a well-respected leader and with having a good head for tactics to survive this arc.  It’s not my fault that the Expanded Universe, Battlestar Galactica, and Game of Thrones have given me a healthy level of fear for the safety of the characters I like and who seem to be doing a good job, okay?

The Soft War
Why do the Separatists always send droid Generals?  I really don’t think they’re the best response to proven threats.

I do enjoy seeing Ahsoka struggle with her role as an advisor.  It’s hard for her to not become emotionally attached and invested in their cause.  I’m interested to see how she will learn to handle this.  Being detached has never been her strong suit.

On the flipside, we have poor Steela who has to make the difficult decision to leave her brother in the clutches of the Separatists and focus their strength on rescuing the deposed King instead.  Luckily for her, the King and her brother were in the same place so it was possible to rescue them both or at least to try to.

I totally called the General of the Onderonian guard changing side to support the true King of Onderon.  Totally called it.  Onderonians have always seemed to have a very strong sense of honor except for their handful of horrid traitors.  Onderonians also clearly do not take kindly to people trying to execute their true rulers and freedom fighters in front of them.  This is why they should have sent an actual sentient general to assist their fake king: the droid general is useless.

Tipping Points
Guys.  I’m feeling like a rousing rendition of ‘Do You Hear The People Sing?’ is going to start playing any minute now.  It is the music of a people who will not be slaves agaaaaaaaain!

Every episode that Steela survives is another that doesn’t reassure me but rather further convinces me that she’s going to give her life for the cause.  King Dendup appointed her ruler of their fighting forces over the general of his army.  This doesn’t bode well.  Not at all.

I have to admit that this was definitely not a plot twist I saw coming.  I fully expected the Republic to get involved or for them to even contact the Mandalorians first.  I was definitely not expecting them to turn to Hondo to deliver weapons to the Onderonians.  They’re even super cool weapons that can take out small ships.

There is nothing I hate more than being right.  NOTHING.  It makes it worse that Ahsoka was so close to saving Steela from falling off the cliff because she got shot in the shoulder.

I’m 3000% not okay with Steela dying.  NOT OKAY.  ONDERON COULD’VE HAD IT AAAAAAALL.

The Gathering
I can’t handle how cute these little Younglings are.  THEY’RE ALL SO TINY AND ADORABLE.  And all going to die in Order 66.  Damnit Anakin.

The Jedi are serious believers in tough love.  The Younglings have to enter into the Crystal Cave on an ice planet to harvest crystals for their lightsabers.  If they don’t find one by the end of the day, they’ll be stuck in the cave for nineteen days/until daylight returns and the ice can melt away from the door again.  Succeed or freeze, kids.

It does serve the jerky little Youngling right that he ended up finding just ice the first time though.

Okay but seriously.  I’m really uncomfortable with the high levels of danger these kids being put through in order to find their crystals.  I get the idea behind allowing these kids the chance to fail and how this is a learning experience but when you have the failure option coupled with the possibility of literally freezing to death?  Not cool, Jedi Order, not cool.

…although I must admit that watch the wookiee padawan slip and slide his way across the ice to get his crystal was pretty darn funny.

Thankfully, everyone made it out successfully.  Whew.

A Test of Strength
This lightsaber droid is the absolute coolest.  Listening to him completely school the kids who think they know best was just plain awesome.  I’m also sincerely enjoying listening to the jerky little one from before insist that he’s going to challenge Obi-Wan to a duel and then get completely and utterly told by the droid.

Oh Hondo.  What are you doing attacking a ship of Jedi Younglings?  I know the crystals are valuable but we both know this is not going to end well for you.  You shouldn’t smell profit; you should smell a very bad idea.

I’m very impressed by how these kids work together.  It’s not easy to beat a shipload of pirates even with Padawan Tano’s help.

Whoa.  Okay.  I spoke too soon here.  I did not see this bit coming.

Ahsoka gives the kids the all clear to jump to hyperspace but there’s one pirate left on the ship and he knocks her into their ship right along with him.  So now, the younglings are left all alone on a ship with the Lightsaber Droid in multiple pieces and Ahsoka is a captive of Hondo and his crew.  I did not anticipate this.

This is a good time to ask where the heck is Yoda?  Did he fly himself to the cave and not go back with the big ship?  That seems highly illogical if you ask me.

Bound for Rescue
Would you like the good news or the bad news first?

The good news is that the Younglings got in touch with Obi-Wan and they won’t be stranded and along for too long.  The bad news is that Ahsoka is still captured.  The other good news is that the wookiee youngling’s lightsaber has a wood casing and looks super awesome!

Oh no.  Oh no.  Kids, do not attempt a rescue mission.  This will end in tears.

It’s good that the Younglings have a back up career path in case they don’t make it as Jedi.  They can be acrobats!  Too bad they ARE ALL GOING TO DIE.  I mean, I agree with Ahsoka that “Oh no” is the appropriate response here but their plan was at least decently thought out.  Plus, it gave us Magnificently Drunk And Flying Hondo.  I could love this entire plotline for that bit alone.

Somehow, they actually pulled their plan off and rescued Ahsoka.  I’m honestly in absolutely shock that no one died.  Yet.

And hey!  That’s it for disc one!  This is probably one of the most solid bunches of episodes I think I’ve experienced in the show so far.  I wouldn’t call a single one of them weak.  As always, you can follow my live time thoughts via Twitter @chaosbria or the hashtag #HondoCaravan.  Keep an eye on Tosche Station this week as it’s a race to get through all of Season Five.

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