Top positive review
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The final complete series, with some of its best episodes.
on 6 October 2014
20 BBY. There are five main story arcs among the 20 episodes of this series. 1) The Jedi aid resistance fighters on the planet Onderon. 2) A group of Jedi younglings build their lightsabers and undertake their first mission. 3) R2-D2 joins an elite team of droids on a special mission. 4) The resurrected Darth Maul makes his play for power by taking control of the galactic underworld. 5) Ahsoka Tano finds herself a fugitive who has to prove her innocence when she's accused of murder and treason.
This season has the best story arc of any Clone Wars series so far, the Darth Maul eipisodes. I loved how Maul and his brother, Savage Opress, set out to unite the criminal underworld to create a galactic faction to rival both the Republic and the Confederacy. It shows Maul as not just a brutal and vicious killer but also a plotter and schemer worthy of the title Dark Lord of the Sith. Here we get to see his final confrontation with Obi-Wan in which, slightly surprisingly, he truly does finally get his revenge. However, all this doesn't go unnoticed by the true master of the dark side, who is not happy to have a rival. As well as these episode are the ones (all inspired by the work of Alfred Hitchcock) about Ahsoka's efforts to clear her name. There's a dark and gritty tone to them that The Clone Wars sometimes lacks and the conclusion has an emotional resonance that was both welcome and surprising.
The other three story arcs are less strong. The Onderon episodes are just unremarkable but the ones with the young Jedi and the droids range from childish to ludicrous (particularly the droid episodes!). Don't get me wrong, they're not all bad, but they just can't compare to the quality of the Darth Maul and Ahsoka arcs. There are two other specific bad elements to these episodes, both of which are sort of to be expected but which still affect the viewing experience. The first is the fact that I just can't stand the character of Hondo Ohnaka and I'm baffled as to why the makers of this series are so fond of him and keen to give him air time. He's not funny, clever or threatening in any way. He's like that uncle that thinks he's tough and funny but who the whole family secretly pities. The final problem is that Ian Abercrombie died during the production of this series and his replacement as the voice of Palpatine/Sidious just doesn't do as good a job. A bit of tragic mis-casting for the otherwise legendary Tim Curry.
Like so much of The Clone Wars, this is a mixed bag, but the good in here is so good as to completely outweigh the bad.