STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS “The Citadel” Season 3, Episode 18 – This was a nice return from the previous psychologically heavy arc and back into a the mission driven, action packed adventure that feels appropriate for Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
We spend the episode with the Jedi and their troops as they attempt to break into The Citadel to free one of their captured comrades, Master Even Piell. Anakin’s plan to deceive the life form scanners by freezing their team in carbonite makes for a series of cool shots that looks and sounds just like the same scene with Han later in The Empire Strikes Back. While it all looked great and the idea was really brilliant, I’m still a little bit confused.
In The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader ordered that Han Solo be used as a test to find out if humans could survive being frozen in carbonite because his plan was to eventually do that to Luke Skywalker. Modifications to the carbonite freezing device were made so that they could successfully in keep Han alive in the carbonite form. At the time it seemed like kind of a big deal since even Boba Fett was concerned that his bounty would be lost if Han was killed in the process. If Anakin and an entire team of life forms had already successfully gone through the process, why would he, as Darth Vader, later suggest that Han be used as a test? Anakin had no doubts about it today, why would he doubt it later? Could Darth Vader have ordered that test sarcastically? In The Clone Wars episode, everything went so smoothly, the technicians responsible for the carbonite freezing process offered no concerns or suggestions for mechanical modification and the freezing and thawing happened so quickly without any more than a stiff neck. There was only some very minor and jovial apprehension and Rex musings (mirroring Han’s later concerns) about becoming a wall decoration. If one of Anakin’s team had not survived the carbonite freezing, I might see how Darth Vader would want to test the machines on Han before using it on Luke, but it now seems less likely considering that in this experience, suspended animation through carbonite freezing had a 100% success rate.
My confusion aside, I liked the Ahsoka and Anakin dynamic here. I liked Ahsoka pointing out that she was following Anakin’s example in being stubborn and making her own decisions about where she needed to be and how she would risk her own life. She did prove useful in breaking into the Citadel, so I’m sure it both frustrates and pleases Anakin.
I enjoyed the droids manning the ship to deliver the Jedi to the Citadel. Droid humor cracks me up. I was not really a fan of Osi Sobeck who sounded like a weird Jay Mohr impression of Christopher Walken. To me, he sounded kind of silly instead of being a menace – he may later prove to be a total bumbling fool which maybe would make his silly sounding voice fit better.
The highlight of the episode for me was probably the action sequence with the insane capoeira-ninja Citadel special units droids that bounced off the walls. They were beaten with relative ease, but I still liked watching them fly while lightsabers swung and blasters colored the air. Actually, most of the explosions and battles were animated fantastically – when a chain explosion blows through the fortress halls, the fire moves with a life of it’s own. Very cool.
The gang rescues Captain Tarkin and splits off into a two groups to escape the Citadel. The introduction of Tarkin, one of the biggest villains in the Star Wars universe, is exciting. Right away I’m wondering what is going on in Tarkin’s wicked little head. Does he have something up his sleeve? He seems to already have something against the Jedi – well at least Obi Wan and Anakin – so I’m really looking forward to seeing what role he’ll play in this arc. He seemed to smirk a little bit after Anakin admonished him for his lack of gratitude. I wonder if that’s a malicious smirk, or if that’s a smirk of interest in Anakin. I guess I’ll have two weeks to wait for the next Star Wars: The Clone Wars to find out.