If you are familiar with my reviews, then you are already aware that I am a diehard Ahsoka supporter. So, even though it was a "blink-and-you-missed-it" kind of moment, the several seconds of flashback depicting Plo Koon meeting a young Ahsoka for the first time was heartwarming. It really puts in perspective the times we've seen the two of them together in past seasons. Cut to the present, and Ahsoka is whisking away a group of young Padawans to Ilum to search for their lightsaber crystals. Here is where the true star of this episode shines: the animation. Mere moments after landing on the planet, we are treated to beautiful snowscapes, a glistening waterfall, and a snow-covered Wookiee, Gungi. A few years ago, the animators took a big leap bringing in Chewbacca, due to the amount of fur they had to animate, and now, here we are six episodes into Season 5, and we've had Jedi robes aplenty and another Wookiee. The fact that the snow continues to stick in Gungi's fur for the remainder of the episode is one of the small attentions to detail I've come to love from the animators.
The basic premise of the episode deals with each of the Youngling's struggle to overcome their weaknesses. It's all very straightforward and rather predictable (the selfish kid has to be selfless, the scaredy cat has to face his fear, etc.), but it was still a fun episode, overall. I don't usually fall for adorable characters, but tiny Wookiees are incredibly awesome. And, I can't be the only one that felt bad for that young Ithorian. Even though we had no idea what he was saying (I don't speak Ithorian . . . yet . . .), his facial expression and the animation in his eyes were superbly done. Speaking of eyes, did you catch the peepers on that Rodian? They were like these dark, sparkling orbs. Stunning animation right there.
The kids themselves could be a little much at times. Had they cut back on the dialogue, even just a little, I would have been more into the episode. I felt they were whining like kids for the sake of whining like kids, ya know? "I'll never find a stupid crystal; this is hopeless." Dude! You are like 10 years old and you're about to build your own lightsaber. I could think of a hundred other things that are actually worth complaining about.
The moment where the "pompous kid," whose names escapes me, actually leaves his friend trapped behind the ice was rather alarming. Obviously, the kid went back, but the moment he actually ditched her to potentially freeze to death, I was stunned.
Yoda's bit at the end felt like a classic Yoda lesson. Telling the kids they could be potentially locked in an ice cave, when in fact they could easily break through the door, if they had the will, was well executed. I would have liked to see a bit more Yoda in this episode dispensing with the wisdom, but, hey, I'll take what I can get.
Overall, I enjoyed this episode. While it felt overly cute at times, mainly because the focus was children, it was still nice to see this part of the Star Wars mythos explored on The Clone Wars. Hopefully, next week we'll get to see them actually construct their lightsabers! Fingers crossed.