A few months back, I had the privilege of attending the special Star Wars: Clone Wars movie screening of the Savage Opress story arc. Here I was, able to see awesome new Clone Wars episodes on the big screen, months before they would air on TV! Needless to say, I was blown away. Season 3 of the Clone Wars has been kind of hard to take in. It was basically politics, politics, politics. If I had to hear the word “corruption” one more time, I was going to tear my hair out. But, after seeing the Savage “movie,” my faith was restored.
The first episode, entitled “Nightsisters,” is the first in the three-part arc, all of which was written by Katie Lucas. Yes, that’s right, George Lucas’ daughter! And, let me tell you, she is definitely her father’s daughter. I will refrain from reviewing the whole arc since we still have two more episodes to go, but let me just say that Katie brings an amazing talent to this series and gives Season 3 the kick it needed. This is what Clone Wars should be, and it only gets better from here.
The episode starts with an amazing space battle with Obi-Wan and Anakin being pursued by Asajj Ventress. I love the action in this scene and getting to see Anakin be the amazing pilot we all know him to be. Matt Lanter’s voice acting is great in this scene, too. You can’t help but get pumped up as he’s being chased by enemy droids. The whole time watching it I was reminded of the opening to Revenge of the Sith. Awesome. There was even a part where I ALMOST thought Anakin was going to say “I have you now,” but, alas, it did not happen. However, another famous quote did pop up later on, which you will read below.
While all of this is happening, Darth Sidious has become aware of Ventress’ power and instructs Count Dooku to eliminate her. He accuses Dooku of training Ventress to kill him. You get this quick sense that Sidious might actually be afraid of Ventress. Dooku tries to talk him out of it, and I was waiting for Sidious to deliver the “DO IT” line from Return of the Jedi. There is a brief moment where we actually get to see that Dooku cares for Ventress, as he says, “She is quite important to me.” I also like that she is referred to as his “assassin” and not his “apprentice,” as that would negate the Sith “Rule of Two.” Well played, Katie. Although, later he calls Ventress his apprentice. One has to wonder if he truly thought of her as an apprentice and was just calling her an assassin to fool Sidious. Me wonders…
The space battle then leads to the lightsaber battle we’ve been waiting 11 episodes this season to see. Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Ventress fighting it out on a ship that is being blown up per Dooku’s request. That’s right; in a desperate plea for help, Ventress calls Dooku, and he informs her that he has withdrawn her reinforcements. And then, he gives the classic Star Wars line that I had mentioned earlier: “You have failed me for the last time.” Oh, man, it sent shivers down my spine. “You are no longer my apprentice and now you shall die,” and then he leaves her to the Jedi. It was kind of heartbreaking to watch. Here she is all torn and bruised because she crashed her ship, and now the one person she looks up to has left her to the wolves. (And trust me, it’s gets more depressing later.)
So, Ventress is now left to the Jedi, severely wounded. I did love seeing the clever banter between Obi-Wan and Anakin return. These two characters have barely been seen this season, so it’s a breath of fresh air to see them again.
Obi-Wan: Ventress, you’re not looking well.
Anakin: (Under his breath) She never does…
Also, I want to note the new character models. Last episode, we got to see Ahsoka, a little older and with a different get up. Now, we get to see the new Anakin and Obi-Wan models. They look more Revenge of the Sith-style! No more Clone armor! Straight up Jedi gear. I love it.
Anyway, back to the lightsaber battle. While extremely wounded, Ventress puts up a pretty damn good fight. I was extremely impressed with her skills given her situation (until I saw the lightsaber battle at the end of the episode. Ha!), but it also shows just how powerful she really is. At a point of weakness, when you think the Jedi have her, she goes nuts and Force chokes both Anakin and Obi-Wan! What an amazing scene! The Jedi didn’t see it coming and neither did I!
I loved the next scene, too, where Ventress is rescued from her ship by some smugglers and then Force chokes the hell out of 4 people at once, tossing them like rag dolls. Brilliant. All I could think of was The Force Unleashed: The Ventress Chronicles.
Getting to see Ventress’ home planet and her people was awesome. A creepy planet that reminded me very much of Sullest. Very orange/red and misty. Depicting her people as a ninja-like warrior/witch race was pretty interesting, though it kills me that by making the string of a bow and arrow into a laser suddenly makes something Sci-Fi. They are primitive yet futuristic!
Now, here’s where things get even more interesting. The Dathomirians perform a ritual on Ventress to heal her. During this time, we are shown flashbacks of her life. She was given away at a young age, and her master was soon killed during battle. In that battle, a Jedi found Ventress and took her under his wing, training her in the art of the Jedi. Sadly, he too would later die in battle in her arms. Everyone close to her seems to be destined to die, and this pains her. She later finds Dooku, who trains her in the Dark Side of the Force. I always liked Ventress as a villain, but this sealed it for me. I actually cared for her. What makes a person turn out to be so evil? Well, a two-minute scene was all it took for me to really care for Ventress. And, not only that, but they end the scene with her remembering when Dooku betrayed her. Heartbreaking. All of the people she looked up to in her life either died of screwed her over. This scene was incredibly well done and more props to Katie Lucas for giving us a quick but powerful look into Ventress’ past in such a short amount of time.
Mother Talzin, the leader of the Dathomirians, appoints two of the Nightsisters to help Ventress seek revenge on Count Dooku. Using their crazy Dathomirian witchcraft, they concoct a spell which renders all three of them invisible. Seemed a bit silly to me, but the way it plays out is absolutely phenomenal. Mother Talzin also gives Ventress a poison dart of sorts to weaken Dooku and Jedi lightsabers to trick Dooku into thinking he’s battling Jedi. I also really dug the invisible sisters (represented as shadowy figures) leaping through the trees in a very anime-esque manner. While I am not a fan of using a lightsaber to cut through walls, I did love how Ventress then casually used the Force to pull the block of cement out of the way after cutting through the wall. And Count Dooku sleeping fully clothed on his bed, arms on his stomach, and no covers was kind of funny. Is this how the Sith sleep? Like vampires? Nice touch though with Ventress saying, “I can smell his stench from a parsec away.”
Now, we get crazy. You want an awesome lightsaber battle? Was the one at the beginning of the episode not enough? Well, here ya’ go! The Nightsisters sneak into Dooku’s room while he sleeps. Ventress hits him with the poison dart that not only weakens him but also blinds him. If you want to see Dooku be a complete bada$$, this is the scene. He rolls out of bed, uses the Force to grab his lightsaber quickly, and says, “I do not need my eyes to see you, Jedi,” and then proceeds to have an epic four-way lightsaber battle! Have we ever seen a four-way battle??? Good gravy. And then, once you think he’s down for the count (Dooku – heh), he erupts with power and Force Lightnings the daylights out of them. They all get tossed out the window. Ventress has a cool moment where, as they are falling, grabs onto the mountain and, once she steadies herself, quickly Force grabs her “sisters” and pulls them up to the wall. I love when they use Force powers like this. Very well done.
Now the question is, was this all part of Mother Talzin’s plan? Seems to be! While the infiltration of Dooku’s palace was unsuccessful, it seems there have been seeds that were planted, so to speak. Mother Talzin remarks to Ventress that, while all didn’t go according to plan, Dooku will now be looking for more security and finding a replacement for Ventress. Hmmmmmm… who could that be?
Mother Talzin: Perhaps a male from our planet, since you couldn’t tame the female.
As amazing as this episode was, you have no idea what’s in store for you. They just keep getting better. This episode was a treat for me, because, when I saw it in the heater, I missed the first 10 minutes (due to traffic) including the epic Obi-Wan/Anakin/Ventress space battle and lightsaber fight.
This is the direction that Season 3 needed to go. Katie Lucas brought us some of the most amazing writing the show has seen. While I don’t want to spoil the next two episodes for you, I will say that this three-part arc is basically all villain-driven, which is really interesting. You want some Savage Opress?! Tune in next week!!!!