After last weeks slow (and, at times, boring) episode of the Clone Wars, we get this. A fast paced, action packed return to form. “Front Runners” focuses around the work of the rebels in Onderon’s capital city, Iziz. The Separatist king of Onderon is also pressured to end the Rebel threat. With some great action, as well as some great political parts, “Front Runners” is a great episode.
The episode starts off with rebel strike teams hitting small targets. They destroy a droid patrol in a public market, save a civilian form a droid attack, and take down a ray shield wall, all under the watchful eye of the Jedi, who, again, play a minor role. And that’s all in the first two minutes. i might add that this is pretty cool, as it shows off each of the major characters tactics. While Saw opts to go head on with the droids, Steela snipes them from afar. And Luz goes in quietly, and takes out the droids without anyone seeing him. This is cool, as it tells the viewer the types of people these characters are.
After this, the rebels begin celebrating, and formulate a plan to make sure that the civilians no longer fear the government. And that is, of course, to blow something up. In this case, a power plant. Anakin and Obi-Wan both leave quickly afterwards, as they believe that the rebels have to take Onderon back themselves. And that’s the truth. The victory would mean so much more that way. After scouting out the facility, Saw, Lux, Ahsoka, and Steela formulate a plan to destroy it. That plan? Attack a Seperatist patrol and hope they send a tank as back up. Which makes sense.
And then there’s the political segment. The current king of Onderon is notified of the attacks, and despite what he says, seems worried. So he calls in the old king, and asks him what to do. This is a great sequence, as the old king tells him what it truly means to be a ruler. And the current king seems to have none of those traits. He rules by fear, and the citizens are scared. The old king tells him this, and his life is threatened. It’s a cool way to separate the action sequences, and despite them being awesome, this offers a great respite.
This next segment is really cool. The fact that this is, for all intents and purposes, a Saturday morning cartoon, makes it even better. The rebels leave a speeder loaded with bombs in the middle of the street. As a droid patrol walks by, they detonate the bombs, and take out many of the droids. They then engage them, and an awesome action sequence begins. The firefight that ensues is just great, easily making up for the lack of action last week. Instead of a tank though, the droids send Destroyers. Lux and Saw sneak around them, and attack from behind, as Rex taught them. Saw’s grenade toss is perfect, and the destroyer goes down. However, he distracts Lux intentionally. This is in keeping with his character traits, as he seems to need to be dominant. It’s a cool addition to the episode.
Finally, the tank is sent in. Using their training, Lux and Saw easily disable it, in a maneuver that is pretty cool. And then Luz almost dies. He is saved by Steela, which is cool, but him dying could have bene an interesting turn, especially for Ahsoka. Taking over the tank, Saw finds he actually doesn’t know anything about how it works. Steel a quickly takes over, and they have it moving within an instant. As soon as they get to the power station, another battle begins. Steela once again shows off her skills with a sniper, and using the AAT to splatter the droids was cool. Even the usually unstoppable assassin droids were taken down by Steela’s sniper.
The king again shows up, watching the attack from a distance and calming that it could work for them. As his assistant predicted, droids are massacred in the streets and the citizens begin to lose their fear and cheer on the rebels. the shot of a burning MTT is great. The celebration is cool, and just when you think some character issues form last week are resolved… they aren’t anyways, Anakin and Obi-Wan congratulate the rebels here, and then it cuts, again, to the king. this part is really cool, showing the king talking to Dooku. And Dooku sending a new commander? This could be cool, with some conflict between the king and him inevitable.
The ending is pretty good too, with Saw again clashing with Lux over tactics. And then Steela is elected leader, which was inevitable, but still pisses Saw off. Oh, and Saw is Steela’s brother. That could have an effect on Ahsoka’s relationship with Lux.
Overall, this was another great, action packed episode of the Clone Wars. Combining great action sequences with some cool political scenes, this is a return to form after lats weeks slow and repetitive episode.