Yes, I know that there is still another episode of this arc. Sadly. However, the light at the tunnel (Darth Maul and Deathwatch!) is more than enough to force em through next week’s finale of this arc, which, so far, has been extremely disappointing. I doubted the arc would be any good from the first footage of it that we saw, but I had hope. The previous arc (The Padawan one) was at least a little bit of fun. This arc isn’t even that.
This arc definitely has some interesting characters. There’s R2-D2, of course, as well as four other astro droids, who are, for all intents and purposes, useless. Each of them plays a key part in the first episode, “Secret Weapons”, but, afterwards, they really don’t do much. And, for that matter, neither does R2. I believe that this arc could have been a lot better had it been centered more around R2, as opposed to a large group of droids.
And then there are the two main characters of the arc: Colonel Gascon and WAC, a pit droid. And these two characters are probably the most annoying characters Star Wars has ever seen. I never even imagined the possibility of a character or characters being more annoying than Jar Jar Binks, but these two accomplish that. Gascon is extremely annoying, and extremely arrogant. From the start, he thinks himself superior to the droids. Which is untrue. This continues throughout the entire arc, as he calls the droids useless along with a host of other insults. and then there’s WAC. WAC, at least at first, doesn’t seem all that bad. He’s the only one who defies Gaston, but by “A Sunny Day in the Void” they seem to be best friends.
And then there’s the bad jokes. Bad one liners and puns are extremely common between these two in this arc, to the point where it’s hard to even take them seriously. The one character who redeems the arc is Gregor, a clone commando that they find in the show’s 100th episode, “Missing in Action”. His journey is very well done, as he lost his memory after a massive battle, and is essentially a slave. But his journey from that into, by the end, a hero, is interesting and handled very well. Plus, the final battle of “Missing in Action” shows off his awesome fighting skills.
The plot of this arc starts out pretty simple: a group of astro droids, led by Colonel Gascon, is dispatched to steal encryption codes from a Separatist cruiser, which will allow the Republic to tap into their communications. Seems logical, right? It’s an interesting idea, because droids going undercover in the Separatist army makes a lot of sense. The only thing I don’t really understand about the plot was the need for Colonel Gascon. Seriously. The droids on their own could have accomplished the mission. I mean, they have R2-D2.
What surprised me is that that part of the plot only took up a single episode, “Secret Weapons” which was the first of the arc. The second part of the arc, “A Sunny Day in the Void”, saw the squad crashing onto a planet deep in the outer rim. and walking. and walking. And walking. Absolutely nothing was accomplished that episode, except WAC getting promoted to corporal, and the group finding the city. Other than that it’s a whole lot of, well, walking.
And then there’s “Missing in Action”, which is easily the best of the arc, and has the best plotline. After reaching the city, Colonel Gascon and WAC run across Gregor, a clone trooper who has lost his memory. As a result, he is being held in conditions similar to those of a slave at a local diner. Much of the episode revolves around his evolution. He goes from being a simple dish washer and appreciating a simple life to longing for more. And, by the end, he becomes a hero.
Considering that in both ‘Secret Weapons” and “A Sunny Day in the Void” there are only two characters who actually speak English, there is a great deal of talking. And very little of it is good. WAC and Gascon never seem to shut up, and their dialogue consists entirely of bad jokes and arrogance. It’s hard to take either seriously as a result. However, the situation the writers have put them in is certainly very cool. I like the idea of under cover missions, as they often provide some darker, more interesting material. Sadly though, the writing is extremely light hearted. I would be Ok with that, but in addition, it’s just downright bad.
At least until “Missing in Action”. Gregor is an extremely well done character. He is certainly one that could have turned out poorly, but the writers handled his evolution quite well, surprisingly. His development is very believable, and extremely well executed, mostly as a result of the writing. This is the only piece of good writing that has gone into this arc, at least so far.
As always, the CG animation is stellar. Over the course of the Clone Wars’ five season and 100 episode,s it has only improved, to the point where the smallest details are well animated, such as garbage blowing through the street in “Missing and Action” and the team being covered in dust in “A Sunny Day in the Void”.
Obviously, there isn’t much action in this arc. And there hasn’t really been much action since the premier, “Revival”. And while it is lacking in this arc, when there is action, it is some of the best since “Revival’.
For example, in “Secret Weapons”, the single action sequence is a zero gravity battle between Separatist droids and the astro droids. It’s extremely fun to watch and, if it weren’t for a bad line or two, would be one of the shows best segments. And then there’s Gregor’s final stand in “Missing in Action”, which is easily season 5’s best moment yet. It sees Gregor gunning down dozens of droids who come at him from all sides, accompanied by a stellar music piece that adds a lot to the tone and the atmosphere. That single scene is a triumph, almost making everything else worth it.
The first episode of the arc had everything that makes the arc bad. It introduced two extremely annoying characters, and delivered it’s share of false arrogance and bad jokes. In addition, there is no action until the end of the episode. Granted, that action is an awesome scene, but it doesn’t make up for the rest of the episode. The scene where the droids are modified is also pretty cool, though, on the whole, “Secret Weapons” is a tiresome episode filled with bland, predictable characters.
A Sunny Day in the Void
There are no words to summarize just how boring this episode is. It’s irksome, slow, tiresome, annoying, boring, and whatever other adjectives that are synonymous with the word boring. Initially, it’s pretty decent, and I loved the comics. But after that, it falls apart. The episode is pretty much 18-20 minutes of walking. And that walking is peppered with bad humor that really gets on my nerves. The dialogue is nothing short of horrible, and this is probably the worst episode of the Clone Wars yet.
Missing in Action
“Missing in Action” starts off in a manner similar to every other episode in this arc. Horrible humor and cliches abound. Gascon eating garbage is a serious low. It was obviously intended for comedic purposes, but it was just stupid. However, it is redeemed by the story of Gregor, a Clone commando who has lost his memory. The final battle makes up for the episode’s issues, and most of the arc’s as well.
Despite it’s redemption in the form of Gregor in “Missing in Action”, this arc is easily some of the worst material of the Clone Wars ever. The entire arc is filled with cliches, bad humor, and terrible characters and writing. “A Sunny Day in the Void” is the worst Clone Wars episode ever. But “Missing in Action” delivers one of the show’s best moments. Sadly, it is not enough to redeem the combined faults of the arc as a whole.