Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 3 episode 4 review: Sphere Of Influence
George Lucas returns to The Clone Wars, but the latest episode still struggles to make much of a mark, reckons Cameron...
3.4 Sphere Of Influence
Before we get to see the much hyped appearance of George Lucas in The Clone Wars (as Chairman Papanoida) we have to suffer a rather lacklustre opening sequence. The spin-off's version of the famous opening crawl features words and phrases such as "political game", "commerce", "blockade" as well as scenes of debate in the senate.
Thankfully, the action kicks in and moves on from the mundanity of the war to the more seedy underbelly of Coruscant. Namely, in the form of everyone's favourite Rodian, Greedo, who has kidnapped Papanoida's daughters.
On hand to help his dad out is Ion, voiced by Seth Green, whose accent is startlingly unlike the rest of his family. Odd choice. The guys head off to the familiar abode of Jabba the Hutt on Tatooine where Greedo is hiding out (with, what can only be described as, slightly slutty Twi'leks).
Taking place simultaneously is a daring raid by Clone Wars favourite, Ahsoka Tano, who teams up with the senator from Pantora (Papanoida's homeworld), Riyo Chuchi. There are some incredibly tense scenes here as the dynamic duo outwit the Neimodians and their Battle Droids (not that hard, it has to said).
Ahsoka really gets a chance to shine in this episode, free of the reigns of a Jedi Master, displaying her skills and ingenuity. One wonders if this is the beginning of her journey onwards from mere Padawan. A welcome return.
There's also a return to the Cantina, after the revelation of some interspecies relationships in Jabba's Palace (cripes!), where we find the Papanoida clan working/fighting together against the wretched hive of scum and villainy.
It's a bit of an abrupt end to the story that never really makes its mark, dividing between two adventures where it should have concentrated on just one. However, it's pleasing to see the development of Ahsoka and the introduction of some new characters, adding to the complexity and depth of the series.
Read our review of episode 3, Supply Lines, here.