Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode 17 review

Gungans - not a good sign. This week's episode is one to forgive in a series with many strong points...

Star Wars: Clone Wars

EPISODE 17/18: Blue Shadow Virus/Mystery of a Thousand Moons

WARNING: This review contains SPOILERS that may ruin your enjoyment of this episode.

So far, this season, The Clone Wars has really only thrown up one stinker but, I report with some regret, the recent run of excellent, not to mention pensive, episodes has come to a crunching end. I can see why the producers chose to broadcast this ‘story’ as double-bill rather than prolonging the tedium over two weeks, so I commend them on that at least.

Actually, there’s nothing really wrong with the story, it’s the script and voice-acting that will have you smacking your brain every minute or so. The gang – Padme, Threepio, Jar Jar, Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka – find themselves back on Naboo and, while it was pleasant to see the planet again, it did mean one thing – more Gungans. Specifically one, a female version of Mr Binks. She’s all pink so you know she’s a girl!

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It appears that the Separatists have been poisoning the water and it doesn’t take the Jedi and Co. long to locate its source – a laboratory helmed by Dr. Nuvo Vindi. This scientist is about to unleash the incredibly deadly Blue Shadow Virus (long since eradicated) on Padme’s home planet and, subsequently, the galaxy!

And this is where we run into another problem. Vindi is such a poor caricature (or an excellent one depending on how you grade it) of an evil scientist that any tension is rendered redundant. This pantomime portrayal from Michael “Basil Exposition” York (also in the classic Logan’s Run) will have you slightly aghast as the York-ster affects a German accent so crude that you may think you’re watching ‘Allo ‘Allo (and at least they were trying to be funny).

Annoyingly the first part is tied up all nicely, seemingly with no loose ends. Yet, as part two begins, we find that some of the virus has been let loose – endangering Padme, Ahsoka and some Clones. That would have made a cracking end to the first part and the makers should have really thought more about the nature of a double-bill. Though it doesn’t appear they gave very much thought at all to this tale.

Well, that’s slightly unfair as there are, and I won’t tire of saying this each week, some great set pieces; notably the raid by Kenobi and Skywalker (and the Clones!) on the aforementioned lab and the lazer web in Mystery Of A Thousand Moons (especially when seen from the planet it imprisons, Iego).

This second episode introduces another wearisome character, Jaybo Hood – a pre-pubescent kid who evokes a young Anakin. Especially when it comes to machines, this little guy has reworked a factory full of Battle Droids and made them his playthings. Kenobi and Skywalker have arrived at his planet, Iego, to find a cure for the Blue Shadow Virus.

Though there are some adult images as Padme, Ahsoka and the Clones are “dying”, there’s a trudging predictability about the proceedings and this is the first time in Season One that I was looking at my watch during an episode. Thankfully this is a just a blip, so far, in an otherwise excellent series.

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Check out Cameron’s review of episode 16 here.