The Clone Wars season 4 episode 17 review: The Box

This week’s episode of The Clone Wars appears to draw inspiration from cult film The Cube, and the result is one of the finest instalments yet...

Warning: This review contains spoilers.

4.17 The Box

After two episodes of planet jumping, prison escapting and death faking, the latest arc in the Star Wars animated spin-off applies the brakes to the plot and pits some of the nastiest bounty hunters in the galaxy together in the same space.

That space is The Box.

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Obi Wan, undercover as assassin Rako Hardeen, has found himself, along with new buddies/criminals Moralo Eval and Cad Bane, at the stronghold of Count Dooku. The Sith is looking for only the very best in his next audacious plan in the war – to kidnap Chancellor Palpatine. And how does he do this? By collecting some of the worst (well, best actually) Bounty Hunters around to scrum it out against one another in a building known as The Box and see what five remain. Sound simple?

Not quite. The Box has been designed by the aformentioned Eval and contains traps and conundrums that only the very best (or worst) will survive. And this is how the majority of the episode plays out – a gripping selction of set pieces that get increasingly ghastly as the game continues.

Despite the enclosed nature of the story, the drama and excitement is most definitely palpable as each bounty hunter falls (usually damn horrifically, it has to be said) in a kind of The Poseidon Adventure-style journey. If the tone in the previous two episodes were downbeat, this is positively morbid – death stalks every pixel of the piece.

And this wouldn’t be nasty Star Wars without some bad boy Sithery taking place. Dooku, who eyes Hardeen (Obi Wan) and his skills, throws The Box’s maker Eval into the fray – pitting him against the resourceful bounty hunter. There are genuine gasps to be had as it seems Kenobi is about to die but is saved by the hand of the once mistrusting Cad Bane. It’s a supremely thrilling moment. Kenobi’s subterfuge has been accepted and is now very much a part of the gang.

During this latter third of the episode, the score is simply astonishing and really invigorates the proccedings with cinematic stylings and beautiful choral work. A real treat.

I will also draw attention to the wonderful binding of prequel and original trilogies during a scene where Yoda admits the ruse of Obi Wan’s death to Anakin. After delivering some brutal honesty to him, regarding his impetuous and dubious temperament, the little green one warns Skywalker, “If you leave, help him you could… but his future uncertain is,” mirroring Luke’s warning from Dagobah’s finest in The Empire Strikes Back. The depth and thought added within such a simple moment is to be applauded.

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Although I stated that the brakes are applied to the plot of the ongoing story, the entertainment is no holds barred. The Box is as gripping as The Clone Wars has ever been and this slight stop sets up, what looks like, an incredible finale to the four-part arc.

Read our review of the last episode here.

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