This review contains spoilers.
4.5 Mercy Mission
After spending some time in the background, See Threepio and Artoo Detoo get another chance to shine in the Star Wars animated spin-off. They serve up some laughs, but also discover a mystery whilst helping a beleaguered population.
Unusually for The Clone Wars, we find the Clones being sent to a world not to defeat the Separatists, but to help a planet and its inhabitants after a ground quake. Aleen, the world in question, has been devastated, and its people, the Aleena, need help.
This humanitarian mission, on the surface, would appear to be straightforward, until the lovable droids uncover the nature of the catastrophe and find a planet at war with itself. The underground inhabitants of Aleen, Kindalo (talking trees), are attacking the ground-dwellers as they believe they to be the cause of their world being poisoned.
The Aleena are one of those ‘cute’ Star Wars races, not dissimilar to the Ewoks in their personality, though in look quite different – short, reptilian bipeds with large eyes and wide mouths full of small, sharp teeth. Factoid fans will note that some of their race have appeared in the prequels, most notable one of the podaracers in The Phantom Menace (and his accompanying family).
There’s a very bright feel to this episode as Anthony Daniels takes the lead as everyone’s favorite protocol droid and, as usual, it’s difficult for him to make friends, rubbing up the clones the wrong way causing the phrase “suck it up shiny” to be used. But the lightness gives way to a more surreal and supernatural tone as he and his little domed friend enter the bioluminescent interior of the planet.
Lord Of The Rings is evoked in not just the aforementioned talking trees but also in the more fantastical nature of the plot and characters. It’s very un-Star Wars and most reminiscent of last year’s wonderful Mortis trilogy from The Clone Wars. Whist The Force is not directly mentioned, there does seem to be some force at work on the planet.
Mercy Mission, the title yanked from a Darth Vader line in A New Hope, is a delightfully oddity from the series, showing off the fact the droids can still entertain but also throwing up magical curve balls and also illuminating the eye with dazzlingly appropriate visuals.
Read our review of episode 4, Shadow Warrior, here.