Monday, January 4, 2010


The first part of last Friday's The Clone Wars double feature was "Grievous Intrigue" and it is the second season debut of everyone's favorite asthmatic cyborg general.

In the first season of The Clone Wars familiar characters like Dooku, Grievous, and Ventress were heavily used but it looks like the show's creators have made the wise decision to space out their appearances to avoid weakening their characters. After all, General Grievous becomes a little less effective as a villain if he is beaten by the Jedi week after week. So, in "Grievous Intrigue" the good general makes his first appearance well into the second season and he is back with a vengeance.

Grievous is back.

The Clone Wars has gotten darker in this season and the stakes are higher and the danger is much more real than it was last year and this episode is a great example of that. Much like in the opening of the original Star Wars, Grievous subdues and boards a smaller enemy ship captained by the Jedi General Eeth Koth and his clone troopers. Grievous boards two separate ships in this episode and both times their are some nice visual allusions Darth Vader boarding Princess Leia's Blockade Runner. In the second instance, he does Vader one better and actually cuts through the air lock with four light sabers.

Commando Droids: Less talking, more killing.

While we usually see Grievous surrounded by inept battle droids, it looks like his many complaints to Dooku have paid off and his boarding party consists of Super Battle Droids, Magna Guards, and the deadly Commando Droids. These new Commando Droids were introduced last year and they are the polar opposite of the the chatty and ineffective Battle Droids; they are fast, carry blades and are very good at taking down clones. You know right away that Eeth Koth and his troops are in a lot of trouble.

Eeth Koth: The tales of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Koth is captured and tortured by Grevious (he is the third character to be tortured this season, by my count). The general actually sends a hostage hologram to the Jedi Council in which he roughs up the captured Jedi Master. In both this episode and in last season's "Lair of Grievous," the cyborg villain is actually getting a bit of a character makeover and his nastiness is getting more fleshed out than it was in the Revenge of the Sith and in the early episodes of the series. It is strongly implied in these two episodes that his hatred of the Jedi stems from jealousy because, despite all of the enhancements he has undergone, he cannot use the force. Although, he still sounds like Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog.

This is a great starship...for me to poop on!

A team of Jedi including Obi -Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Adi Gallia are dispatched to rescue their comrade, devising an elaborate plan to engage Grievous while a smaller team boards his ship to release the Jedi Master. There is a lot of back and forth in this episode and it is never clear who winning. There is a ton of action and lightsaber battles as Grievous and the Jedi wrestle for control of the situation. Ultimately, the Jedi prevail with the droid general crashing landing on the planet below with a small squadron of droids.

One of the great choices made for this episode was the use of Eeth Koth and Adi Gallia, both of whom were introduced in The Phantom Menace as Jedi Council members but were replaced with doubles in the other prequels (although recycled shots from Menace were still used). However, these look-a-likes, Agen Kolar and Stas Allie, did not really look that much like the original actors so they were given their own names and identities and were said to have replaced the original Jedi. There has never been a really satisfying in-Universe explanation for this.

It is becoming sort of a running joke on The Clone Wars that many of the different races are assigned a random foreign accent: the Nemoidans keep their weird Thai/Japanese inflection, the Twileks speak with a French accent, the lemur people from last season, speak in an Irish dialect, Kit Fisto has a Caribbean lilt to go with his organic dreds, etc. The Clone Wars is becoming Battle for the Planet of the Accents and now Eeth Koth is revealed to have a definite South Asian/Indian accent.

Adi Gallia makes her debut on The Clone Wars.

So, both because these characters have uncertain fates in Star Wars lore and because of George Lucas' penchant for disregarding previously established Expanded Universe continuity when its suits this show's production, these characters could have easily met their deaths in this episode (in fact Eeth Koth was supposed to have died at the beginning). This adds an element of suspense and heightened stakes that is sometimes lacking on The Clone Wars. Perhaps the show will finally straighten out the whole look-a-like mess.

All in all, "Grievous Intrigue" is a really strong episode of The Clone Wars, and a nice return to form after the show got a bit bogged down in the four episode Geonosis story arc and then a two week break. The show is doing a great job building up Grievous as a villain and I hope Dooku and Ventress get the same kind of treatment. "Grievous Intrigue" was followed by "The Deserter."

Patrick Garone
Senior Reviewer

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