The following is a review of a three episode story arc including the episodes The Citadel, Counterattack and Citadel Rescue. So, obviously, there will be spoilers.
I loved the recent Citadel arc of episodes. As I mentioned before in an earlier article, the first half of the season seemed a little stale, and even boring at times. It wasn’t until after the show’s winter break that it was back with a vengeance. Beginning with the Savage Opress trilogy, followed up by the Mortis episodes, and now making a dash towards the finishing line with the Citadel three episode arc.
The scheme of ‘episode trilogies’ has definitely paid off. I, like so many other watchers enjoyed the show, but thought that some stories felt rushed trying to fit into a 22 minute show. Having three episodes with a continuous story just makes it have that much more impact. In season 2 there were four episodes that interlocked to deal with the second invasion of Geonosis, and it paid off well.
Now to the Citadel. The Citadel is a heavily defended prison on the planet Lola Sayu (think what you will of that planet name) that specializes in imprisoning Jedi. It is run by the sadistic and butt ugly Warden Osi Sobeck and is boasted to hold no escape for any prisoner.
The newest residents at the Citadel are none other than Jedi master Evan Piell and Captain Tarkin. The two hold information that the Separatists desire, which are the space lane codes for the core worlds of the Republic, known as the Nexus Route. Of course this aggression will not stand man – So the Jedi council dispatches a strike team to rescue Piell, Tarkin and the codes stowed away in their brains. The method they used to infiltrate the fortress prison is a familiar one, borrowing from both Return of the Jedi and the Clone Wars digest titled Shipyards of Doom.
A team made up of (surprise!) Anakin, Obi Wan, Rex and Cody have themselves frozen in carbonite to avoid detection by lifeform scanners, while R2-D2 leads a squad of re-purposed battle-droids to fly a captured Separatist shuttle onto Lola Sayu. The animators for the Clone still continue to outdo themselves. The environments and visuals throughout the story arc are breathtaking. Lola Sayu is an impressive sight when seen for the first time. The purple hued planet looks it had a bite taken out of it by something, it’s core completely exposed and chunks of creating a debris field above certain parts.
The fun starts as the Jedi infiltrate the planet and free the captives, Tarkin having one half of the codes and Master Piell the other. The episodes go very fast because of all of the action occurring with our heroes throwing down against shield wielding commando droids, crab droids, STAPs and Anoobas (tracking animals).
Besides all of the action, there were nice interactions in between to sort of foreshadow the future relationship between Tarkin and Anakin. Tarkin makes it clear throughout all three episodes that he doesn’t approve of the way Jedi are handling the war. He believes that peace keepers cannot lead a war effort because they don’t have what it takes to make certain decisions that go against Jedi teachings. Anakin agrees with Tarkin, stating that sometimes the Jedi code inhibits their efforts to do things that are sometimes necessary. And as we all know, Anakin has certainly skirted the edge of the Jedi-Code. In the season 2 when he choked out ‘Poggle The Lesser’ in Jack Bauer fashion to get information. Not to mention his Padawan days, spent slaughtering families of Tusken Raiders. They both also make clear to one another their personal relationships to Chancellor Palpatine which makes the three of them standing before the Death Star at the end of Revenge of the Sith all that more powerful.
Tarkin’s character model itself definitely did Peter Cushing justice and the voice actor, Stephen Stanton did an admirable job of portraying a young Grand Moff.
Jedi Master Evan Piell was a very welcome addition to the Clone Wars, he was stern and a little grumpy most of the time which only made me like the diminutive Lannik (species) even more. It was also interesting to hear him speak with a thick Russian accent, which I think fit the character well.
The whole time these episodes went on I thought there was nothing to worry about in regards to the Jedi characters, except stowaway Ahsoka, since they all survived through the Clone Wars. But in a glaring snub to Expanded Universe continuity, Master Piell ends up getting killed in the last episode. I was very disappointed by this, not only because Master Piell was a kick-ass character, but also because that ruins continuity for the Coruscant Nights trilogy of books following Master Piell’s Padawan Jax Pavan. In the first book Master Piell is taken down fighting against Clone Troopers continuing their execution of Order 66. Sure the Clone Wars death scene was far more dramatic and touching, but I hate when they screw up established continuity. They did the same with the Mandalorian episodes last season. I suppose it is a sign that Lucas and Dave Filoni, the Clone Wars director, are becoming less and less worried about the Expanded Universe. So unless they retcon the whole issue, and Evan Piell is lava proof, fans of the books will just have to bite the proverbial bullet.
In the end, the Jedi are rescued and Osi Sobeck is chest stabbed from behind by Ahsoka. Osi Sobeck was definitely a sadistic character who despised Jedi. (What Star Wars villain doesn’t?) It was ashamed that he did not survive for another story arc in the future. And let’s face it he didn’t have a name like ‘Veryevil Badguy’ or something to that effect like most of the Clone Wars villains.
After such a good arc, it will be hard to follow up. But I’m sure with the finale next Friday Chewbacca will be up to the task to keep us entertained. Stay tuned for my review of the finale!