Welcome! This is the first of many reviews I will be writing for each The Clone Wars episode this season, and hopefully many seasons to come! Below is my review for the premiere of The Clone Wars season four.
Let’s start off with some initial thoughts and the build up to this season. Season 3 had just ended, leaving fans with mixed feelings for about half of the season. We had a significant amount of political intrigue and mystery that made viewership and ratings drop for the first few months. Then came the Savage Opress story, the Mortis arc, and a great finale featuring Ahoska being captured by Trandoshan slavers. We left the season feeling good about the future of the show and knowing at least a little bit of the awesomeness that would ensue in season four. The animation was pretty good, a solid improvement from the previous seasons, and a much needed update of character models for Ahsoka, Obi-Wan, and Anakin. Over the summer, several trailers were released showing the potential for great action, adventure, story, and extraordinary animation. This brings us to our current episodes, Water War and Gungan Attack.
The story goes like this: Anakin, Padme, Ahsoka, and Kit Fisto aid the Mon Calamari after a civil war breaks out between the Mon Calamari and the Quarren. After the King of Mon Cala is mysteriously murdered, his son, Prince Lee-Char, tries to lead the people as best as he can even though the Quarren are set against him. When I saw the trailers, which showcased this episode a lot, I wondered how similar this arc would to be to the Genndy series. We have already seen episodes of The Clone Wars that relate to some other clone wars material out there. The season premiere last season was believed to be taken from the Republic comics. However, that turned out to be a lot different from what we were expecting, so this time around I was thinking it would also just be coincidental. In the case of Water War and Gungan Attack, it turned out to be different, but not so different from how the battle of Kamino was changed from the comics. The characters were mostly the same, the concept of a civil war between the Quarren and the Mon Calamari was the same, but that was about it. To me it seemed like the Genndy episode of Kit Fisto’s underwater battle could’ve almost been a part of Water War. Filoni and crew did a great job vastly expanding the storyline from what it originally was, without contradicting anything major with the Genndy show. It’s episodes like these that give me hope that the two series can live in harmony (if you paid close attention, there were a few shout outs to the old series). I’m not sure how much I would’ve enjoyed a complete re-do of the battle on Mon Cala without retaining at least a little bit of its roots. As far as the story goes for Water War, I enjoyed it. There was no deep meaning or unexpected reveal that shatters the universe, but it puts our main characters in a unique situation that stretches their ability to function. Anakin losing his helmet is a perfect example, for obvious reasons. Pit him against our villain Tamsen, who is native to the water and therein lies an unusual challenge. This episode also created a number of fairly original fight scenes, the one that I remember the most was the climax; all our heroes fight in a whirlpool while being attacked by an shark type alien who can eat right through clone armor, how awesome is that!? This situation also allows us to see the best in characters, such as Kit Fisto. Water War and Gungan Attack did Kit Fisto tremendous justice, and stayed true to the original Clone Wars, and makes him probably the best character in the arc so far. I also think they’re doing a pretty good job of progressing the prince’s character along the path of being a hero, or at least a good leader, which we’ll be seeing (hopefully) in the next episode.
Now, my favorite part of the episode, the animation. Absolutely stunning! Some scenes could easily have been mistaken for one of the films (the space scenes particularly). At San Diego Comic-Con, the panel TCW had showed how a lot of the character movements have changed and it shows. It’ll be hard to go back to season 1 after seeing how beautifully everything moves in season 4! Another thing I noticed was when the Republic ship exploded, the explosions they had looked very colorful, nice, and new. Also, the lighting was well done, that, along with the sound design (which was also phenomenal) really set the tone and made this underwater world believable.
There wasn’t much I didn’t like with this episode, but one thing that bothered me was the lightsabers not being affected in any way, shape or form by being underwater. It’s not a huge deal, but it threw me off a little. It’s probably just me still clinging to the Genndy series after all these years. That and the king’s death not being brought up at all after the first three minutes of the episode, and the characters not connecting that event to the separatist takeover were the only issues I had while watching.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this brief review of The Clone Wars season 4 premiere! Season four is shaping up to be a wild ride, and I can’t wait for the next episode! Expect these reviews to get more in depth as the episodes of season 4 get more in depth with their stories. Thanks for reading!