Hello and welcome back to yet another review of The Clone Wars here at the Star Wars Report! This week the Death Watch returns as Ahsoka tries to save season 3’s Lux Bonteri from the Mandalorian terrorist group led by Pre Vizsla after Lux seeks their help to kill Dooku in the episode A Friend in Need!
The episode starts out with negotiations on the neutral planet of Mandalore, and very quickly elevates into a shootout between Republic guards and Separatist commandos after an unexpected interruption from the returning character of Heroes on Both Sides, Lux Bonteri. Later we find that this was a plan to get the location of Count Dooku from his hologram transmission. Ahoska and Lux travel to the planet of Carlacc where Lux meets up with the Death Watch. This planet is absolutely stunning! The snow, the trees, the villages, the colors all have a very Feudal Japan feel about them, which is perfect considering this is an episode about a group who’s history is a culture that fights for honor, rather reminiscent of the Samurai.
When we first see the Mandalorian camp, I found it somewhat difficult to relate this new Death Watch to the Mandalorians of old, even the past generations of their own group at times. Yes, I can understand burning villages, and their ruthless grip over the planet, the Death Watch is the more barbaric and bloodthirsty of the Mandalorians, but the target practice on the defenseless droids just seemed too easy for these warriors. I couldn’t help but think that they were just thugs wearing Mandalorian armor. In my opinion, even the splinter group they are a part of would have seeked out a tougher challenge when training, or even when it’s just for fun. Mandalorians are about being the best, right? I’ll let it pass though since the droids play into the story later. And where these thuggish Mandalorian recruits might take away from the Mandalorian experience is immediately redeemed by our returning villain Pre Vizsla, who is a much darker, intimidating, and ruthless villain than when we last saw him. He is almost unrecognizable from the Concordian governor we met in season two. A complete visual transformation is included in some of the new attachments to his already incredible helmet, I love it!
Remember the droids the Death Watch had been using for “target practice”? While I was a little hesitant to accept the fact that the Mandalorians were lowering themselves in my opinion by shooting unarmed droids, I did like how it tied into the climax neatly, and we also see how much the battle droids, and R2, can put their alliances and differences behind them to help someone in need. But whether these droids were reprogrammed by the Mandalorians to erase their objectives, or really did forget that their duty was to march, shoot at clones, and die, is left to our imagination. You can’t deny that a battle between Mandalorians and a makeshift army of now re-armed battle droids was the coolest thing to come out of season 4 so far! Especially while Ahsoka and Pre Vizsla have an awesome lightsaber duel in the midst of the battle. That is what The Clone Wars is all about!
In the end, Ahsoka and Lux escape, after fighting off the Mandalorian excellently voiced by Katee Sackhoff of Battlestar Galactica and 24 fame. It all seemed to work out, and they can finally get to Coruscant, when Ahsoka finds out that Lux is going back. So not only did we witness cool battles, the destruction of villages, and the iron fist of the Death Watch, there is powerful emotion between our two main characters! There have been a lot of really good character relationship moments in this series (romantic and not), but Lux going back to face the Mandalorians after saving Ahsoka was one of the best of them all. Could he be going to certain death? Probably, but hopefully we’ll see him again. Even if we don’t, this ending was the perfect place to leave the Ahsoka/Lux relationship. Whether it’s for good, or for sometime in the distant future, we’ll just have to wait and see.
A Friend in Need was much more enjoyable than I expected. There aren’t too many one episode story arcs that can have that much character, action, story, and memorable moments packed into twenty two minutes. The designs were amazing, Pre Vizsla was as menacing as ever, and the cliffhanger for Lux and Ahsoka was truly great. I really can’t say enough about this episode and I can honestly say it’s one of my new favorites. Well done Clone Wars team! What did you think of this episode? Did you love it? Hate it? Somewhere in between? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for reading and may the Force be with you…always!