Season 5 of The Clone Wars starts this Saturday and fans like me who have been following the show since the very beginning are extremely excited. But maybe you are new to The Clone Wars. Maybe you saw the mind blowing trailer for Season 5 and thought I really want to see Darth Sidious kick some butt but I have no idea what is going on in the show. There have been 88 episodes of the show so far, not to mention the theatrical movie release, so it would almost impossible to catch completely up before Saturday.
Well you don’t have to watch all 88 episodes. Based on what we have learned so far about Season 5, I have come up with a list of 17 episodes that should cover the major players and plotlines important to understanding what is going on in Season 5. These aren’t necessarily the best episodes that The Clone Wars has to offer (although some on the list are great) but these 17 episodes should get a new watcher or even a fan who needs a refresh ready for the new season.
Season 1 Episodes 11 and 12: “Dooku Captured” and “Gungan General”
Most of Season 1 of The Clone Wars was really hit and miss for me. It seemed the show was trying to find its footing and really wasn’t sure who its target audience was. The animation was still an obvious work in progress. There were some episodes I enjoyed and a bunch I really didn’t care for. Admittedly these episode are two that weren’t my favorites especially Gungan General. The reason I have them on the list is they are the episodes that introduce us to the great character Hondo Ohnaka. Hondo is a Weequay pirate who has a run in with Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Count Dooku in these episodes and becomes a recurring character in future seasons. Based on the Season 5 trailers we will be seeing even more of Hondo.
Season 2 Episode 4: “Senate Spy”
Ok. Bear with me here. This one wasn’t one of my favorite episodes but I believe it will be important to Season 5. This episode introduces us a former love interest of Padme’s and shows us how jealous Anakin can get. Judging by some preview clips that were shown, Rush Clovis will be returning to The Clone Wars in Season 5. It will be very interesting to see what his role will be and if Anakin can keep himself from strangling him.
Season 2 Episodes 12, 13, and 14: “The Mandalore Plot”, “Voyage of Temptation”, and “Duchess of Mandalore”
When these episodes were announced many a fanboy head exploded. The Mandalorians are coming to The Clone Wars! We were introduced to a new version of the Mandalorians than we were used to though. The main Mandalorians were pacifists. Huh? Inconsistencies with existing canon aside, these were some very solid episodes. We do get to see some Mando warriors in action using jetpacks and rockets and all the other stuff we always wanted to see Boba Fett use in Return of the Jedi. We are also introduced to the character of Pre Vizsla, who will have a prominent role in some of the major plot points in Season 5. Oh, and we are also introduced to Obi-Wan’s former “girlfriend”, now the Duchess of Mandalore, who will also be featured again in Season 5.
Season 2 Episode 17: “Bounty Hunters”
This episode tells the story of Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Ahsoka helping a group of Felucian farmers learn to stand up for themselves. Who are they defending themselves against? Why pirates led by Hondo Ohnaka, the bad guy we love to love. The Jedi are assisted by a group of bounty hunters which include the female Zabrak Sugi and the fan favorite Embo. Both Embo and Sugi can be seen in the Season 5 trailers and clips that have been released so far. Interestingly Embo doesn’t seem to be so benevolent anymore since the one clip shows him trying to hunt down Anakin, Padme, and Rush Clovis.
Season 2 Episode 22: “Lethal Trackdown”
This episode is one of my personal favorites. It is actually the finale of Season 2 of The Clone Wars and is the final episode of a three part arc. But you can get everything you need to know about the first two episodes in the 30 second recap at the beginning of the episode. There is so much cool in this episode including Boba Fett, Slave I, Plo Koon, Aurra Sing, and Bossk, but the reason I have included it on this list is because it gave us further characterization of the pirate Hondo Ohnaka. Maybe he isn’t such a bad guy after all?
Season 3 Episode 10: Heroes on Both Sides
Another character who has been featured in clips from Season 5 is Lux Bonteri. Lux was introduced to us in this episode as the son of Separatist politician Mina Bonteri. Lux is near in age to Ahsoka and there is some subtle flirting. Look for a budding relationship between the characters in future episodes.
Season 3 Episodes 12, 13, and 14: “Nightsisters”, “Monster”, and “Witches of the Mist”
For me, this is where the show really hit its stride. The animation is markedly better at this point in the series and the action in this trilogy is amazing. I LOVE these episodes. We have seen the character of Asajj Ventress in previous episodes but these episodes are where we really get to know her. We are also introduced to the very important character of Savage Opress. He is like Darth Maul on steroids. Literally. My guess is both Ventress and Opress will be playing major roles in the upcoming season.
Season 4 Episode 14: A Friend in Need
Remember earlier when we were talking about Lux Bonteri? Well he is back in this episode and he has a chip on his shoulder. Of course Ahsoka is featured as well so we can see some progress in their relationship. This episode also gives us more Mandalorian action and more of the character Pre Vizsla who will feature prominently in Season 5. A brand new character who is introduced in this episode is the female Mando named Bo-Katan. We don’t get much of her in this episode other than seeing her really cool armor design, but based on clips from Season 5 we will be seeing her in an expanded role. This episode also contains the single coolest lightsaber move in the entire series. Watching this episode is worth that alone.
Season 4 Episodes 19, 20, 21, and 22: “Massacre”, “Bounty”, “Brothers”, and “Revenge”
This is the 4-part season finale of Season 4 of The Clone Wars and the latest episodes released so far. The first two episodes, Massacre and Bounty, are important for further characterization of Asajj Ventress. She is no longer a one dimensional bad girl and it is hard to tell exactly where her loyalties lie. In a Season 5 trailer we get a number of clips of Ventress in a disguise fighting Ahsoka. It will be very interesting to see how things get to that point.
In the final two episodes, Brothers and Revenge, we get the return of Savage Opress and more importantly the return of his brother *SPOILER ALERT* Darth Maul. Yes Maul lived through being cut in half and he is out for revenge. From everything we see about Season 5 and from things that the creators have said in interviews, Darth Maul will play a very big role in Season 5 and his brother will be right there beside him. If you don’t watch any other episodes in this list at least watch these four before starting Season 5.
17 episodes isn’t that much. If you start today you can watch 3 or 4 of these episodes a day (they are only 22 minutes each) and be caught up by Saturday. If you don’t have the DVDs or Blu-rays you can always buy the individual episodes on iTunes and watch them that way. Go have a Clone Wars marathon and get ready for what looks like an amazing Season 5!