Artificial Continuum

Saturday, September 18, 2010

While the first episode of last night's season opener acted as a prequel to the fan favorite Rookies, Arc Troopers acts as a continuation to both episodes. Numerous characters, story arcs, and locales come back into play in this episode that nicely wraps out the trilogy made by the two previous episodes.

Arc Troopers picks up several months after the events in Rookies, telling the story of General Grievous's invasion of Kamino, and the Republic's attempts to defend it. Certain plot points, including Asajj Ventress's covert operations on Kamino, are brought back from previous episodes and reach their ultimate climax.

Arc Troopers tales a fast past and exciting story that does not shie away from delving into great character peices as well. The clones from Domino Squadron return for a powerful conclusion to their story arc. General Grievous also provides some of his personal best scenes in the series to date. However, the two true stars of this episode are 99 and Asajj Ventress. 99's emotional and relatable arc, which was first touched on during the previous episode, reaches its powerful climax, delivering one of the most memorable sequences in the entire series. Ventress is also a scene stealer. No longer the incompetent Dark Jedi seen in Season One, the bald headed force user has involved into a complex and disturbing villainess. Unfortunatley, one of her most powerful scenes from this episode was cut during post production due to interference on Cartoon Network's part.

While Clone Cadets was lacking in the level of action that is common in this series, Arc Troopers delivers, showing the most intense battle sense the season two standout Landing at Point Rain. The action is frantic, well animated, and includes dozens of memorable moments. The episode, surprisingly, also includes some of the best lightsaber combat in the series, showing both a duel between Grievous and Obiwan and Anakin and Ventress. The improved animation lends much to this episode allowing it to deliver on the high octane scenes that its premise demands.

The music, which was annoyingly flat earlier in the series, has also evolved into great orchestral pieces that help to flesh out some of the more emotional aspects of the story.

However, Arc Troopers is not perfect. One of the most frustrating aspects of the series since day one has been its run time. While numerous television series manage to juggle a half hour timeslot perfectly, The Clone Wars has always struggled. Arc Troopers begins and ends with almost break neck speed, and this becomes frustrating to watch at times. This constraint of time leads to sloppy dialogue and awkward scenes that could have been powerful given more time to evolve.

Despite this minor complaint, Arc Trooper stands out as one of the series best.

Score: -A

Delted Scene:

Here is the scene that was omitted from the final version of the episode.