Artificial Continuum

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Supply Lines may be the most surprisingly good episode of The Clone Wars in months. When it was initially announced that this episode would focus on the infamous Jar Jar Binks, it was assumed the worst, that Clone Wars, despite an improved second season, would return to its inept an awkward roots. However, this is hardly the case.

The concept behind Supply Lines is simple, but at the same time politically complex for a show whose target audience is around ten years old. Acting as a prequel to the first season of the series, the episode follows Jedi Master Di and his team of clones as they struggle to hold off an ever advancing droid army on the Twi'lek homeworld Ryltoh. With millions of innocent lives held behind enemy lines, the Jedi call upon senator Bail Organa to help deliver supplies through the Seperatist blockade. However, to do so he must convince the King of Toydaria, a neutral planet, to assist in the effort. Even worse he is paired with a certain Gungan Senator from Naboo.

The plot for Supply Lines is mixed, but ultimatley effective. Di and the Twi'lek's plight on Ryloth is effective and appopriatley emotional. There is an actual sense of tension, due partially the spectacular action sequences (something the season one Ryloth trilogy was missing). The other plotline for this episode is obviously the weaker, but even it manages to work. The political ins and outs of the Clone Wars have always been an oddly captivating part of the expanded universe and Supply Lines gives an interesting look. The plight presented to the characters is realistic and allows for some great tension and even some effective comedic peices. Despite this, the transitions between both plot points are often jarring and feel unnatural.

Jar Jar is oddly tolerable in this episode. He rarely speaks, and even when it does it is oddly intelligent and lacking in the usual stupidity. However, there is one cringe worthy sequence in the third act that nearly drags the episode down with it.

Bail Organa is surprisingly stone faced throughout Supply Lines, and he stands out amongst dozens of other well animated characters. His voice acting is also surprisingly flat. Since Bail is such a central character to this episode, his lackluster production values make him frustrating to see on screen.

Despite the flaws, the entire episode is saved by a fantastic and emotionally stirring conclusion, which delivers one of the most powerful and tragic endings to the series.

Score: -B