Artificial Continuum

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Following up on last week's terrible outing, The Clone Wars was already on shaky ground. With a third season that was slowly looking to be a disappointment, Hunt for Ziro had a lot to prove, and not a whole lot of time to do it. Fortunately, this week's outing, while flawed, is a vast improvement over the past several weeks.

Acting as a sequel to the season one finale, Hostage Crisis, follows Quinlon Vos and Obiwan Kenobi as they attempt to track down Cad Bane and the escaped crimelord Ziro the Hutt. Meanwhile, Ziro has hit his own problems with the Hutt Council, who have grown tired of the arrogant Hutt's shenanigans. To make things worse, his old flame Sy Snootles has reappeared.

Like Evil Plans, Hunt for Ziro focuses on some of the more irregular aspects of the Star Wars mythos. However unlike last weeks travesty, everything here seems to fit. Although Snootles may be a strange character, she already exists within the universe (see Return of the Jedi) and her role actually fit this story. The Hutt's being gangsters demand entertainment, so Snootles and her dancers make for welcome editions to the show. Not to mention that her character also takes a decidedly dark tone towards the episodes end. Even Ziro, a character I've been routinely opposed to since the shows inception, felt natural in this episode. The same cannot be said for Ziro's mother, who makes a rather poorly executed comedic appearance at the end of the second act.

Quinlon Vos also makes is Clone Wars debut in this episode. Originally introduced in the Dark Horse Star Wars: Republic comic series, Vos is one of the most well liked expanded universe characters ever imagined. While his character in this episode may disappoint some fans, it can be said that the Vos in Clone Wars is faithful to that in the comics. Any disappointment may simply come from the fact that he simply is not given much to do. This episode, at its worst is simply overcrowded. Not only do we follow Ziro and Snoodles, but we have Vos, Kenobi, and Cad Bane as well. While the script miraculously manages to sustain itself, it does feel cluttered and rushed at times.

The animation throughout Hunt for Ziro is superb. All the character models are fluid and detailed, and the environments, especially Nal Hutta, are incredibly atmospheric.

Much can also be said about the fantastic action sequence between Cad Bane, Quinlon Vos, and Obi-wan Kenobi. Based on the rocky jungle world of Teth, the multi-character duel is continuously inventive and well choreographed. The end result is one of the best sequences in the series.

Overall, Hunt for Ziro is a welcome improvement in this season of The Clone Wars. With interesting characters, a well scripted plot, and some great action scenes, it quickly becomes a memorable outing, even if you have to sort through some clutter and strangeness to get there.

Score: B