Artificial Continuum

Friday, November 5, 2010

This episode marked the beginning of a span of espionage based episodes in this season. While I have long waited for a more political Clone Wars episode, Sphere of Influence continues Supply Lines trend of mediocrity.

The episode follows the the chairman of Pantora Baron Papanoida's attempts to recover his missing daughters, who have been kidnapped by a group of Seperatist criminals. Meanwhile, Ashoka Thano and her close friend senator Riyo Chuchi attempt to negotiate with the Trade Federation's blockade of Pantora.

While the premise for Sphere of Influence is novel and features plenty of espionage and political maneuvering, the pacing for the episode seems surprisingly lacking. Papanoida's investigation and search for his children lack necessary tension, primarily because he is relative unknown to even the most avid Star Wars fan. The audience simply just doesn't have much stake in whether the good natured politician recovers his family or not. Even a guest voice spot by Seth Green and cameo by fan favorite Embo does little to elevate this episode above mediocrity.

The plot following Ahshoka and Tuchi fairs much better. While their friendship is a new development that has never been mentioned before this point, the two have an interesting dynamic and allows for some good development towards Ahsoka's character. Ahsoka in general has grown to become one of the best aspects of the show.

Perhaps the strangest aspect is the inclusion of Greedo. Yes, the Rodian bounty hunter from the original film makes an appearance in this episode. He does little for the plot of this episode and his entire role feels like a poorly handed peice of fan service.

This episode also lacking in the action department. While this is sometimes handled well like in Season Two's Senate Spy , this only adds the lack of tension present in the mainplot. However, a quick shootout in a familiar cantina does much for the episode visually.

Despite the obvious issues with Sphere of Influence, the episode is not a terrible one. It just simply lacks the flare and character that have the audience has become accostomed to.

Score: C+