Artificial Continuum

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Portraying an all too familiar pattern, this episode of the Clone Wars once again represents a dip in quality. Despite following a stellar episode, Pursuit of Peace fails to achieve the political and emotional heights that it aims for.

After the terrorist attack on Coruscant, the Senate once again finds itself in a deadlock. The bill surrounding the expansion of the clone army still stands as an issue of hot debate, with Padme and her small band of political allies taking center stage. As she struggles to find support from the senate, Padme becomes the target of some rather unsavory individuals and comes face to face with just how dangerous politics can be.

Although the premise for Pursuit of Peace sounds promising, it fails to fully reach its potential. While the political issues surrounding the nature of the conflict are interesting and realistic, many of the other elements in this episode feel bizarrely off kilter. Padme is as frustrating as ever, her unshakeable idealism and peace loving ways become annoyingly unhuman and even irritating to watch. However, her interactions with the other senators are well handled and do offer some memorable moments.

Plot wise the oddest decision is the inclusion of the two mercenaries that target Padme and her supporters. While the episode would be devoid of any action if the two had not appeared, this may have actually been preferrable to the sloppy and poorly animated sequences we were given. Both villains are uncompelling, incompetent, and feel out of place. Perhaps most frustrating of all is an incredibly slow paced and unnecessary chase sequence that dominates the second act. Devoid of tension or good set peices, the chase drags even more then the politically charged scenes.

The dialogue in Pursuit of Peace also experiences a dip in quality. Bail Organa still stands as one of the more awkwardly handled characters in this series, and Padme's speech at the end feels too cliched to be effective.

Despite this, there is one very effective scene at the episodes end surrounding Palpatine. Its the best we've seen of this character during the course of the series, and the consistently stellar animation does much to heigthen the mood of this disturbing closer.

Overall, despite featuring some well handled political intrigue and a fantastic ending, Pursuit of Peace feels disingenous and cluttered. Further proof that this season must find its legs soon, or risk losing the fanbase it so readily one back last year.

Score C