Artificial Continuum

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Witches of the Mist, the conclusion to the three part Savage Opress storyline, at the moment stands as one of the most important episodes in the series to date. Regardless of quality, the story advances made in this episode will forever change the make up of the series.

Following the events in the previous two episodes, Dooku begins his training of Savage Opress. However, at the same time the effects of Savage’s previous attacks have not gone unnoticed by the Jedi, who dispatch Anakin and Obiwan to deal with the threat. As Savage is quickly being thrust into the forefront of the war Ventress begins to enact the final stages of her revenge.

As a finale to a three part arc Witches of the Mist succeeds. The majority of the plot points are brought to a relatively satisfying conclusion, and it delivers on the necessary action that the story demands. However, as mentioned earlier Mist is perhaps most significant in how it drives several key players for the series into completely new territory. It is not surprising at all to see that the main characters of this saga (Count Dooku, Assaj Ventress, Savage Opress, and Mother Talzin) all stand on different ground then they did where the story began. This in and of itself makes this episode a winner. The Clone Wars is a series where events are often frustratingly contained within an episode or arc. This is not the case with Mist as there is no simple way the series can continue to function as it once was after this episode has concluded.

Although the Jedi are included their roles are miniscule and in the end utterly unneeded. Once again Dooku, Savage, and Ventress steal the show. Savage continues to grow and involve as a memorable villain and again appears surprisingly layered. His training at the hands of Dooku stands as a stark parallel to Yoda’s teaching of Luke in the Empire Strikes Back and offers an interesting glimpse into both characters as well as Sith culture.

However, the moment fans had been waiting for since the arc began was the final three way showdown between Savage, Ventress, and Dooku. Brilliantly animated, orchestrated, and choreographed the sequence drips with tension and emotion more so then any battle since Anakin’s duel with Obiwan in Revenge of the Sith. It may actually stand as the single best action sequence the series has ever had.
The episode culminates in a haunting and emotional final sequence that not only hints at things to come, but drops perhaps one of the most unexpected and bold twists in the history of the franchise.

Also notable is the inclusion of Delta Squad from the fan favorite video game Republic Commando. Although their appearance bubbles down to little more than a cameo, their appearance is a healthy bit a fan service.

If it were not for the issues of pacing Witches of the Mist would stand as one of the top three episodes of the series. However, like the previous installments before it, Mist is just too large a story to contain in a twenty two minute episode. Like Monster, this installment manages to avoid feeling bloated except for one sequence at its midpoint that feels incredibly disjointed.

Score: -A