Artificial Continuum

Friday, October 14, 2011

This week continued to tell the stories of everyone's favorite robotic duo as they traversed throughout the galaxy. Featuring numerous small stories and locations, "Nomad Droids" is, for better or for worse, one of the more unique episodes of the series.

Following the events seen in "Mercy Mission", C-3P0 and R2-D2 are stationed with Adi Gallia aboard her star cruiser before they are ambushed by General Grievous. Chaos breaks out, and soon 3P0 and R2 find themselves catapulted through numerous locales and facing strange dangers as they take a galaxy hopping journey to find their way home.

"Nomad Droids" quite essentially is a kitchen sink episode. The writers literally wasted no expense in throwing everything they possibly could into this story. One could seriously imagine nearly a dozen different scenarios for how the writing process for this episode went, and several involve a dart board. Somethings stick, and something's don't. Its hardly ever boring, but its not always good either.

3P0 and R2 are shot through locale and situation at break neck speed, and we are introduced to new ideas and characters just as quickly. One minute, we are being treated to The Clone Wars's rendition of Jonathon Swift's Gulliver's Travels. The next, we meet a group of redneck aliens, who worship a Wizard of Oz knock off. Its all very bizarre, and interjected throughout are attempts social satire, genuinely funny slapstick, interesting action scenes, and bizarre aliens. Its certainly a one of a kind episode.

The short mini-episodes themselves are really hit or miss. The first attempt at imitating Swift feels the most forced, especially when 3P0 quite literally pulls a Gulliver and attempts to educate the tiny aliens about correct government. None of the rest are really perfect, but they all have a level of fun to them.

What honestly work best are the episode bookends which showcase the droid duo on the frontlines of the war in sequences not too far removed from A New Hope. These feel the most naturally, and in a way showcase the two's interplay better than having them play god or the Tin Man. It also doesn't hurt that these sequences are expertly animated and lit, making an excellent opener and closer to an otherwise mediocre episode.

The animation in general continues to impress, but the sound work in this episode in particular is a standout. Particularly in the space battles and the numerous droids the team meet, "Nomad Droids" is an aural treat of an episode.

It may be unbalanced and bizarre, but "Nomad Droids" is a fun episode of The Clone Wars. While not on par with last week's "Mercy Mission", it once again utilizes its droid protagonists to their potential.

Score: -B