Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Episode 216

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After the politically focused “Senate Murders” last week, most Star Wars fans were probably delighted that “Cat and Mouse,” the latest episode of The Clone Wars, is all about space combat. Above the planet of Christophsis, the Republic fleet goes head-to-head with Admiral Trench, a cunning Separatist leader that was thought to have died in an earlier battle. Trench’s involvement further complicates the Republic’s mercy mission to the planet’s surface, where Senator Bail Organa is being overwhelmed by Separatist troops.

But the Republic has an ace up its sleeve in the form of a spear-shaped stealth ship. Anakin Skywalker must pilot the stealth craft past Trench’s flagship, the Invincible, to deliver supplies to Organa. Of course, when Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Anakin that he’s not to engage the enemy, we know Anakin will do the exact opposite. He does, opening fire on the Invincible and turning the mercy mission into an all-out assault. Anakin cleverly outsmarts Trench and uses the Invincible’s own tracking torpedoes against it. With Trench’s ship destroyed, Anakin is able to deliver the relief supplies to Organa.

Since Admiral Yularen has dealt with Trench in the past, he accompanies Anakin aboard the stealth ship to serve as a consultant. While Yularen was at first skeptical of the Jedi’s unusually aggressive tactics, he finds himself impressed by Anakin’s approach to the mission. It was nice to see this character—who normally sticks to the sidelines—take a more active role.

Trench is an interesting character from a design point of view, since he’s basically a giant tarantula. However, as far as far as Star Wars villains go, he’s not all that memorable. Yularen says he’s a threat, and he proves a worthy opponent for Anakin, but he’s nowhere near as compelling as other villains introduced in The Clone Wars, such as the ruthless bounty hunter Cad Bane. However, Trench will probably make for a cool action figure. So that’s something.

At one point in the episode, Organa pleads via hologram, “Help us, General Kenobi! You’re our only hope!” Some fans might appreciate this nod to Princess Leia’s iconic line from  A New Hope, it’s a bit groan inducing and distracting.

“Cat and Mouse” isn’t terribly complex, but it’s loaded with space battles and some stunning animation. What’s particularly interesting about this episode is that it’s the earliest episode in the Clone Wars timeline, preceding the events of the theatrical 2008 Clone Wars feature film, which explains the absence of Anakin’s apprentice, Ahsoka Tano. It also might explain why the battle droids, who have become less and less annoying as this series has progressed, are bumbling idiots in this episode. One questions Trench’s prowess as a military strategist when he’s got the Keystone Kops on his command deck.

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