Season 4, Episode 16: Friends and Enemies
Air Date: 27 January, 2012
Written by: Brent Friedman
Directed by: Bosco Ng
Watch the episode here.
Special Guests: Stephen Stanton (Moralo Eval), Kevin Michael Richardson (Hutt henchman)
Before I begin my review, I want to let the readership know that I am not watching these episodes on Cartoon Network. I am Canadian, and I watch on Teletoon. Teletoon has not been broadcasting the previews of next week’s episodes, and as a result those are not part of my reviews.
This week’s episode of The Clone Wars is Friends and Enemies, and is part two of four (which has now been confirmed, in Star Wars Insider 131). Continued from last episode (Deception), Obi-Wan, still disguised as bounty hunter Rako Hardeen, has escaped from prison on Coruscant with Moralo Eval and Cad Bane. They flee to Nal Hutta and intentionally crash their ship into the swamp, hoping to lose any Republic police. They must buy weapons, armor, and a ship, so that they can go to Serenno and link up with Dooku, in order to proceed with their plan to kidnap Chancellor Palpatine. Tensions remain high between Bane and Obi-Wan/Hardeen, to the point where they betray each other to the Hutts. Meanwhile, Anakin, who still does not know that Obi-Wan is alive and undercover, does not approve of the Jedi Council’s decision to not pursue Hardeen. At the Chancellor’s advice, Anakin and Ahsoka travel to Nal Hutta to track down “Obi-Wan’s killer.” Stephen Stanton returns to voice Moralo Eval, and Kevin Michael Richardson (known for numerous Star Wars voices, including fan favorite K’Kruhk in the Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars series and famous for voice acting in other shows, like Family Guy, Cleveland Show, American Dad, Ultimate Spider-Man, Green Lantern cartoon, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, etc.) provides the voice of the Hutt Henchman.
The pacing in this episode was considerably better than the last one, which I felt was slow. Indeed, the most salient points of Deception fit nicely into the 30 second recap at the beginning of Friends and Enemies. From there, it was easy to jump into the action. The tension between Obi-Wan/Hardeen and Bane allow for some great moments; Bane does not trust Hardeen, and throws him to the Hutts at the first opportunity. Obi-Wan/Hardeen anticipates this, and is able to turn this betrayal against Bane, ensuring that the three fugitives remain together, despite Bane’s objections.
The Anakin plotline is also very well done. The relationship between Anakin and Palpatine is expanded upon nicely; Palpatine is someone who will listen to all of Anakin’s problems, and give him the advice that the Jedi will not. The Chancellor plants seeds in Anakin’s mind that the Jedi Council are keeping things from him, and that he must act in defiance of them, which is a great prelude to Episode III. Anakin brushes very close to the Dark Side in this episode, and comes close to murdering a few people in order to track down Hardeen. The battle between the Jedi and the fugitives was action-packed, well choreographed, and overall exhilirating.
I love the variety in this episode, and the little nods to the Expanded Universe (to be expanded upon, I presume, in Andy’s “Expanding The Clone Wars” column). The alien diversity on Nal Hutta is significant; we see Ithorians, Twi’leks, Rodians, Bith, Dugs, Gotals, Gamorreans, and others. As the show progresses, we will see more and more aliens, I believe (there was little diversity in seasons one and two, but digital models for many races exist now, and more will be created as time goes on). We also see Zygerrian starfighters (apparently also used by the Hutts), the YV-666 freighter (same design as Bossk’s Hound’s Tooth) and the Personal Luxury Yacht 3000 (same design as Lando Calrissian’s Lady Luck). Even Obi-Wan/Hardeen’s armor is very reminiscent of the original Mandalorian armor concept art.
There are a few plot holes of note. Obi-Wan/Hardeen may have anticipated Bane’s betrayal, but could not have anticipated being gassed in the face. What if that gas had been corrosive? Or neurotoxic? He was lucky that it was merely knockout gas. Also, why did Anakin use an unarmed diplomatic shuttle to hunt down fugitives? Fortunately, these are minor details, and do not detract from the episode.
All in all, I found this episode to be fast-paced and action-packed, with some great art design. We still know very few details about the plot to kidnap Palpatine (though the conclusion of the arc, Crisis on Naboo, implies that it takes place on Naboo), so there are still many story elements to elucidate. I am looking forward to the rest of this arc.
Next week: Part 3 of 4 of this arc: “The Box”
Reviewed by Andrew Halliday
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Also be sure to check out EUCantina’s Clone Wars podcast, We Talk Clones, for a different take on each episode, including regular in-depth reviews and discussions.