Air Date: 9 March 2012
Written by: Katie Lucas
Directed by: Bosco Ng
Special Guests: Sam Witwer (Darth Maul), Clancy Brown (Savage Opress), Barbara Goodson (Mother Talzin), Clare Grant (Latts Razzi, cameo)
This review contains minor spoilers.
Spider-Maul. Spider-Maul. Does whatever a Spider-Maul does.
This week’s episode of The Clone Wars is part three of the four-part finale arc of Season 4, entitled Brothers. Savage Opress, guided by a talisman given to him by Mother Talzin, is searching for his brother. He finds evidence that leads him to the planet Lotho Minor, a junk world, where a snake-like alien named Morley offers to guide him through the planet’s wreckage and junk-yard droids. Morley betrays him, sending him into a deep pit, where Opress finds whom he is looking for, an insane Darth Maul, with an arachnid-shaped droid lower body. Maul wants revenge against the Jedi.
Meanwhile, Force-sensitive beings across the Galaxy, including Dooku, Ventress, Skywalker, Kenobi, and Yoda all sense a sinister evil beginning to rise….
I loved this episode, but it does have its flaws. First, having not yet seen its sequel, I can tell that Brothers is only the first half of what should have been an hour-long episode. I am surprised it was not aired this way, as the finales of seasons 2 and 3 both aired as hour-long specials. I am incredibly envious of people who got to see this at advance screenings. Another issue I have is that it barely touched on the Asajj Ventress story. It shows her sitting with Latts Razzi (though I seem to remember the two separating at the end of Bounty), but that’s it. These are supposed to be four strongly related episodes, not two barely connected ones followed by two entirely connected ones back-to-back. I hope the next episode resolves this.
The pace was fairly slow as a result (it is only the first act of a two-act play, and so is spread out as such), but I think this worked in the episode’s favor. Once Opress is on Lotho Minor, everything is kept tense. Opress does not know where he is going, and he does not trust his creepy guide who is reminiscent of Gollum, guiding travelers into the spider’s den (thanks to fellow EUCantina.net forum members for pointing that out to me). When he falls into the pit, Opress’s fear is palpable; you feel it right away. Things are kept dark, which might have added to the creepy atmosphere, but unfortunately my well-lit room made it difficult to make out any details.
Maul’s big reveal, while by no means a surprise, was still impressive. I had not seen any of the pre-release pictures, so I did not know what he looked like (beyond the brief reference in The Wrath of Darth Maul‘s prologue and epilogue). His long, overgrown horns made him look like a demon, and his twisted face clearly showed both his insanity and rage. Sam Witwer did an amazing job at voicing him. I look forward to seeing what Maul and Opress do in the conclusion next week.
In conclusion, taking this episode as the first half of an hour-long show, it was very enjoyable. It set the pins up neatly for the next episode to knock them down.
Next week’s episode is the season finale, Revenge. As a Canadian, I cannot speak for those watch this on Cartoon Network, but Teletoon Canada is showing all four of the season finale episodes (Massacre, Bounty, Brothers, and Revenge) in a marathon, just as they did at the start of 2012, when they showed Kidnapped and Slaves of the Republic (the last episodes of 2011) before showing Escape from Kadavo. I hope that my American readers and fellow Star Wars fans get to see all the episodes sequentially too.
Look ooooooooooout! Here comes the Spider-Maul.
Reviewed by Andrew Halliday
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Also be sure to check out SoloSound’s Clone Wars podcast, We Talk Clones, for a different take on each episode, including regular in-depth reviews and discussions.