The Clone Wars Season 5: Young Jedi Arc Review

November 26, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Posted in Reviews, Television, The Clone Wars | Leave a comment

Six younglings enter, six Jedi return. The Young Jedi was a four part arc that introduced Star Wars fans to a colorful group of Jedi younglings. Through the arc, viewers had the opportunity to see The Clone Wars from a different perspective. Whether they decide to do a spin off on the new characters or not, the arc was a fun departure. It also gave fans a heaping helping of the wily Weequay pirate chief, Hondo Ohnaka.

Skuldren: The Young Jedi arc covered four episodes: “The Gathering”, “A Test of Strength”, “Bound for Rescue” and “A Necessary Bond.” Over the course of the four episodes, six Jedi younglings were introduced. While these characters certainly brought an appeal to younger audiences, they worked surprisingly well for older audiences, too. I particularly like Gungi (the Wookiee) and Byph (the Ithorian aka Hammerhead). Even though neither of them ever speak a word you can actually understand, they’re expressions were priceless. Besides, who can resist a cute little Wookiee Jedi?

When this arc kicked off with “The Gathering”, one of the first things that hit me was how splendid the visuals looked. Little things like watching how the snow swirled in the wind and how the characters’ clothing actually moved in that wind was mesmerizing. I was astonished to see how much detail they were able to put in. Little things like that popped up throughout the arc. But it wasn’t just the little details. The space battle that pops up in “Bound for Rescue” was visually awesome, and in “A Necessary Bond” I couldn’t get over how cool the little carnival outfits for the younglings looked. All in all the episodes looked great.

Storywise, the episodes were pretty entertaining both individually and as an overall arc. Of the four, “The Gathering” was my least favorite simply because of the crying and complaining of the younglings. Thankfully that disappeared in the latter episodes.

Synlah: I, on the other hand, particularly appreciated “The Gathering”. I’m an Ilum lore junkie because Ilum is a fascinating facet of the Force mystery, and “The Gathering” didn’t disappoint me at all. While I fully expected the challenges the padawans encountered, I would have been disappointed if I hadn’t seen something along the lines of what “The Gathering” gave us. While it was low key on action, as a first chapter in The Young Jedi arc, “The Gathering” set the stage nicely for the growth of these padawans as they encounter further challenges.

“A Test of Strength” furthered the progression of the young Jedi, and they actually accounted well for themselves in this episode. They demonstrated the necessary obedience while simultaneously adjusting to changed circumstances which I think was the main lesson of this episode.  The younglings are growing and learning to let the Force guide them.

Skuldren: The younglings were a mixed bunch with a lot of variety, and the only character I really didn’t like was Petro. He came across as an arrogant, impatient youth who was always rushing into trouble. Certainly not my type of character. But for all my dislike of him, I was thoroughly pleased with the ongoing performance of Hondo who is well on his way to becoming my favorite The Clone Wars character. He’s enigmatic, witty and colorful. At one point he’s the villain, and by the end, he’s the unlikely ally. I love the complexity they’ve included for him and I hope we get to see more of him as the series continues. He’s one character they shouldn’t kill off.

The only story flaw that bothered me was in “Bound for Rescue”. While the younglings wind up on Florrum to save Ahsoka, Obi-Wan is stuck in a space battle with Grievous. On one hand, the space battle sets up a couple plot points. It prevents Obi-Wan from rescuing the younglings, thus giving them a reason to go after Ahsoka themselves. It also sets up Grievous’ entrance in “A Necessary Bond” and his take over of Florrum. However, it felt clunky and not well integrated into the story. It was a small thing, but noticeable. That said, I still really liked the episode.

Synlah: “Bound for Rescue” was easily the most entertaining episode in the arc. The first and separate viewing the space battle between Grevious’ forces and Kenobi’s seemed a disjointed tack-on, but with a review of the arc in its entirety, it fit in quite well. It was designed to further challenge the padawans, and it succeeded.  I found, overall, it flowed well within the complete story. I also find the inclusion of the circus subplot inventive, entertaining, and again the padawans were forced to deal with the circumstances creatively. Also we got more Hondo Ohnaka, which is always a good thing.  Like Skuldren, Hondo has become one of my TCW favorites. His one liners are gems, and you never know which way Hondo is going to jump.

The stakes and the seriousness of the situation are ramped up for our young padawans in “A Necessary Bond”. After sort of of rescuing Ahsoka, everyone’s taken prisoner again, only to find that Grevious has invaded Florum and taken the system. The goal now is to simply get away.  Circumstances necessitate an alliance between Hondo and the Jedi, and forge a strange and rather appealing bond between the reprobate pirate and a young Jedi. Since this is TCW and the series isn’t over, they all do escape. There’s an amusing scene at the end where everyone is reunited with Obi-Wan. Hondo puts on a show of demanding payment for services, Obi-Wan more or less accuses Hondo with the truth, and Hondo departs in high dudgeon. Of course, everyone knows this is just for show as all real payments have been made on both sides. At the end Obi-Wan ignites his lightsaber and invites the young Jedi to join him, thereby acknowledging their evolution. To have your accomplishments formally noticed by a Jedi Master such as Obi-Wan, had to gratify.

I don’t know if anyone else felt this way, but this arc evoked a bittersweet emotion for me. You know by the law of averages these young Jedi are almost certainly going to die. I didn’t view all the potential seen here as a waste per se, but I did wonder if, when and how these padawans will meet their ends. By the end of the arc, they had all become distinct and separate characters who’d grown and expanded their awareness of themselves and the Force.  I’d come to like and care for all of them, even Petro.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed The Young Jedi arc. It was something of a change of pace, and I liked the young Jedi emphasis. As well, juxtaposing Ahsoka against younger, untried Jedi showcased her growth since the series’ start. I’d heard that the Onderon arc actually took place after this arc, but to me it seems logical to have shown them in this order. Ahsoka definitely stepped up her game in the Onderon arc, showing what she could handle on her own. So to give her the responsibility of young Jedi makes sense; she’s proven she can handle it. Also, if you consider that most of the knights and Masters are involved in the Clone Wars, they couldn’t be spared and someone of Ahsoka’s caliber would have to handle this assignment.  The Order can’t just stop training new Jedi especially because they are losing Jedi in the war. I’m left with one question though: could this be the groundwork for a new show (in addition to TCW)? I wouldn’t mind at all.

Skuldren: We both give this arc a five out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Synlah and Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.
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