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Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Rising Malevolence (The Clone Wars - S01E02) - Television

Series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Title: Rising Malevolence

Season: One

Episode: 2

Chronological Episode: 7

Original Air Date: October 3, 2008

Runtime: 22 minutes

Credits: Review & Text: Mike Taber; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

Belief is not a matter of choice, but of conviction.

The clone star fleet is under siege! Dozens of Republic warships have been destroyed in merciless surprise attacks that leave no survivors. Rumors spread of a terrible new Separatist weapon. In the face of growing fear, the Jedi Council sends Master Plo Koon to hunt down the menace before it strikes again....

When you ask for trouble, you should not be surprised when it finds you. SPOILERS.

The episode began as Jedi Master Plo Koon’s fleet moved into position to attack a mysterious Separatist super weapon. The Separatist weapon, a massive cruiser known as the Malevolence, used an ion cannon to cut power to Master Plo’s fleet and destroyed it. The Death Star may be the gold standard when it comes to Star Wars super weapons, but I really liked the Malevolence. It had a really striking design and the ion cannon was a clever weapon to use as a basis for the super weapon. Plo Koon and small number of clone soldiers escaped the Separatist onslaught in escape pods. I appreciated that this opening scene, and the episode in general, didn’t shy away from the brutality of war and portrayed the Separatists as a legitimate threat. “Ambush” was a great episode but the battle droids were a joke, and a bad one at that. The episode demonstrated that the Republic can lose a battle and wasn’t afraid to show the consequences. The Malevolence destroyed three Republic cruisers, which would have killed hundreds if not thousands of soldiers. I’ll talk about this more later, but the way the battle droids hunted down and destroyed the escape pods was rather chilling. One episode after Yoda dealt with juvenile joke machines, it was refreshing to see The Clone Wars portray the Separatists as legitimate without glossing over the brutality of the war.

   

After losing contact with Plo Koon, Anakin and Ahsoka contacted the Jedi Council and Chancellor Palpatine. The Council decided not to investigate the remnants of the Plo Koon’s fleet, but Ahsoka insisted that they had to look for survivors. This is only Ahsoka’s second appearance so it’s still very early on in her journey, but I don’t think they’ve found the right balance with her character yet. She had a couple promising moments in this episode but by in large suffered from the same problems she did in The Clone Wars theatrical release. Ahsoka’s relationship with Anakin still feels awkward and they haven’t developed much chemistry at this point. Adding to that, there are still some moments were Ahsoka can come off as whiny or even annoying. Again, it’s still early on so it isn’t a major concern for me at this point. While I had some issues with Ahsoka, I loved the portrayal of Plo Koon in this episode. Plo Koon appeared throughout the prequel trilogy as a member of the Jedi Council, but this is the first time he’s even had a speaking role. Dave Filoni has made his love for Plo Koon well known and has done a great job giving this background character a personality. Plo Koon kind of reminded me of Old Ben in this episode, which is probably why I liked the character so much. In addition, I thought the connection between Plo Koon and Ahsoka was handled well. Plo Koon is the Jedi who discovered Ahsoka and brought her back to the Jedi Temple. Their connection felt genuine and provided some nice moments throughout the episode.

   

Instead taking the entire fleet, Anakin and Ahsoka took the Twilight to look for survivors among the remnants Plo Koon’s fleet. Plo Koon and the three surviving Clone Troopers received a distress signal from another escape pod and were forced to watch as droids opened the other pod killing those inside. As I mentioned earlier, the Separatist escape pod hunters were rather chilling. The battle droids operating them were still strangely played for comic relief at times, but overall they were an effective demonstration of the Separatist’s brutality. One of my favorite scenes in the episode was Plo Koon and the clones’ takedown of the escape pod hunter. It was an inventive idea for an action sequence and was very well directed. Plo Koon’s conversation with one of clones provided another interesting look into the mindset of the clone troopers. The clone told Master Plo, “We’re just clones, sir. We’re meant to be expendable.” After she and Anakin were ordered to cease the search for Master Plo, Ahsoka felt his presence in the Force and found him and the other survivors. It was a nice moment for Ahsoka and was a good way to pay off the connection between Ahsoka and Plo Koon. It may be familiar, but the “ignore the scanners and trust the Force” moment was important for Ahsoka’s growth as a character. Plo Koon told Anakin and Ahsoka that the secret weapon was a massive ion cannon, information that Dooku didn’t want to get out. The Malevolence tracked down the location of the Twilight because the medical droid wasn’t turned off. Anakin piloted the ship out of the debris field and escaped the ion blast. Dooku scolded Grievous for allowing the sip to escape, which I always find amusing since technically Dooku was the one overseeing the operation throughout the episode. The episode ended as Plo Koon, Anakin, and Ahsoka went to give their report on the Malevolence to the Jedi Council. Although it has some problems, “Rising Malevolence” was a very promising start for the Malevolence trilogy.

What Worked

  • Plo Koon
  • The Malevolence
  • Escape Pod Hunt
  • Separatist portrayed as legitimate threat

What Didn’t Work

  • Still haven’t found the right balance with Ahsoka
External Links:
Added: December 4, 2016
Category: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Reviewer: Mike Taber
Score:
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