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Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Cat and Mouse (The Clone Wars - S02E16) - Animated Series

Series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Title: Cat and Mouse

Season: Two

Episode: 16

Chronological Episode: 1

Original Air Date: March 26, 2010

Runtime: 22 minutes

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

A wise leader knows when to follow.

An impenetrable defense! Separatist ships blockade the resource-rich planet of Christophsis, trapping Senator Bail Organa and his relief Effort. Desperate to aid the esteemed Senator, a Republic task force under the command of Jedi Knight, Anakin Skywalker must break the impasse. But time runs short for the Senator and the good citizens of Christophsis....

Even though “Cat and Mouse” didn’t air until season two of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, it is actually the first episode chronologically. The events of this episode take place before the Battle of Christophis, which was depicted in the Clone Wars theatrical release. Despite the fact that “Cat and Mouse” is relatively light on plot, it succeeds largely because of Admiral Trench and his intellectual battle with Anakin.

   

The episode opened with Anakin attempting to break through the Separatist blockade of Christophis in order to rescue Bail Organa’s relief effort on the planet’s surface. When Obi-Wan arrived, he ordered Anakin to retreat. The Republic had a new weapon, a stealth ship small enough to slip past the Separatist blockade. Admiral Yularen halted Anakin’s departure after he realized the Separatist commander was Admiral Trench. Even though Admiral Yularen was a recurring character throughout the entire run of the series, this is really the only episode that gave him a meaningful storyline. Yularen is normally just there to give orders and complain about Anakin’s tactics, but in this episode we get to learn about his past and see more of his personality. Apparently, Yularen was part of a Republic task force that battled a fleet led by Admiral Trench years before the outbreak of the Clone Wars. It was widely believed that Trench perished in the battle. Knowing how dangerous Trench is, Yularen volunteered to join Anakin’s mission aboard the stealth ship. Speaking of Admiral Trench, he is easily one of the more memorable Clone Wars villains. Trench is memorable not only for his spider-like appearance, but also because his most powerful weapon was his intellect instead of a lightsaber or blaster. No offense to General Grievous, but the Separatists leaders that Anakin and company encounter normally aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed. Trench was a refreshingly competent enemy and his intellectual battles with Anakin were the highlights of the episode.

   

Once the episode shifted to the mission aboard the stealth ship, it became clear that “Cat and Mouse” was heavily influenced by submarine warfare and submarine movies such as Das Boot and The Hunt for Red October. Having the prototype stealth ship play the role a submarine would in traditional warfare is an interesting idea, one which actually worked for me. In a season when The Clone Wars already produced episodes that were homages to Alfred Hitchcock, Akira Kurosawa, classic zombie movies, and Godzilla, having this episode act as a quasi-homage to classic submarine movies actually felt more organic than some of the other examples. As the stealth ship embarked on its mission, Trench ordered a squadron of hyena bombers to attack Bail Organa and his forces on the planet. This allowed Bail Organa to deliver the line, “Help us, General Kenobi. You’re our only hope.” The Clone Wars was pretty on the nose with references like this in the earlier seasons, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy this one. Anakin and Yularen decided to face Trench head on instead of continuing their mission of delivering supplies to Organa. The entire final act in which Anakin engaged Trench was very well done. Of course Trench wasn’t going to kill Anakin, but the direction, performances, and animation quality made these scenes more tension filled than they should have been. Anakin led the tracking torpedoes Trench fired at the stealth ship to the bridge of Trench’s command ship. Trench and his command ship were destroyed. I’m all for showing the consequences of war, but killing Trench seems like a waste of a promising and competent villain. [Editor’s Note: It was later revealed in season six that Admiral Trench did indeed survive the events of this episode.] After Trench’s defeat, Anakin and Admiral Yularen arrived on Christophis and rescued Bail Organa. The conversation between Anakin and Yularen that closed out the episode did a good job of setting up their relationship for the rest of the series. Although not a groundbreaking episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, “Cat and Mouse” delivered due to a strong villain in Admiral Trench and a tense final act.

What Worked

  • Admiral Trench
  • Much needed character development for Admiral Yularen
  • The entire final battle between Anakin and Trench

What Didn’t Work

  • Relatively light on plot
  • Seems like a waste to kill off Trench [Editor’s Note: It was later revealed that Admiral Trench survived.]
External Links:
Added: October 22, 2016
Category: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Reviewer: Mike Taber
Score:
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