Man, I’d completely forgotten that a new episode of Clone Wars hit over the weekend. This is partially due to it having been my birthday weekend and all of the festivities that entailed (re: craft beers and geeking out with friends), but also because I haven’t much cared for the Gascon/droid arc. Due to the latter, I wasn’t as excited for the mid-season return as I otherwise would have been, and even when I remembered on Monday night, it took me a little while before I actually had a chance to watch the new episode.
So, what did I think? Well, it was easily the best one in the arc, that’s for sure. As always, I’m going to head into spoiler territory, so read on at your own risk.
Gascon and the droids are still stranded on the void planet of Abafar. While the astromechs scout the town and discover battle droids are present, Gascon and WAC-47 come across Gregor, a Clone Commando with amnesia who is working as a dishwasher. They’re able to fairly easily convince him to join them by showing him some holo-recordings of Captain Rex and himself, while explaining to him what a clone is. Then they come up with a plan to hijack a shuttle that the battle droids are loading with explosives and planning to send into Republic space. After recovering Gregor’s armor from his employer, who knew all along who Gregor really was and planned on keeping him as a slave, they go on a mission that sees Gregor (possibly) sacrificing himself while the others escape.
Again, this episode features a few of the problems from the other Gascon/droid episodes, and that is humorless humor. The Gascon/WAC-47 dynamic isn’t funny and has really been the thing that has been choking the life out of this series of episodes. For the most part, it is contained to fairly early in the episode, but there were a few moments towards the end where Gascon’s “woe is me” attitude from “A Sunny Day in the Void” showed up and made me roll my eyes. I’m not sure if it is supposed to make me laugh, but again, in a series that often treats its subject fairly seriously, the tone of his despair here and in the other episodes makes me ask, “Why would the Republic send him on this mission?” (The same question I frequently ask about WAC-47). But I will give credit where credit is due: when he told the droids to save themselves and WAC-47 said said, “Okay!” and took off, I actually laughed. That was pretty good.
Honestly, though, the highlight for me was Gregor. I actually liked this clone and am hoping we get to see more of him, since his “death” was off-screen, and this series usually isn’t one to pull punches like that. I thought he had an interesting dynamic with his boss, Borkus (a fat Sullustan!). Initially, it struck me as a darker Owen/Luke relationship, especially with Borkus saying that he never wanted to hear the term “clone” again when Gregor asked what it meant. I thought they were going to go the route that Borkus was a Separatist agent, which would have been kind of cliched. I was very happy when they made it more complex by having the cook realize after he found Gregor in a crash that the man was a clone and instead of seeing him as a person in need of help, he saw Gregor as property, figuring that with the soldier’s amnesia he could get a free slave out of the deal. And speaking of amnesia, I loved that Gregor’s armor had hash marks all over it, not unlike Leonard Shelby (a man suffering from short term memory loss) in the film Memento. All in all, I thought it was pretty well done, with my only nitpick being that Gregor’s arc seemed a little rushed and may have been more interesting stretched out to two episodes.
Also great in this episode: Kenner’s Walrusman makes an appearance!
When it was all said and done though, while definitely a cut above the last two entries in the series, it still falls short of the Clone Wars best, lying somewhere in the realm of “okay.” I didn’t hate it, but it’s not one that I’m going to be in a hurry to watch again either.