The Clone Wars Season 2 Episode 11: Lightsaber Lost
Many episodes of The Clone Wars shine either because of their story or their message. Lightsaber Lost shines because of both, and more. The episode contained pervasive themes from both Star Wars and real life, and it featured a nice, brief story and some great visuals.
In this episode, we finally get to see more of the seedy underbelly of Coruscant. Frankly, we haven't seen enough of it, especially for a show whose center of government resides there. I enjoyed reading many books that took place on Coruscant, but I could never quite visualize the hustle and bustle. This episode presented the mega-city with excellent visuals, exotic background aliens, and cool sounds and music. I also liked seeing the seedy underworld types instantly submit to Jedi requests, such as when Ahsoka and Master Sinube convinced two criminals to give away the saber thief's location. It really impressed upon us the amount of sway the Jedi have, even in the underbelly of Coruscant. We also saw some pretty cool alien species in this episode, from the saber thief to Nack Movers's supposed friend. This was an excellent episode for cultural variety.
On a miscellaneous note, I enjoyed the fact that, in the few short moments it took for Ahsoka to lose her weapon, Anakin had already captured the arms dealer. It really puts the emphasis on how good he is and how routine these arrests have become for him.
The brief scene between Ahsoka and Jocasta Nu was cool to see as well. I like seeing them together, because it underscores how young Ahsoka still is. Since she didn't get a chance to have a childhood, I hope we see Nu interact more as a protective grandmother figure.
I'm really glad we're meeting new Jedi in this series, especially wizened older ones with more Yoda-like personalities. It is refreshing to watch a series that delves further into the Jedi Order and shines light on people we've never met before. The more people they introduce and familiarize us with, the more opportunities they have to bring these people back and keep the continuity strong.
Perhaps the best part of this entire episode was Master Tera Sinube. As soon as he made the "fishy" pun, I knew he would be a keeper. The Clone Wars team really knows how to inject vibrant, unique personalities into these Jedi. I really love that he wanted to get back out there. Ahsoka's initial reaction to his accompaniment mirrored Anakin's reaction to getting Ahsoka as his Padawan. The parallels, while subtle, were welcome. Furthermore, the way Sinube and Ahsoka interact reminds me a lot of Obi-Wan and Anakin: one is headstrong and the other keeps their partner in check. Later in the episode, we see that Master Sinube is actually really smart. I like seeing his kind of wisdom and forethought in dealing with Nack Movers' associate. It reminded me a lot of an unassuming, apparently-harmless detective following leads and putting potential suspects at ease around him.
On a minor note, this was the first Jedi Mind Trick we've seen in a while. The use of Force powers that harken back to the Original Trilogy always reminds me of this show's roots.
At the end of Act One, Ahsoka displayed true anger in attempting to retrieve her weapon from the thief. I liked seeing the instant malice as she worked to recover her possession. It was easy to understand her frustration: not only does she probably feel defenseless without the lightsaber, she probably also feels like she let Anakin down. It is easy to sympathize with her because of this, and that sympathy only makes her Force usage (which itself borders on the Dark Side, in my opinion) more believable. We see from whence this anger comes.
Sinube was my favorite part of this episode, and his behavior played into the overall theme of the episode: patience vs. speed. The juxtaposition between Sinube's slow, deliberate pace, and Ahsoka's rushed, frantic manner highlight their personality differences. This contrast of behavior also underscores the differences in methodology in the Jedi Order. The overall theme of the episode -- "rushing" -- played out in a very believable and understandable way. It was certainly better for Ahsoka to learn the lesson of patience firsthand, rather than receiving a lecture about it due to, say, some hasty tactical operation she botched. Patience is such a key part of special operations missions, such as those the Jedi undertake, and Sinube's way of teaching patience to Ahsoka was really well done. The humorous moment of Sinube driving slowly, for example, made two distinct points. One, the Clone Wars team is absolutely capable of injecting humor into an otherwise grim episode. Two, it continued the Sinube theme of slow but deliberate pacing. When he arrived at the end of the train ride to defeat Cassie Cryar, I was practically cheering. Slow and steady does indeed win the race.
Sinube's line, "The value of moving slowly is that one can always see the way ahead," was perfectly crafted for this episode. It sounded appropriately profound, and extremely Yoda-esque. The fact that we see Sinube and Yoda as good friends at the end of the episode only helps to further the notion that Sinube is wizened and has seen it all. It makes so much sense and fits with the Jedi Order's overall goal of teaching everyone something.
The Coruscant landscape visuals, the wide skyline shots, and the chase scene over the rooftops were all remarkably well-animated. The camera angles, especially those of Ahsoka jumping from one floating holoscreen platform to another, were really great. The shots with the traffic zipping by reminded me a lot of the Zam Wessell speeder chase from Attack of the Clones. The animation quality in this episode was truly superb, from the wide camera angles to the Ahsoka-Cassie Cryar chase scene tracking shots.
The hostage situation where Cassie Cryar grabs a Twi'Lek women and child underscores Ahsoka's fundamental desire to help people. It is important that viewers see in this episode how Ahsoka is not just a bumbling child, but also a caring and selfless Jedi. I'm glad Dave Filoni was able to balance Ahsoka's faults with her genuine goodness.
My one complaint in this episode relates to lightsaber usage. I'm not completely sure I buy the fact that Cassie Cryar, an apparent nobody, could activate and use a lightsaber proficiently. She does, however, seem to be very agile, so maybe she's been secretly training with exotic weaponry as a hired assassin. Even so, I don't particularly love seeing random people with the ability to wield lightsabers.
When all is said and done, Lightsaber Lost was a really excellent episode. There were stunning visuals, great aliens, and cool chase scenes. I've heard some people complain about this episode, saying that the "patience" repetition was excessive, or that the plot was thin, and I don't think either are true. Repetition is the key to emphasis, and it's clear to me that this episode was meant to emphasize the value of patience to a Jedi. As for the plot, well, it may not have been as heavy as other action-packed episodes, but it was full enough to support the message. The message, clearly, was the most important element. If it wasn't clear before that Dave Filoni and his team could imbue an episode with a profound message, it should be very obvious now.