Star Wars: The Clone Wars: “Downfall of a Droid” review

With excitement building over the coming release of a seventh season of The Clone Wars in 2019, we’re taking a look back at each episode of the first six seasons – doing so in chronological order.  Today, we’re looking at the tenth episode chronologically, the sixth episode of season one, titled “Downfall of a Droid.”

SUMMARY:

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Anakin Skywalker leads his fleet into battle against General Grievous, who has been attacking Republic fleets and doing damage.  Obi-Wan Kenobi advises Skywalker to regroup, but Anakin devises a plan that can defeat Grievous.  He flies his Jedi Starfighter into battle alongside clones, luring Grievous’s forces into an asteroid field to pursue them.  This plays right into Skywalker’s trap, as Rex and other clones are stationed in AT-TEs on an asteroid.  As the Separatist fleet passes by, the clones reveal their position and fire, causing major damage and destroying the Separatist ships.  Grievous escapes in his personal ship, and Skywalker pursues him.  Soon, however, Anakin’s Jedi Starfighter succumbs to damage and explodes.

Later, Anakin awakens in the medical bay of the Republic cruiser, having been rescued by Rex… but R2-D2 had not been found.  Anakin is distraught at this news, and he informs Kenobi that he has not wiped R2’s memory.  Alarmed, Kenobi orders Anakin to find the droid, which is encouraging to Skywalker – as it is permission to lead a search.  Anakin and Ahsoka traverse the asteroid field but find that R2 is not in Skywalker’s destroyed fighter.  They soon spot a Trandoshan scavenger’s ship and board it, looking for R2.  Anakin, Ahsoka, and R3-S6 (R2’s replacement that Ahsoka urges Anakin to take) ask the scavenger about the droid, but the Trandoshan insists he has no such droid.  As the Jedi search the ship, Anakin believes he hears R2, but R3 activates IG droids instead.  Anakin and Ahsoka battle the droids and defeat them, which angers the scavenger.  The Jedi leave, but afterward it is revealed that R2 is indeed onboard the ship and is held captive.  The scavenger contacts General Grievous, realizing that the R2 unit must be very valuable.

R2 escapes briefly and destroys one of the IG droids, but is soon apprehended by the Trandosahn before he can flee the ship.  Anakin, meanwhile, goes looking for Grievous’s secret listening post, but R3 (who again was only with Anakin due to Ahsoka’s urging) messes everything up, activating the tracking beacon which alerts Grievous to Skywalker’s location.  Upon the arrival of the Separatists, R3 also detaches the ship from its hyperspace ring and disengages the engine and the weapons – doing everything wrong and rendering Skywalker defenseless – only to be saved by Rex and Ahsoka at the last second.  Angry, Skywalker resolves to find R2-D2, whom he knows is still out there.

REVIEW:

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This is the first part of a two-part arc, and it’s certainly not my favorite.  There are several things in this episode that receive a payoff in the next one (especially pertaining to R3), but this episode overall felt a little slow and not as entertaining.  That’s not a negative about it being focused on R2 (because I love that droid!) but is more about the surrounding plot.  Taken as a two-part story I think it gets better, but it’s still not my favorite.

But I do like the opening battle, because it’s a very cool and smart plan by Skywalker for how to defeat Grievous.  It’s always great when we get a chance to see Anakin flying in combat, and in this instance he does so while trying to lure Grievous into a trap.  That’s because Rex is there on an asteroid as reinforcements, revealing himself at just the right moment and dealing a crippling blow.  The trap was set perfectly, and it worked.  I like it when The Clone Wars gives us unconventional battle tactics, because it’s a chance to see the ingenuity of the commanders and give flavor to each battle, making them separate from one another.

But while that was cool, there’s not a whole lot else in the episode that’s entirely memorable.  It’s fun to see Anakin’s devotion to R2, but the story seems to drag a little.

My grade: 7.0/10

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