The Clone Wars review: ‘Hostage Crisis’

In the past few episodes, The Clone Wars has been kicking it up a notch, and the season finale, ‘Hostage Crisis’, is a definitely an extra serving of BAM! Imagine the Clone Wars if all the villains were competent, and this is what you get. Cad Bane and his crew of criminals live up to the hype – they’re lethal, they get the job done, and they are intimidating. The only hitch in their plan to raid the Senate building and take some senators hostage as a way to free Ziro the Hutt: Padmé’s celebrating Sneak-Your-Husband-Into-Work Day.

The story starts off with the bounty hunter Bane, voiced with evil deliciousness by Corey Burton, and some of his crew driving up to the Senate building in the middle of the day. Before the Senatorial Guard can give Bane a parking ticket for hovering in a red zone, sniper Aurra Sing has picked off most of the boys in blue, and Bane snaps the neck of the last one. With droid commandos donning the Senate armor to secure the area, Sing arrives with Robonino, an Ewok-sized fishy dude. Bane leads the way to the Senate’s power core, wiping out the guard barracks with a thermal detonator (and Sing coldly shooting the sole survivor as they pass by). One of Bane’s IG assassin droids guns down the various droids working in the power core, and Robonino gets to work on slicing the power controls.

[Insert lightsaber joke here.]

Meanwhile, Anakin is up in Padmé’s office, trying to convince her that she should sneak off with him to Kokomo for two weeks, since he’s on break. But she’s got that work thing, and Anakin doesn’t get it. He tries to impress her on how much he thinks of their love by giving her his lightsaber. At least hand it to her properly, dude – it would really suck if she impaled herself turning it on because dorkboy handed it to her backwards! Their little interlude is interrupted by Bail Organa and Threepio’s approach. As Skywalker dives under the desk, Padmé palms the lightsaber and follows Organa to an impromptu discussion, ironically to counter a privacy invasion bill.

The meeting of a gaggle of senators in some large dimly-lit atrium gets crashed by Bane and his accomplices, who surround the senators. As Gran senator Philo tries to walk out, dismissing the hostage takers, Banes blasts him in the back, indicating just how serious the situation is.

In Palpatine’s office, Orn Free Taa waddles in and gets Palpatine on the holocomm with Bane, who announces his demands: a pardon and release for Ziro the Hutt. Robonino the fishdude cuts the power to the Senate building, plunging it into lockdown mode, trapping Palpatine in his office, and Bane coolly declares “I make the rules now.” Anakin pokes his head out of Amidala’s office and decides to look around.

Bane begins stripping all the senators of their communication devices, and Padmé tries to use conversation to avoid being searched, since she’s carrying Anakin’s saber. Anakin sneaks up on the room, but Padmé’s glance to the upper level is enough of a tell to Bane, who immediately turns on fires on Skywalker, forcing him to flee.

A Weequay, Shahan Alama, and an IG are dispatched to catch the Jedi. And here’s the one weak point of the story, Bane’s crew previously have shown a high degree of competence, but the room searching skills of these two are somewhat lacking – instead of just poking your head in the door with a light, try walking around in the dark rooms. After a little hide-and-sneak with the minions, Anakin hacks his Jed-iPhone into a comm center and calls Palpatine to let him know that he’s on the case. Never mind calling for back up. He does manage to take out the IG droid in a hands-on brawl, but the other minion, Alama, has enough brains to notice the lack of lightsaber marks on the droid. He gets better backup in Aurra Sing, and they track down the Jedi outside the power control center door and draw his attention, allowing Robonino to taser Skywalker in the back. Never underestimate the power of teamwork!

With 3D, the other IG-droid, driving, Orn Free Taa is forced to take the pardon to the floating Republic Jail, where the clones have Ziro ready to travel. Whining about being released in bright daylight, Ziro slithers (yes, we actually see a Hutt move!) onto the flatbed trailer that the IG droid has brought, and they head back to the Senate. Inside the atrium, a cuffed unconscious Anakin is thrown in with the Senators, where Padmé tries to care for him, but not seem to care too much (although his head is seen resting on Senator Chuchi’s lap later on?). Bane and Fishfry set up an explosive-linked laser grid around the hostages, to keep them in place while the villains make their escape. As Bane begins his retreat, the clones sent by Orn Free Taa finally arrive, securing the chancellor’s office (by busting in through the window – foreshadowing the flimsy defenses that allow Mace Windu’s later exit), and surround Bane on the landing platform. But Bane holds the higher hand – he can blow the East lobby at any time, and Palpatine, via holo, lets him pass.

As they make their escape, Ziro whines again about the injustices of being in prison, and Bane, looking bad-ass as he stands on the back of a moving speeder, tries to cheer him up by setting off the bombs. As the explosives begin counting down, Anakin wakes up, takes his lightsaber from Padmé, and cuts a big hole through the meter-thick floor, dropping all the senators to safety as the bombs rip a hole in the mushroom dome above them. Driving off across Coruscant, Bane, in that awesomely evil voice, reminds Ziro about getting paid for the job.

What a way to finish the season! This solid episode delivered. Despite not having one major action scene (only a few short action scenes), the show balanced tension with the action to stay on edge. Two minor quibbles: Bail Organa’s voice just didn’t quite sound right to me – while we’re used to having difference voice actors than the film actors, Bail wasn’t as convincing to me as the more regularly used characters. Also, with the level of animated detail on Cad Bane and his crew, the animation felt a little skimped on for Padmé, and the Bettybot looked more like it fell out of Futurama than The Clone Wars. But this introduction to Cad Bane puts him up there with Shaft and Chigurh.

All in all, I give it: A+

15 thoughts on “The Clone Wars review: ‘Hostage Crisis’

  1. Clark

    I’ll repeat an earlier comment I made as this seems a better place for it:

    The finale rates 3.5 WTF?s for me. Anakin sets his saber down and now all of a sudden the best Force power he can come up with is mind tricks? He gets in a fistfight with a droid that lasts almost a minute? He can’t even sense someone sneaking up behind him? He and Obi fly through a 1.21 gigawatt power station in Episode 2 without blinking and now a taser knocks Ani out?

    ??????

    And the so-called [Dr Evil] lasers [/Dr Evil] trapping the Senators looked like it had plenty of room to wriggle under.

    The “power of teamwork (as you put it)” overlooks a foot-long metal tube in Padme’s sleeve while they find tiny communication devices. It seems to me that they succeeded only because everyone else had a case of the st00pids.

    Palpatine gave up pretty easy. I’m hoping that this is all one of Sidious’ machinations to foul the war up.

    Epic Meh.

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  2. Clark

    Perhaps Padme told them the lightsaber was actually her vibrator and like, could you not mention it ’cause that would be embarrassing with all these other senators standing here. Kthxbai.

    OK sorry, I’m done now.

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  3. Stooge

    Nice review! It really was one of the most stylish episodes yet, and it was nice to see Bane live up to the hype. (And Ziro is a riot!) Plus, this ep should silence complaints that the bad guys never win.

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  4. Chadd

    Meh.

    I was sorely disappointed with this episode. While it seems that my DVR cut off the first couple of mintues of this ep for me, I was sorely disappointed.

    Larger review in my LJ over here, but all in all, I saw too many instances where it was all but forgotten that Anakin is supposed to be this kick ass Jedi Knight, and yet he doesn’t use the Force for… anything?

    I like Cade; he’s pretty cool. It was also great to finally see Sing again, but thi ep was full of holes.

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  5. Gratchets

    Epic meh, definitely. Anakin acted like the ten year-old kid he was when Qui-gon found him — this is the result of how many years of training?

    Now we know why the Jedi failed – they forgot they had the force on their side. D’oh!

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  6. Dunc

    Don’t anyone fall out of their seat – I actually watched this one. It was only my second episode of the show, and I swear it was worse than my first. And my first had Jar Jar in it. So, umm… Yeah.

    I know they’re supposed to look like wood puppets, but the Anakin/Padme scene was so lacking any real connection between the characters that I have an all-new appreciation for Christensen and Portman. Plus, was totally expecting her to bust a hole in her sleeve with the saber by the end of the show. (Proper weapons handling: It’s not just for innuendo any more.) Add that to Anakin’s general dumbassitude and I’m once again shocked those two lived long enough to reproduce.

    Who holds a strategy meeting in the lobby, anyway? It’s not like their offices aren’t big enough. My DVR was skipping a bit, but did they ever explain why the building was deserted? In the middle of the day? Before an important vote? I know they went into lockdown but do you seriously expect me to believe the lobby and hallways of the Galactic Senate wouldn’t be bustling with aides and reporters? Not to mention the 50 billion other senators? If they can’t afford crowds, maybe they could have set it as a night vote… Probably not any more realistic, but at least a tad more believable.

    And the ending just seemed… abrupt.

    I know, it’s Star Wars and for kids and I’m thinking too much. I’m okay with not thinking too hard about a show – Hell, I usually come home Monday nights and watch Gossip Girl. But… Well. It’s right there.

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  7. Clark

    One more thing: Up side to this episode in two words: no Ahsoka.

    OK two: PLEASE in season two- More clonetroopers and other Jedi we haven’t seen. Leave Obi/Ani alone for a while.

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  8. Darthcbad

    All though entertaining, I thought the writers blew a perfect op to show Anakin go a little darkside or go a little force unleashed.

    He is alone in the senate building with no lightsaber and no Master Jedi to hold him back.

    Like previous posters have already pointed out where was the chosen one’s force powers. As Bane said ” Not so tough without your lightsaber”.

    Sing with a sniper rifle was pretty cool but isn’t she supposed to be a Dark Jedi, not some Duro’s version of Roland the gunslingers henchmen?

    I hope next season they will bring the Force powers back like the original animated series had. Please bring back the Anakin from the Clone Wars movie, the one that jumped and slashed from one giant spider droid to the next.

    Over all good first season . Looking forward to season two.

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  9. jawajames

    regarding Force powers: Anakin’s use or not use of the Force runs pretty standard with other episodes – Jedi not using the Force to the fullest – after all, several episodes back, Dooku, Anakin, and Obi-wan were chained together and never bothered to use the force to sense enemies, or even undo their bonds. Ultimately, in this series, Jedi just don’t think about using their powers all that much. but then again, the Jedi were stupid enough in ROTS to not know that Padme was carrying twins, and most of them got cut down by Order 66 – where’s the Force Unleashed there?

    re: the senate’s emptiness – this bugged me too. perhaps they don’t use the East wing much, and so it is a perfect place for a group of senators to hold a secret impromptu meeting.

    the episode was to showcase a new bad guy, and let him win.

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  10. Stooge

    James is right — we’re spoiled by video games re: crazy Force powers, but it’s clear from the movies (and this show) that using the Force was not an easy thing. Why else would Jedi have lightsabers? Even with the Force, they still needed a weapon. I loved how Anakin had to use his brain and his fists to get things done (the fight with the IG droid was great), and how he only relied on the Force in an emergency. Think of Obi-Wan versus Jango Fett, or Luke versus Jabba’s goons… this ep stayed very true to the movies in its depiction of Force-itude.

    And am I the only one who wasn’t bothered by the lack of Senators in the building? Yeah, it was probably due to production limitations — but who cares? What was on screen was tons of fun. Focusing on what should have been is… well, I was gonna say childish, but I have yet to hear any kids complain about the show the way we older fans do.

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  11. Dunc

    Stooge: I wasn’t so much focusing as it just jumped out on me. I’m not really the type to nitpick a show… If it entertains me.

    Or perhaps Avatar has ruined me for children’s TV forever. Not that I regret it in the least.

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  12. Darthcbad

    Jawajames I see what you are saying. But what a jedi should or should not know is different than here is the enemy and the best thing I can come up with is a mind trick.

    I just wanted to see more of the fall of Anakin So far the 1st season has shown little towards his turning. I don’t know how much you know about Anakin but he always used his powers to the fullest ,why the council never trusted him and why he was always at odds with most of the jedi order and code.

    Mace seemed to have plenty of force powers on tap for the third part of the Twilek triology and I seem to remember a Yoda-centric episode where yoda wiped out a whole platoon of tanks and droids (mostly with the force) and stopped Ventress dead in her tracks with a wave of his hand.

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  13. jawajames Post author

    and that is why Yoda and Mace are the masters – they seem to actually use the Force in battle, as opposed to using lightsabers. seriously, if one could knock over an entire platoon of attackers with the Force, why bother to slice up enemies one at a time? wait, it looks cool visually.

    As for seeing the fall of Anakin, i totally agree that it has been lacking in this season. As a kid’s show, Anakin is being billed as the wartime hero, so i’m not really sure that it will get much airtime period. The show is stuck in a trap here – we know what happens next to Anakin, but the show really can’t go there.

    Stooge: i liked the IG-droid vs Anakin as well – he does go a little Force-powered when he throws the droid against the wall for a second, but then finished off the job with a good old blunt object. Darthcbad: Maybe this is his “dark side journey” as he loses focus on going for the fast quiet emotionless kill and just bludgeons the droid to death, clearly giving into passion.

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  14. wee

    I really liked the last episode! Bane was awesome. He is my favourite bad guy right now. I hope they won`t kill him immediately at the beginning of the new season. (like almost every new and good character does). That would be really lame. Bane is very skilful and he got the right attitude. I wonder why there aren`t many other characters like Bane? Star Wars would be way more interesting when there are decent and tough fights between the good guys and bad guys. By the way, Zero the Hutt had to pay VERYYYYY much to Bane that he would release him. :D Seriously, I mean that i wouldn`t help Zero if there were less than nine zeros in my paycheck ^^ He is such a slimy and fat jackal :D and I hate his voice. It is like a whining teenager :D I hope that the clones kick his ass so bad when he was in jail. ^^ :D

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