The Clone Wars review: ‘Holocron Heist’ & ‘Cargo of Doom’

Hey kids! It's CAD BANE!

Welcome back to another exciting season of The Cad Bane Show!  The self-appointed breakout character is the clear focus of the Season 2 opener, and if Cartoon Network’s promos are any indication, we haven’t seen the last of him.  So I hope you like the blue dude with the rude ‘tude, since it looks like he’s the main attraction for the next year or so.

‘Holocron Heist’ starts on Felucia, the planet of pollen, with the Republic in retreat (a nice change of pace) and Ahsoka not listening to orders (same ol’, same ol’).  The Jedi and clones just barely escape with their lives, Ahsoka feels bad for screwing up, yada yada yada.  It’s not that the drama isn’t done well, it’s just that it’s been done before.  The difference this time around is that Ahsoka gets punished, by no less than the entire Jedi Council!  Her slap on the wrist is to work in the Jedi Archives and protect the precious holocrons, because apparently Leland Chee had the day off.

At least Jocasta Nu was around, and thank goodness, since there’s nothing like an old biddy to ratchet up the excitement.  Master Nu even gives Ahsoka (and us) a mini-tour of the Archives, which was, um, riveting?  Maybe for some, but my eyes kept wandering around the screen, looking for a “Read, and the Force will be with you” poster.  At least the Archives had the requisite Forbidden Section, where they store the holocrons, as well as copies of Catcher in the Rye and Doctor Zhivago.  Badumcha!

So we get a bunch of exposition about what goes on in the library and, wouldn’t ya know it, the next scene has Cad Bane plotting to steal a holocron.  Bane (or “Cad,” to his friends… only he ain’t got no friends) gets an iconic first shot, draped in shadows from his venetian blinds and chewing on a toothpick.  A toothpick!  It’s such over-the-top badassery that it actually works – I couldn’t help but laugh (in a good way) at the sheer coolness of the image.

"So you want a realistic down-to-earth show that's completely off the wall and swarming with magic robots?"

From then on, the action picks up, and the episode goes downhill.  In just his second appearance, Cad Bane struck me as awfully repetitive.  The scenes of him sneaking around the Jedi Temple seemed like his sneaking around the Senate in last season’s finale, and Bane’s sarcastic little droid reminded me of General Grievous’ sarcastic little droid.  Lucky for him, all of the Jedi appear to be sleepwalking, except for Obi-Wan and Anakin, who run around like third graders on recess, and Ahsoka, who has some nice moves during an unexpected lightsaber duel.  Otherwise, Yoda spouts off a couple of ominous prophesies, while the rest of the Order (and they’re all there) stand around doing nothing.  When Bane finally makes a break for it, I thought of Principal Skinner’s famous line: “He’s very slowly getting away!”

Thankfully, it was a two-part premiere, and the second ep has a few more surprises than the first.  ‘Cargo of Doom’ (love the title!) deals with Anakin and Ahsoka’s attempts to retrieve the stolen data plans holocron.  They’re paired once again with Admiral Pornstache, who plays Mr. Wilson to Anakin’s Dennis the Menace, poo-pooing every idea Ani comes up with.  When did this guy become such a Negative Nelly?  Is he upset over his figure being a perennial peg-warmer?  R2-D2’s also back, doing whatever it is the script needs for him to do.  Artoo, open the airlock!  Artoo, turn on a flashlight!  Artoo, order a pizza!

All of those folks are just window dressing, though.  The real star, once again, is Cad Bane, and now that he’s on the run from the law, he’s much more compelling.  As the Jedi close in on him, he becomes risky and improvisational… at one point, he brilliantly switches off the ship’s gravity, causing his opponents to move in slow-motion, as if they’re suddenly trapped in a Michael Mann film.  He’s also a whole lot deadlier, especially during a delightfully cold scene in which he electro-shocks a prisoner, then hardly reacts when the captive drops dead.  Nor does Bane blink during the terrific final showdown.  Can’t read his, can’t read his, no they can’t read his poker face.

Still, moxie only goes so far, and Cad Bane’s cooler-than-thou shtick is already wearing a bit thin.  Bane works as an embattled character, but when he’s on the offensive, with unlimited resources, he’s just not very interesting.  But hey, I wasn’t a fan of the clones until halfway through season 1, and maybe there are shades to Cad Bane that have yet to be revealed.  Here’s hoping.

Holocron Heist: C+
Cargo of Doom: B

5 Replies to “The Clone Wars review: ‘Holocron Heist’ & ‘Cargo of Doom’”

  1. I had the same feelings as you. I hope Cad Bane gets more interesting, at some point, or it’s going to be a loooonng season.

  2. “They’re paired once again with Admiral Pornstache, who plays Mr. Wilson to Anakin’s Dennis the Menace, poo-pooing every idea Ani comes up with.”

    So true, and oh-so-hilarious.

    “Nor does Bane blink during the terrific final showdown. Can’t read his, can’t read his, no they can’t read his poker face.”

    Love. It. xD

  3. Oh, and I believe that is Seth Green voicing the tiny droid following Bane…

  4. My main gripe with Holocron Heist is something that the show frequently does — have the Jedi forget to use their Force powers to sense their surroundings. Yoda gets a Force-powered intruder alert, and rather than use the Force to pinpoint where the intruders are, they rely on the security computers, and get misled by a hole cut open as a diversion, and Ahsoka and Jocasta don’t sense the impostor…

    Same thing with Cad Bane’s escape in Cargo of Doom… while it seems cool from a story perspective, wouldn’t two Jedi sense that one of their clone troopers in the shuttle doesn’t feel like a human clone at all. Maybe it is arrogance on the part of the Jedi that tells them not to use the Force to ascertain things.

    One thing I really liked with Holocron Heist was the battle on Felucia – the animation was really solid, with even a camera shudder as explosions hit.. giving it the docu-feel.

    and when will battle droids learn that shooting at Jedi with lightsabers is suicidal unless you gang up and fire in coordinated volleys.

    and Stooge’s right on Yularen: he turned into quite the nervous nelly here. maybe they’re taking lost and damaged equipment out of his paycheck. nice reviews!

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