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Monday, January 7, 2013

REVIEW: Star Wars The Clone Wars 5.12 - "Missing In Action"

By Dave Bouressa

Well, ladies and gentlemen, they did it. Lucasfilm has officially aired it's 100th episode of Star Wars The Clone Wars. And how was? Eh, it was ok. 

Now before I have legions of angry clone fans after my head, let me explain, I genuinely did really enjoy this episode. But the entire plot of the episode can be summed up in literally two sentences.

"Meebur Gascon and his team of droids run across a Clone who is an amnesia induced Republic Commando. After learning a little bit about himself, he regains his memory and helps the team off Abafar."

And that's it. 

Let me get into the arc a little bit. This is the third episode of the "Droids Arc", which has had it's ups and downs in a season that has remained fairly constant in the higher mark area. This arc introduces the character of Meebur Gascon-a Republic Colonel with a bit of a napoleon complex. He is leading a group of droids (4 astro mechs and a pit droid) on a mission to capture a decryption module to uncover a Separatist transmission. The group eventually captures the module, but on the way back to Coruscant, they encounter an asteroid storm and crash land on a planet called Abafar. After walking aimlessly through a desert known as "The Void", they run into a small town, and this is where this episode picks up from.

The town itself is very much similar to Mos Eisely on Tatooine, prompting a qoute from WAC, the pit droid, "I have never been to Tatooine, but if this place reminds you of it, R2, remind me never to go there". The town is full of interesting characters, from a tobacco spitting Aqualesh, to a knife wielding Alleen, to even a nod to Kenner's "Walrus Man" action figure. And among the group of miscreants-a Clone Trooper, much to Gascon's surprise.

Enter Gregor. This clone lost his memory in a crash landing on Abafar and is working in a diner owned by the man who rescued him-who secretly knows Gregor's true identity. I loved Gregor as a character, I simply wish that we would have gotten a little more depth to his character and spent a little more time with him before they "killed" him off. Now, regarding his "death", as soon as I saw the explosion, I knew that he was not dead for several reasons.

1) Star Wars has proven time and time again that unless you see a death on screen, that death is always in question. And even if you do see it, somehow they could still come back.

2) Republic Commando armor is made from super strong material-much stronger than typical clone armor, and it could easily take that kind of damage.

3) During the episode, they were heavily hinting at Gregor returning. "I'll make my way home! I promise!"

4) They would not bring a Commando (which is like catnip for Star Wars fans) into just one episode and then kill him off.

Edit: During the episode commentary on, Filoni himself stated, "I'd bet my money on Gregor surviving that". 

There were so many parts of the episode I thoroughly enjoyed. First of all, like many people, I love Republic Commandos, and to see one in action on screen again was a blast to watch. For those of you who don't know, Republic Commandos were created for a Star Wars video game back in 2003, and if there's one thing that Filoni has made clear, it's that he loves that game. When we were first introduced to Commandos in the show, we were given just a brief cameo of Delta Squad-the main team of the video game.

But this week, we got a brand new Commando. However, that does not take away from the nostalgia of the game-especially with shots like this.

A fairly accurate recreation of the Commando HUD (Heads Up Display) from the game!

Regarding the ending escape, I found it very much like a third person shooter. Gun-wiedling hero hopping from crate to crate for cover, enemies all around, explosive barrels, etc. However, the team behind Clone Wars pulled a risky move. When you have tension in a scene, adding comedy to it can be a serious gamble. It can either lighten up tension and give a much needed sense of "breath", or it can be a complete tension killer. In this case, it worked perfectly. As BZ (with Gascon inside) is injured during an explosion and his knocked over, Gascon over-dramatically tells WAC, "Go on with out me! Save yourself!", with WAC almost enthusiastically responding with "OK!" and running off. This was perhaps my favorite moment of the episode, because it completely explains the relationship between Gascon and WAC. Throughout these 3 episodes, there was a hint of an "almost" friendship between the two, but they have never really seen eye-to-eye (Get it? It's a pun. Because WAC has 1 eye and Gascon is a foot tall and shorter than everyone else? Eh? Oh forget it).

My only questions with the episode: Why was there a Republic Cruiser over the planet? The entire reason the team had no idea where they were was because Abafar was not on any maps. It seems very strange that there was conveniently a cruiser there (with no real explanation of why). Was that Republic shuttle belonging to Gregor? It seemed in pretty good condition to have "crashed". Were the droids planning on putting explosives on the shuttle, sending it up to the cruiser and blowing it up? I'm pretty sure that would do minimal damage. The plot convenience fairy strikes again! 

As a super special 100th episode event, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit underwhelmed and just a smidge disappointed, but throughout it all, it was an enjoyable episode, and I hope to see Gregor again very soon.

Now, on to Darth Maul!!!


  1. Nice review, Dave! Had this been the last episode in the arc the Cruiser indeed would have been a plot contrivance. Instead, as next week's final installment will show, the Cruiser is actually a serious plot complication for our intrepid D-Squad. A complication that brings the arc full circle, right back to the very point of the Separatist encryption module. Hope you enjoy...

    Brent Friedman