“When destiny calls, the chosen have no choice.”
Jose Molina pens the season four opener that debuted on 16 September, 2011. Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) and Senator Padme Amidala (Catherine Taber) head to the planet of Mon Calamari which is on the brink of civil war between the native Mon Cals and the Quarren.
The Republic ends up siding with the Mon Cal, while a Separatist, Riff Tamson (Gary Anthony Williams) convinces the Quarren to align with their side. And the conflict has now arrived to the waters of their home world.
Captain Ackbar (Artt Butler) makes a welcome appearance joining in the series continuity, having been the representative who reached out to the Republic while the Quarren reached out to the shark-headed Tamson.
And as war begins to boil the oceans,the Republic decides to send more forces to help the Mon Calamari. We get a large action-packed undersea battle that puts the climax of Thunderball to shame, and shows off Jedi Master Kit Fisto (Phil LaMarr). It also shows what a great leader Ackbar is by throwing his support to a young prince who needs his help.
The season opens strong, carrying on the momentum from the previous season, as it expands characters, stories, and events that layer out that galaxy far, far away. It ends with our heroes having to take cover before overwhelming forces.
“Only through fire is a strong sword forged.”
Molina also penned the follow-up episode that aired on the same date as the premiere for a two-punch hit into the fourth season.
While the Mon Calamari and the Jedi forces hide out from the Separatist-backed Quarren army (or is it navy if they are underwater?) the Jedi Council elects to send more reinforcements, calling on the Gungans of Naboo to join the fight.
They are led by Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best).
Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein) joined the battle when Fisto arrived, but Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor) is barely glimpsed in the episode. Still, it’s nice to see other Jedi at work, and the story is pretty engaging… but you know… Jar Jar.
I love the look of these two episodes, and the underwater sequences are brought to life very nicely, bringing the Mon Calamari planet to life in a way we hadn’t seen to date.
The themes, always hinted at by the episode’s opening text, are relevant and educational, but the series couches them in prime Star Wars entertainment.
“Crowns are inherited, kingdoms are earned.”
The third part of the Mon Calamari arc was also written by Molina, and aired on 23 September, 2011.
With the rest of the Republic forces captured (or killed) Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano, and Prince Lee-Char (Adam McArthur)must find a way to rescue their friends and allied forces, while Riff begins to cement his rule on the planet for the Separatists.
There’s also a fun nod to Raiders of the Lost Ark in a piece of Fisto’s dialogue which makes me smile every time I hear it.
I do like the fact that the series is willing to take its time with stories that it wants to tell, spacing this out over three episodes instead of wrapping up all the threads in one. That and the fact that characters and events influence what has come before and after.
The Clone Wars is a well plotted series that adds wonderfully to the canon, and allows for new adventures for those yet to discover it.
The fight continues next week in a galaxy far, far away as I journey through season four. May the Force be with you…