Saturday, December 1, 2012

Clone Wars Review: "Secret Weapons"


By Chris Seekell

This episode started off with a unique blue intro logo, similar to the red logos used for episodes that contain Darth Maul, but it wasn't just the logo that was fresh. Personally, I like episodes that are outside of the box, and explore the galaxy from new angles, rather than the repetitive monotony of politics and war every week. This episode was certainly that.

The first thing that stuck me about Secret Weapons, was that the main theme was humor. There has been a good deal of attempted humor in the Clone Wars series at the expense of battle droids and Jar Jar, but for me it's hit or miss. The occasional witty banter between Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Ahsoka, the rare fun Clone like Hardcase, and the well done R2 episodes are the only bright spots for me in this area. But this episode was on par with all of these things. It was genuinely funny. Sometimes humor in a story dominated by dark themes can be out of place, but Secret Weapons established itself early on with the outlandish portrayals of two new characters, the over-eager pit droid WAC-47, and equally flawed Colonel Meebur Gascon.

I found both of these characters very well done and entertaining to watch. WAC's personality completely dominated this episode. I was very impressed to see how he was portrayed so strongly through hundreds of unique mannerisms. Colonel Gascon also exhibited strong animation, and even stronger voice acting by the talented Stephen Stanton. While WAC may have called Gascon "Corporal" one too many times, for the most part I really enjoyed the banter between these two.

The supporting cast was also well fleshed out. Dee Bradley Baker was absolutely ingenious with the "mad scientist" Dr. Gubacher. I could not believe the sick yet fascinating aura of this character. It was overdone, yet in a captivating way that drew me right into the scene. R2 was his usual brilliant self, and the other droids, the pink QT-KT, trigger happy U9-C4, and poor, brainless M5-BZ were all fantastic, with each having their own little personality.

In addition to the great dialog and zany antics, one thing that really impressed me about this episode, was the journey that the two main characters went on. Both starting out neurotic and in opposition to each other, WAC and the Colonel learned to work together by the end. This is something that I feel many Clone Wars episodes have been lacking lately, a strong character plot.

Another thing that I found unique about Secret Weapons, was the perspective of the entire episode. Everything was viewed from low and creative angles, like the camera was a droid itself. Even though by this show's lofty standers the action was tame, it seemed so much more intense due to the perspective. The action simply felt bigger. The final climax was brilliantly choreographed, and worked to both move along the story plot and character development. The triumph by WAC and the Colonel both came about through them working through their respective flaws.

It was interesting to see another Super Tactical Droid, Auto-O in this episode. His voice was low and menacing. Perhaps it would have been a better victory by the droids if he was seen causing more damage earlier in the episode, but nonetheless his character was fun to listen to. The droid on droid humor between Republic droids and battle droids was hilarious as well. The villains were portrayed in an almost fully comical light, something fresh in this show.

In conclusion Secret Weapons was the definition of a Saturday morning cartoon. The characters were unique and went on satisfying personal journeys, the humor was perfect, the music backed up the theme very well, and the action was uniquely impactful. The scene towards the end with R2 not wanting to leave a droid behind was touching, and really personified these characters. And how cool was it to see a quick cameo from Commander Neyo? I cannot wait for the next chapter in this arc.


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