Season 4 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars started off, eh.
The first few episodes featured an underwater battle between the Mon Calamari and the Separatists droid army, which though featured a younger Ackbar, also featured an annoying prince and was drug out for far too long.
To make matters worse, the arc also features Gungans; who also get a stand alone episode after the arc, called "Shadow Warrior" where the Gungans try to assist in the capture of General Grievous. The biggest impact here was the death of Capt. Roos Tarpals and really, who's going to miss him?
Whiny prince, too many Gungans, you'd had to believe the season was going to get better going into episode 6. Well you'd be wrong. Episodes 6 and 7 featured C-3PO and R2-D2 and was just a waste of 2 episodes. This early in the season there was no reason for what we would call filler episodes. There was no impact whatsoever on the story, it didn't build the characters, didn't effect the war, only thing these episodes accomplished was wasting an hour of each viewer's time.
Season 4 does a complete 180 for episodes 7 thru 10 however. General Skywalker is called back to Coruscant and General Krell is sent in to replace him as commander of the 501st on their mission to take back Umbara. Krell unlike Skywalker keeps himself from attachments and in doing so doesn't like to call the clones under his command by their names but rather their assigned numbers, and lives by the tactic that clones are simply replaceable so they always take the direct routes through battlefields, often walking into ambushes, and therefore suffering great loses in numbers.
The Krell arc is a very powerful one. We see a different treatment of the clones, clones disobeying orders, clones killing clones, and a Jedi prepared to turn his back on the Republic that he serves. It was nice to see what happens when clone troopers are faced with difficult decisions and show that they can actually make decisions for themselves, no matter what the consequences.
The next episodes focused around an entire planet, Kiros, having it's people kidnapped by the Separatists. Our heroes Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Ahsoka Tano must now discover what happened to them. The trail leads back to Zygerrian slavers, which causes Anakin to become very angry; having grown up as a slave of course he would hold some hatred towards any slavers; does actually help develop his character as he takes another step on his path to the dark side.
Episode 14 features the return of Death Watch. That's something to be excited about right? Right?!?! Well sure, if it wasn't for the fact that they have their plans foiled and their entire camp destroyed by Ahsoka, R2-D2, and Lux Bonteri it might have been. Seriously a camp full of Mandalorians can't take two teenagers and a droid?
Episodes 15 thru 18 revolve around a plot to kidnap Chancellor Palpatine. To root out this plot Obi-Wan must first "die", change places with Rako Hardeen (his killer), get himself sent to prison, break out of prison with Cad Bane (which happens via a riot started by Boba Fett attacking Obi-Wan), convince Bane to bring him in on his plan to kidnap Palpatine, fight off Anakin and Ahsoka, survive the trials of the Box, play through the whole kidnapping and keep Masters Yoda and Windu in the loop about everything. Next to the Krell arc this was a very bright spot for the season.
One thing of note in Episode 15 "Deception" when Obi-Wan first checks in with the Jedi Council after getting sent to prison, he starts his communication by saying "This is Ben." Many wonder if this was simply a mistake or Obi-Wan knowing that it'd be safer for him to be using a different name if he got caught; fore being Ben is better than being Obi-Wan while in prison.
In "Massacre" (episode 19), we find ourselves rooting for the "bad guys"; kinda don't have a choice because in one corner we have Dooku and his droids, while in the other we have Ventress and the Nightsisters of Dathomir. Now getting passed the simple fact that Dooku could have simply bombarded the planet from space, thus successfully getting his revenge, the episode does feature a really good fight between the Nightsisters and the droids. The episode also features General Grievous, and what can be classified as "Zombie" Nightsisters. Though Dooku succeeds in destroying the Nightsisters, both Mother Talzin and Ventress manage to escape.
An episode later Ventress is back into action. In "Bounty" Ventress finds herself being forced by Bossk into replacing the bounty hunter she disposes of in a cantina, who was part of a team led by none other than Boba Fett, hired to protect a very valuable piece of merchandise. After the mission goes awry Ventress finds herself alone with Fett, their valuable piece of merchandise, and a man trying to "steal" said merchandise; only here do we get to see how much Ventress has developed, now no longer just looked at as a heartless witch, but someone who can do the right thing at the right time. This is also the first time in The Clone Wars that we are introduced to a younger, slimer Dengar.
Finally we reach the end of the season, episodes 21 (Brothers) and 22 (Revenge), the highly anticipated return of Savage Opress and Darth Maul. Yep, that's right, Darth Maul returned in the Clone Wars. Why should getting cut in half and falling down a long shaft stop anyone right? So Savage's search for his brother finally ends with him finding him, however the Maul we all knew and loved has been turned into a half metallic spider creature and is nothing more than a babbling idiot making no sense whatsoever.
Savage returns Maul to Dathomir and Mother Talzin reappears to help "cure" Maul. After her ritual is complete Maul's spider half has been replaced by droid legs and he no longer babbles incoherently but is back to his old self and knows that all he wants is to seek revenge on Kenobi.
After slaughtering many innocent civilians Maul has finally gotten Kenobi to come him, where he and Savage has set a trap. At the end of Revenge we get the thrill of a great lightsaber fight involving Savage and Maul squaring off against Kenobi and his unlikely savior Ventress. Ventress and Kenobi manage to escape leaving Maul and Savage drifting in space.
End of season 4.
It had it's ups and many downs, but over all out of a 5 star system this season of The Clone Wars rakes in a 4. Mainly because unlike the three previous seasons, this one doesn't jump all over the timeline, everything moves in one nice straight forward motion, no jumping here and this episode needing to go back two seasons, just straight through. A nice change of pace for once.
So what are your thoughts on season 4 of The Clone Wars? Did you like this season, hate it, was there something you'd have changed, and what do you hope to see in season 5? Let us know in the comments section below.