Whether it be rushed, disjointed plotting that undoes itself at the final turn, or a bizzare existential crisis that lasts far too long, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is not without its low spots.
Every Star Wars fan worth his/her salt knows how great of a show Star Wars: The Clone Wars is. Countless articles have been published throughout the web (including this site itself) praising the series and it’s character development, world-building and stunning animation.
Of course, since I love to play devil’s advocate, I feel like I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss the third of the show no one talks about: the boring, patronizing, and, quite frankly bizzare episodes that most people either forget about or pretend to ignore. After all, it’s a series chock full of episodes (over 120, in fact), and while there are many gems, it’s practically inevitable that there’d be quite a few cracks along the way, plus an additional handful that fall flat due to their experimental nature.
More from Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- Celebrating 20 years of Asajj Ventress
- 5 times Star Wars turned into a zombie horror movie
- General Grievous’ terror unmatched in Genndy Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars
- The Clone Wars saved Padmé Amidala
- Theory: Is Peridea actually the planet of Mortis?
So, without further ado, I present to you some of the worst episodes of a critically acclaimed and Emmy award-winning show.
Season 3 Episode 5
The first half of the show’s third season has garnered pretty mixed reception, relative to the show at least, but watching episodes like this make it pretty clear why.
We get to see Duchess Satine for the first time since Season 2, and she teams up with Padme to stop “corruption.” Not Death Watch, the group that lends itself to far better episodes, but instead an attempt to stop people from poisoning tea.
Oh, and the word “corruption” can only come up so many times in the span of a single episode.
Pursuit of Peace
Season 3 Episode 11
"What is it about Star Wars that so easily captures the imagination of the young and the young at heart? Is it the talk of deregulation? The discussion of excessive interest rates on loans? Perhaps it’s the look at how social structures are affected by conflict, and how water, power and health care are all taken away when funds are diverted towards increasing… Wait, what am I saying? And what is going on with this show?"
Trade negotiations and incomprehensible politics are a staple of Star Wars prequel criticism, and they tagged along when this show came along. Nowhere is it more apparent than in Pursuit of Peace, an episode that came off the heels of the genuinely well-written Heroes on Both Sides, which granted both the audience and Ahsoka an avenue into a more nuanced reading of the war we were witnessing. Pursuit of Peace, on the other hand, felt like the authors were treading water through the use of prequel-esque political conversations.
Season 4 Episode 4
Also known as the infamous episode where Grievous is defeated by Gungans, Shadow Warrior is not only far too rushed to make a decent impression, but also heavily features Jar Jar Binks.
Additionally, because very few dramatic consequences can happen to the main characters (thanks to the existence of the films), everything worth note is reverted back to the status quo by the end of the episode. Grevious and Anakin are both captured, and then promptly released. The Gungans obviously aren’t going to join the Separatists, nor is Jar Jar ever in any real danger from Grievous. Even during the prisoner trade at the end, Anakin doesn’t get to meet Grevious, because of a throwaway line in Episode III.
A Sunny Day in the Void
Season 5 Episode 11
This episode falls short as a consequence of the show’s (and, by extension, George Lucas’s) compulsive need to experiment and try new things. The show’s anthology format is great and all, but 20 minutes of droids wandering around the desert (and having an existential crisis along the way) is the sort of episode that is often skipped, and deservedly so.
According to Brent Friedman, the writer who spearheaded this episode, A Sunny Day in the Void was deliberately intended to be an episode about nothing:
"[George Lucas] said, “I want it to be an episode about nothing. I want it to be droids kind of lost in this nothingness, and I want to have the whole thing be an existential crisis.”So, on one hand, everyone was excited (different – that’s great); on the other hand, everyone said, ‘well, how do you write 22 minutes of nothing with droids, most of whom can’t speak?’"
So, while I applaud the surprisingly decent execution, the problem lies with the deliberately absurdist premise. I admire the abstract nature of episodes like this (and others such as Evil Plans or Nomad Droids), something gets lost when you decide to make it 22 minutes long, and spend most of it on the two speaking characters moping endlessly.
What are some other dreary episodes in this otherwise fantastic series that I may have forgotten? Or did you enjoy the episodes I mentioned? Make sure to share your input with me down below in the comment section.