Star Wars: The Clone Wars Review - Season 2, Episode 17: "Bounty Hunters"
(Image via StarWars.com)
By Chris "HothIcePlanet" Smith
Original Air Date:April 2, 2010
Key Players:Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka Tano, Sugi, Embo, Rumi Paramita, Serapis, Casiss, Dilanni, Hondo Ohnaka
Tagline:“Courage makes heroes, but trust builds friendship.”
Newsreel:The death toll rises! As the battles intensify, and threaten a growing number of Republic worlds, planets are left to survive on their own. While the Jedi struggle to fight a war on many fronts, a series of medical stations have been established as a lifeline for those in need, but the facilities are easy prey for Separatist attacks. After losing contact with the medical station orbiting Felucia, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano are sent to investigate…
The Story:Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka come out of hyperspace in their shuttle near Felucia. The Jedi are investigating the loss of contact with the medical station orbiting the planet. When they arrive, they quickly see the medical station is gone, but they their radar picks up a vulture droid deployment station, which deploys six vulture droids that pursue them immediately. Anakin tries to evade, but the shuttle is quickly hit with laser fire, sending them down to the surface. Having no choice, they prepare to eject. Anakin controls the ship long enough to get them near a large cliff rock, and they eject at the last possible moment. All six vulture droids follow the shuttle and crash straight into the cliff. Once the Jedi have ejected, they activate their spheroid survival capsules and bounce through the Felucian forest until they arrive safely on the ground.
Once on terra firma, Anakin and Obi-Wan disagree about which way they should go:
Anakin: “My instincts tell me to go that way.”Ahsoka then spots some smoke on the horizon and reasons there may be living beings in that direction. She heads off, forcing her Masters to follow her.
They arrive at a small village but see no people. This seems odd because they find a crop of nysillin that is ready to be harvested and also see tools lying around. They proceed to a barn and find a starship they feel doesn’t belong here. Anakin and Ahsoka check out one of the dwellings and find the villagers hiding in the cellar. As they try to talk them out of their hiding spot, four bounty hunters come up from behind, weapons in hand. Obi-Wan comes in behind the bounty hunters with lightsaber drawn. Right before anything can happen, a Felucian named Casiss interrupts them stating, “These are Jedi. We are saved.”
As night falls, the Jedi join the villagers and bounty hunters for dinner. Casiss explains that they have hired the bounty hunters to protect them from pirates who raid their crop every harvest. Casiss hopes the Jedi can help them drive the pirates away for good. Obi-Wan explains that they need a ship and couldn’t help even if they wanted to.
Outside, the Jedi convene by themselves to discuss what to do next. Ahsoka doesn’t understand why they can’t help. Obi-Wan explains they must report the destroyed medical station first; it is their priority. Obi-Wan is afraid the longer they remain on Felucia, the better chance the Separatists will find them their and cause more problems for the Felucians.
The pirates suddenly arrive, and Anakin and Obi-Wan are quite surprised to find out the pirates are led by Hondo Ohnaka, who acts as if he’s old friends with the Jedi. But it’s clear that Hondo is only there to collect his so called share of the crop. Hondo offers Sugi, the head of the bounty hunter group, money to walk away, but Sugi refuses to back out of her deal with the villagers. Obi-Wan tries to pay Hondo to transport them to the closest Republic outpost, but Hondo turns him down because Republic credits are no good to him. Before leaving, Hondo tells Casiss that he needs to hurry up and harvest his crops before things start dying on him.
Obi-Wan, Anakin and the bounty hunters study a hologram of the farm layout to discuss the tactics of defending the farm. An extremely worried farmer named Dilanni is panicking because he feels the four bounty hunters aren’t enough to help them. Anakin feels they should train the farmers to defend themselves.
The next morning the farmers harvest the crop and get it stored in the barn. Anakin begins training the farmers to use their farming pole tools as weapons. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan talks with Sugi about using the barn as a fallback position. Ahsoka is busy training some Felucians to use some sling shots as weapons. Serapis, a large metal robot bounty hunter, is close by cutting down some trees. As he cuts one down, it falls on him. He manages to catch it but can’t control it, and Ahsoka pushes him out from under it before he’s crushed. His armor slightly damaged, Serapis’ “head” opens, and Ahsoka sees he is actually a tiny, frail alien inside the robot armor.
The farmers continue practicing their training and start to get a little better. A pirate scout is watching them, but is spotted by Sugi. She sends Embo, another of the bounty hunters, after him. Embo catches up with him and after a brief fight, breaks his neck. Obi-Wan is now concerned that the scout can’t report back, causing Hondo and his men to come looking for him soon.
One of the Pirates reports to Hondo that the scout is long overdue for his report. Hondo decides it is time to attack. Back at the farm everyone gets into position as the pirates come in on speeders. As the speeders come into the village, Embo leaps onto one of them and shoots down another with amazing athletic skill. As the pirates continue to overrun the farm, three Felucians riding atop beasts charge them, knocking the bikers off their speeders using their poles as if in a jousting contest. As more bikers fly through the forest, some Felucians cut down trees, causing them to crash.
Serapis gets blasted by a biker, causing his armored suit to destruct. He leaps from his suit toward the biker flying by and lands on the biker’s head. Serapis takes his blaster and beats the biker in the head with it. The pirate grabs Serapis, but Serapis grabs the brake, sending the pirate flying.
Riding a repulsortank, Hondo starts firing down on the farm from a cliff above. He hits Embo, injuring him badly. Anakin uses the Force to leap up the cliff to take on Hondo, who wields an electro-staff. While Anakin and Hondo fight, Hondo’s monkey lizard proceeds to distract Anakin by driving the tank and firing, killing one of the bounty hunters in the process. Hondo’s monkey lizard then attacks Anakin, but Anakin kicks him away. Obi-Wan and the bounty hunters continue to fight off the pirates below, as Anakin finally bests Hondo and knocks him off the edge of the cliff. Hondo catches the edge of the cliff with his hands and pleads with Anakin to help him. Anakin helps him up. Seeing their leader in trouble, the rest of the pirates retreat as Hondo distracts Anakin with an explosion and escapes, declaring this is not profitable any more.
The day is won! Casiss thanks the Jedi for their help. Sugi offers the Jedi a ride off Felucia.
The Dish:Felucia has been a planet often referenced in Star Wars expanded universe properties since we saw a brief glimpse of it as the setting for Aayla Secura’s tragic death via Order 66 in “Revenge of the Sith”. With an amazing and vivid flora and fauna and some creatures lurking in the dark, it was only a matter of time before we got to visit the planet for an episode of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”.
The farming village on Felucia had some more great architecture from the ever expanding Star Wars universe. Interestingly, the dwellings were small, pod-like homes with lots of glass, which is not a design element you expect to see used on a farm. This is highlighted when we see a beautiful shot of these homes at night all lit up from the inside.
It was also really cool to see a brief shot of the jungle Rancors we have read about in “The Force Unleashed” novel and seen in the video game. It would have been neat to see the villagers somehow use the Rancors to their benefit later in the episode. Imagine seeing them forcing a pirate into a Rancor den where he becomes a snack!
With action galore and a fun use of the classic “Seven Samurai” plot archetype, the episode had a terrific pace and put the Jedi in another intriguing situation they have to bail themselves out of.
Once again, there’s some humorous banter early in the episode between Anakin and Obi-Wan. It’s always fun to see the writers capitalizing on a chance to deliver a lighter moment between these two characters. We are really getting to see Anakin and Obi-Wan do things as brothers now and not as Master and Padawan, making Obi-Wan’s lines as he battles Darth Vader at the end of “Revenge of the Sith” all the more meaningful.
The bounty hunters were another great band of characters for us to enjoy. In a cool role reversal, it’s certainly interesting to see bounty hunters portrayed as the “good guys” in an episode. Embo certainly stands out as a potential fan favorite. With his acrobatic assaults and the use of his hat as a shield, he inflicts some devastating damage to the pirates. He’s ruthless and tough… and we want to see more of him!
“The episode begins with an unusual title card, specifically mentioning Akira Kurosawa, an influential film director greatly admired by George Lucas. The original Star Wars was very much inspired by the works of Kurosawa, particularly the 1958 movie The Hidden Fortress. Another Clone Wars episode, "Lightsaber Lost," is a nod to Kurosawa's work -- the 1949 film, Stray Dog. "Bounty Hunters" is the clearest tribute yet to Kurosawa, and his legendary movie The Seven Samurai. Its tale of a beleaguered village hiring mercenaries for protection against brigands has inspired a host of movies -- most famously the American remake, The Magnificent Seven, as well as comedies like ¡Three Amigos! and A Bug's Life. An early storyline in the Star Wars Marvel Comics series in 1978-1979 has a similar story, with Han Solo leading a group of hired guns to protect a village threatened by bandits.”
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