Star Wars: The Clone Wars Review - Season 2, Episode 6 - Weapons Factory
(Image via StarWars.com)
By Chris "HothIcePlanet" Smith
Original Air Date:November 13, 2009
Key Players:Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker, Luminara Unduli, Barriss Offee, Poggle the Lesser and TX-21
Tagline:“No gift is more precious than trust.”
Newsreel:The final surge. Having learned of warlord Poggle the Lesser’s plot to rebuild a Separatist druid foundry on Geonosis, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and his Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, prepare to assault this heavily-fortified installation. Their mission: destroy the factory at all costs. Anticipating stiff resistance, Republic commanders send Jedi Master Luminara Unduli and her Padawan, Barriss Offee, to reinforce the attack. But time runs short for our intrepid heroes as the dreaded droid mill nears completion…
Story:The central plot of this episode revolves around Luminara, Anakin, Ahsoka and her Padawan, Barriss Offee, attempting to destroy a Separatist droid factory on Geonosis. The episode begins with Luminara and Barriss arriving on a Republic gunship to join Anakin and Ahsoka, who are already on the ground preparing for the assault. Ahsoka is attempting to give the clones a briefing, but Anakin keeps cutting her off and finishing her sentences for her. Once the briefing is over and the troops are dismissed, Ahsoka and Anakin argue about Anakin cutting her off during “her” briefing, and it’s clear that Ahsoka feels Anakin does not trust her to get the job done right.
Having landed, Luminara and Barriss arrive to see Anakin and Ahsoka still arguing. In a brief aside, Luminara informs Barriss that Anakin and Ahsoka have an unconventional Master /Padawan relationship; they play it loose with the rules and regulations. Barriss bows and formally introduces herself to Ahsoka, who clearly finds the formality strange. Ahsoka informally reaches out and shakes hands to introduce herself.
Moments later, the four Jedi stand over a hologram of the Separatist factory, deciding on a plan of assault. Luminara suggests the best way in is through the back door so to speak. That would entail using the catacombs from below the factory and blowing it up from the inside. Luminara tells Anakin she has instructed her Padawan to memorize the entire floor plan of the underground catacombs. Luminara then suggests that she and Anakin create a diversion by assaulting the factory outside, while the two Padawans sneak in through the catacombs and set charges to blow up the factory. Anakin doesn’t like this idea because he feels Ahsoka is not ready for this dangerous an assignment. Ahsoka re-assures him that she can do the job. Anakin is forced to relent, and Luminara equips the team with synchronized chronometers for communication.
Barriss leads Ahsoka off in the direction of the catacombs. Luminara tries to discuss with Anakin his feelings about this mission and his Padawan, but Anakin doesn’t want any part of it. He heads back to the hologram to decide their first step on the above ground assault.
Inside the factory, Poggle the Lesser and TX-21 are discussing their plan for defense against the Republic assault. They send an army of battle droids and super battle droids right out the front gate of the factory, preparing to meet the frontal assault. Once they draw in the Republic, the Geonosians attack from above.
Meanwhile, Barriss and Ahsoka cut their way into the catacombs through a wall in the side of the cliff. Once inside, Barriss leads the way as Ahsoka follows and watches their backs. As they progress through the labyrinth of tunnels, they realize the catacombs are a nest filled with sleeping Geonosians. At one turn, Barriss seems lost and can’t remember the way, but she recovers and leads them forward.
Back outside, the battle rages on, and it appears as if the Republic is winning. But that’s when the Separatists send out their secret weapon - experimental super tanks with ray-sheilded armor. The clone cannons have no affect on these tanks at all.
Barriss and Ahsoka finally find their way to the main reactor, but they don’t realize they have been followed. After they set the explosive charges on the reactor, the Separatist leaders show up armed and with a ray-shielded tank. The two Padawans try fighting off the Geonosians, but cannot stop the winged creatures from collecting the charges. Once they have the bombs, the Geonosians retreat while leaving the tank behind.
Outside, Anakin, Luminara and the clones are getting pummeled by the tanks. Thinking quickly, the Jedi set charges under the single bridge which leads to the front of the factory. As it blows sky high, it sends the ray-shielded tanks tumbling down into the crevasse below.
Back inside, Barriss and Ahsoka have no charges and are cornered by the tank. They quickly hijack the tank and decide to use it blow up the reactor. They realize this is their only chance to complete their mission, but most likely they won’t survive the explosion. Ahsoka contacts Anakin on the comm, tells him they can’t make it out and then activates the explosion before Anakin can respond.
After the explosion destroys the factory Anakin tries to contact Ahsoka, but gets no answer. Anakin wants to start searching for the Padawans, but Luminara feels it is too late. Anakin ignores her and orders Captain Rex to start the search.
Inside the hijacked tank, Barriss and Ahsoka are buried under a mountain of rubble but are alive. Using pure ingenuity, Ahsoka works on a make-shift comm and sends a signal to Anakin. Once Anakin realizes where they are, he and Luminara use the Force to move the rubble away, and the Padawans are brought to safety. Anakin and Luminara congratulate the Padawans on a job well done, and Luminara tells Ahsoka that her Master never lost faith in her.
The Dish:This episode is well plotted but does not stand out in the series. It does introduce the character of Barriss Offee in a meaningful way. We had previously merely glimpsed her in an episode of the Clone Wars micro-series set on Illum.
The episode does afford us a better look at the differences between Master and Padawan teams. As we have followed Anakin and Ahsoka for so long, it’s enlightening to see them in contrast to Luminara and Barriss. Clearly, the traditional relationship between Luminara and Barriss brings into focus just how unique Anakin and Ahsoka’s relationship is and reinforces why Ahsoka is so head strong and independent. Yet it also clearly shows some of Anakin’s limitations as a young Master.
The episode goes to significant lengths to stress the importance for a Jedi Master to “let go” of their emotional attachment to their Padawan (emotional attachment of course looms as a recurring theme in Anakin’s life), but Luminara’s character seems to “give up” too quickly on finding the Padawans when they are buried in the rubble. There’s one thing about not being overly attached, but simply and quickly abandoning hope seems unfeeling and certainly seems at odds with the Jedi way. Her rush to detachment unfortunately obfuscates the point of the episode for us as an audience. We aren’t left with a feeling that Anakin’s too attached; instead, we feel she’s not attached enough.
The battle sequences in this episode were also somewhat limited. It was certainly cool to see the Separatists employing new, secret weapons on the Republic. But the cross-cutting nature of the episode certainly limited the action sequences from reaching a fever pitch.
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