“Great Leaders Inspire Greatness in Others”
Original air date: October 3rd, 2008
In the first regular episode of The Clone Wars, Jedi Master Yoda travels to a distant moon to negotiate with King Katuunko, the ruler of Toydaria. The Republic is hoping to build a base in their territory to help in the ongoing war. Before Yoda’s arrival however, the king is met by Asajj Ventress, assassin (and secret apprentice) of Count Dooku, leader of the Separatists. Dooku, appearing by hologram, wishes for Toydaria to join the Separatist Alliance, arguing that his droid armies could protect the system far better than any army of clones and Jedi could.
To prove his point, Yoda’s ship is ambushed by Separatist warships and the Jedi barely escapes to the surface with his clone escort: Lieutenant Thire, Jek and Rys. Seeing that Yoda survived, Ventress proposes a deal: she and her forces will face off against Yoda and the clones. If Yoda makes it to the king’s location, then Toydaria can join the Republic. But if Ventress succeeds in stopping Yoda, then the king should consider joining Dooku.
Now, given that this is Yoda we are talking about, you know how this is going to go. That being said, the show writers do a great job of creating tension and teasing the idea that maybe Yoda won’t make it as Ventress sends wave after wave of battle droids to take him and the clones down. The Yoda we see during these fights is a combination of the serious Jedi Master seen in the prequel films and the mischievous figure originally seen in The Empire Strikes Back. A funny moment comes when Yoda engages a squad of battle droids in tanks. Yoda slices his way into the tank from below and hilarity ensues as the tank begins violently shaking from within. Two droids come running out yelling “run for your lives!” before being dragged back in with the Force only to be thrown back out as parts seconds later.
A highlight of this episode comes when Yoda sits to talk with the clones while they briefly rest. While the clones argue that they’re all the same, Yoda insists that they are not, as they all have different presences in the Force. The Jedi Master tells each clone what is special and unique to them, emphasizing the need to work together as a unit. It’s a touching moment made slightly bitter when you remember that eventually Order 66 is coming.
Ventress observes the fight from afar with King Katuunko, who points out every now and then that Yoda and the clones are doing exceptionally well given how outnumbered they are. Originally presenting herself as a cool negotiator, Ventress grows more frustrated as Yoda and the clones defeat her droids. Finally the king has seen enough, he informs Dooku that Toydaria will be joining the Republic. Foreseeing this possibility, Dooku orders Ventress to kill the king but it’s too late, Yoda has arrived and he stops the attack with the Force. When the assassin snarls that she does not fear Yoda, the Jedi quips back:
“Strong are you in the Dark Side young one, but not THAT strong.”
Ventress flees and Yoda has a brief conversation with his former Padawan Dooku. There’s a bit of sadness in Yoda’s voice, he clearly regrets what Dooku has become.
This is a good first episode for the series. While some might be upset that Anakin and Obi-Wan don’t appear, there’s plenty of Jedi awesomeness to be had. Yoda is full of cryptic wisdom as always and he doesn’t hesitate to show off his lightsaber skills when necessary either.
And that’s it for “Ambush.” Let me know what you thought of the episode in the comments below. Up next is “Rising Malevolence” featuring General Grievous. Have a great day and may the Force be with you!
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