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'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' Recap: Cirque Du Jedi

By Christian Blauvelt, Hollywood.com Staff

Now that a week has passed and I've gotten over my initial objections to Hondo's unexpected reassertion of cartoonish villainy, I could settle in and really enjoy "Bound for Rescue," the third part of the Young Jedi Knights arc. And what an excellent episode this turned out to be! This was the worthy follow-up to "The Gathering" that I'd hoped for from "A Test of Strength." I'm a firm believer that the more bombastic Tom Kane is in his opening narration, the better the resulting episode will be. And Kane was on fire at the beginning of "Bound for Rescue." "Piracy in deep space!" he belted, with full old-time radio panache. It was the perfect set-up to see our poor younglings, adrift in space onboard their nearly wrecked corvette, the Crucible. The ship, sputtering steam and belching smoke, lay listing on its axis, making us realize how rare it is ever to see a starship at anything but a right-angle in the Star Wars galaxy. But this opening shot, with the ship nearly upside down, showed how beautifully Dave Filoni and the Lucasfilm Animation team are pushing the envelope of spatial possibilities on this show—they're starting to create an idea of space in which there is no up, down, right or left. Exactly as it should be.

Onboard the Crucible, the younglings succeeded in making a holotransmission to Obi-Wan, who quickly shot down the rash Petro's idea of a rescue mission to recover Ahsoka, still in Hondo's leathery hands. He wanted them to sit tight and wait for Commander Cody to come render assistance. That's not what Petro wanted to hear, but, considering that last week he threatened to challenge Obi-Wan to a duel, I suppose he handled his disappointment a bit more maturely than we might have expected.

As it turns out, there was nothing for Cody to do. Though their battle group was out in the middle of nowhere, a Separatist armada suddenly leapt out of the void and ambushed them. Now Obi-Wan and Cody were the ones who needed assistance.

Back at the Crucible, R2 was trying to put Huyang back together again like some kind of mechanical humpty-dumpty. I suppose these are the droid-repair skills that he'll later employ when reassembling C-3PO in The Empire Strikes Back. And the younglings were putting the finishing touches on their lightsabers. Each one had to be assembled like a puzzle, but a puzzle you put together with no hands, just telekinetic powers, and with your eyes closed for extra show-offiness. The most impressive saber by far was the Wookiee Gungi's wood-handled blade, carved in honor of the forests of his Kashyyyk home. Poor Katooni's, though, just couldn't ignite yet. Which was unfortunate because Petro, Byph, and Gungi wanted to launch a rescue mission of their own for Ahsoka. I mean, they might as well give it a shot, seeing as how Genodi told them they'd have to land on Hondo's homeworld of Florrum, anyway, to let their engines cool.

NEXT: Hondo's Florrum hideout could easily challenge Jabba's Palace for the cover of Better Lairs and Sarlacc Pits[PAGEBREAK]Hondo's Florrum hideout was a dank den of sybaritic toadies, many of them lying around in a drunken stupor, like they're the decadent subjects of a Delacroix painting or the human flotsam sprawled out at New York's Penn Station after 9:00 p.m. Kowakian monkey lizards were running around with battle neks barking at them. Hondo himself had a Weequay snuggled up to him on either side—at this point his spooning companions may be male or female, I really can't tell which based on neither Weequay appearance nor Hondo's omnisexual demeanor. And perched right behind him as a decorative ornament in a force field, was Ahsoka. The repartee ace writer Christian Taylor penned for them was a million-credit gold. "If you don't let me go, you'll wish you were born a protocol droid," Ahsoka said. "Sometimes I do, anyway," Hondo replied. Then he offered her some water, only to pull it away from her supplicant lips at the last moment, saying that he doesn't like to share. He and Petro have that in common. Maybe they'll team up.

Back with Obi-Wan, his fleet was engaged in the fiercest space battle we've seen in quite awhile. The droid armada had decided to send boarding parties to capture his attack cruiser. And leading them? None other than General Grievous, making his first appearance of the season! He charged through the clone trooper ranks on the landing deck of Obi-Wan's ship to reach his Jedi quarry. He kept one clone alive, though, clutching him through the trooper's armor, until he stood right before Obi-Wan. Then, Zangrief-style, he crushed the trooper's skull like a quail egg. He crushed the trooper's skull like a quail egg just to watch him die. Grievous is the Johnny Cash of psychotic cyborgs. Game. Kriffin'. On!

Hondo elaborated a bit more to Ahsoka about his plans for her. He realized the Republic wouldn't pay a ransom for her, and the Separatists would just kill all of them. But he did have one interested businessman who wanted not just a Jedi, but a female Jedi at that. Kinky! Actually, this businessman didn't care if the female Jedi in question were dead or alive. Even kinkier! And as he said this, Hondo wielded a curved scimitar to add to his air of Saracen menace.

Luckily, help was on the way. But certainly not in the way the younglings had intended. They discovered a caravan of show-people on their way to Hondo's camp, Preigo's Traveling World of Wonder. Clone Wars, like anything Star Wars, is really a Western at heart, so its about time we had some show-people if you ask me! Their leader, Preigo, a Dug with a handlebar mustache, was essentially the Charlie Ruggles character, for you Western aficionados. He was heading to Hondo's camp to put on a show. Petro seized upon this opportunity and urged Preigo to hire them—as acrobats! With a little bit of Force-assisted tumbling, the young Jedi got the job. (I have to say I really wasn't surprised that the Gamorrean in Preigo's troupe was the clown. Does that make me racist?)

NEXT: Obi-Wan makes one of the more questionable battlefield calls in his tenure as a Jedi General. I'm starting to doubt if he has the stones for this job. [PAGEBREAK]Meanwhile, back at the battle, Obi-Wan set an Admiral-James-T.-Kirk-in-Star-Trek-III kind of trap. He allowed Grievous to capture his ship and take command…only to realize that the ship had been rigged to self-destruct. However, unlike Admiral Kirk, Obi-Wan told General Grievous that it was about to blow up! That may have been more sporting, but it was horrible, horrible strategy, as Grievous could have died right then and there and this war that had claimed billions of lives across the galaxy could be that much closer to its end. Screw you, Obi-Wan. From a certain point of view, I think you're a terrible commander. Of course, we all know that continuity pre-ordained Grievous' survival in advance because he has to survive long enough for Obi-Wan to kill him in Revenge of the Sith. Blah Blah Blah. Obi-Wan fled in an escape pod, but Grievous got back in his shuttle in the nick of time. No matter what, though, the younglings on Florrum were definitely now on their own.

"I would hate to be forced to cut off their heads, like I did your last talent," Hondo sneered at Preigo when the entertainment was about to begin. To show he meant business, he produced a skull! This show is getting raw, man. The Jedi began their act, including Byph, the Ithorian, doing some kind of "Dance of the Seven Veils" type number. As part of their rescue plan, they had to get Hondo to be part of the act. Luckily, the pirate leader was really into the whole audience participation thing. He got on one end of a see-saw, and Katooni deftly snatched away Ahsoka's lightsabers from around the pirate's belt, with the quicksilver skill of a pickpocket. She's going to need that pickpocket ability when the Jedi are outlawed and hunted down in the very near future. Hondo was certainly too busy flirting with some comely Twi'lek women (when are Twi'lek women ever not comely?) to notice. "I may not be as young as I once was," he said to one of them. "But…I'm older!" Before he could be any more lecherous, Gungi jumped on the other end of the see-saw and sent Hondo flying. Katooni gave Ahsoka her lightsabers and that signaled the moment of their escape. Right away, the Cockney Weequay said, "It's those bleeding Jedi kids!" And the pirates made pursuit. Sadly, they were just too drunk to give any kind of meaningful chase. It was kind of like in season one of Breaking Bad when Badger was too feeble to actually chase after Jesse. Rather than run after Jesse's RV, he just shoots an arrow from his crossbow at it. He, like Hondo's pirates, was too incompetent to be really dangerous.

What did you think of "Bound for Rescue"? Did you find it refreshing to have another large-scale space battle again? Did you also realize how much you've missed General Grievous so far this season? Could this mysterious businessman who wanted to purchase Ahsoka dead or alive be Palpatine, wanting a Jedi (and possibly her midichlorians) for some Sithly purpose? Can skulls really be crushed like quail eggs?

All questions worth pondering until next weekend. And, best of all, due to popular demand I'm now on the Twitter! Follow me @Ctblauvelt to keep track of all things Star Wars. I also write about pop culture that's non-Star Wars related too. Versatility!

See you next week!

Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt

[Photo Credit: Lucasfilm]

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