The Clone Wars
Episode 1.02: Rising Malevolence
The Republic is on the hunt for a Separatist super-weapon that has been responsible for the destruction of many ships that have left no survivors. The Jedi Council dispatch master Plo Koon who commands three Republic cruisers for the search, and he eventually finds the massive ship, which is the Malevolence. Unknown to them, Count Dooku and General Grievous themselves are at the helm. Dooku immediately orders them to jam all transmissions.
Plo Koon contacts Anakin and gives him their location just before their signal is lost. Ahsoka wants to join Plo, but Anakin tells her that they must report to the Council first. Anakin then reports via hologram to Mace Windu, Yoda, Obi-Wan and Palpatine, who are discussing the dire situation.
As the Republic ships brace for attack, Count Dooku suggests that the incoming Republic ships would be a suitable test for the super-weapon. The ship fires its primary weapon, which turns out to be a large ion cannon that fires an energy pulse capable of disabling all the ships. With their shields disabled, the Separatist ship opens fire on them. All three ships are quickly destroyed, but several escape pods were successfully launched. However, Grievous launches a hunter ship to locate and destroy the pods, in an attempt to keep their position secret.
Shortly thereafter, Anakin reports that all contact with Plo Koon has been lost and there were no distress beacons sent, suggesting that his fleet was destroyed. Mace orders Anakin’s fleet to guard a supply convoy and says that no ships can be spared for a rescue attempt. Ahsoka objects, feeling that there’s a possibility for survivors. Anakin orders his fleet to proceed to the rendezvous, while deciding to scout ahead for enemy ships. In actuality, his plan is to go look for master Plo.
Meanwhile, the clones in Plo Koon’s escape pod manage to restore power, just in time to receive a distress call from another pod that’s under attack. The hunter ship grabs on to the pod and deploys several battle droids, who proceed to cut open the pod’s viewport. They succeed, and the clones inside, who are not wearing their helmets, are sucked out into space.
Anakin and Ahsoka arrive and begin looking through the debris field for survivors. Ahsoka reveals that Master Plo is the one who initially brought her to the Jedi Temple, which gives her a strong motivation to find him. At that moment, Obi-Wan contacts them and requests that they get back to their fleet before Anakin misses the rendezvous. Just as Anakin turns the ship around, R2 picks up a signal on the emergency channel. Also at that moment, the droids locate Plo’s pod and heads toward it. Plo Koon decides to exit the pod to destroy the hunters, as he can withstand being in space for a short amount of time.
The droids open fire on Plo and activate a claw that begins to pinch down on the pod. Inside, Wolffe receives a hail from Ahsoka. Outside, Plo uses the Force to propel a clone past the droids, who then fires on them and destroys them. Plo uses his lightsaber to slash through the pinching arms and propels the attacking ship toward a large piece of debris. It collides and explodes. Inside the Malevolence, a droid reports to General Grievous that contact with the hunter has been lost.
On Coruscant, Mace, Yoda, Obi-Wan and Palpatine are discussing the Malevolence when Obi-Wan reports that Anakin has located Plo Koon’s fleet. This news surprises the others; Yoda says that this was a reckless decision and that Anakin and Ahsoka are twice the trouble. Palpatine contacts Anakin and also requests that he return to his fleet.
Ahsoka then reaches out with the Force and locates Plo. She takes control of the Twilight and locates the Jedi. Anakin deploys a tow cable and they reel the escape pod in. As Plo Koon discusses his findings with Anakin and Ahsoka, the Malevolence appears on their sensors. The three of them quickly work to shut down the ship to avoid detection, including R2. They forget to deactivate the on-board medical droid however, and it’s enough of a energy signal for the Malevolence to pick up. Grievous immediately orders the ship to assume an attack position. Anakin and the others move quickly to get the Twilight back online so they can escape. Just as R2 begins to plot a hyperspace route out of there, the Malevolence fires its ion blast. Anakin races through the debris field as the ion blast bears down on them. The blast is nearly upon them when the hyperspace coordinates come in and they’re able to escape.
There are several nods to previous Star Wars movies in this episode, such as the dialog between the clones as they attempt to repair the escape pod, Ahsoka reaching out with the Force to locate Plo Koon, and Anakin’s race though the debris field to escape. That reminded me of Obi-Wan’s attempt to stay ahead of the sonic charge blast in Attack of the Clones.
The bright red Abregado provided an amazing backdrop to the events happening around it. I thought this episode was exciting, though there were a few distractions, such as the clones having the ability to cry out into space as they were sucked out of the escape pod. And the giddy and silly droids.