Star Wars-The Clone Wars Revisited: 1.03 Shadow of Malevolence
Ten years ago, George Lucas and Dave Filoni introduced the world to Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an animated series that filled in the gap between Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The story takes place during the Clone Wars, with the Jedi-led clone army facing off against the droid armies of the Separatist Alliance. With the announcement of a surprise seventh season by Disney, The Digital Fix will be revisiting the animated series, looking back at the most important episodes and story arcs of the show’s five seasons, highlighting the elements that made this show so beloved by Star Wars fans.
We return with the episode Shadow of Malevolence, which originally aired back in 2008...
The second episode in the Malevolence arc follows Anakin Skywalker and his Shadow Squadron of Y-Wing fighters as they plan an attack on General Grievous to take out the Malevolence and its ion cannons. At the same time, Dooku has ordered the robot general to attack more Republic ships before ordering Grievous to go after the Kaliida Shoals Medical Centre, a hospital in space used for treating wounded clones.
Anakin has devised a daring attack to strike at Grievous' ship before the attack fleet led by Obi-Wan and Admiral Yularen arrive. In order to strike more quickly, Anakin plans to use a "short-cut" through the Kaliida Nebula that will take them to the hospital station faster than going around. As Plo Koon points out, it's a very aggressive plan, but Anakin will not change his mind. The plan almost immediately hits a snag when it turns out the Kaliida Nebula is also the nesting ground of Neebrays, giant sting rays/space whales with large pointy teeth that can fly through space; this is why sane pilots fly around the nebula.
Once Shadow Squadron engages the Malevolence, Anakin's aggressive tactics go about as well as you think, which is not very well. While the Jedi is able to dodge enemy fire with ease, as Ahsoka points out, most of his squadron is getting blown apart because they can't keep up! A new plan is developed: instead of taking out the bridge, the squadron will fire on the ion cannon as it powers up. When Grievous gives the order to fire, the cannon backfires, causing severe damage to the ship (and disabling the hyperdrive in the process).
Two cool trivia notes:, the Y-Wings look familiar because they were originally featured in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope during the attack on the Death Star. It's not the exact design, but close enough that if you compare them you can see the resemblance. In another call back to the original films, when we see the ion cannon firing, there's a shot of the energy stream building inside the ship that is modeled after the Death Star as it prepared to fire on Alderaan.
This episode is interesting because it highlights Anakin's recklessness in battle. He gets so super-focused on his objective that he doesn't take into account what's happening to his men until Ahsoka reminds him of it. This is a sign of things to come: the further Anakin slips towards the Dark Side, the more he focuses on what he wants, no matter the cost. He also doesn't stop to consider the consequences of taking short-cuts: a simple conversation with Plo Koon would have revealed the nebula is a nesting ground for space creatures and saved the squadron a lot of trouble.
Shadow of Malevolence serves as a good middle episode in a three part arc: it continues the story and sets up the conclusion by ending with the Republic fleet arriving to engage General Grievous. The story concludes next time with Destroy Malevolence.