Star Wars-The Clone Wars Revisited: 1.02 Rising 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 Rising Malevolence, which originally aired back in 2008...

Rising Malevolence is the first part of the Malevolence arc and the introduction of General Grievous to the series. The cyborg general's appearance in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith makes a lot more sense when you realise he was a long-time antagonist during the Clone Wars. In this episode, Jedi Master Plo Koon locates a secret Separatist weapon on a massive ship named the Malevolence. The weapon is an ion cannon that disables Plo Koon’s Republic cruisers, and blasts the ships apart. Plo Koon and many clones make it into the escape pods but the danger isn’t over yet. To ensure there are no witnesses, Count Dooku orders Grievous to send out hunter droids to destroy the escape pods. It’s a race against time to see if Plo Koon and the clones with him will be rescued…or killed.

This is the first episode to feature Anakin and Ahsoka and we’re given a look into their contentious relationship as Master and Padawan. The two act remarkably similar to Anakin and Obi-Wan in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, only now Anakin is attempting to fulfill the stern master role while Ahsoka is the rebellious apprentice. It's really weird to see Anakin, of all people, scolding his padawan about following the rules when he seems to break them the most. This episode is also the first to give some insight into how Ahsoka became a Jedi in the first place when she reveals to Anakin that it was Plo Koon who found her as a youngling and took her to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant to be trained.

Meanwhile, it’s not looking good for Plo Koon and the clones. While they’ve been able to restore power, the only other pod they’ve seen has been ripped open, letting them know someone is out there hunting for them. This leads to a pretty cool scene…if you can suspend your disbelief that is. Plo Koon informs the clones that he can withstand the vacuum of space “for a short time” and heads out to do battle with the droids. The clones that have protective armor follow and there’s a fight in the vacuum of space. It looks really cool, but despite what Plo Koon said it looks really strange to see a character, no matter how alien, simply floating in space with no protection and doing alright.

The saying for this episode is “Belief is not a matter of choice, but of conviction” and refers both to Ahsoka's belief that Plo Koon is alive when no one else thinks so and the Jedi Master's belief that he and the clones will be rescued. The Malevolence saga continues in the next episode Shadow of Malevolence.

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