Review: Star Wars the Clone Wars 1.21 - "Hostage Crisis"

Cad Bane, Cad Bane, Cad Bane. You couldn't go five minutes on Cartoon Network without hearing about Cad Bane. It was reminiscent of 1998-99 when there were posters and t-shirts and Taco Bell cups and merchandise galore of Darth Maul. We must love our Star Wars baddies.

I will admit, Cad Bane is pretty cool, but this is his first showing having only previously appeared in a web comic that leads up to "Hostage Crisis." He has a way to go before he's Boba Fett cool, or even Jango Fett cool.

He and his palls arrive at the Senate building on Coruscant. The Senate Guard approach them and demand some identification, which they provide with blasters and fists. (Of note, one of Bane's palls is Aurra Sing, first seen in one of those "don't blink" moments of the podrace in Phantom Menace.) Her sniper rifle brings down the bulk of the guards and Bane's palls do the rest. The group is comprised of Bane, Sing, a Weequay, a small fish like creature, a few IG series assassin droids and a couple Separatist commando droids. After they take down the platform guards, the commandos fake a guard voice and radio back that it was protesters and they've been taken care of.

In Senator Amedala's office, Padme and Anakin are discussing getting away for a couple weeks. Well, he is and she's saying she can't because she's trying to get a bill passed through the Senate. He reminds her that they are married and never see each other, and starts asking what's more important, her Republic ideals or their love. He reads her the riot act (as much as you can in a short cartoon) and then goes into the construction of his lightsaber. He recalls when Obi-wan said it was his life. Then to prove his love for Padme, he gives the lightsaber to her, saying it's his life. She says it's heavier than she thought. They kiss.


Anakin and later Luke's lightsabers are made from photography equipment called flashguns. The construction of these props is insanely simple. So simple that to make one, all you have to do is take the parabolic mirror off the flash gun. Some additional bits like calculator buttons and clipped windshield wiper blades can be added for good effect, but the main hilt remains nearly as is. When they were designed in the mid 70's, Lucas and his crew didn't have access to the time, money and equipment needed to create the all the props for the film so they had to get creative. Now, even though antiques fetch understandably higher prices, vintage photo flashguns that normally cost between $30-50 are now running in the hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars because you can make a lightsaber out of them.


Anakin and Padme's scene really got under my skin, but I don't blame this episode for it, I blame the overall chemistry these two have (or don't.) Let's be honest, Padme is a smart, hot, powerful woman. She has fought battles against droids and beasts, knows how to fire a blaster and fly a ship. Anakin, for all his Jedi powers, is a whiny bitch and always has been. Especially when he's around Padme. He's petulant and selfish and never ever grew out of his childhood fear of the universe being out to get him. I was hoping that Revenge of the Sith would have shown a darker, more steadfast and resolved Anakin, even if he was evil. But it was more of the same, and The Clone Wars didn't help that at all. In fact, every time these two interact, I wonder what they see in each other, especially was she sees in him. Sadly it comes across as an abusive relationship, as though she'd leave him if she wasn't so worried about him getting angry.

Regardless, they love each other.

Back to the story, Cad Bane and his group take out more guards as they move farther into the Senate building. I know animation can be time consuming and expensive, but I was just in the state capitol building here in Austin and it was jammed with people. You could even get in to watch the actual Senate during sessions. To say that the only people around are guards and bounty hunters is simplistic and sterile.

Anyway, they take out these guards and a couple droids. The leave the fish guy in the control room of the Senate building. Anakin and Padme's kiss is interrupted by Senator Bail Organa and Threepio coming into her office to tell her that a Senator has scheduled an emergency meeting in the lobby before they go vote on the Invasion of Privacy bill, which is funny to Padme. Anakin is hiding under her desk and she had to pick his lightsaber up and hide it in her sleeves. Bail Organa urges her to follow.

Bane and his crew sneak through the hallways and use a thermal detonator to take out a squad of guards during a change in shift. Aurra even blasts a survivor at point blank range, reminding me of Megatron blasting Ironhide through the deck plates. Such heroic nonsense. The Senators meet in the lobby followed by a roof blasting Bane and his crew. One of the Senators says he will not be treated this way and makes to leave. Bane shoots him in the back, then suggests they all sit tight. Senator Orn Free Taa tells the Chancellor he needs to see something and turns on a holocommunication with Bane. He tells Palpetine he's taken hostages and control of the east wing and they want Ziro the Hutt released. Palpetine says they don't deal with terrorists (not really, just easier to say) and they'll be met with force. Just then the fish man in the control room starts pressing buttons and pulling levers and all the lights go weird and all the doors close. Bane says he's in control.

Palpatine tries to radio outside but can't. Bane starts collecting weapons and Padme tells Bail Organa she can't be searched. Bane approaches her and starts in with the smooth scoundrel talk then catches her eyes looking past him to where Anakin is hiding in the hallways on an upper level. Bane turns around and starts blasting and immediately calls out "Skywalker?" and then orders his henchmen to go after him. I barely got a good look at Anakin, how Bane knew he was there or was able to recognize him in the shadows was not explained.

The Weequay and IG droid go after Anakin through the Senate building. In one of the oddest moments of the series, the Weequay shines a light into a darkened room where he startles a buxom female droid that looks more like she/it belongs in Futurama than Star Wars. She's alone and in the dark...and they're in the Senate building. Take from that what you will, but to me it was both out of place and a little naughty. May be just me but I have no other explanation for it.

The cat and mouse continues, but Anakin has no weapon. He finds a communication station, busts his little communicator open and hot-wires them together to get a message to the Chancellor. Then he uses a Jedi mind trick to distract the bounty hunters and the two split up to search the other floors. Anakin goes after the droid. Why you'd go after a machine first is beyond me. I'd go after the weaker, softer guy first. The Weequay sees the downed droid and reports back to Bane that the Jedi doesn't have his lightsaber, so Bane sends Sing along (heh) to hunt him down. Anakin sees the fish guy coming out of the control room and tries to get to him before the door closes. The Weequay and Sing find him first and Anakin Force yanks the blaster from the Weequay but gets it shot out of his hand by Sing. While he's occupied, the fish man jumps him from behind and jabs him in the neck with a taser.

Orn Free Taa takes a pardon disk from Palpetine to the jail where Ziro is being held. The bounty hunters drag Anakin back to the lobby. He's out cold and handcuffed and they dump him with the Senators. An IG droid and Orn Free Taa go to the prison where a squad of clones oversee the exchange for the colorful and stupidly offensive Ziro. Bane secures the Senators in the lobby with the help of laser rigged explosives. If anyone tries to leave, they blow up. If anyone tries a rescue, Bane will detonate them. The droid and the Hutt pull up on the air car and the rest of bounty hunters jump in and take off. Anakin wakes up, gets his lightsaber from Padme and cuts a Tom and Jerry hole in the floor. Bane tries to cheer Ziro up by blowing up the Senators just as the floor circle gives way and they all crash safely onto the level below.

Bane and Ziro race off into the distance.

Lucasfilm is really trying to set up season two with a arc-spanning villain and who better to fill that ignoble position than a bounty hunter. I'm not sure of the point of this move, though. The Republic is already waging a war against the Separatists and that group is already chock full of bad guys and droids. Were people getting bored of never seeing Count Dooku wield a lightsaber? Were we yawning through all two of Asajj Ventress's scenes? Did this show need ANOTHER bad guy? The list just gets longer and longer and the Republic is running out of time. We're down to mere months, even weeks before the events in Revenge of the Sith and I'd like to see a little more movement by the Chancellor and less gimmicky alien bad guys. Lucasfilm has made it clear that this show is canon, so let's see some story telling.

Cad Bane is a great character. Whoever designed him and whoever does the sound work over Cory Burton's already impressive voice does a bang up job. Cad Bane is purposeful and his no nonsense methods are almost likable. He doesn't waste time, he doesn't monologue, he gets in and gets the job done. Plus he's got that awesome hat.

This episode was suppose to run before Ryloth story arc, but I have a feeling that given the final Battlestar Galactica was on the same night, they decided to shuffle it. It's a shame really because "Liberty on Ryloth" was a perfect way to end the series. It was a three episode story, it built up and it paid off. This doesn't leave me wanting more; it was self contained and frankly if we never see Bane again I'd be ok with that. He was good for this and doesn't have to come back time and again. Having bounty hunters get their way seemed to be a downer of a finale even if we enjoy it when bad guys win.

Three green lightsabers.

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