Episode Title: "Weapons Factory"
Writer: Brian Larsen
Tagline: "No gift is more precious than trust."
The Story: Last week, Republic forces brought the fight back to Geonosis -- where the Clone Wars started, in "Episode II: Attack of the Clones" -- to destroy a massive new droid factory and put an end to Separatist bigwig Poggle the Lesser's contribution to the conflict. With the way now cleared, Jedi General Anakin Skywalker and his Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, are joined by Jedi Master Luminara Unduli and her Padawan, Barriss Offee. The plan involves having the two more experienced Force-users create a distraction while Ahsoka abd Barriss sneak inside to sabotage the facility. Skywalker has his doubts however... or perhaps it's just his predilection towards attachment -- his eventual downfall -- getting in the way of the mission.
War, What Is It Good For: Absolutely everything. It's good to see "The Clone Wars" back into the grand-scale action, fitting for a show named after an intra-galactic conflict. There's more downtime this week than lst, which was a flat-out throwdown across the Geonosian front lines, but the Padawan sabotage mission added a nice sly Jedi counterpoint to the guns-blazing approach employed by Anakin and Luminara in their attempt to distract Poggle's forces.
Not Going For The Jugular: For all of the hot Jedi action seen in the last two weeks, there's a sense that the good stuff is being held back. You certainly can't kill major characters or have big narrative changes in every episode, but now that this two-episode Geonosis arc has wrapped up, it feels a bit... tame in hindsight. Sure, Ahsoka wasn't going to be killed off -- despite a very-nearly-effective attempt to get us to believe just that -- but why is there no resolution on Poggle the Lesser? That wily Geonosian is all over this latest episode... until the third act. Since we saw him neither escape nor perish in the destruction of the droid factory, it's a safe bet that he's all right. You would think the Jedi would be more relentless in cutting off the head to let the body wither. It's an indirect part of what those fancy lightsabers are symbolic of, isn't it?
Another Step Into A Larger World: It's always cool for a rabid fan to see a character like Barriss Offee pop up. She's one of those background characters that "Star Wars" is so famous for; only the barest glimpse of her in the movies, but she's got a fully developed presence in the franchise's Expanded Universe. In the case of Barriss, she's a prominent figure in the "MedStar" books, a duology set during the Clone Wars.
Embrace The Dark Side: Moving forward, I'd really like to see the story getting back to our Sith friends Dooku and Asajj Ventress. Lightsaber-on-lightsaber action is good for the soul.
Coming Up: The slug for next week's episode -- "A hunt for the missing Luminara leads the Jedi to a lair full of undead warriors." -- suggests that we might be seeing some pre-history unfold on the recently released book, "Star Wars: Death Troopers."