WOW. What an episode! It had everything. Action, comedy, a great story, a cool villain, and even a love story (if you want to call it that.) “A Friend in Need” really was the best episode of the season so far (with ‘Slaves of the Republic” and “Carnage of Krell” being second and third). Granted this episode did have a few flaws, but was able to make up for it in a big way.
First off, it was great to see Pre Vizla and the Death Watch back! After being absent for all of season 3, I was really missing the Death Watch and was desperately hoping to see more of them. Finally we got that clip from San Diego Comic Con and my wish was fulfilled and their role in this episode certainly didn’t disappoint. I loved their entrance, with all of them flying down and landing in circle around Lux (pictured above) and Ahsoka (more on them later) was perfect. Then to see them actually be villains and kill innocent people was, well I don’t want to say it was great to see innocent people die but I loved that the Death Watch don’t care about anyone but themselves, It brought back some great memories of season one’s “Innocents on Ryloth” when the CIS used the Twi-leks as a shield for their canons. Also the Death Watch proved that they are capable of taking down a Jedi, which is something that needed to be shown considering that Pre Vizla lost to Obi-wan Kenobi in “The Mandalore Plot”, and if it wasn’t Lux and R2-D2, Ahsoka’s journey would have ended right there.
Vizla was even better than he was in season 2. He was far more evil this time around, seeing as he didn’t have to pretend to be a good guy. As for his new look, well I’m divided on it. I really liked his old look in season 2 and when I saw the stills of his new look prior to seeing this episode I wasn’t a fan of it, however it did work better than I was expecting. Still, if I had to pick I’d probably go with his old look, it just worked a little better. The part of his new look that I thought was a great idea was his scar from a confrontation with Dooku. It was good was to establish why he and the Count had parted ways. I, now, really want to see this story and I think The Clone Wars crew missed an opportunity not to make it into an episode. Hopefully the story will be told a some point whether it’s through the starwars.com webcomic, a mini series or one shot from Dark Horse comics or maybe a short story in Star Wars Insider. No matter where it comes from this is a story that I feel needs to be told. It was great to see Vizla whip out that Dark Saber again and fight Ahsoka. To be honest, prior to seeing it in a preview, I was worried that he might not use it in the episode, so I was relieved when he used it multiple times. It was also cool to see him kill that villager. It really showed just how evil he is. Anyways, I can’t wait to see more of Vizla and Co. in season 5 and beyond, and maybe we’ll learn some more about that lieutenant of his…
Death Watch lieutenant Bo-Katan, voiced brilliantly by Katee Sachoff was a great new addition to the show. She was a worthy opponent for Ahsoka, nearly defeating her in the battle at the end. The scene where she slaps Ahsoka’s “derrière” was hilarious (in a good way!) Ahsoka’s reaction was perfect and it provided some humour in an otherwise dark episode. She’s another character I can’t wait to learn more about…
Before I discuss the big Lux/Ahsoka relationship, I want to touch on what I felt was a low light in the episode. As much as I hate to say it, it was an R2 scene. The moment when R2 enters the Death Watch warehouse to repair the battle droids the warriors have been using as target practice and the droids approach R2 moaning like Zombies was utterly laughable, and almost campy. I like the idea of R2 re-programming these droids to fight with them but I feel it could have been done in a much, much better fashion.
Now onto the big Lux/Ahsoka relationship…I loved it. I’ve always felt Lux was a compelling character (raised in a separatist environment, not knowing what to believe, having both his parents killed, one by each faction in the war nonetheless) and was excited to hear he was coming back. I like seeing the early interaction between Lux and Ahsoka as it was clear that they were both excited to see the other and the looks they exchanged made it clear that they have feelings for each other, Whether they’re willing to admit it or not is another matter. It was clear that they both were interested in looking out for the other, both coming to the others rescue at various points throughout the episode. Now the big kiss. I have to say that I feel it was a kiss born out of necessity, rather than affection. The kiss was nothing more than a way to cover up the fact that Ahsoka’s a Jedi and to keep with the story they’d made up earlier in the episode. That kiss was essentially meaningless as you got no sense from either character that they were particularly “in love” with the other. The only scenes where you really got a sense that they had feelings beyond friendship were when Lux burst into the peace conference and they first laid eyes on each other and the final scene in the episode. When Lux and Ahsoka have their conversation in the Escape Pod bay you finally see that they have real feelings for each other, but don’t really know how to act yet. To me this was more important for their relationship than the big kiss. I hope to see more of this explored future in future seasons. I did expect their relationship to progress farther in this episode but I think the crew over at The Clone Wars has a plan in mind for these characters and the next time they meet their relationship will reach a tipping point where they will have to choose how to proceed. Whether they choose the Anakin and Padme route or the Ob-Wan and Satine route could be very interesting as either one will open up an interesting conversation between Anakin and Ahsoka.
Now for a couple of random notes from the episode. First, I think there may have been a bit of a continuity error in the Mandalorian society (by which I mean the peace lovers run by Satine). I thought off-worlders were not allowed to carry weapons after the “trouble Master Kenobi caused on his last visit to Mandalore” and yet both Republic and CIS troops were armed when Ahsoka and Lux made their get away. Secondly, if you remember when the first clip from this episode was released just prior to SDCC 2011 Bo-Katan had her hand on her hip when she said “Hey Kid, you’re late”. Afterwards I remember supervising director (and episodic director) Dave Filoni saying that he didn’t like that her hand was on her hip and that that might be changed, well in the episode: it was.
Overall this episode really was the best of this season and a highlight of the season. It is one of only three episodes (like I said at the beginning, “Slaves of the Republic” and “Carnage of Krell”) from this season that I would say can compete with the amazing second half season 3 had (Nightsisters, Mortis, Citadel, Wookiee Hunt), season four has yet to produce an arc that is as good as or better than those. I am very encouraged now, after having seen this episode and read/seen the previews of the next arcs that the show definitely could surpass the greatness that was the end of season 3. I would give “A Friend in Need” a 10/10 as all the positives in this episode out weighed the one or two flaws.
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