Pity poor Clone Wars, finishing its first season on the same night as Battlestar Galactica... It was pretty much doomed to be overshadowed, even though last night was the best episode of the season altogether.
As much as the introduction of new character Cad Bane was trailed as being the selling point for "Hostage Crisis," he was nowhere near the best thing about it... In fact, he was worryingly generic, all machismo and mystery without much to make you that interested in him (He even lacked the visual impact of other Star Wars badasses like Boba Fett or Darth Maul; he was just a guy without a nose in a trenchcoat). Although the action of the episode was well-done and engaging - in part because, for once, the Jedi didn't obviously have the upper hand from the start - and the animation was (for the most part) as strong as ever, what satisfied so much was a surprising new-found maturity in the writing.
Yes, I said maturity. For Clone Wars. Get used to it.
It wasn't just the opening scenes of Anakin and Padme discussing their relationship displaying a subtlety in foreshadowing Anakin's dark side (Or the series coming close to admitting just how ridiculous their "secret relationship" is, in what had to have been a wink to the audience), and in the same episode that introduces Senator Organa to the series, knowing that he'll take one of Padme and Anakin's children in the future, for that matter; there was something oddly pleasing about closing the season with the bad guys just outright winning, and doing so by freeing Ziro The Hutt, everyone's favorite giant lizard Truman Capote from the Clone Wars movie. It brought a sense of closure (as well as a sense of continuity) to the season that it possibly didn't deserve, but was nonetheless very welcome. I'd love it if the show continued down this more... morally ambiguous if probably too generous a term, but almost fits, route, showing more of a darker side to its heroes and less of a constant stalemate between both sides in the war. If we need to bring in bounty hunters to do it, then I'm perfectly happy with that, as long as we don't see more Baby Boba along the way.
It wasn't a perfect season finale - the ending itself was very anti-climactic, perhaps a "to be continued" that failed to go off - but it was more than enough to make me look forward to what happens when the show returns next fall. Here's hoping that it'll include things going wrong a lot more often.