It's all viral warfare this week on Clone Wars, but don't worry; Jar-Jar and a comedy Nazi scientist are here to make sure that it's not as exciting as it may sound.

This week's double-bill of Star Wars: The Clone Wars was another wonderful example of everything that's good and bad about the series so far. The basic plot - Separatists come up with a virus that kills anyone it comes into contact with, and even once the scientist who created it is captured, an antidote needs to be found... which involves a trip to a haunted planet - is great, full of tension and dramatic potential, especially once Padme and Ahsoka become infected with the virus. The animation is fast-paced and attractive, and there are times where the script (especially in the second episode, "Mystery of A Thousand Moons") was as funny and smart as you could have hoped for. And then, the stupidity begins.

Admittedly, the problems were mostly in the first episode of the night, "Blue Shadow Virus," which was full of WTF moments: Jar-Jar destroying the droid that could've given the good guys some information by falling over is almost expected at this point, but bringing in a brand new female Jar-Jar? Or introducing a comedically-over the top evil scientist with a German accent that exclaimed "Ja! Ja!" while giggling at the thought of exploding bombs? Almost jaw-droppingly broad and off-key. Similarly, the immediate discovery of an antidote for a virus that had, only moments earlier, been played up as something impossibly destructive, stuck out as a moment where the writer's hand was too obvious, and too fast to want to move the characters onto their next mission.


The ultimate problem with the show is its schizophrenia; for all that it tries to deal with war (and the danger and destructiveness thereof), it keeps pulling back into unfunny, obvious comedy as if to reassure younger viewers that things aren't that bad, really. In doing so, though, it makes its characters - and the series itself - into something that's approaching stupid... and makes the audience feel more than a little stupid for watching, as well.