We're back with the young Jedi on this week's episode of Clone Wars, and this time the younglings are joined by David Tennant's lightsaber-designing droid. By the end of the episode, they'll have battled Hondo and landed one of their number in a dangerous situation. But first, let's go shopping for lightsaber parts!
In the last episode, the younglings each found their own personal lightsaber crystal, and now that they're headed back to Coruscant, it's time to make the lightsabers. For that, they'll need the help of the exceedingly soft-spoken Professor Huyang. (I felt that, in an effort to keep Tennant from evoking the Doctor, they made him rather hard to hear.) These kids have been raised on anti-droid propaganda, so they're dubious about what a droid professor can teach them about lightsaber making. (I imagine the younglings assuring us that some of their best friends are droids, then eying R2-D2 uncomfortably.) But Huyang assures them he's an expert.
As it turns out, building a lightsaber is a lot like choosing your wand in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. You've got your unique crystal core, and then you have to select the style and material for your grip. As the younglings start bouncing up and down in front of a box of grips, my gentleman friend grumps, "This goes against what the Jedi are about—coveting things." I envision Build-a-Bear lightsaber workshops opening in Disneyworld. (Robot Hobo notes in the comments that this exists at the Star Tours gift shop.)
The kids all settle into the task of putting their lightsabers together—using the Force instead of their hands. I know we saw a stylized version of this Force lightsaber construction in the 2D Clone Wars TV show, but it would have nice to see them use their hands here. It might inspire a few kids to get into electronics. Anyway, Petro is of course the first one to finish and of course he screws up the job. Ahsoka warns that he's installed a key component backwards; if he tries to use the lightsaber, it's going to explode. You know what Anton Chekov said about a faulty lightsaber in the first act.
But the kiddos aren't going to make it back home unimpeded. The pirate Hondo noticed their departure from Ilum, and figures they must have some valuable lightsaber crystals on board. Okay, I was happy to see this guy during the Darth Maul episode, but he's in nearly every episode lately. Isn't there anyone else hanging around? Hondo's gone all Next Generation Ferengi on us, talking constantly of "profit" and ready to take the crystals at any cost. When the pirates snare the Jedi ship (in a rather cool sequence; screw tractor beams), Ahsoka leads Huyang and the younglings into the ventilation shafts. Petro the petulant wants to stand and fight. "Huh, we're going to fight," Ahsoka assured him. "Just not the way they expect."
Ahsoka sends Zatt and Ganodi to join R2 in the cockpit and secure the ship while she orders Huyang and the others to find a hold and stay out of sight. She herself goes off to reroute power to the engines so that they can rip their ship free from the pirates'. Zatt and Ganodi make it to the cockpit, with a little help from R2, who zaps the pursuing pirate. The others have a bit of trouble staying out of sight. At one point, they're smoked out of the ventilation shafts, forcing a confrontation. A pirate snags Petro's lightsaber, but when he waves it over the younglings' heads, it explodes, giving them a chance to escape.
Eventually, the younglings realize that they're going to have to disable the pirates in order to reach safety, so they set a trap for two of the pirates, piling lightsaber training drones in a room and then trapping them inside. I realize training drone blasts are non-lethal, but I distinctly remember an episode in which we learned that torture is wrong.
Unfortunately, even their morally dubious trick isn't enough to get them to safety. Before they reach the hold, they run right into Hondo and his men, and Ahoska has to swoop in and save their youngling butts. They manage to get away with a badly damaged Huyang, and Zatt launches the engines, jerking the Jedi ship free of the pirates' tethers and creating a vaccum. One by one, each pirate is sucked back toward the door and into the tube connecting the two ships. (Sometimes they get a little help from Ahsoka's fist.) But as Ahsoka closes the door, hammering desperately on the lock button, she, too, is knocked into the tube. Now the younglings are alone with Huyang and Ahsoka is a prisoner on Hondo's ship. Hondo tells her that, since he failed to steal the lightsaber crystals, he's going to earn his profit with Ahsoka.
All in all, not a fantastic episode, but at least at we got some nice moments of Ahsoka badassery and an intriguing setup for next week. I just hope that Hondo's plan for Ahsoka doesn't involve dressing her in a skimpy slave outfit.