You know that there's something wrong with last night's Clone Wars episode when the thing I spent most time thinking about while watching it was that Jar-Jar sounded different than usual. Another misfire awaits.

The most frustrating thing about "The Gungan General" was that you could, if you squinted a bit and filled in a lot of gaps for yourself, see what they were trying to do with the episode - A lighter, more broad version of the traditional Star Wars rogue-and-rescue formula played for laughs. Looking at it from that perspective, you can see why the bad guys (In this case, the pirates who'd managed to take Anakin, Obi Wan and Count Dooku prisoner) weren't so scary, and the forced buddy movie dynamic between the Jedi and Sith makes more sense. There's no excuse for the unfunny comedy with Jar-Jar Binks, mind you, but I find that I often default to a zero tolerance policy where he's concerned.


The real problem with the episode was that it went too broad, and as a result, didn't hold together well; especially problematic was the way in which the over-the-top slapstick of the Jar-Jar thread (which included him defeating the bad guys by literally falling all over them) tied in with the moderately more-straight Anakin/Obi-Wan plot, leaving you with the idea that the Jedi would've been better served to collapse and say "meesa sorry" a lot instead of their various unsuccessful attempts to escape captivity. It's a shame, because their section of the show worked, for the most part; seeing the strained, yet respectful, interaction between Dooku and the Jedi, and their escape plans, was the highlight of the show, and the kind of thing that I'd like to see more of in the show, a step outside of the binary Good Guy/Bad Guy thinking that the series often falls into.

Instead, what we were given was a wasted opportunity - even moreso, given how good the first part of the story was, last week - and a reminder that, for all its potential, Clone Wars has yet to figure out what kind of a show it really wants to be just yet. In case they're reading this, here's a clue: Keep Jar-Jar out the way, and things'll be a lot better.


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