The invasion of the planet Ryloth is over... and the first season of George Lucas' Star Wars: The Clone Wars can almost say the same. But which caused more suffering, overall?

Maybe I'm just getting soft in my old age, but I've really enjoyed the construction of the last three episodes, each presenting a different front in the same battle, each complete in and of themselves, but adding to a greater story. It helps that the three episodes in question have been some of the series' strongest, downplaying the (unfunny) comedy and tendency to go for cheap cuteness in favor of straight-ahead adventure with just enough sentiment to make it appropriately Star Wars.


Last night's episode, "Liberty on Ryloth," closed out the three-parter in style, mixing a plot about the little-seen-on-the-show Mace Windu's attempts to achieve a union with Ryloth's rebels with some impressive action set pieces that showed off just what the animators can do when given the opportunity. Oh, and some fun "new" technology that recalled familiar tricks and treats from the original movies (Like you didn't dig the Tauntaun-esque miniature walkers used by the clones), as well. The good guys won the day, of course, but you wouldn't want anything else on a show like this.

With the first season closing out next week, it feels as if Clone Wars has finally found its equilibrium, and what it's good at. When it stop trying so hard to impress (whether it's in plot trickery undercut by the knowledge of which characters are going to stick around, or trying to make some deeper point that it never quite manages), this show manages to offer up a stylish, enjoyable half-hour of thrills, spills and dumb robots who say "Roger Roger" a lot. Here's hoping that they can build on that next year.