Space pirates, shady dealings and a rescue from the clutches of bad guys - It can only be the return of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, with another episode that thrills and impresses... surprisingly.
Let's ignore, for a moment, a plot filled with Star Wars traditions (The hero is captured by the bad guys and needs to be rescued! Then dealings must be done with untrustworthy space ruffians for the greater good!) to focus on the important part of last night's episode, "Dooku Captured": The appearance of Salacious Crumb's ancestor.
For many, Crumb was the highlight of Return Of The Jedi, a little whiny beast that hung around with Jabba the Hutt like a parrot with legs, offering barely understandable commentary and proving once and for all how evil Jabba actually was; the appearance of another Crumb - albeit a bright red one - in this episode was both a nice shout-out to Jedi and also shorthand to prove the untrustworthiness of the space pirates that captured Sith Lord Count Dooku.
Oh, did I forget to mention that it was space pirates that captured Dooku?
Star Wars, at its heart, is a story of opposites coming together, whether it's the farmboy and the Princess being revealed to be family (or earlier, a different farmboy and Princess becoming lovers), or the cynic and the spiritual teaming with Han and Luke, or even just the grander theme of balance in the Force. No wonder, then, that bringing the scum and villainy of space pirates into what had previously been a strangely noblely-fought war brought a little bit of extra life to the series; I'm a sucker for the arrival of chaotic third parties that force enemies to work together, so this was an easy sell for me, and a welcome one (Especially watching Obi Wan and Anakin outwit an attempt to poison them at the end of the episode, played for laughs in an enjoyably understated way). While the episode started suddenly (I know that Star Wars movies tend to start in media res, but opening with "Anakin has been captured and Obi Wan is going to save him" made me think I'd missed an episode somewhere) and offered a fairly dull first half, the arrival of the space pirates - who, admittedly, captured Dooku a little too easily - redeemed it quickly.
Of course, talking of opposites, an episode this fun has to be balanced by the potential of crap next week... and with a teaser at the end of the episode that seemed to suggest that we're in for more Jar-Jar Binks "comedy," it looks as if balance in the quality Force is about to be achieved again. Sadly.