Two thoughts occurred to me during last night's episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Firstly, the series should never, ever, try to make any philosophical points. And secondly, that French Jedi is kinda cute.
While "Jedi Crash" - written by George Lucas' daughter, Katie - was definitely an episode that should've been renamed "battle of the accents" (French Jedi! Irish chipmunk monkey aliens! Kiwi Clone Troopers!), there was more than just the accent that drew me towards sexy blue-skinned Jedi Aayla Secura - Her inner poise, her wise words to back-to-being-whiny Ahsoka (who seems to have regressed to the hero-worship inappropriate feelings towards Anakin - And, really, am I the only one who gets kind of skeeved out about the whole "I love my master" thing that this seemingly-teenage Padawan has got going on? I don't know if it's the age difference thing, the whole "my master" thing, but I had a mild attack of the "Our children are watching what?" during the scene where Ahsoka seemed to be saying that she was in love with a man she's endlessly devoted to. I know, I know; I'm reading too much into it. But still), her blue skin... Nah, I'm lying; it really was just the accent. I'm a sucker like that.
As for the episode itself, it again showed why the series should stick to its strengths: The opening sequences of space battle were everything you could've hoped for - exciting, well-paced, wonderfully animated and completely engrossing. But as soon as they were over, and the Jedi had crashlanded on a strange alien planet, everything started to fall apart; we've seen this plot many times before, right down to the dangerous animals and helpful if distant aliens. The larger themes touched upon (Are the Jedi perpetuating war by being warriors? Is friendship more important than responsibility?) had promise, but the resolution was lacking, to say the least, especially when the trailer for the next episode seemed to answer one of the bigger questions with the answer "Pacifists are pussies who need to be rescued, fighting is awesome." Obviously, a kid-friendly show like Clone Wars isn't going to be the place to find nuanced investigations into the self-perpetuating nature of violence, so why even raise the subject...?
The series continues, in its own way, to respectfully translate the Star Wars prequels to television, but in doing so, it amplifies its flaws as much as its strengths; yes, the show is technically impressive, and there are things about the technology/effects to marvel at each time you look at it... but it continually disappoints as the writing fails to come up to anywhere near the same quality as the animation. In order for the series to really click, they need to take a look at what works, storywise, and build on that. And, if all else fails, add some more French Jedi.