Last week, the younglings put on a show for pirate leader Hondo Ohnaka. But, really, it’s supervising director Dave Filoni, writer Christian Taylor, and the Lucasfilm Animation team that’s given us true showmanship these past few weeks. I was curious to see how the Young Jedi Knights arc would conclude. Would it become overly cutesy and juvenile or would it really respect the intelligence of the younger kids who are its intended audience? This weekend’s wrap-up installment, “A Necessary Bond,” was firmly the latter, and as far as I’m concerned, this was The Clone Wars' most successful attempt to date at gearing a storyline squarely for the under-10 crowd. Compare this to some of the kiddie-pandering Artoo/Threepio storylines of recent seasons, and there’s a world of difference.
Just consider how great the animation was. “A Necessary Bond” opened with Ahsoka and the younglings being “Pursued by Pirates!” as Tom Kane bombastically put it. They were racing across the arid Florrum landscape in the skiff they’d stolen from Hondo last week, and now Hondo’s men—that Cockney Pirate included!—had caught up to them in a skiff of their own and were nipping at the youngling’s heels with a barrage of blaster fire. In short, the younglings needed evac, but the little Rodian Jedi, Genodi, who’d been left to man their damaged ship, the Crucible, wasn’t responding to hails. We’re to believe she was busy repairing Huyang, their droid lightsaber teacher, but I have a feeling she was really off playing dejarik now that the Wookiee Gungi wasn’t around to threaten to pull her arms out of their sockets.
Genodi finally answered and flew the Crucible right over the younglings’ skiff. A thrilling, high-speed transfer was to take place between the two vehicles. Very Bondian. Genodi lowered the Crucible’s landing ramp for the younglings to jump aboard. So that they could all get off the skiff, Ahsoka secured the helm by affixing a mask to it. Um, Ahsoka, you realize that inanimate objects don’t possess flight training, right? That mask wasn’t able to steer them out of the way of a vast chasm that lay ahead of them, so impetuous Petro took the helm himself and steered them away from the chasm and the Crucible, leaving Gungi hanging from its landing ramp. Even though the Wookiee had surely gotten a lot of tree-climbing experience under his belt on Kashyyyk, he didn’t have the upper body strength necessary to haul himself up off the ramp, I suppose. So dangle he did. Realizing that the ship was their best chance of escape from Florrum, the pirates aimed their blaster cannons at it rather than the Jedi skiff. And down it came. The Jedi were stranded. Great job with the evasive maneuvers, Genodi!
This was phenomenal animation. If you’d told me that Brad Bird had directed this, I would have believed you.Captured by the pirates once again, Ahsoka and the younglings were led back in the direction of Hondo’s camp. If you looked carefully, you could see Gungi in the background trying to bite through his binders. With that charming underbite and snaggletooth, Gungi is all kinds of cute. I’d totally buy his plush doll….but not before Lucasfilm gives in to my demand for a Derrown action figure.