So, I don’t know what some of you Clone Wars fans are complaining about. This four-episode arc is pretty much everything I’ve ever wanted to see from a droid-centric storyline. And if I had any doubts about that, “Point of No Return” quickly put them to rest. Smart integration of robots into a complex, action-heavy Dirty (Half) Dozen-style mission? Check. Impressive delineation of multiple astromechs’ personalities despite the fact they can’t speak? Check. Implicit philosophical musings on the worth of every sentient being, whether organic or cybernetic? Check. Gorgeous animation that capitalizes on the opportunity given by non-verbal astromechs to tell a visually-driven story? Check.
What I did not expect is that “Point of No Return” would feature some of the most beautiful animation of space that Clone Wars has given us. There was an ethereal grace to those opening shots of our heroes’ winged shuttle gliding birdlike above Abufar to reunite with the Jedi cruiser, itself hanging like a dagger above the planet. And of course, that final explosion…well, we’ll get to that later.
As WAC piloted the shuttle into the Jedi cruiser’s bay for a landing, Col. Gascon began anticipating the heroes’ welcome he’d surely receive. Already he told WAC to request a meal with the ship’s captain, and that he would appreciate it if bantha were left off the menu. I guess, like all snails, Gascon is a vegetarian. However, no one from the cruiser was answering their hails. No welcoming committee was on the landing deck to receive them. In fact, the ship seemed entirely abandoned. And what to make of the fact that all the blast doors near the hangar were sealed shut? It was a sight for sore eyes then when Gascon and his posse of droids reached the bridge and found a company of clones milling about. The colonel jumped up onto a table next to what he thought was the captain and proudly placed the Separatist encryption module they had worked so hard to recover in his hand. Or rather, through his hand. Yep, this ship’s captain was unable to grab on to anything because he was a hologram. Actually, all the clones on this ghost ship were holograms. Guess Gascon’s promotion to P1 Brigadier would have to wait.
Suddenly, the cruiser lurched into hyperspace. But who (or what) was flying this thing? It only took one peek down into the navigation pit on the bridge to see who was in command. Separatist battlebots! They’d hijacked the ship! Gascon and his droids quickly fled as the Separatist robots, and one angry tactical droid, gave pursuit. It didn’t take our quirky heroes long to find out what exactly the Seppies were doing on their ship. They ran into a detonator that two battle droids had left behind, because they forgot the foremost rule of heavy-lifting: lift with your legs! When our gang saw the detonator, they realized that the whole ship had been turned into a bomb. Suddenly all the blast doors to the hangar opened and—mother of Kwath!— we could see that every last storage bay was crammed with rhydonium. Enough to blow up the entire Republic fleet1 And yet even though Gascon himself recognized that it was enough to blow up the Republic fleet, he still didn’t think for some reason that the ship would be used…to blow up the Republic fleet. I guess he thought that the Seppies were just going to use an excessive amount of ordinance to destroy just this ship alone. It’s like he wandered suddenly into Genndy Tartakovsky’s 2D hand-drawn Clone Wars series, where clones would indulge their penchant for comical excess by arming dozens of thermal detonators just to destroy one cannon. Also, as much as this episode was about respecting the intelligence and merit of droids, I still don’t know if I would trust one named C4 to be handling explosives. Get it, C4? Zing! For more droid and explosive-based humor catch my comedy act at the Jekk’Jekk Tar Night Club on Nar Shaddaa.