Review: The Clone Wars – 1.17 “Blue Shadow Virus/Mystery of A Thousand Moons”

Quite a title, huh?  This was actually a two-parter played back to back giving The Clone Wars a much needed expanding of their weekly story architecture.  And it works well; the two episodes are distinct but the over all story remains intact and at the end you don’t feel like saying, “It’s over?”

Our location is Naboo.  Naboo is one of those places, persons, things that shows up quite a bit in these pre-A New Hope stories.  Yet much like gunships, clones and a host of other important people, it’s something you don’t hear of in the “first movies.”  It’s not likely even George Lucas would go back and pry-bar in a mention of the grassy planet, but non-the less, if Tattooine was a big name in the first trilogy, Naboo is the big name in the second.

Padme, Threepio, Representative Binks meet with Queen Jamila of Naboo and Captain Typho.  The Queen feels her world is threatened and asks for help.  They have found a tactical droid and pull some information from it regarding the location of a secret lab that may be the source for a mysterious plague.  Binks goes after a tasty bug, knocks over some stuff and smashes the droid, but he says the bug comes from a certain area with mud just like on the droid’s feet.  He and Padme go investigate, meet a gungan shaak herder  and are captured by the secret lab’s German mad scientist, Nuvo Vindi.  (Yes, I said German.  I mean seriously, when a character says “ze wirus” what are you supposed to think?)

Vindi has resurrected the long dead Blue Shadow virus, a plague that will kill any living thing.  It was thought destroyed.  Vindi has turned the virus airborne and planted it in several hundred bombs to be delivered to civilized star systems.  Obi-wan, Anakin and Ahsoka are dispatched to help.  They find the lab, fight droids and save the day, but a small assistant droid gets away and blows up one of the bombs infecting the whole compound.  Ahsoka and the clones try to get to a safe room but a bit of the virus gets in and they start getting sick.  Obi-wan and Anakin leave Naboo to find a root that combats the virus found on the planet Iego.  Iego is surrounded by thousands of small moons and home to a very pernicious youth named Jabo Hood.  The Jedi find the root and fight off a Little Shop of Horrors plant.

The Separatists left behind a ton of droids so Jabo reprogrammed them to serve him.  The inhabitants think an energy field left behind by the Separatists is an evil spirit named Drole intent on keeping everyone from leaving Iego.  Obi-wan and Anakin aboard The Twilight and with help from Jabo’s vulture droids, destroy the laser grid and escape.  Meanwhile, on Naboo, Ahsoka and Padme along with a few clones are quite sick, but valiantly fight to keep all the droids from escaping the lab and letting the virus loose upon Naboo.  Anakin and Obi-wan arrive in time with the root to save them.

The only thing this episode didn’t have was a large space battle.  They crammed everything else they could into it; Threepio interrogated the tactical droid, Rep. Binks was heroically clumsy, Padme got captured, Ahsoka jumped around like Yoda and Anakin was headstrong.  There were also a lot of problems. The mad scientist was of course German, wore goggles and a white lab coat.  The virus has no known cure throughout the galaxy and was so feared that it was made extinct, yet two Jedi on the findings of a palace guard, find a naturally growing plant root that will save them all.  When Obi-wan and Anakin return, they spring Ahsoka and Padme and the others but there’s no sign of containment, just a bunch hover-stretchers – no masks, no suits.  Deadly plague my butt.

Still, it wasn’t a bad episode.  The action was prevalent but not over the top and enough had to be done to save the day that it didn’t give the normally annoying characters time to really crawl under your skin.

Four out of five green lightsabers.

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