Star Wars: The Clone Wars “Front Runners” Review

(Full Spoilers Ahead)

Oh, how I love a good rebellion. Not only are they very important to the Star Wars universe, but they always give us great characters and exciting action. And after what felt like a prep episode last week, I really hoped to see some great scenes this week from our new characters Steela and Saw.

Thankfully, I was not at all disappointed.

Front Runners took all the characterization and training from last week and applied it here, giving us a rebellion that felt more real and formidable than last week. I think the writers did a fantastic job by placing the focus on Steela, Saw, and the rest of the rebellion by giving them plenty of screen-time and a number of awesome scenes.

Nothing is worse than a rebellion that feels like child’s play. And much to my delight, Front Runners delivered the best rebellion the show has had yet.

I loved Steela as a character since she first came on screen but I felt like Saw just was just your average tough-guy. With this in mind, I was very happy to see him get more screen time and characterization through his banter-filled scenes with Lux, (who continues to impress) and more emotional scenes with Steela, his sister.

On top of the much appreciated focus on the rebellion, the fight scenes were also fantastic. You would think I’d be used to the great action The Clone Wars provides, but Filoni and his team of geniuses continue to impress me.

Steela once again proves she can wield a sniper-rifle with great skill, Saw shows off some of his inner Bourne/Bond skills, and we get some great teamwork action from Ahsoka, Lux, and the rebels.

Lux and Saw prove to be quite the team.

I always love it when the focus is given to new or secondary characters on this show, because I feel at times the big three (Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka) are put in every episode to give familiarity to the younger viewers. So by having Anakin and Obi-Wan take a back-seat this week, we got to appreciate the rebels more and understand what it is they’re fighting for.

It seemed that Ahsoka should’ve had a little more presence this week though. I thought we’d get some more depth to the ‘love triangle’ developing between Steela, Lux, and Ahsoka, but outside some eye-rolling at the end, Ahsoka mainly provides some awesome action.

However, I did love Anakin’s reminder for Ahsoka to keep her focus. Sometimes we forget that Anakin is currently married, and his focus is constantly being tested. I almost felt like this was a little bit of foreshadowing for the upcoming episode where an old flame of Padme’s is introduced.

Now I know I talk about the animation every week, but I have to commend the animators once again for their work this week. Front Runners almost took place entirely at night, so they had quite the job to animate the lasers and muzzle sparks. And was anyone else blown away by that incredible explosion the power station made? That elicited a cheer from me. Oh, and the Jedi wore their robes. That’s always a big pleaser.

Love Triangle, or something else?

I did have a few complaints this week though. For one, I think the Onderon king was a little boring. He looked menacing enough, but seems to be nothing more than a shallow overlord. I would’ve greatly preferred if he had a little more depth to him, like maybe some back-story or something that would make him stand out from the other villains in the show.

Still, I’m sure he’ll get some good scenes next week, and maybe become a little more interesting when this droid general comes onto the scene.

Outside of the less than original villain and a few lines of dialogue that fell flat, Front Runners delivered where it counted. Steela and Saw got some fantastic scenes, Lux proves again that he is an interesting character, and we get a little bit of added jealousy from Ahsoka which is sure to play into this story’s finale next week.

Add that on top of the great visuals and action, and you’ll see why Front Runners stands out as the best rebellion episode The Clone Wars has produced thus far. I don’t doubt for a minute that we’re in for quite the ending next week.

8.5

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