(Full Spoilers Below)
Holy crap. Wow. That was what was going through my head for what was one of the best thirty-minutes of television I’ve ever seen.
Eminence delivered in more ways than I could’ve imagined. It brought Darth Maul and Savage Oppress together with the ever chilling Pre Viszla and his Mandalorians for the purpose of re-taking Mandalore from Duchess Satine and her pacifists. And if that wasn’t enough, there were decapitations, Original Trilogy references, and violence galore!
This is, hands down, one of the best episodes The Clone Wars has produced; and after half a season of just ‘good’ episodes, this ‘amazing’ episode couldn’t have come at a better time.
For starters, the opening of the episode was nearly breathtaking. After what happened in this season’s premiere, the Sith, Zabrak brothers Maul and Savage are found by Pre Viszla (voiced by the incredible Jon Favreau) injured (Maul’s robotic leg was injured, and Savage lost an arm; both at the hands of Kenobi) and on the verge of freezing to death.
Not one to pass up an opportunity like this, Pre Viszla brings them aboard his ship, and then to his battalion’s enclave for healing.
I just want to take a moment say that I think Pre Viszla is one of the best characters The Clone Wars has brought to the Star Wars universe. Favreau voices him with the perfect balance of chilling menace and exciting enthusiasm, and gives Viszla a smart, calculating Mandalorian demeanor.
Add that to the fact that Pre Viszla represents what every Mandalorian should be, and that he reminds me of Canderous Ordo of Knights of the Old Republic fame, and you have a winning character. He is a magnetic presence on screen, and you can’t help but love him.
And his interactions with Maul and Savage do not disappoint. I have to applaud Sam Witwer and Clancy Brown for superb voice-acting skills for Maul and Savage respectively, as they truly add an intensity to their dialogue that just sends chills down your spine.
Their partnership with the Mandalorians is obviously a ploy on both sides, but however long it lasts I can nearly guarantee it’s going to be awesome.
Eminence was orchestrated brilliantly, with just enough time dedicated to establishing the Zabrak brothers relationship with the Mandalorians without moving to slow or to fast. And I loved seeing the two forces going from place to place, recruiting pirates, gangsters and the like to their cause.
Every scene was oozing with an ominous intensity, and although not every recruiting attempt ended in bloodshed, it was chilling enough to make you think it did.
And when it did end in violence, let me tell you, my nerd-meter went off the charts. To start off, Savage decapitated(!) a whole table of Black Sun gangsters, and although we didn’t see the heads roll, we did hear them. I may or may not have been cheering giddily ay that point.
The climax of the episode, with the two Sith and Mandalorians fighting off a group of bounty hunters was epic and fast-paced, and ended the episode perfectly. I loved the little nods to Episode VI when we first saw Jabba’s Palace, and it just goes to show how passionate the Clone Wars developers are.
I also loved seeing many familiar bounty hunting faces amongst the Hutt’s protection. It was nice seeing Embo and Dengar again, as well as numerous other bounty hunter’s from past seasons. And seeing Maul and Savage fighting side by side against them was oh, so exciting, and literally had me at the edge of my seat.
In my opinion, Eminence is the kind of episode that makes The Clone Wars so great. While the show can appeal to a younger audience (as seen in the previous Younglings and Delta Squad arcs), its not afraid to show itself mature enough for the older Star Wars fans either.
This episode was one of the darker, more violent I’ve seen, and while I’m sure the kids are still going to love it (everyone loves a good lightsaber fight), Eminence was really for fans like you and me. A nothing held back thrill ride that delivers in every category. Story, action, animation, acting; it’s all there.
Suffice to say nothing could make me more excited for next week’s episode; except maybe re-watching this episode. Which I’m about to go do.