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When The Clone Wars first aired back in late 2008 guest reviewers looked at the show over at lightsabre.co.uk, giving their initial gut impressions on that groundbreaking first season. Here, Tim Veekhoven looks at the first episode of season one – Ambush.

“Great leaders inspire greatness in others.”

A galaxy divided by war! Peaceful worlds must choose sides or face the threat of invasion. Republic and Separatist armies vie for the allegiance of neutral planets.
Desperate to build a Republic supply base on the system of Toydaria, Jedi Master Yoda travels to secret negotiations on a remote neutral moon…

Tim Veekhoven

Ambush was the first regular episode of the series to be broadcasted on October 3 2008. It was written by Steve Melching and directed by Dave Bullock.

Due to their agreement with the Desilijic Kajidic to use the Huttese Hyperspace Routes (in The Clone Wars movie), the Republic is eager to cross Hutt Space wherever possible and wants to build a base on Toydaria. King Katuunko of the Toydarians agrees to meet the Republic on the neutral coral moon of Rugosa in the Outer Rim. This meeting has come to the attention of Dooku (with the help of Skytop Station) who sends Asajj Ventress to persuade the Toydarians to reconsider their allegiance.

Katuunko loves Jedi tales and is looking forward to meet Jedi Master Yoda who has been sent to negotiate on behalf of the Republic. But of course the Confederacy isn’t going to play fair and Yoda’s retrofitted Consular-class Space Cruiser must make a hasty escape and barely manages to send an escape pod to Rugosa with Yoda and three Clone Troopers onboard.

Yoda agrees to the proposed challenge of Ventress and is supposed to meet Katuunko in time without being captured by Ventress’ army. Yoda is aware that the CIS will never cheat and decides to take the longer route towards the rendezvous point. During the skirmishes the three clones, Thire, Jek and Rys, become better acquainted with the Jedi Master who considers the clones to be individuals with a particular strength they should use in combat.

When Yoda has almost reached Katuunko, the CIS tries to trap him with AAT Tanks and Droideka’s. But Yoda is too powerful and with the help of the Clone Troopers he’s able to meet the Toydarian King in time. Ventress, who was ordered by Dooku to kill Katuunko after the Sith Lord realised the mission had gone awry, is stopped by Yoda and escapes Rugosa. Katuunko pledges his allegiance to the Republic.

Ambush delivered a very promising start for The Clone Wars series. Because of the dark colours used in the Malevolence trilogy, light and colours played an important part in Ambush and on Rugosa, which was envisioned as a location where the oceans had dried up.

Yoda is the hero in Ambush and it’s very enjoyable that we see parts of Yoda’s ‘crazy alter ego’ used to test Luke in The Empire Strikes Back. The clones find it strange that the Jedi Master is acting rather odd sometimes but as always, Yoda has wise counsel for his troopers. When you hear the familiar notes of ‘Yoda’s Theme’, Yoda entrusts the clones with a particular strength he sees in each of them. This new confidence boosts the clones’ moral and will be very helpful in the end battle. The end battle has some great Force moves from Yoda and it’s the only time we’ll see the Jedi Master in action during Season 1.

Katuunko is another interesting character. He’s a fan of the Jedi and has an enormous amount of faith in Yoda. It seems like he’s enjoying Yoda’s one-man show and he almost knew for sure that Yoda was going to prevail.

Ambush is a great episode with a straightforward, classic storyline and some humour. It has great colors, a wonderful environment and a likeable new important character. The episode shows that the Clone Troopers are considered individuals and not anonymous fodder by Yoda (and by the makers of The Clone Wars series as well).

Review originally published on Lightsabre.co.uk.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 1
  • Various (Actor)
  • Various (Director)
  • English, French (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)