It's called "Massacre" but I'd forgotten how nuts this fourth season episode of Clone Wars was. Featuring absolutely no "good" characters, it's the story of a single battle and rout, of the droid army laying seige to a whole civilisation. And not just your average goofy Star Wars alien civilisation, this is the Nightsisters of Dathomir who employ witches and zombies in their defence. Like so many episodes of Clone Wars, it keeps you captivated with the sensation that anything can happen.
It's very cinematic, too, I can imagine it looking great on a movie screen. Directed by Steward Kee and written by Katie Lucas, it returns us to the ongoing troubles of Asajj Ventress (Nika Futterman), former apprentice of Count Dooku (Corey Burton). After failing in her attempts to get revenge on him, Ventress returns to her home world Dathomir to join the fold of the Nightsisters.
She's baptised in a special ceremony before feasting begins. Meanwhile, General Grievous (Matthew Wood) is marshalling his forces for an onslaught. It seems like a one-sided battle until an ancient member of the Nightsisters (Kathleen Gati), hidden safely in a secret chamber, raises an army of zombies.
The Nightsisters are so impressive in this episode it strengthens the impact when they start to lose. You come away from the episode with a new sense of the strength of Grevious and his droids as well as a surprising sadness for the Nightsisters, even if they are a whole population of murderers. Even before the Disney acquisition, making both sides villains was likely the only way the show could get away with something like this. It's a liberating concept, as Quentin Tarantino showed with several of his films.
Clone Wars is available on Disney+.
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The av'rage trek was deemed a lofty myth.
Behind a veil of glowing bugs we dance.
The whispers claimed the nervous ghost's a Sith.
But something mild took the polished chance.
The endless show would never roll the cast.
The thought of broken legs preserved the sea.
A clutch of words was nailed against the mast.
In neutral waters, stronger fish can see.
An easy trap for air was just a can.
The building's height was built around a fall.
The watcher turned to be, of course, a man.
And something moved the mind to build a wall.
Escaping sides create the boundless square.
A billion eyes reflect the Devil's stare.