Clone Wars S1 E3: Shadow of Malevolence

Clone Wars S1 E3: Shadow of Malevolence

16/05/2020 0 By JoeB1

A deadly weapon, unleashed! The Separatist battleship ”Malevolence” advances unopposed through Republic space, tearing apart any ship that stands in its path.

After a daring rescue and narrow escape, Anakin Skywalker prepares a counterattack on the enemy ship and its diabolical droid
commander, General Grievous….


Easy is the path to wisdom for those not blinded by themselves.

Following the last episode, the Republic is now aware of the Malevolence’s capabilities. Shadow of Malevolence opens with Anakin briefing Shadow Squadron on his “aggressive” mission to destroy the warship – and General Grievous along with it.

Grievous has an objective of his own, however – the destruction of a Republic medical facility. The stakes are high and the stage is set for a showdown…

General Grievous aboard the Malevolence - Clone Wars | Green Card Back

Speaking of the good General, this episode brings his character a bit more to the forefront. He’s consistent with how we see him in Revenge of the Sith; a dastardly villain that comes close but doesn’t stray too far into the realm of being a pure cartoon.

His temper and bullying nature is put to good use in an early scene with the Battle Droids. It both shows his character and lampshades the droids’ kid-friendly humour.

For the first time in the series, we get “realistic” war tactics and mission briefings, giving us a clear view of the challenge ahead. In this case, the Republic medical facility is hidden amongst a group of star clusters, making hyperspace travel difficult. This is what gives Anakin and Shadow Squadron their shot at getting there before the Malevolence.

There’s a lot to love about this episode. From the Y-Wing squad in action, both journeying through the hyperspace shortcut and then in action against the Malevolence itself, through to the excellent worldbuilding elements of the medical facility, the star cluster and the gigantic space aliens that live there, it’s all-out Star Wars.

Y-Wings in Attack Formation - Clone Wars | Green Card Back

It’s also gorgeous to look at, with beautifully composed shots and rich colours. And that’s before considering the audio, which puts us right into the galaxy. I would put a lot of money on the escape pod noise from the start of the episode coming directly from the start of A New Hope

Yet as well as the visuals, the audio flourishes and the well-drawn plot, it’s the character moments that make this episode work. As the first episode to focus on Anakin it does a lot of work in picking up where we left him in Attack of the Clones. He is strategic – or cunning – and ambitious, as noted by one of the clones. He is also shown to be considerate of his men, and flat-out refuses to concede that he’ll lose any of them on the mission. Not hard to draw a line back to Attack of the Clones from there.

His growth moment comes towards the end of the episode when Plo Koon makes it clear that Anakin may make it through the Malevolence’s defenses, the clones will not. It serves as a check against the same headstrong attitude that saw Skywalker charge Count Dooku on Geonosis. This time, Anakin pulls back. By disabling the Malevolence instead of destroying it, they achieve their objectives without excessive casualties.

Anakin and Ahsoka in a Republic Hanger - Clone Wars | Green Card Back

Putting the focus on Anakin makes it obvious how much more interesting he is than the rest of the cast at this early stage – but there’s a long way to go yet.

Clone Wars S1 E3: Shadow of Malevolence

Director: Brian Kalin O’Connell
Writer: Steven Melching
Story Editor: Henry Gilroy
Producer: Catherine Winder
Supervising Director: Dave Filoni
Executive Producer: George Lucas

Clone Wars Reviews: Series One | Green Card Back