The Clone Wars, Season 4, Episode 17: The Box
This is the third part of a four-part arc. To start with the first installment, go here.
When we last left our Jedi buddies, Undercover Fake Bounty Hunter Obi-Wan was making a break for Count Dooku’s Secret Hideout with Cad Bane and Moralo Eval. This happened only after he had to tip off Anakin as to his actual identity before choking him to a blackout, partly so that Anakin would stop trying to kill him (uh, for now.) Ahsoka had just gotten looped in on The Obi-Wan Situation by a very confused Anakin as we iris-wiped our way out of the last installment.
This brings us to Part 3 of this arc, a delightful chapter that stands out in my mind as one of the most “what is even happening right now” moments of TCW for me, which means it is amazing. Here we go!
Recurring Theme: Welcome to My Evil Lair
We land at Fort Dooku, and Moralo Eval begins by explaining his tardiness to the Count. Dooku’s wondering WTF this random is they brought with them, so they give him the very short version of how the three of them ended up together (you know, the prison riot with teenaged Boba Fett, for one thing. Which is still funny and always will be. You’re welcome.)
Eval and Dooku start talking about how both Bane and “Hardeen” will be good contestants for their “tournament.” Yes, evidently the Count is hosting the GFFA equivalent of a Game Night. I just love that he basically tells them that “if they’re up to the challenge” of said tournament, they’ll get even more money than they’re already owed — and neither of them have even a moment of wondering out loud as to why the hell Count Dooku is hosting a tournament, and giving out cash prizes for said tournament, or even what said tournament involves at a high level, before they both agree to participate. Now, of course, Obi-Wan is already looking for a reason to hang around to Gather Evidence and all — to say nothing of the fact that Dooku doesn’t seem like the kind of dude to be OK with you declining an invite and leaving his Secret Lair — but still.
Anakin Skywalker: Mistrusted Employee
Back at the Jedi Temple, Yoda is sitting in that meditation closet of his — yet another of the many rooms in the Temple that I do not believe has electricity — when Anakin shows up at his request.
Yoda apologizes to him for lying about that whole “Obi-Wan’s dead” thing, and Anakin’s like “YES! I fricking KNEW IT. Well gee, thanks a whole hell of a lot, guys.” Let us take a moment to appreciate the amazing pouty face Anakin makes at this:
Yoda proceeds to pour some salt on the wound by being like, “Yeah. We feel bad about it, and you’re a powerful Jedi, but also we’re all scared of you and you freak out REALLY easily especially about Obi-Wan for reasons we maybe don’t need to dive into right now, so we felt like we couldn’t tell you the truth.” Anakin counters that Obi-Wan could be in trouble now, and Yoda tells him to simmer. Anakin makes yet another pissy face as the scene ends.
We Interrupt This Skywalker Pathos to Bring You Our Insane A-Plot
We return to Camp Dooku, where Cad Bane is making friends with his fellow bounty hunters by murdering one of them to get his crappy Original Quaker Oatmeal Guy Hat back. Seems reasonable.
The Count arrives to begin expanding on the nature of this “tournament” of his, and he gives this hilarious and awkward rundown of all the bounty hunters assembled there and their claim to fame, which culminates in this:
Once finished taking roll, Dooku tells them that in a moment they’re all going to end up in something called “The Box”, and here I must pause so that you can appreciate the GIGANTICNESS and INSANITY of this thing.
The Count tells them that some of them won’t survive the challenge, and only 5 of them will be chosen as the winners, with any other survivors getting “eliminated.” Sounds like fun! The 5 chosen will get to participate in a very high-paying job for the Count and his Separatist pals that, upon successful completion, will bring…
Obi-Wan Kenobi: Like Such a Great Guy, Everyone
So, the bounty hunters (plus one fake one,) are admitted into The Box. The Box is this absolutely outrageously crazy Rubik’s Cube of Death, with whole walls that can become video screens for Moralo Eval to dole out Evil Commentary to the bounty hunter participants in this truly weirdass contest. Again: you guys all thought that Obi-Wan had these kinds of adventures, right? Like, when we met him in his hut on Tatooine? I know I totally did.
Their first challenge is to escape as the Box fills with poison gas. Obi-Wan, being Such a Great Guy And Everything, basically leads all of them to freedom after explaining how everything works.
After Round 1, everyone’s still alive.
There’s Just Something About This Guy
Round 2 begins, and this time The Box basically just starts aiming randomly at all of them with electrified pseudo-lightsabers. Watching via camera, Dooku stares at Hardeen and says there’s something different about That Guy. He asks Eval what he knows about him.
Eval tells him that Hardeen’s big claim to fame is that he like totally killed that one Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi…
And then I kind of love the Count’s reaction.
Aaaanyways, a number of bounty hunters get killed in this round, and Obi-Wan, Boy Scout and Ultimate Badass, leads the remaining people to freedom through a complex series of extremely well-timed and intricate jumps. All along the way, he goes out of his way to help Cad Bane, who accepts the help warily.
Dooku, meanwhile, continues to be impressed by Fake Hardeen.
Recurring Theme: Total Insanity
For Round 3, Obi-Wan and The Remainders (which sounds like a terrible, nerdy, possibly math-themed indie band) find themselves in a room surrounded by a ray shield. In the room, there is a syringe of “electrolytic serum” that will allow someone to pass through unharmed and disable the shield…
…however, the serum is toxic to all but ONE of the people in the room. And just…LOL, Star Wars. WHAT IS THIS. ARE YOU FOR REAL RIGHT NOW. Writers: can you guys believe you got paid to think this ridiculous nonsense up?! It’s amazing. It’s wonderful. I pledge myself to its teachings.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: Human Wikipedia
One of the bounty hunters dies almost immediately as the floor turns into ray shield, while another offers to take the serum. Cad Bane tries to protest, but Ultimate Nerd Obi-Wan points out that because this guy’s a Parwan, his species has a 50-50 chance of being able to handle the serum based on his blood type.
Why the fuck Obi-Wan knows this offhand, down to the percentages, I do not know, but I guess I’m impressed. Cad Bane basically asks him the same thing, and what a very huge surprise that he had a smartass reply locked and loaded.
Long story short, the Parwan does in fact handle the serum, and he shuts off the ray shield just in time to leave us with a grand total of 6 bounty hunters left.
Recurring Theme: This Just Really Seems Like a Lot Of Work To Put Together
Count Dooku rhapsodizes to Eval that maybe he should make Hardeen the leader of the mission since Hardeen is kicking The Box’s ass, but Eval promises he will prove his worth to Dooku in the final challenge.
The final test requires them to show off their sniper skills by hitting a moving, tiny target. If they miss, the platform they’re standing on over a pit of flame gets smaller.
Obi-Wan’s turn is up, and he hits 4 of his 5 targets with relative ease because he is amazing. By target 5, though, he realizes he’s out of charges and therefore can’t hit anything. Moralo Eval is on hand to do some bad guy grandstanding:
…and just as the final platform beneath Obi-Wan disappears, he’s saved by Cad Bane:
Eval is incensed, and Bane tosses back:
Dooku agrees, and now it’s Eval’s turn to go play in The Box of Wackiness:
So this scene is basically crazy and it moves so fast it’s hard to get a good screenshot. There’s probe droids, which Obi-Wan deftly dismantles in Total Badass fashion (including like, running along a wall at one point,) and some hand-to-hand combat. Eventually he disables Eval’s ability to control The Box himself and we reach the point where we know Shit’s About To Go Down because some vaguely Latin Choir has begun singing.
Obi-Wan beats the absolute crap out of Eval, but won’t finish him off even at Dooku’s insistence Because Secret Jedi. Dooku is peeved.
Recurring Theme: Kidnap The Chancellor
So now we FINALLY get to the part where someone is actually going to kidnap Palpatine. Dooku lays out the plan, which involves them demanding the release of all Separatist prisoners in exchange for Uncle Palps’ life, or killing him if the Republic won’t oblige. Sure.
And, finally, a Bounty Hunter Team Leader is named. It’s….not Eval.
It’s not Fake Rako Hardeen.
From now on, says Dooku, they’re all working for Cad Bane.
Aaaaand….Iris Wipe til next time, when we reach the thrilling conclusion of “…And That’s Why You Don’t Try to Confuse Anakin“!