The Clone Wars has really favored the three-part mini arcs of late, presumably to package them as feature-length movies later on. Though ostensibly more important than the previous trifecta, the new one beginning tonight doesn’t feel quite so compelling. It concerns Anakin’s destiny as the Chosen One, accompanied by a lot of vaguely interesting but ultimately baffling claptrap. He, Ahsoka and Obi-Wan are drawn to a mysterious planet – a supposed nexus of the Force – where a strange king and his two children reveal the enigmas of some damn thing or another. The king’s daughter represents the light side, his son the dark, and together they maintain the universe’s balance between the Oreo cookie of evil and the creamy filling of good. They test Anakin to see if the prophecies are true, and hopefully place him on the path to his destiny.
The planet itself exhibits beautiful design work, with the landscape blooming every morning and dying every night. Beyond that, however, the pseudo-mystical elements tend to overwhelm it, and since we know Anakin’s ultimate fate, the mystery falls a little flat. “Overlords” scores a palpable win, however, with its guest stars. Both Liam Neeson and Pernilla August reprise their roles as Qui-Gon Jinn and Shmi Skywalker, respectively, and their appearance lends the episode a weight it might not otherwise possess. (Neeson, in particular, is a sorely missed presence in the Star Wars universe.) That and some intriguing hints about Ahsoka’s ultimate fate help rescue the episode from its own worst instincts.