Season One, Episode Eleven — “Dooku Captured”
By Jason Gibner. You may not know it, but for Star Wars fans January 2nd, 2009 was a day long remembered. On that fateful day seven years ago, the eleventh episode of The Clone Wars introduced the irascible Weequay space pirate, Hondo Ohnaka, into our lives. In some small European villages and in unknown regions of the upper Midwest, “Hondo Day” is celebrated by wearing turtle shells on your head and talking like Hondo for at least three hours straight. Needless to say, Hondo is a phenomenon.
You can tell right away from this episode that this particular space pirate was something special. A lot of his charm came from the dynamite voice work from actor Jim Cummings. Comic, sly, and absolutely dynamite, whenever Cummings guest starred as Hondo, the odds were it was gonna be a good episode. And here Hondo makes his debut in a pretty okay episode that features some ups and downs with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, a kidnapping plot, ransom demands, and somebody by the name “Dooku.” Clearly, Mr. Ohnaka being the episode’s major highlight. Clearly.
WHAT WORKED: “Dooku Captured” begins in a quick and slightly disorienting way by dropping the viewer right into the middle of the action. Anakin has been captured by Dooku after a fight. (We never see said fight, mostly because the episode used footage from the Clone Wars movie to give the illusion that it took place.) After that, the heroes quickly crash onto a planet where they must deal with nasty gundarks while Dooku is captured by Hondo and his gang. It’s all very fast paced and feels very Star Wars. And in all those Gundark cave moments, we get some primo Anakin/Obi friendship banter that the show hadn’t really delivered before this point.
WHAT DIDN’T: As fast as this episode zips along it has a very abrupt ending. The story sets itself up to continue in the next episode, but instead of offering an ellipsis to carry us over to next week, this thing just suddenly drops the curtain and ends. (Feels like a waiter taking your plate away when you haven’t even touched the fries yet. “I’M NOT DONE WITH THIS YET, MARCEL!“)
“Obi-Wan Kenobi. I thought I sensed an unpleasant disturbance.” – Count Dooku.
“Let’s try not to blow up the ship before they get off this time.” – Ahsoka Tano.
“So which part of the situation did you have under control? The blocked entrance, or the poison gas, or that gundark behind you?” – Ahsoka Tano.
“Even a Sith Lord is no match for my warriors. Put up quite a fight! Blasters. Cannons. That glowy thing.” – Hondo.
Dooku: “They are devious and deceitful and most importantly, stupid.” Obi-Wan: “It’s a wonder you don’t get along with them, Dooku. You have so much in common.” – Obi Wan.
“Well, this should be fun.” – Obi Wan.
BEST MOMENT: I’m going to have to go with the scene where the illustrious Count Dooku is captured by Hondo and his men and is utterly humiliated by them. Right away, Hondo’s Kowakian monkey-lizard is up on Dooku’s shoulder and you can see the Count doing everything he can to not kill the thing. Hondo’s complete lack of respect but admiration for the Jedi is highlight in any episode of Clone Wars or Rebels.
EPISODE MVP: No surprise, it’s Hondo. Dooku and Anakin both have some righteous moments in this one, but it’s Hondo and his dim witted, hard drinking band of privies that steal the spotlight.
– I always get a thrill from seeing Jedi use their lightsabers as flashlights. Maybe it’s because I’ve used a toy saber as light many, MANY times. Don’t judge me.
– Fun fact: Hondo voice actor Jim Cummings, amongst many iconic roles, lent his vocal talents as Drake Mallard in the Disney animated series, Darkwing Duck.
– Obi Wan’s line to the jailed Niktos, “You’re not the prisoners I’m looking for,” is a slightly obvious call back to his line in A New Hope, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
– The awesome looking gear immobilizing Dooku and making him float there appears to be a Containment field, the same thing the count had Obi-Wan bound in during Attack of the Clones.
– According to the episode guide on Star Wars.com, there were going to be two Kowakian monkey-lizards as part of the Hondo’s twin brothers Pikk Mukmuk and Pilf Mukmuk, but their characters were consolidated into Pilf, sadly.
– The flying disc look for Hondo’s ship comes from 1950s-era film spaceships. Hondo’s ship specifically comes from the classic Earth vs. The Flying Saucers. The commentary revealed that they had planned on using a flying-saucer type spacecraft in the prequel series since The Phantom Menace, either as Trade Federation spacecraft or as Alderaanian vessels, but it wasn’t until the production of this episode that they got the chance to implement the idea.
– In the original script, the scene where Anakin and Obi-Wan stumble into the hangar originally had them finding a Sabaoth starfighter from the vastly underrated video game, Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter.
– Jedi Fortune Cookie: “The winding path to peace is always a worthy one, regardless of how many turns it takes.”
7 out of 10
Next: “The Gungan General”, soon.
Before: “Lair of Grievous”, here.