Pretty cool, huh? "Monster" at last introduced us to Savage Opress, in an episode that even outdid last week's in its specific focus on the villains.In fact, for the first time ever, none of our usual heroes – including any Jedi or Clone Troopers – appeared at all, except for a small gathering of both we'd never seen before, who were completely outmatched and massacred in the space of a single scene.
This was an episode heavy on mood and atmosphere, as Mother Talzin convinced Count Dooku she could provide him with a new assassin – one from the same bloodline as the infamous Darth Maul. [As an aside: I would love to learn more about Dooku's feelings on his former apprentice, Qui-Gon Jinn, being killed by his current master Sidious' former Sith apprentice. Perhaps a future episode can touch upon this?] This began "the games," as Asajj Ventress put it, as she forced a group of the Zabrak men on her planet, who are subservient to the women, to fight her, to find out who was most worthy.
The scenes showing Ventress' fights against the Zabrak were fantastic. Ventress didn't use her lightsaber, yet still showed how deadly she was, effortlessly taking out one foe after another – How about when she caught that spear and threw it back? The visual of Dathomir's red sky behind all of this was great, especially as the action shifted to night. The second game, in which Ventress attacked in the dark, was visually striking. The red hue of the night sky on the otherwise mostly dark terrain and characters looked spectacular, accentuated by the glowing yellow eyes of the Zabrak. What an expertly designed scene.
Amongst this, Savage (voiced by the awesome Clancy Brown) proved to be Ventress' most formidable opponent and, inevitably, the winner of her contests. But what was a nice surprise was that the Savage we met seemed to be a decent guy. His main concern was protecting his brother at all costs, and he ultimately offered himself up to Ventress to save his brother's life.
Since all of the promotion leading up to this storyline has been on Savage as such a fearsome bad guy, it was a well done touch to show he doesn't start out that way and if not for the Nightsisters, likely would have led a much more noble life. Yes, you could guess the Nightsisters cruel final test for Savage, to prove he was under their control, would be to make him kill his own brother, but that didn't make it any less effective and tragic when it happened - heightened by how graphic it was as he snapped his brother's neck.
Having shown Savage before his change, it was all the more notable seeing him afterwards. The scene of Savage's first test by Dooku, as he attacked a Republic outpost guarded by those aforementioned ill-fated Clone Troopers and two Jedi, was another standout. Savage's viciousness, as he casually knocked aside the Battle Droids that, in theory, were on his side and then simply decimated the Clone Troopers and Jedi, did all it needed to show just how dangerous he was, in the wake of the Nightsisters' magic transforming him.
The end of the episode showed that Dooku had aspirations to get rid of Darth Sidious and use Savage as his own second Sith – telling him a familiar statement about ruling the galaxy together. What I like is being able to ponder whether Dooku always had these designs, or whether Sidious' concerns about Dooku trying such a thing with Ventress -- and Dooku's clear pangs of regret about betraying her -- have now given the Count this idea.
|out of 10||Click here for ratings guide|