SW: When "The Gathering" arc kicked off, the first two episodes held me in high confidence that this was going to be fantastic. Possible competing with the Onderon arc. However, last week's episode, "Bound for Rescue", was very disappointing to say the least (see my earlier review).
"A Necessary Bond", finally, redeemed almost all of the bad-ness of "Rescue". And I feel they wrapped up this arc on a grand high note.
I loved seeing General Grievous return after his lousy appearance in "Rescue". Instead of a mere distraction for Kenobi, he proved to be a real threat to Hondo and his gang. Even though I do love Hondo, I loved the part where Grievous threw him across the room. That's the Grievous I know! I've said this so many times before, but the show doesn't give Grievous enough credit for being a monstrous killing machine, so whenever he gets to do some serious damage, I'm all for it. (I was still let-down with how the episode treated Grievous at the end, but I'll come back to that in a minute).
Hondo! Hondo was great! One of my favorite traits about this character is that he switches from alliances whenever it suits him. I loved the scene where he decided to strike out a deal with Ahsoka and the younglings while hanging in a containment field. Bringing back an old event from Season One (when Hondo kidnapped Count Dooku to hold for ransom) was a good move and felt like it held the plot together more neatly. I also loved when one of the younglings sat behind him on the speeder and said, "I got your back," and Hondo replied, "Oh. I feel so safe!" (Or something like that). Hondo's role in the arc was a great addition, and it just would not have been the same without him.
The ending scene where he exchanges a glance with one of the younglings - that was so sweet!
You gotta love Hondo and his constant mood swings!
The general plot of the episode was done much better than last time. Even though most of it was revolved around yet another rescue mission. It makes me feel like they could have done without "Bound for Rescue", or fit it into part of this episode. Everything felt much smoother as well. The fight scene against the Separatists was done beautifully, and I enjoyed it a lot. I would have liked a bit more of droids versus pirates, but no matter - Hondo swinging his blade around was enough for me.
And finally, the climatic duel between Grievous and Ahsoka. Speaking for the episode in general, it was a satisfying conclusion. And yes, it was an intense and decent-enough battle. But, as almost always, I left disappointed. Grievous was obviously not giving the fight all his effort, and was more than not playing around with Ahsoka, the same way one does not take killing a bug as seriously as hunting in the woods. If he had really unleashed everything, I'm sure Ahsoka, despite her agile skills, wouldn't have stood a chance...but that's just me. For a second, I thought all the younglings and Ahsoka were going to take him on at once, and maybe even Hondo as well. Which would've been kriffing epic if they weren't, well, younglings. They wouldn't have all survived for sure, and that would get nasty. Still. Still.
And Grievous shouting "You will never defeat me!" as the Slave I took off...? Come on, guys. Show Grievous a little more respect. He could have at least killed some pirates instead of just yelling all the time!
Well, that's my rant. Overall, the episode was definitely better than the last, and wrapped up the arc wonderfully. Hondo was great. Grievous was (mostly) great. The younglings got into some real action, and Slave I even made a brief appearance. The coolest part was when they all completed their lightsabers.
This was a very entertaining arc with a nice lead cast of new faces, as well as familiar faces for villains, and a feel-good ending unlike Onderon. I can't wait to see what else is in store for Season Five!