Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 1, Episode 3 Recap: Shadow of Malevolence

Anakin comes up with a bold plan to deal with General Grievous and the warship the Malevolence.

Short Story (TL;DR): Count Dooku orders General Grievous to destroy the Kaliida Shoals Medical Center, in an effort to cripple the Republic’s army. Meanwhile, Anakin Skywalker decides to lead a squad of Y-wing bombers to attack the Malevolence’s bridge, taking out the ship and General Grievous along with it. Despite his confidence, Anakin’s plan falls apart, since his Shadow Squadron lack the piloting skills needed to pull off such a risky mission. Master Plo Koon suggests that everybody focus their fire on the ion cannon instead. The team succeeds in overloading the cannon, which heavily damages the ship and its hyperdrive. Grievous is forced to retreat as it’s chased by Republic capital ships.

Moral of the episode: Easy is the path to wisdom for those not blinded by themselves.

Anakin Skywalker’s Bold Plan

The Republic is now aware of the Separatists’ deadly new flagship, the Malevolence, particularly its ion cannon. This weapon is powerful enough to disable the power systems of entire fleets, rendering them defenseless. The real challenge is figuring out a way to destroy this warship.

Jedi General Anakin Skywalker decides to take matters into his own hands. His plan involves leading a direct assault on the Malevolence with his Shadow Squadron using long-range Y-wing bombers. The goal is to concentrate all of their fire on the Malevolence’s bridge, aiming to kill General Grievous and destroy the warship in the process. While Anakin is confident in his plan’s success, his padawan, Ahsoka Tano, and Jedi Master Plo Koon express concerns about the plan’s risky nature.

Separatist Assault on Medical Transports

Meanwhile, the Malevolence strikes at the Republic’s convoy of medical transports using its ion cannon. Count Dooku contacts General Grievous via holoprojector, to give him a new target: the Kaliida Shoals Medical Center. This crucial Outer Rim facility is defenseless and treating over 60,000 wounded clone troopers. Without the medical center, the Jedi would have no place to send their injured troops.

The attack on the medical transports by the Separatists alerts Admiral Yularen to the Malevolence’s next target. He contacts Nala Se, the Kaminoan physician at Kaliida Shoals, to warn her of the impending attack. However, there isn’t enough time to evacuate all 60,000 patients. General Obi-Wan Kenobi joins the call with news that Naboo is dispatching ships to aid in the evacuation, and he is en route as well.

The Balmorra Run

Anakin leads his squadron of 12 Y-wing bombers, with Ahsoka as his gunner and Plo as their fighter escort. They take a shortcut through the Kaliida Nebula in hopes of intercepting the Malevolence in time. The nebula is a thick, deep-red cloud with limited visibility. 

Anakin refers to the shortcut as an old smuggler’s route called the Balmorra Run.  “Balmorra Run?” Plo repeats in horror. He urges Anakin to turn around, just as Ahsoka’s scanner detects multiple large signals. Plo reveals that the Balmorra Run is the nesting ground for massive nebray mantas. Shadow Squadron falls in line behind Anakin, and with great effort, they manage to navigate through the swarm and exit the nebula. Unfortunately, Matchstick’s Y-wing sustains damage to its port engine during the ordeal.

Back at Kaliida Shoals, Yularen informs Kenobi that only 50% of the patients have been evacuated. Kenobi fears they won’t finish before General Grievous arrives.

“General Skywalker still has a chance to intercept Grievous,” Yularen says, hopefully.

“If he does, we must be prepared,” Kenobi responds.

Daring Maneuvers

Plo Koon observes the damage to Matchstick’s Y-wing, though the clone trooper insists it is minor. Plo cautions against unnecessary risks, emphasizing that losing even a single ship could jeopardize the mission. 

As they reach the Kaliida Medical Center, the Malevolence emerges from hyperspace. General Grievous orders his battle droids to launch their fighters and target the medical transports carrying evacuees. He then commands them to fire their ion cannon at Anakin’s squadron, without concern for his own fighters caught in the blast.

Anakin orders everyone to fly towards the oncoming energy surge and then fly over the edge of the blast. Shadow Squadron have trouble executing the maneuver as their Y-wings struggle to ascend. Matchstick’s engine ultimately fails, and his ship spirals out of control. His Y-wing collides with another ship, killing both pilots. Three more Y-wings are caught in the ion blast and disabled, causing Anakin to lose nearly half of his squadron.

The Malevolence’s turbolasers claim even more fighters, as Anakin is determined to reach the bridge for his attack. Ahsoka reminds Anakin that Shadow Squadron lacks the piloting skills needed to keep up with him — and they’re getting shot down as a result. Plo Koon suggests an alternative solution: targeting the ion cannon to cause it to overload. Anakin orders his team to shift their focus and concentrate their fire on the starboard ion cannon. Shadow Squadron launches a barrage of torpedoes just as Grievous’s droids prepare to fire the ion cannon at the medical center. As Plo had hoped, the cannon overloads and explodes when fired at the center — destroying the cannon and damaging the ship’s hyperdrive.

Unable to escape into hyperspace and with Republic capital warships led by Obi-Wan and Yularen firing at him, Grievous issues a full retreat back to Separatist space. 


Inside the medical center, Nala Se expresses gratitude to Anakin for his heroic efforts.

“Do not take lightly the lives you have saved,” she remarks.

“I don’t — but I also can’t ignore the lives we’ve lost,” Anakin responds.

He then excuses himself and Ahsoka to prepare for the Republic’s impending assault on the Malevolence.

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