As a review of season four, some spoilers may be revealed within this article.  Read with caution!

The beginning of this season started out a little rough for me.  The plots jumped all over, from underwater worlds to peace-loving Kiros, and the storylines didn’t follow any particular trajectory.  We met Prince Lee-Char, forced to grow up after his father is assassinated, and we watched as R2D2 and C3PO had some adventures on their own.  Rex and the other Clones had a stirring fight for independence and respect.  There were exciting villains with General Krell and Riff Tamson, but they didn’t stick around too long.  The season really started to gather steam for me around the episode entitled “Deception,” when Obi-Wan Kenobi fakes his own death to go undercover as sniper Rako Hardeen to infiltrate the plot to kidnap Chancellor Palpatine.

From here we jump into the cut-throat world of bounty hunters, who actually have a better moral code than I expected.  Cad Bane was initially suspicious of Kenobi-as-Hardeen, but by the end of the game-themed episode “The Box” he trusted him with his life.  While not exactly a role model, Bane was fun to watch with his cowboy swagger.  I was sorry to see him get caught.

Speaking of bad characters I learned to love, Ventress really captured my attention this season.  That voice alone is hard to ignore – a sort of sultry purr from a cat that smokes a pack a day – and I’m a fan of the way the female characters on this show all seem to have studied at the same ballet- ninja school of fighting and gymnastics.  The story of her return to the Nightsisters and their violent destruction really hooked me.  I loved the Nightsisters, from their wicked fighting skills to their freaky warriors called back from the dead.  Ventress even grew a teeny tiny bit of a conscience, releasing the kidnapped girl-bride Pluma from captivity while working a job with none other than a young Boba Fett, as well as fighting alongside Obi-Wan.

And how could we forget all the important groundwork being laid this season?  Anakin’s distrust of the Jedi Council is only growing, thanks to Obi-Wan’s fake death and undercover work, giving Palpatine a crack to wedge himself into.  Anakin’s disdain for the Jedi way of life is becoming palpable, and the distance he is putting between himself and the others (including Ahsoka) is increasing.

As the season ended, Darth Maul returned in full force thanks to his brother Savage’s loving care and a pair of robotic legs.  He has vowed revenge against Obi-Wan, and I suspect that will be the driving force behind season 5 when it returns.  I’m also hoping for more Ventress and Ahsoka storylines – I don’t think I could ever get bored of those two ladies.

While the beginning might have been a bit scattered, this season had some really intriguing plots and really got me excited to watch.  The moments when Clone Wars gets dark and ugly and sometimes scary are the strongest – after all, that’s when we viewers really connect with the characters onscreen.  What are you looking forward to most when the new season starts?