When you think about the Hutts, you may not think of love stories. You probably don't want to. Well, Hutts have feelings too. Episode 9 of season 3 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Hunt for Ziro, weaves a Shakespearean-esque tale of escape, fighting, love, and betrayal. Not necessarily in that order.

Ziro the Hutt escaped his prison on Coruscant. Cad Bane and a wily crew of bounty hunters managed to set him free. Since the five great Hutt families ordered the prison release, Ziro is taken to Nal Hutta; he has left one prison for another. The cloudy, grimy planet is the home of the Hutts. Ziro faces the mobster-like leaders of the Hutts and tries to talk his way out of his new cell. Ziro has information about the council of the Hutts in a holo-diary. He's surprisingly smart enough to use this as a bargaining tool for his release.

Back on Coruscant, Obi-Wan Kenobi awaits the arrival of Quinlan Vos with obvious impatience. The Jedi Council has ordered them to work together to arrest Ziro the Hutt and Cad Bane. Vos makes a showy “landing” by jumping from his ship and teases Kenobi about temple life. He shows a little more snark than we're used to seeing from him in the Expanded Universe. Actually, he's not unlike Anakin. Maybe that's why he bugs Kenobi so much. They put their differences aside to travel to Nal Hutta to find Ziro and Cad Bane.

While they are flying, the Hutt council is entertained by a lounge act that is worthy of Las Vegas.  Twi'lek dancers wearing a familiar metal bikini design and elaborate Hutt headdresses twirl about the floor. Sy Snootles makes a grand entrance and dazzles the audience with her crooning. Or maybe they are just dazzled by the disco lights, it's hard to say. Here's hoping that Star Wars: The Clone Wars has more musical numbers in store for us. After Snootles finishes her act, she takes a well deserved break and learns that Ziro is on Nal Hutta. She sashays to Ziro's cell and has the Gamorrean guards fighting each other in a contest of strength faster than you can say “I've got a bad feeling about this.” Why go to this effort to visit the prisoner? Love. Yes, Ziro had a girlfriend before his incarceration. Snootles still has deep feelings for him. Ziro uses this commitment to his advantage.

When Kenobi and Vos arrive, the council of the Hutts disavow any knowledge of Ziro's whereabouts. Luckily, Vos has the Force gift of psychometry – the ability to sense impressions about an object. He picks up a discarded cup and discerns that Ziro used it. He and Kenobi pretend they are satisfied by Gardulla the Hutt's lies and leave. Instead of returning to their ship, they find Ziro's prison cell. They are surprised to see that it is empty. Sy Snootles helped him escape on an airboat through the swamps of Nal Hutta. When the Hutts discover that Ziro is gone, they hire Cad Bane (he's been lurking around on the planet) to recapture him.

Vos and Kenobi are hot on Ziro's trail though they opt to run through the swamps instead of taking an speeder. Vos uses psychometry to track Ziro's escape path. Ziro heads to an unlikely destination; he runs to his dear mother. If you thought Jabba was a massive blob, Mama the Hutt will show you just what the word big means. Like most mothers would do, she yells at her son (in a very manly voice) about being gone and not sending word. She doesn't seem to think much of skinny legged Snootles either. The reason of the visit becomes clear. Ziro needs a favor. He asks to trade his swamp speeder for his mom's starship because he needs to go to Teth. Being the indulgent sort of mother, she agrees.

Cad Bane is also in pursuit by now. Since he also took a swamp speeder, he beats the Jedi to Mama the Hutt's house. When Vos and Kenobi get there she is fed up with being bothered. First her deadbeat son, then Cad Bane and Todo, and now them. The Jedi don't have to do much talking to get her to give up Ziro's destination. Ziro gets to Teth while they are pursuing. Once there, he takes Snootles to his papa's grave. The wrapped Hutt body is holding the holo-diary that has all the nefarious activities of the Hutt Council documented. Snootles is kind enough to retrieve it for Ziro. In a surprising turn, she pulls a gun on Ziro and states that she still has work to do. She kills Ziro without any emotion.

Bane gets to the scene first and is shocked to find Ziro already dead. As he puts it, “I just hate it when someone does my job.” While he is considering the loss of his bounty, the Jedi arrive. Their first thought upon discovering Ziro is that Bane was responsible. He points out that he wouldn't have made such a mess. Kenobi reminds him that he is still after him for holding the Senate hostage. Vos, Kenobi, and Bane throw down in the best fight of the season thus far. Vos and Kenobi put up a good fight, but Bane has enough gadgets to make Batman envious. Todo 360 helps a little, but we still have to admit that both Jedi lose against just one bounty hunter. We get to see Kenobi fight with two lightsabers, and Bane gets a hold of one for a few seconds. In the end though, despite their best efforts, Bane escapes.

Snootles delivers the holo-diary to Jabba the Hutt. Remember the moral of this episode, “Love comes in all shapes and sizes.” So does betrayal.

Trivia & Notes

Chronologically, Hunt for Ziro takes place right after the season 1 episode Hostage Crisis.

This is the first appearance of Quinlan Vos in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. If you haven't read any stories about him in the Expanded Universe, well, I recommend that you do so. Here's the Vos highlight reel: he found Aayla Secura and she later trained as his Padawan; he took an undercover assignment to spy on the Separatists and walked very close to the dark side; as shown in the episode, he has psychometric powers (the ability to draw memories by touching an object).

Sy Snootles has been hanging around with Jabba for a while. You probably remember her from Return of the Jedi; she was the lead singer for the Max Rebo band. She is voiced by Nika Futterman, also the voice of Asajj Ventress.

The song and dance number in this episode was inspired by the performance of Willie Scott in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

What'd you think of this week's episode?

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