- "The strong survive, the noble overcome."
- ―Moral Eval
"The Box" is the seventeenth episode of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television series' fourth season. It revolves around several bounty hunters' participation in the Box, a perilous competition devised by Moralo Eval. This is the third episode in a four-part storyline about Obi-Wan Kenobi's quest to unveil an assassination plot against Chancellor Palpatine, in which he goes undercover as a bounty hunter named Rako Hardeen. This storyline began with last two episodes: "Deception" and "Friends and Enemies." It aired on February 3, 2012.
"The disguised Obi-Wan accompanies Cad Bane and Moralo Eval to Serenno, where they enlist in a brutal competition with other bounty hunters from around the galaxy to determine who will participate in a plot to kidnap the Chancellor."
The trio consisting of the disguised Obi-Wan, Moralo Eval, and Cad Bane arrives at Castle Serenno on Serenno, where the Count himself welcomes them, although the latter chastises Eval for his delay. From the Count, Obi-Wan and Bane learn that a contest is about to take place, and the two of them are invited to participate. The participants already on site include some of the galaxy's most successful—and thus notorious—bounty hunters: Next to Bane and Obi-Wan's disguise template, this includes Embo, Derrown, Twazzi, Sixtat, Jakoli, Mantu, Kiera Swan, Sinrich, and Onca (whose brother was just moments before murdered by Bane for his hat). Unarmed, all of them are to face a life-and-death challenge in the Box, a huge floating structure designed by Eval and filled with deathtraps; and only the first five survivors will be chosen for the task Dooku has in store for them, in return for a handsome reward. Meanwhile, in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, Anakin Skywalker's suspicions about Obi-Wan are in the meantime confirmed by none other than Master Yoda himself, who apologizes for the deception but also makes it clear that due to Anakin's temper it would become too dangerous for Obi-Wan to involve himself in the mission.
Once they have been transferred into the Box, the contestants meet their first challenge: Dioxis gas seeping from the floor. The bounty hunters race to the rising platforms, believing that they will be safe from the poison if they stay high enough. However, the platforms continue to rise, threatening to crush the bounty hunters. Obi-Wan correctly deduces that the escape route is beneath them, and using his helmet's filters, discovers the exit. All the bounty hunters follow Obi-Wan and take no casualties.
They soon arrive for the second challenge, where they must escape the room. Eval starts the challenge and sends out horizontal columns with a laser spike tip which seemingly move at random. Obi-Wan notices that the columns move in a pattern to allow the bounty hunters to escape from the exit, located at the ceiling. While most of the bounty hunters manage to follow Obi-Wan lead, Onca, Swan and Sinrich are killed. Dooku notices that "Hardeen" is carrying everyone and tells Eval to watch him closely.
The group arrives for the third challenge as a serum appears before the bounty hunters. Eval tells them that for this third challenge, one of them must take the serum and deactivate the ray shield cage. However, the serum is toxic to all but one of them. Eval raises the platform and the ray shield, electrocuting Jakoli who is caught off-guard. Derrown goes for the serum, but is stopped by Bane. However, Obi-Wan allows Derrown to take the serum, as the physiology of his race should allow him to survive the serum's effects. Derrown moves through the ray shield and manages to deactivate the switch, though Mantu is killed in the process.
The contestants proceed to the final challenge, where Eval explains to them that they must shoot a moving holographic target with a sniper rifle. If they miss one shot, then they will be killed by the pop-up flamethrowers below. Sixtat volunteers himself and lands the first few shots. However, he misses the final one, prompting Eval to drop him to his doom as the others watch.
Obi-Wan then volunteers himself. However, Eval, now jealous of "Hardeen's" successes, deceptively loads Obi-Wan's rifle with four shots while demanding that he shoot down five. Obi-Wan realizes the deception too late and Eval attempts to drop him to his doom. Bane, now having newfound respect for Obi-Wan and disgusted by Eval's cowardice in killing him, saves him with his cable, demanding that he kill him off like a man. Dooku, also aware of Eval's cowardice, wishes to see him fight too and forces the Phindian into the arena. Eval fights dirty by using probe droids and altering the arena into a small maze, but Obi-Wan destroys his control bracelet. Dooku demands that "Hardeen" kill Eval, but he refuses, stating that he just wants to get his money. Dooku is disappointed by his refusal.
Nevertheless, he and his surviving compatriots are declared winners of the challenge and are entrusted with the Count's plan: to kidnap Supreme Chancellor Palpatine as he goes to visit Naboo and hold him hostage in exchange for the release of the Separatist leaders who have been captured by the Republic in the course of the war. Dooku assigns Bane to be the strike team's leader, after witnessing Eval's lack of combat skills and "Hardeen's" apparent reluctance to kill off his opponents.
The concept of The Box is inspired by the 1997 film, Cube.
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