The Clone Wars flies by when grouped like this, and I don’t know if there has been a better three-block of episodes than episodes 9-11 (never forget) of season 2. Let’s dig in!
1. Higher ground
One thing I’ve become hyper aware of in watching Star Wars media is the concept of the higher ground advantage. This is one of the most horseshit concepts Lucas ever threw into the films, as it worked exactly once (when, conveniently, Lucas needed Obi-Wan to be able to defeat Anakin, and couldn’t write a more interesting way). Remember when Obi-Wan sliced Darth Maul in half? Remember how he was hanging down a shaft and jumped over him, essentially the exact way that Anakin would do two movies later, but only Obi-Wan, a much less experienced swordsman, remembered to swing his lasersword at the guy flying above him? Who had the higher ground then?
Anyway, I say that because at various times in this episode, Obi-Wan and Grievous switched higher ground, with no discernible advantage to be found. I’m not saying that the show should be a slave to Lucas’s dumb idea, but it is weird when one of the films essentially introduces a Jedi’s lightsaber Kryptonite, and then all other media just flatly ignores it.
2. A nemesis
It’s nice to see General Grievous being established as a constant thorn in Obi-Wan’s side here. Giving him a nemesis is something surprisingly new for Star Wars. In the prequels, he’s part of the Republic/Jedi Order, and they have an enemy, but aside from Anakin at the end of Revenge of the Sith, he’s never really had a focal point. Even in A New Hope, you get the sense that his problem with Vader is how he, Obi-Wan, dealt with him. He’s fighting Vader, but he’s fighting himself, really.
Here, we see Obi-Wan a little more impulsive and little less collected and calm than he normally is, because Grievous is under his skin. This humanizes him, and makes the eventual battle in Sith feel far more epic.
3. “The Deserter”
A friend recently pointed out to me how an inordinate amount of Star Wars involves slow chases, and the second of these episodes, “The Deserter,” is half a slow chase and half a fascinating rebuke of the Republic’s use of clones. The slow chase holds no interest to me, but all of the stuff with the clones was great.
Cut Lawquane is the type of character that really enhances this show, and Star Wars in general. The films are so packed to the gills with action that, often times, all but the most major characters get lost in the shuffle. To introduce a character, his family, and his past in 22 minutes isn’t easy, but we know more about Cut at the end of this episode than all but maybe a dozen prequels characters.
The discussion of purpose versus free will is one that echoes through various theologies and worldviews, and Cut is shown to have no remorse whatsoever for his actions. He chose to leave, and he is choosing his family. As a many with a family himself, I can relate. Rex’s problem with his decision is also very understandable, and is framed in a fairly traditional, militaristic way. Rex has a job to do that he puts above all else; Cut feels differently.
In a weird way, this is reminiscent of Luke and Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. Luke drops his Jedi training to try to save Leia and Han, because the people he loves are more important than anything to him. He is deserting, in one sense of the word. The difference, of course, is that Luke returns. I hope, for his sake, Cut never sees another clone.
4. No Force Pull?
The logic in “Lightsaber Lost” was messing with my head a little. So, Ahsoka can bend a drainpipe using the Force, but can’t use the Force to pull the lightsaber out of the hand/off the belt of various people? The Force Pull seems like one of the most natural powers to manifest (see Leia in The Last Jedi and Rey in The Force Awakens) and, again, Ahsoka uses the force to bring down a drainpipe.Continued below
A simple line of dialogue could have helped here.
5. Grandpa Jedi
Tera Sinube is a fun Jedi, similar to Yoda in his wisdom and unassuming nature, and is the type of Jedi I think we are most accustomed to as Star Wars fans. Sure, we get the young turks in each film, but when I think of a Jedi, still, I think of older Obi-Wan or Yoda. To me, these are the Jedi that should be training, not the ‘in their prime’ folks who can be better used elsewhere.
Tera and Ahsoka make for a classic crime solving duo, with an impetuous youngster and the grizzled veteran, working together to bring down the bad guy. It was very Lethal Weapon, while being not at all Lethal Weapon.
Bonus Thought: That fish alien had the worst Italian stereotype accent I’ve ever heard.