This episode of The Clone Wars felt a little insubstantial, especially given how last week’s episode did everything that this week’s did, but better. Except for a guest voice and a cool weapon, this was very much a retread.
“When surrounded by war, one must eventually choose a side.”
1. Oh my
As I was watching this episode, I had a thought: is that George Takei or someone doing a bad George Takei impersonation? Turns out, it was George himself! It is hard to chew the scenery when it is all CGI, but ol’ Georgie found a way. Lok Durd is not exactly the most nuanced character in the Star Wars canon, but Takei gave the separatist a nice, sleazy tone.
2. Separatist motivation
One area that this show – and frankly, the prequels, too – never really gets into is why the average person/system would join the separatists. Sure, a scumbag like Durd maybe wants the power? But it seems like there is only so much power to go around, and Dooku doesn’t seem particularly keen on sharing the spotlight. So, while Durd is presented as a bad dude who is part of a bad organization, I still wish we got more about said organization.
3. The Alliance
An underplayed part of the prequels is how the separatists aren’t all that different from the Rebel Alliance, in terms of tone or ambition. Sure, the motivations are quite different, but the situation is more or less the same, right? They feel the galaxy is being run by thugs and they feel that their organization could do a better job. I like the symmetry there, which even runs through to the First Order in the third trilogy, but the separatists have no real rallying cry the way the others do. You know the First Order and the Rebels meant business, and you know exactly how they wanted to go about it.
The weapon that Durd tested out, the ‘kills all living creatures’ weapon is a cool concept, and pairs well with the droid army. I’m not sure if we’ll see it again, but I sort of hope we do – this show has been light on cool weaponry. Or, maybe it hasn’t, and I just have an unquenchable thirst for weird tools of destruction. We’ll see!
But, the coolest thing done with a weapon this week was a combo move by the Lurmen and Ahsoka. The Lurmen got the droids to fall down, and then Ahsoka ran around decapitating them all with her lightsaber. That move was positively dope, and showed that, while the show is certainly not perfect, it really has a special touch with lightsaber action.
5. Pacifism in the modern age
I’m going to pull this a little away from The Clone Wars for a paragraph or so, but I promise I’m coming back to it.
I consider myself a pacifist in most situations. I remember learning the term ‘conscientious objector,’ and feeling like that term perfectly described how I felt about war – it is against every grain of my being. I’ve felt that way my entire life, until a few months ago. Specifically, the rise of neo-nazis and white supremacy has made me so violently angry that I could see myself going to war over this type of bigotry. This isn’t a war far away that I have no stake in, this is something happening in my own backyard.
And so the struggle of the Lurmen really worked for me, even if I feel like this episode didn’t really add too much to that conversation that wasn’t already there last week. Here, we saw young folks who had no problem denouncing violence when it was far away struggle with it when it was on their doorsteps. I’m still not sure if their position was compromised or not, but it makes for a nuanced, interesting discussion.