Rather than write about The Clone Wars episodes individually or by story-arc, I have decided to review it by disc as they are in the Blu-Ray Box Set releases.
In this post the episodes I will be talking about are The Mandalore Plot, Voyage of Temptation, Duchess of Mandalore and Senate Murders.
The Mandalore Plot starts this arc off with a bang. Obi-Wan is sent to Mandalore to investigate an attack by a suspected Mandalorian terrorist. He is brought to Duchess Satine Kryze, and it becomes apparent that they have a history. The two go for a walk when an explosion goes off nearby, and in the midst of the chaos a holo of a symbol, belonging to a group called The Death Watch.
They rush to help and Obi-Wan notices someone acting suspicious. He gives chase and when Kenobi and Satine corner the culprit he chooses to ‘fall’ from a ledge.
When Obi-Wan an Satine reach him he says his last words in an old Mandalorian language from the mining moon of Concordia before dying.
Obi-Wan and Satine go to Concordia and meet with Governor Vizla who invites Satine for some refreshments whilst Obi-Wan goes to meditate.
His ‘meditation’ is in fact a scout mission where he finds Death Watch. He is found out and captured. He is placed in a holding field uses for mining, minus his Lightsaber, and manages to get a message to Satine who rescues him but the two of them are attacked by Death Watch.
Weaponless, Obi-Wan and Satine best the Death Watch soldiers but their escape is blocked by their leader, who kills the soldiers who failed him before removing his helmet to reveal that he is Pre Vizla. He gives Obi-Wan his Lightsaber back before igniting the ‘Darksaber’ a weapon that was stolen from the Jedi Temple during the time of ‘The Old Republic’. The two dual until Obi-Wan gets the upper hand, allowing him and Satine to escape. Satine is then sent to Coruscant to speak before the Senate.
We get to see some classic Obi-Wan sass in this episode as he interacts with Satine. Although we don’t learn their backstory in this one we do get the feeling that there is a history between the two characters.
We finally get a look at Mandalore and it’s culture. Having once been a proud warrior race they have become a pacifist society under the rule of Duchess Satine Kryze and Prime Minister Almec, who informs Obi-Wan that Jango Fett was not in fact a Mandalorian but had somehow come across the armour.
Jon Favreau makes his first appearance as Pre Vizla, leader of The Death Watch who has a recurring role through the series.
Voyage of Temptation continues the Mandalorian Arc, this time on board a luxury starship called the Coronet. Obi-Wan, Anakin, Cody, Rex, R2 and a squad of Clones are tasked with protecting Duchess Satine and other Republic Senators on their trip to Coruscant.
Obi-Wan stays with the diplomats in the lounge area where Satine is holding court, preaching neutrality and pacifism in the time of war whilst Anakin goes to the hold where a couple of Clones have gone missing. R2 scans the area and sees an Assassin Probe. Anakin and the Clones destroy one of the Droids whilst the second reaches the Lounge where Obi-Wan and Satine’s Security Guards destroy it.
Mini-Assassin Droids emerge from the destroyed ones and attack. They are also vanquished except for one which Obi-Wan captures.
Whilst Anakin and the Clones search for more Droids, Obi-Wan takes his captured mini-Droid to the Senators and watches it’s reactions. It tries to attack everyone except Tal Merrik, the Senator from Kalevala who takes Satine prisoner and leads her to the bridge where he kills the crew and contacts Death Watch for reinforcements.
Three carrier ships full of Super Battle Droids arrive and latch onto the ship. After defeating the final Assassin Probe, Anakin, the Clones and Satine’s Security destroy the Droids and whilst Obi-Wan and Satine deliberate what to do with the traitor who is threatening to blow up the ship, Anakin arrives and stabs him through the back.
The Coronet reaches Coruscant and as the Senators and Satine prepare to depart, Satine tells Kenobi she isn’t a fan of his beard.
This episode has so many facets it’s brilliant. Firstly we Have the romantic plot where we find out what the relationship between Obi-Wan and Satine was, when Obi-Wan was younger, he and Qui-Gon were sent on an extended mission to protect Satine before she took power on Mandalore and in that time their relationship became somewhat romantic. Nothing is divulged to what extent, even though Anakin tries to find out. But Kenobi does admit to her that if she had given him the word, he would have left the Jedi Order. Of course this leads me to wonder if Qui-Gon knew about this but then of course he did but he probably didn’t try to stop it due to his unorthodox methods. This plot is enhanced by the way the two clash on their political views, even arguing in front of the gathered Senators, where Satine questions the role of the Jedi in the war. This relationship really humanises Obi-Wan in a way that we don’t see from other Jedi, and it makes me wonder if after finding this out about his former Master, could Anakin confide in Obi-Wan about his and Padmé’s relationship?
Secondly, the hunting down of the Assassin Probe Droids feels like a horror film. Despite my disdain for the Zombie brain parasites in the last Clone Wars post, I do like when The Clone Wars has a horror element, in this episode it really works when we catch glimpses of the spider-like Droids and then having the mini-versions swarming towards the characters just feels like it belongs in ‘Arachnophobia’ and I love it (despite not liking Spiders).
‘ Duchess of Mandalore’ starts with Pre Vizla and Count Dooku discussing the future of Mandalore under Republic rule and Death Watch becoming heroes, after liberating their home. Dooku tells Vizla to send an assassin to take out the Duchess on Coruscant.
Meanwhile a spy from Mandalore returns to Prime Minister Almec and tells him Death Watch is preparing for war.
On Coruscant, Satine pleads her case before the Senate when they play a recording from the Vice-Minister of Mandalore that says that the Death Watch is stronger than they had believed and that Mandalore needed Republic assistance. As she leaves in her Speeder, it ‘malfunctions’, Satine and her guard escape but her pilot is killed. Satine is furious and investigates, using her contact in Republic Intelligence, who gives her a data file that includes the speech from the Vice-Minister in its entirety as the one shown to the Senate had been altered. The assassin kills the informant but fails to kill Satine who escapes but is now wanted for murder.
She contacts Obi-Wan and the two come up with a plan to get the correct file to the Senate. Satine hands herself in to Senate security allowing Obi-Wan to sneak in and gives the transmission to Padmé who plays it to the Senate. The Republic occupation of Mandalore is put on hold, Pre Vizla is furious and is ready to go behind Dooku’s back but decides against it and has Death Watch stand down and Satine prepares to return home after having a moment with Obi-Wan.
This episode is slow in comparison to the previous two episodes of the arc, with a little bit of action and a lot of politics but it benefits the story and shows the way that Palpatine is trying to manipulate so many different people to fall in line to allow him to fulfil his master plan. The episode also allows Satine to get off her high horse a little more, although she is doing what she feels is right, her political talking points from the previous episode came across as quite preachy, especially when she was sat on her throne of cushions with the rest of the Senators gathered around. We also get to witness the crumbling of the partnership between the Separatists and Death Watch.
In ‘Senate Murders’ Padmé and Bail Organa go investigating the murder of their political ally Onaconda Faa after making a speech to stop production of more Clones in a bid to put an end to the war. They ignore the lead investigator in the case, Investigator Divo and go off on their own.
Padmé and Bail investigate a lead by one of Senator Farr’s rivals, Senator Mee Deechi by going to the local docks but are attacked by a hooded adversary and the fight causes damage that alerts the authorities. Divi chastises them but when Padmé believes they were sent to be killed they return to Deechi’s office only to find him murdered.
They return to Padmé’s office where Senator Farr’s aide, Lolo claims to have been attacked by the Kaminoan Senator, and ally of Senator Deechi’s, Halle Burtoni. When Burtoni is caught and questioned she denies the attack when Divo produces evidence that Senator Farr was murdered using a poison that only affects Rodians.
Padmé puts two-and-two together and realised that at the meeting where Farr died, Lolo gave him a drink but did not drink herself. Lolo takes Padmé hostage, claiming that Farr was unfit to represent Rodia in the Senate after the mistakes he had made but she is incapacitated by security before she could escape.
This is a really good and enjoyable episode. It’s nice to take a breather from the action heavy storylines and have a small, contained story set in the Senate and highlight some other characters like Bail Organa and Mon Mothma.
The second half of Disc 2 is solid. Not a weak episode in the batch and the Mandalorian arc sets us up for the future.
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