Sunday, October 16, 2011

Battle Mediation Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Nomad Droids (4.06)

If you want to lead a calm and uneventful life, do not associate with R2 and C-3PO they can't seem to escape the gravitational pull of trouble.  Nomad Droids sees the shenanigans of the droids continue as we go on a planet and ship hoping adventure that features some cool cameos and delivers a much more satisfying episode then last week's Mercy Mission.

"Who's the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?"
C-3PO and R2-D2's bizarre caper continues. Forced to escape a Separatist attack in a Y-wing fighter, the droids visit the world of the Patitites, the odd planet Balnab, and the inside of a pirate warship where they are forced to fight in a gladiatorial arena.

This episode could have been titled Grand Theft Y-Wing.  It appears that R2 has been around Anakin too long because he has picked up the Jedi proclivity of not respecting personal property and stealing speeder or ships as needed.   Seriously did some clone pilot die because R2 jacked his ride.  Well I guess this episode establishes that an astromech can not only pilot a ship through basic maneuvers but can also be skilled enough to dog-fight a spacecraft.  Once again R2 proves he is the most capable droid in the galaxy and causes me to reflect on C-3PO.

Looking back C-3PO is basically a robotic Jar-Jar Binks.  Kind hearted but clumsy, can occasionally contribute, but generally just along for the ride.  R2 seems much more indispensable to getting things done.  This realization by me makes it even the more curious why this type of character worked well with C-3PO but didn't work as well with Jar-Jar and fueled much of the early Prequel hatred.  Don't get me wrong I love C-3PO in the movies, he is a little more hit and miss in the cartoon.

"Congratulations, you are now a democracy."

From the Episode gallery:
The Patitites are thrilled that their dictator has been killed! They are now free. The Patitites helpfully fix the droids' Y-wing fighter, and propose that C-3PO become their new leader. Threepio declines, and instead teaches the Patitites the concept of democracy. He tells the tiny aliens to choose from among the three most intelligent, compassionate, and understanding among them. Unable to choose, the Patitites erupt into civil war as the droids leave the planet.
So the droids killed the native Patitite leader, sparked a civil war and then left, not bad for 5 minutes work.  General Grievous should offer these two a job sowing rebellion across the Republic.  On a serious note I really loved this scene because it provides a different perspective on democracy then we usually get in the Star Wars universe.  In the original trilogy we see the complete eradication of democracy as the Emperor dissolves the Senate permanently.  In the Prequel trilogy we see democracy on a grand galactic scale with the massive Senate rotunda.  We hear Padme bemoan the death of democracy in Episode III, but overall the portrayal of democracy is far from positive focusing on a bloated and corrupted political system.

There are obvious parallels between Hitler's rise to power through democratic processes and Palpatine's own ascension.   This is a more nuanced critique of democracy then we see in this episode, this is a more simplistic critique based on the mob rule and anarchy that can result in a democracy.

I loved the mini-tech of the Patitites, the mini-electrostaffs, mini-repulsorchair, mini-arc welders.  At under 30-centimeters tall the Patitites were cool looking little aliens, but the voice of the male and female versions of the characters were a little to similar for my tastes.

By far the funniest thing in this episode is something I didn't notice until looking through the concept art gallery on  If you look at the splatter design on R2-D2, you can see the squished body of Hay-Zu on R2.

Pay no attention to the man behind the holo-projector.  

Then we go into our Wizard of Oz omage.  Beginning with the Patitites celebrating the death of Hay-Zu much like the Winkie guards celebrated the death of the Wicked Witch.  Following that we get a group of pit droids holographically playing the role of the great and powerful Albee Dewa and controlling the natives of Balnab.

It was a cool little touch that these crash landed Pit droids took it upon themselves to rule the developing planet of Balnab.

Lets talk about Space Pirates:

Is it just me or are the pirates extra piratey this episode. "wee be taken off." It also raises the question, are all Weequays pirates? Are we being speciesist again?

I really liked the gladiator droid K0-5D, though he seemed to be all casings and no internal parts a rather interesting design.

The pirate marauder ship is very cool looking.  I just wish we got to see more of it, I love the design that is basically all engines to make a quick get away.

A few random tangents: 

I love the stupid battle droid humor.  "They must be pirate droids"

I really hope that at some episode in TCW they show R2's fling jets being damaged because its a pretty big ability that he doesn't display at all in the original trilogy.

I love the running battle between Grievous and Adi Gallia.  It was very well shot to show this from the Droids perspective.

Poor Commander Wolffe, he gets the worst baby sitting assignments.  Why doesn't he just flip C-3PO's deactivation switch and be done with it?

What did we learn this week?  Our favorite droids hate the Prime Directive, changing the fate of two civilizations in a 22 minute episode.  No wonder the Ewoks treated them like gods, they must have heard about Belnab and Patitite Pattuna.

Rating:  This episode gets 7.0 squished potentates.  I actually enjoyed Nomad Droids a great deal, and appreciated it more after re-watching it.  There was great pacing to this episode that kept it from getting boring and kept you engaged with what was happening.

Direct Link to watch Episode 4.06 Nomad Droids on

Next time on Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Episode 4.07: Darkness on Umbara

The first episode of the four part Umbara arc will air October 28th, that means TCW is taking a one week break.  Look for repeats on Cartoon Network this Friday.  We will post a video preview and the synopsis episode when they become available.

SOURCES: and Wookieepedia

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