Sunday, November 27, 2011

Battle Meditation Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Kidnapped (4.11)

"Slavery, a great tool it is for the rise of the Sith." ~ Grand Master Yoda on the Zygerrian Resurgence 

Despite dealing with the despicable institution of slavery, this week's episode saw a return of humor and our main Jedi characters in a bit of a palate cleanser after the intense dark drama of Umbara.

"Where we are going always reflects where we came from."
Zygerrian slavers are behind the sudden disappearance of an entire colony of people on the planet Kiros. As Anakin and Ahsoka rush to defuse a series of bombs planted by the slavers, Obi-Wan must fight with their imposing leader.
It was nice to see Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Ahsoka return and star in an episode after the Clone-centric arc of Umbara.  You will be hard pressed to find a bigger fan of the Clones then myself, but TCW has a large cast of characters and it is important that we don't go too long without seeing some of the main characters in action.  It was also great to see that at least Clone Trooper Boil is still alive, even though his buddy Waxer didn't make it through the last story arc. 

This episode saw some pretty interesting character development for Ahsoka, but not in the way that we traditionally get character development.  We saw Ahsoka's physical maturation and growth of martial skills in this episode.  While she has always been able to hold her own in a fight, this episode saw Ahsoka kicking some major butt.  Her Force augmented leaping, combined with a fluidity of motion when she threw the detonators into the Droid Tank was very impressive and something I don't think Season 1 or Season 2 Ahsoka would have really been able to do.  We also see a flash at the end of the episode as she is quickly able to subdue and capture Darts D'Nar, otherwise known as the guy who was using Obi-Wan as a punching bag.  Ahsoka is becoming a very formidable warrior in her own right.  

There are interesting parallels between the weaponless Togruta on Kiros and the weaponless world of Alderaan.  In this episode we see an entire planets population pressed into slavery because they choose the path of neutral pacifism.  The episode specifically calls out the fact that the society doesn't have any weapons.  This echos the pleas of Princess Leia when she is aboard the Death Star.
Princess Leia: No! Alderaan is peaceful! We have no weapons, you can't possibly... Governor Tarkin: [impatiently] You would prefer another target, a military target? Then name the system! I grow tired of asking this so it will be the last time: *Where* is the rebel base?
Princess Leia: ...Dantooine. They're on Dantooine.
Governor Tarkin: There. You see, Lord Vader, she can be reasonable. Continue with the operation; you may fire when ready.
Princess Leia: WHAT?
Governor Tarkin: You're far too trusting. Dantooine is too remote to make an effective demonstration - but don't worry; we will deal with your rebel friends soon enough. ~IMBD
On  Alderaan we see an entire planet destroyed by the Death Star, on Kiros we see see the planet left intact but the population totally enslaved by the Separatists and their Battle Droid army.  Alderaan's pacifism combined with it's political agitation against Emperor Palpatine's New Order sealed it's fate.  What planet would be better to test the weapon on then one that cannot fight back and doesn't risk damage tot he battle station on it's test run?

One of the big differences between the situations on Kiros and Alderaan is the state of the galaxy.  While the population of Kiros is under duress, the Jedi Order is lining up to come to their aide.  The Order has it's faults and it's moral blind spots, but the presence of the Order and it's opposition to slavery gives the people of Kiros hope of salvation.  In contrast there is no Jedi Order to protect Alderaan and possibly prevent the planet's destruction.

The moral of  both tales is similar.  It is all well and good to hold to idealist sentiments, but one must recognize the reality of the world or galaxy around you.  There are bad people out there and if you are unable to protect yourself, then you will always be at their mercy.  This rugged individualism is a good lesson for younger viewers of the show to be exposed too.

Perhaps this episode was sponsored by the GBA, the Galactic Blaster Association, a political action committee lobbying for fewer restrictions on blasters in the galaxy far, far away.

Obi-Wan Kenobi, now that is a name I haven't head in a long time on The Clone Wars.  Obi-Wan is one of greatest Jedi Masters during the Clone Wars.  Obi-Wan's strength as a Jedi is his ability to be above average across a broad category of Jedi abilities.  This episode shows us one of his greatest strength and that is the ability to take a beating like a champ.  Rocky Balboa and Hulk Hogan have nothing on Obi-Wan.  In order to give Anakin and Ahsoka time to diffuse Darts D'Nar network of bombs, Obi-Wan takes a pretty brutal hand to hand beat down.

I really enjoyed how quickly Obi-Wan was able to take control of the situation as soon as the battle droid transmission revealed that all the bombs had been deactivated. Seizing and crushing the droids quickly and retrieving his lightsaber.

"I had a dream I was a Jedi. I came back here and freed all the slaves. Have you come to free us?" ~Anakin Skywalker to Qui-Gon Jinn
One of my favorite scenes in the episode begins with Anakin's reaction to Dart D'Nar's request to discuss surrender terms with Obi-Wan.  The flash of pure unadulterated rage that we see from Anakin, was very dark and shows just how deeply scarred he is by his past.  That powerlessness of being a slave is one of the central factors I believe in Anakin's search for power, control and order which helps lead him down the dark path.

It is particularly curious how Obi-Wan reacts to Anakin's seizing of the hologram and his outburst.  This is very un-Jedi like and would seem to be particularly egregious behavior in front of a Padawan and in front of Clone Troopers.  Not very becoming for a General to behave like this.

"I will come back and free you, Mom. I promise." Anakin to Shmi

The scene then flows into a conversation between Obi-Wan and Ahsoka.  This same scene occurs in the comic from which this story arc is being adapted.  I just love this part of the scene because it is the revelation to Ahsoka about Anakin's past as a slave.  This revelation will undoubtedly answer some questions for Ahsoka about her Master, and also put her on guard to try to help him through these issues.

Because of the war and the speculation about Anakin's being the Chosen One, I believe the Jedi Order was more lenient with Anakin then they would have been with the average Padawan or Knight.  In any other situation I believe Anakin would have been forced to confront his past as a slave and deal with those internal issues before he was elevated to Knighthood or given a Padawan.  This fact combined with the flaw of attachment within Obi-Wan which caused him to be too forgiving and too trusting that Anakin would eventually find the peace within himself that always eluded him.

It would be interesting to see what lessons are learned by Anakin, Ahsoka and the Jedi from this arc.  If the Jedi are able to rescue the enslaved people of Kiros, will this surrogate emancipation provide Anakin some comfort over his failures to free his Mother from slavery and ultimately his own feelings of guilt over her death.  Perhaps Obi-Wan and Ahsoka will believe the events of this arc will end up helping Anakin work through his issues and presume that they are no longer a problem.

I particularly liked Yoda's quote in the High Council at the end of the episode, Slavery is a great tool for the Sith because it creates the emotions that the Sith feed off of.  It also has the material benefit of free labor to use as laborers or warriors that Sith Empires have used to build on in the past.  But like many things the wise sage of the Jedi says, there is yet another layer of meaning to this line.  Because the new Sith Empire that is soon to emerge on the galaxy will be built on the back of a single slave in Anakin Skywalker, who in his moment of choosing picks the Dark over the Light, the Sith over the Jedi.

There are some very interesting similarities and differences between the story arc as it appears between the Dark Horse Comics TPB and in the TV show.  The biggest difference is in how they approached the Droid Commander on Kiros.  In the comic, he is a four-armed creature, it appears to be a Besalisk.  We just had four episodes co-staring a new Besalisk character, to follow that up with another Besalisk villian might be a bit much, so I think this editorial decision makes sense.  It also appears that they are combining two characters form the comics into one for the TV show.  In the comics, Anakin, Ahoska, Obi-Wan and Rex stumble upon a Zygerrian Slaver ship in space and board the vessel looking for information on the missing colony.  That ship has a Zygerrian captain who the Jedi subdue and capture the vessel.  It appears that in the TV show they are combining the Separatist Commander and the Zygerrian Captain into the same person in the role of Darts D'Nar.  This change makes sense for another reason besides Besalisk fatigue, it allows them to cut out what is basically a generic episode that would involve them searching an asteroid field and having a running fight aboard a ship.  It allows them to get the story to Zygerria quicker.  In effect this three episode arc will have episode one on Kiros, episode two on Zygeria and episode three on Kadavo.

Rating: This enjoyable episode gets 7.5 exploding droids.  The humor from the battle droids and Obi-Wan always amuses me, and there were some important revelations like Obi-Wan detailing Anakin's history to Ahsoka.  On the whole it was a very fun episode but lacked the mature tone and drama of the previous story arc.  It worked for me, but if handled properly I think next week's middle episode in the arc will be the best one of the three, there is some very interesting exchanges between Anakin and the Zygerrian Queen.

Direct Link to Watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Kidnapped (4.11)

Next Time on Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Slaves of the Republic (4.12)

"Those who enslave others inevitably become slaves themselves."
To locate the missing colonists, Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka go undercover to infiltrate the slavers on Zygerria. Anakin struggles with his emotions as a wily Zygerrian queen forces him to take questionable actions in order to carry out his mission.

Sources: and Wookieepedia

1 comment:

  1. I thought the episode was a good break form the clones. Seeing Cody in Phase II armor looked very crisp and having Obi-wan back was great. In that pick you have for the new episode Ahsoka looks HOT. Now you can tell she actually has boobs. In her new outfit it looked like she had one connected boob. Guess not.