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Best of Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season Two

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The Mandalore Plot, Voyage of Temptation, and Duchess of Mandalore

ACW_IA_26953When these episode first aired, I remember they had bored me. Now that I’m older, most of the arcs with Satine and Mandalore are some of the best written episodes in Clone Wars. While many of them aren’t personal favorites, they capture the balance between politics, fighting terrorists, preventing a civil war, and character development that we’ve come to expect from this show. These three episodes work best when watched together. That’s why I’m featuring the arc as a whole.

These episodes introduce Satine, the Duchess of Mandalore and the leader of the Council of Neutral Systems. A terrorist group called Death Watch is rising in power giving concern to the Republic that Mandalore will fall to the Separatists. They want to send troops to protect the planet, but Satine knows her people will rebel against an occupation. It would throw away their neutrality. She takes it upon herself to discover the truth of who is behind these attacks.

I could see where someone might say that Satine is a damsel in distress type. The difference is she doesn’t fight the same way as others do. Unlike Padme or Ahsoka who are happy to whip out weapons, Satine fights with her words. She will outsmart her opponents to keep her pacifist views in check. Obi-Wan respects her for views too. He never forces her to fight and doesn’t mind defending her from enemies. Satine, as a pacifist, will protect herself if need be. Only she tries to knock them out or disarm them. In a way, Satine has many characteristics of a Jedi. They’re keeper of the peace, and she’s always looking for peaceful solutions.

Satine also has no qualms when it comes to calling out the Jedi’s positions in this war. She tells Obi-Wan right to his face that he’s not a peacekeeper. He’s a tool for the Republic in a war she believes is endless. Her ultimate goal is to protect her people’s freedom no matter what whether it’s from Death Watch or from Republic occupation. She has several men in these three episodes tell her she’s not strong enough to rule her people. She proves every single one of them wrong.

ACW_IA_44497It’s also revealed that Satine and Obi-Wan dated at one point. Both still have immense feelings for each other. Obi-Wan even states if Satine had given the word, he would have left the Jedi Order. That’s huge love right there. Gosh, I love watching these two on a screen together. If Padme and Anakin represent new, young love, Obi-Wan and Satine are the old married couple that bicker all the time. They’re constantly squabbling. The refreshing part is how often they forgive each other. Constantly, they’re on opposite ends of a topic. Both can agree to disagree while still having an immense amount of respect for the other. Out of all of the couples, Satine and Obi-Wan are one of the healthiest.

It’s interesting to see the usual steadfast in his beliefs Obi-Wan in this awkward romantic position. He’s always so firm in choices. This is a new side of the Jedi we never see especially in “Voyage of Temptation.”

Plus, Anakin picking on Obi-Wan over his master’s “girlfriend” is hilarious.

These episodes also introduce Pre Vizsla as a new villain. Unlike Cad Bane or Asajj Ventress, Vizsla mirrors many real world politics and radical groups. He cares for the people and heritage of Mandalore just as much as Satine. The difference is he’s proud of their history of producing great warriors. Mandalore used to be know for killing Jedi and it’s military strength. It sticks him on the opposite end of the pacifist ways of Duchess Satine. Both leaders want a happy planet but for completely different reasons.

Five years later, these episodes still hold up to mirroring real world examples in our own political conflicts.

Landing on Point Rain, Weapons Factory, and Legacy of Terror

landing-at-point-rain-20091103040937305These are the three episodes leading up to “Brain Invaders.” I wanted to separate these from that one for one specific reason:

There’s a huge shift in tone for the series. In season two, we’re still in the set up of the adventure of the week mixed in with mini story arcs. It’s relatively light. Then we get to these three, and they are the most violent episodes up to this point.

There’s clones hanging out of space ships screaming for their lives as fire engulfs them. Bodies everywhere. Geonosians getting hit by flak and exploding into body parts. The Jedi and their clones whip out freaking flame throwers to burn the bug people to a crisp. They scream as they wings disintegrate from the flames, and they crash from the sky. In “Legacy of Terror,” the Geonosians’ dead have risen again through a parasite. As zombies, they’re ripping the clones apart. It’s a brutal shift. This is a war. People on both sides are dying. They’re not holding back anymore on this kids’ show. It’s starting to reach well beyond the demographic.

Clone Wars in that aspect reminds me a bit of the Harry Potter series. In Harry Potter, you’re supposed to read the first book when you’re eleven, the second book when you’re twelve, and so on. That way you grow up with Harry through his story. I feel like Clone Wars seasons should be approached the same way. It ran from 2008-2014. Over six years, the show takes on more and more heavy themes to show the real face of war. George Lucas even told Conan O’Brien, “It’s sort of the first dramatic animated show that is PG-13.” You can see how this starts appealing more and more to an older demographic once those tweens watching the series transition to adults over the six year run of the show. Hell, season six is only on Netflix. I won’t spoil too much until I get there to review it, but holy shit. Season six is so dark and really heavy from the opening gate. It makes the clones in this episode setting fire to Geonosians look like they’re having a tea party.

AhsoBarr2There’s another plot in these episodes I want to mention. Ahsoka meets Luminara’s padawan Barriss Offee. Here are two very different young women. This early in the series, Ahsoka is brash, reckless, and acts first without thinking. Barriss is thorough, controlled, and thinks ahead. Their differences is why they make a fantastic team. Barriss is intelligent, but can’t think on her feet. Ahsoka is the queen of improvisation. Together, they make the brave choice to destroy the enemy’s weapons factory at the cost of their own lives. There’s a beautiful moment where they hold hands to face the end. Two women supporting each other in their darkest moment. Luckily, they’re rescued in the final moments thanks to Ahsoka’s quick thinking.

Senate Spy

padme-amidala-droid-factoryAKA Padme gets shit done, and the rest of you can go home.

The Jedi Council believes that Senator Clovis of the Republic works for the Separatists. They send in Padme as a spy to find out the truth. Anakin, however, is unhappy to learn his wife used to date Clovis and tags along.

There are a few nice scenes in the beginning with Anakin and Padme. They’re a young newlywed couple. Because of the war, these two don’t get to see each other that much. Honestly, I don’t know where they found the time to make Luke and Leia. You see that they love each other, but that’s about where the good feelings stop. As I said above, Anakin and Padme are a foil to Obi-Wan and Satine. While not together, Obi-Wan and Satine have a very healthy relationship. Anakin and Padme, however, are so toxic.

As I mentioned before, Clone Wars does a great job showing how Anakin slipped into the Dark Side to become Vader. “Senate Spy” is an ideal example. Anakin can’t overcome his attachments to Padme, Obi-Wan, Ahsoka, and people he cares for. In a normal person, there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s actually a huge problem for the Jedi Order in my opinion. Yes, love and attachment can make us do crazy things. It can also make us strong and fight harder to protect our loved ones. I think Anakin would have been awesome if he was an Altisian Jedi. They allowed multiple padawans, let Jedi have families, and pretty much did everything the Jedi Order frowned upon. Since that’s not the case, we get this Anakin. He’s pretty awful in this episode. He’s possessive over Padme as his jealousy seeps out everywhere. He angered when he doesn’t know who all of her male friends are. Acting like a child, Anakin almost sabotages the mission a few times, because how dare Clovis touch his lady! He pretty much says, “I’m not going to let you do this mission, because I don’t like this so excuse me while I pee on your leg.”

And Padme gives Anakin a big, “F*** you, husband. I do what I want!” to win the episode. Once again, Padme redeems her awful movie counterpart so show why she’s an amazing character. She uses her womanly wiles to trick all the men in the room. When she sees Clovis meeting with the bad guys but is noticed, she pulls a “I was so lonely and need a man to keep me company!” Clovis follows her like a puppy. Even when she gets poisoned, Padme keeps a level head and uses it to her advantage making Clovis leave the room. She then gets information on the droid factory being built to take back to the Jedi Council. Even dying on a bed, Padme confronts Clovis about his misdeeds like a true queen.

The men work together to save her life. Anakin even throws out a cool guy Dark Side line as he leaves Clovis in the hands of the people he betrayed.

While this isn’t my favorite episode, it reinstates why Padme is one of the best female characters in the Star Wars universe.  It’s a great set up episode early on in the series of both her journey and Anakin’s to Episode III. The entire episode is worth it just to see Anakin constantly make this teenage duck face of disapproval.

UUUGGGHHH!

UUUGGGHHH!

Honorable Mentions:

These are a few episodes that are good, but not the best of the best. Some are my personal favorites. Some are a important key episodes for later stories that can’t be passed up.

Bounty Hunters

star-wars-the-clone-wars-season-2-17-bounty-hunters-embo“Bounty Hunters” pays homage to Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa mimicking one of his greatest movies Seven Samurai.

Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka crash land on a planet where the villagers are paying bounty hunters to protect their crops from the pirate Hondo. Our Jedi heroes make an uneasy alliance to get off the planet.

This episode reminds me of “Defenders of the Peace” which I featured in my season one recap. It’s a relatively straightforward episode where you can figure out what’s going to happen. The villagers are nervous to stand up for themselves. Of course in the end they protect their village. The real interesting part is the alliance between the Jedi and the Bounty Hunters. Both want to help the village, but they have different routes to take.

My favorite part of this episode is Embo who is in the picture. He’s one of my favorite bounty hunters after Cad Bane. He’s so cool looking! I know that’s a bit of a shallow assessment for a professional article, but look how awesome Embo is! That hat is amazing, and he can fight with it!

While this isn’t the most ground breaking episode, it’s a fun little romp that’s quite enjoyable.

The Zillo Beast and The Zillo Beast Strikes Back

zillobeaststrikesbackIn the middle of a battle, the Republic use a glorified EMP to stop the droid army. They accidentally unearth a huge creature called a Zillo Beast who’s the last of it’s kind. Chancellor Palpatine orders it to be brought to the capital to be studied since it appears impenetrable. The beast escapes causing chaos as it rampages through the city.

Okay, Okay, I know these two episodes get a lot of hate. They’re called the Godzilla or King Kong episodes. I’ll even admit there are better written episodes in the series. That being said, I love these two episodes for three reasons.

Mace Windu faces a siege of problems. As a Jedi, they must protect innocent lives. The Zillo Beast is the last of it’s kind. He must protect this creature at all costs even if it goes against the Republic’s wishes. The Jedi have some dirty double dealings to sneak the beast off the planet. It makes the entire order look questionable for season five and season six stories.

The music is incredible particularly in the second episode. Kevin Kiner shows exactly why he’s one of the best in the business. The score is beautiful and heart wrenching as you watch the Zillo Beast die. It captures the gravity of the last of this species passing away.

In the later seasons of Clone Wars, it’s obvious that Palpatine is setting up his Empire. He steals bank funds from the Republic. He goes to extra lengths to keep Order 66 a secret. It’s hard to grasp why the Jedi Council is so trusting of him. But this early in the show, there aren’t many instances where you can clearly see Palpatine is actually Sith Lord Darth Sidious. He didn’t care about the Zillo Beast until he heard that not even a lightsaber could cut it. He wants to clone the beast for a purpose that was never developed. Palpatine’s playing the long chess game to eventually topple the Republic.

Death Trap

Epguide220Hello there, Boba Fett! Welcome to the party.

A group of clone cadets get the opportunity to tour a Republic warship. Little do they know, young Boba Fett is hiding among them seeking revenge on Mace Windu. When the plan goes awry, Boba must escape or be caught by the Jedi.

First and foremost, OH MY GOSH BABY CLONES! They’re all so adorable! Look how cute and eager they all are! It’s sad that most of them are going to die in a battle or go through with Order 66. Let’s ignore that at the moment and just enjoy they’re squishy baby faces!

One of the best story arcs through Clone Wars is Boba Fett’s journey. The show takes him from a child mourning the loss of his father in Episode II to the bounty hunter we all love in the original trilogy. This is the first episode we see him out for revenge against Mace Windu. It sets the foundation of him training under people like Aurra Sing.

We also get to see glimpses of Boba struggling with what it means to be a bounty hunter. He only wants to kill Windu. He hesitates with the idea of extra casualties that will come with blowing up the entire ship. This isn’t the ruthless adult we know Boba to be. This is still a child. Throughout the entire series between characters like Boba and Ahsoka, there’s an ongoing conversation about how war affects children in different ways. Ahsoka is trained but struggles with PTSD. Boba is wild and unpredictable but is constantly presented with chances to be a good guy. As we see here, he moves further and further away from the point of no return.

 

That’s it for season two! Be on the lookout for my season three recap!

Do you agree with my list? If not, tell me some of your favorite episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars season two in the comment section below!

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Hope set out into the world to be a Pokemon Coordinator. When she realized that Pokemon were not real, she pursued her other passion: writing. Hope was raised in fandoms and saw how they can help save the world from her work with The Harry Potter Alliance. Now, she works to bring that love into writing one article at a time. She's also a diehard Atlanta Braves fan, so don't diss her team.

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