Sunday, March 08, 2020

From Galactic Senates to Tripod Droids

The continuing story of the Bad Batch clone troopers on Friday's new Clone Wars also traded director Steward Lee for Bosco Ng for noticeably better results in the action sequences. This was primarily an episode of running and gunning and sometimes flying. It worked pretty well, thanks to a real sense of the characters' mortality and some fantastic droid designs.

I loved these War of the Worlds-ish tripods, blasting away at the native aliens. Unlike Rebels and Resistance, Clone Wars doesn't shy away so much from visible casualties. The layers of story inherent in every episode and sequence are great, too. I love how Anakin (Matt Lanter) and the clones (Dee Bradley Baker) win over the natives by telling them how it's the Separatists, not the Republic, who are trying to colonise them when, of course, the Republic, renamed the Empire, will be getting up to exactly that kind of thing and is likely already doing so.

I've also been going back and watching older episodes. On Friday I watched the season two episode "Senate Murders" in which Padme (Catherine Taber) finds herself investigating the murder of one of her colleagues. Written by Drew Z. Greenberg, the plot has to do with a bill introduced to the senate that will reduce the production of clone troopers. Supporters of the bill include Padme as well as Mon Mothma and Bail Organa. What I love about this is that this coalition's belief that reduction of troops will result in increased diplomatic efforts is based on shaky, idealistic rationale and, if they're successful, it works against the main protagonists of the show--Anakin, Obi-Wan, and the clones, who are all off-screen for the episode.

There's genuine ambiguity about who's right, particularly as some members of Padme's faction turn out to be dangerous zealots. Padme has to deal with the investigation and arguments about the bill and every moment demands strict attention from the viewer because we're compelled to figure it all out, too. Disney obviously wanted to make Rebels and The Mandalorian more kid friendly but I'd say episodes like "Senate Murders" are much better suited for equipping children to deal with the real world.

Clone Wars is available on Disney+.

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