Carrie Finally Watches The Clone Wars – Part 2

January 18, 2021

(I’m about halfway through season 5)

  • Still really dark. Still so much torture.
  • In fact, I’m beginning to view the entire show as horror. Structurally, it’s military adventure. But aesthetically, tonally, it’s evoking dread and discomfort, and the characters are headed toward unavoidable disaster. It’s horror. This is in addition to actual horror episodes like crazy spider-robot Maul and zombie Nightsisters.
  • For example, there’s a heartwarming storyline about a group of Jedi younglings on a mission to make their first lightsabers, and they have adventures and rescue Ahsoka from pirates – and all I can think is, “Okay, so do these cutie-pies get slaughtered by Anakin or murdered by Clone troops?” I mean, really.
  • Subtext referencing conflicts in both Vietnam and Afghanistan are making this even darker. The Umbara storyline in particular is comparable to the tones of Platoon or Apocalypse Now. I’m not even joking here. These are movies the Gen-X makers of Clone Wars would have grown up with, their model for what war stories look like. (Lucas’s model for war stories was always WWII. I think this shows in the movies he made vs. the stories that came after him.) But it goes deeper – there’s an episode where the Jedi secretly deliver rocket launchers to the insurgents on Onderon, to use against Separatist gunships, that I felt like should have been followed with a footnote explaining, “Hey kids, this really happened when the U.S. supplied weapons to insurgents in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan in the 80’s. Now let’s see how that one turned out! (Spoiler: the Taliban! It totally contributed to the rise of the Taliban! *SW: Rebels & Rogue One present crazy bitter Saw Gerrera.* Right, okay then.)
  • I have a growing conviction that Anakin didn’t just turn to the dark side – he was pushed. I mean, of course he was, by Palpatine. But…everybody around him sure didn’t help. Like, at all. It’s not just Palpatine manipulating him, it’s everyone, with the exception of Ahsoka. Gah, poor Ahsoka. This particularly comes out in the Mortis storyline, which I really liked for its mysticism and weirdness. And they’re yanking Anakin around like a fish on a line. Poor kid never had a chance.
  • The Umbara storyline is great, and really difficult. I mean, we’re watching the clones acquire PTSD in real-time. (Which, as I mentioned above, is what so many 80’s Vietnam movies were about.) But it’s a defining moment for Rex and the clones. Things can only go downhill from here!
  • My speculation on a conversation that might have happened behind the scenes:  Person A: “I think we need more women characters, we don’t have enough interesting women characters.”  Person B:  “No problem I’m on it!” *Presents the Nightsisters*   Person A: “Are…you sure you want your goth girl kink out in the open to this degree?”  Person B: “What goth girl kink?”  Person A:  “….oh. Oh sweetie…”   (The inevitable google image search tells me that Nightsister cosplay is just as popular as I thought it’d be!)

Onward, Troops. Sir yessir.

5 Responses to “Carrie Finally Watches The Clone Wars – Part 2”

  1. Todd Campbell Says:

    Thank you for your review of CW. I’ve had the first two seasons sitting in my DVD cupboard for a long time, and never got around to watching them. Today they were donated.

  2. Jared Moloshok Says:

    As it happens, most, if not all, of the Nightsisters episodes (as well as Ventress’ arc in general) were written by George Lucas’ daughter. She referred to the episode “Massacre” as her Tank Girl episode.

  3. carriev Says:

    One thought that just occurred to me — I think I might have viewed the show really differently five years ago than I do now, when everything is so grim and there’s an actual fascist movement in the US.

    Ha, that’s interesting, I haven’t been paying much attention to the credits. I have to admit, I’m not all that interested in Ventress and Dathomir stories. They seem so peripheral. But it’s interesting how they’re setting up Maul for where he’s at in “Solo.”

    Last night I saw the episode where we meet Gregor. There were tears.

  4. Jared Moloshok Says:

    Yeah, the only other writer I particularly remember is Christian Taylor, as he gets most of the mystical stories, such as the Mortis arc.

    I trust you also recognized David Tennant and Jon Favreau’s voices during their characters’ appearances. Plus, fun fact: apparently they weren’t planning anything for Bo Katan beyond her first appearance in the episode “A Friend in Need,” but Katee Sackhoff so blew them away with her performance that they decided to have her appear in further episodes.

  5. Mike C Says:

    I really love this take on Anakin. I saw a blog post not long ago on some writerly website complaining about his lack of agency in the prequel trilogy and how that makes him a poor protagonist. Instead, I think there’s a brilliance to it. He went from being born a slave to serving a quasi-religious order with a severe code of personal conduct. All of a sudden in Revenge of the Sith, he’s asked to make decisions that will affect the galaxy. He literally does not have the capacity to do this. No one in his entire life has given him the tools. Of course he’s going to be drawn to the authoritarian. Storytelling in the prequels and the Clone Wars is fraught at times, but I do believe the Clone Wars does an excellent job of making his fall to the Darkside utterly believable.

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