Olympics and Loki

July 26, 2021

I mean, not the Olympics and Loki together, though I would pay good money to see that.

I had meant to post something last week and totally didn’t. I’m going through a bit of a phase shift, mood wise and functionality wise, and it’s been kind of marvelous and I’m still assessing it. I’m not totally sure it’s pandemic related — life creeping a little back toward normal. Rather, I cleared a couple of big things off my plate and my mind and it’s felt great. As a result, productivity has ramped up — I weeded my yard for the first time all summer, plus gotten a bunch of other stuff done.

I felt so good about my productivity that I spent all weekend in my pj’s watching the Olympics and didn’t even feel guilty about it.

Longtime blog readers will know how much I love the Olympics, even knowing how much of a political and logistical trashfire they can be. I love the spirit and multiculturalism of it all.

But I gotta tell you, it’s weird this year. There’s a vague sense of impending disaster that might be misplaced but is still there. The lack of cheering crowds is surreal. The coverage is including stories of horrifically difficult training situations, given the lockdowns of the last year. Everybody looks just a little bit extra tired. Or maybe that’s me, projecting.

Anyway. I just want everyone to stay healthy.

Current TV: “Loki” and “The Bad Batch,” which continues “The Clone Wars'” tradition of giving us a kids’ show about incipient fascism. Timely, I suppose. I wasn’t emotionally prepared for two whole episodes about kid Hera, though. Oof, right in the feels, as they say.

Of course I really enjoyed “Loki,” for the most part. Weird and crazy and complicated and different. I loved every single actor and watching them play off each other. Right up until the last episode, in which the characters literally sat in chairs and explained the plot to each other. That…wasn’t good. It was like having a good run and then crashing into a wall, and I’m not knowledgable enough about the comics to be excited about Kang. My friend played me this to get me up to speed, so now I pass it along to you.

But I’ll forgive them because they gave us Alligator Loki, the hero we truly deserve in these trying times.

April update

April 20, 2021

We got six inches of snow last night. We’re getting slammed with spring snow this year and I kind of love it. Springtime proper is going to feel that much better when it finally lands.

I’m watching “For All Mankind” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” as they come out. “For All Mankind” is completely brilliant and has left me in tears nearly every episode. “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is…frustrating me, for various reasons. One more episode left in each series, I think.

Apart from that, new TV is exhausting me, so I did something a little crazy and started “Stargate SG-1” from the beginning. Now, I’ve seen lots of episodes of this over the years, it’s one of those shows in eternal syndication. But I’ve always seen them completely out of order and out of context. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen any of the first season episodes until now. It’s kind of a trip. Like, there actually is a cohesive story here? Who knew.

Mostly my observation about it at this point is it’s very, very earnest. Also, SF fans really like shows with uniforms, don’t they?

Two weeks post vax I went on an outing to celebrate, to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Sue the T-rex is visiting and I wanted to say hi.

Now I want to go re-read all my Dinotopia books.

In the interest of getting more data points out there, I had a pretty noticeable reaction to the J&J vaccine last week. It started about 4-5 hours after getting the shot, like a pretty sudden onset of flu symptoms. You know how on day 5 of being sick, you start to feel better but you’re still all wrung out and your whole body feels like it’s been beaten up and you have no energy? That’s what I had. Lasted for maybe a day and a half, then I was fine. No pain or soreness at the injection site. Anecdotally, I’m hearing about a huge range of reactions, from “nothing at all” to “in bed for three days.” I landed in the middle. An odd and interesting experience. It was weirdly kind of nice to have a reason to just go to bed and not worry about things for a little while.

Meanwhile, it’s been a pretty good week. Spring has sprung, my crocus came up late but they did come up, and we’re due for another spring snow which will be fun.

And I’m working on stuff. I’ve got a whole bunch of new thoughts about the War of 1812, how it seems to have been mostly organized by really incompetent people and it might have gone very differently if that had not been the case. This reading has me thinking about the Star Trek vs. the Expanse models of space battles.

Also, I made chicken pineapple curry last night and it was REALLY GOOD.

thoughts for the day

March 31, 2021

I’m sure I’ve posted this quote before, but it’s still good, and still helpful, after this past year. It’s from Babylon 5, from Marcus, who got a lot of good lines.

“You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.”

In other old SF series news, I’ve been watching original Trek for the first time in a while, and I find I love it. I’ve gone back and forth on it over the years, but right now I’m really appreciating its earnestness and the solidity of its stories, which don’t devolve into technobabble the way Next Gen often does.

I also realize that I’m hyper-emotional about everything these days and so this time at the end of “The Menagerie” when Kirk asks Pike if he wants to go back to the planet and he beeps yes I just started bawling. This is is an episode I’ve seen a dozen times. And this time… I dunno, y’all. Loved it.

Also, reading about naval warfare in the War of 1812 and realizing that all the starship battles in Star Trek use that model is kind of nuts.

Lots of thoughts over here today. Just gonna sit with my tea awhile and ponder.

I promised a friend a list of episodes to watch if he wanted some kind of Clone Wars Experience. Here it is. With A LOT of excessive commentary because I think I might have mentioned that Star Wars is the rabbit hole that has been keeping me sane (???) as the pandemic wall has been threatening to crush me this last month or so. I have so many thoughts.

Note: This is a list of episodes I liked and thought were interesting. It’s not “essential” episodes, episodes that tie in to the live-action stories, or anything like that. It’s episodes that I thought were just good stories.

I also swear a lot because I guess I have Opinions and Things.

There are some glaring omissions on this list. Pretty much everything involving Mandalore bugged me, I think because Satine is such an obviously doomed character and that was frustrating. I skipped most of the baby Boba Fett episodes, because once again they had an inevitability to them that wasn’t interesting to me. This list doesn’t include very many big battle episodes. I found them grim. After this last year, I think I’m feeling fragile and I want stories of love and community and there’s precious little of that in this show.

So yeah, it might be that I just picked a really bad year to watch The Clone Wars for the first time and I might have felt differently five years ago or five years from now. Isn’t that funny?

Another note: As I was putting this together I got out the chronological list, as recommended, to see how screwed up the timeline of the first three seasons is, and holy shit it’s a mess. Wow. So here we are.

And I watched the movie which has a lot of what I don’t like about the series: endless noisy battles. But it’s also when Ahsoka and Anakin meet which is kind of important. And Jabba the Hutt has a son? Like, a little baby slug? WTF? Why? WHAT HAPPENED TO STINKY THE HUTT WHERE IS HE IN CANON WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM WTF AND DOES HE WANT REVENGE ON LEIA FOR KILLING HIS FATHER YOU SEE THIS IS THE SORT OF CAN OF WORMS YOU OPEN UP WHEN YOU DO THIS KIND OF SHIT.

Apropos of nothing, has there ever been a Hutt Jedi? Hmm…

Looking at my notes, there are lots and lots of relevant episodes. We meet Hera Syndulla’s father, Saw Gerrera, see the Darksabre for the first time, etc etc. Just lots of stuff that comes back later. I don’t know if it makes those episodes good stories, but it does show that everything ties together. I left a bunch of those, that are mostly interesting for the callbacks, off my list. My list will give you a story about Rex, the Clones, and Ahsoka, and how badly the Old Republic screwed them over.

1.5: Rookies. We meet some individual Clones who are going to be important later. Rex, Cody, and Fives. Argh, this makes that malfunctioning chip storyline EVEN WORSE. I think the heart of the show is the ambivalence of the clones. They are sentient beings deserving of rights. They are slaves. The Republic never actually tries to reconcile this.

2.10: The Deserter. Rex meets a Clone trooper who deserted years ago and took up life as a farmer and started a family. It shows Rex that he has a choice, that other lives are possible. This is the episode that made me keep watching the show, because it gave Rex a character arc and made the clones compelling.

2.11: Lightsaber Lost. Baby Ahsoka has an adventure. A keen stand-alone story.

2.13: Voyage of Temptation. But only the last ten minutes. Like, start it at minute 18:00. This is a Kenobi/Satine story, which as I mentioned in a previous post drive me batty because Kenobi is kind of terrible. But this last bit may be the most iconic Anakin Skywalker moment in all of Star Wars canon.

3.1: Clone Cadets. I loved it, I love them. But then, it’s part of the Clone trooper story which I think is one of the strongest threads of the series.

3.2: ARC Troopers. Ditto.

3.15-17: The Mortis storyline. This ties in a bunch of stuff and is super spooky. Does the animation style change? Or am I just getting used to it? This really blows up Jedi lore in a way I found fascinating. This is also the storyline that convinced me that Anakin never had a chance, everyone is just screwing around with him. Also hugely important for Rebels, weirdly enough.

3.09: The Hunt for Ziro. This is a Hutt-centric episode that is so full of WTF-ery that I hardly knew how to deal with it. Hutt mummies, y’all.

4.7-10: The Umbara storyline. AKA Clone Platoon. Clone centric, really rough going. But it’s critical not just for the Clones, but for the fall of Jedi. The Jedi of the Old Republic are corrupt. It explains everything.

4.21: Brothers. The return of Maul. This is on the list just because it’s so completely horrifying. “Ah, so it began without me” is the creepiest line ever.

5.8-9: Bound for Rescue/A Necessary Bond. Hondo is totally creepy here.

5.12: Missing in Action. A Clone with amnesia. It’s one of the supreme disconnects of the Old Republic, that it relied on what is essentially slave labor. The show keeps emphasizing the humanity of the Clones, which means the whole system is based on an irreconcilable paradox. The “heroes” of the story, Anakin and Obi Wan, never confront this.

5.17-20: The Jedi Council fucks over Ahsoka Tano. Yeah, after this whole storyline, just fuck ‘em. Ahsoka’s the best and the Jedi Order can just burn to the ground. (I have strong feelings about this.)

6.1-4: This is the storyline that foreshadows Order 66. A Clone’s chip malfunctions. This is horrifying and terrible and a good story.

7.1: The Bad Batch. Basically Clone Wars meets GI Joe and I’m not even joking. (One of my favorite aspects of this show is watching the Clones explore individuality, with names, tattoos, unique identities, etc. They’re so hyper aware of it, which makes it that much more tragic.)

7.09: Old Friends Not Forgotten. As a result of binging I don’t actually remember what happens in this specific episode but my note with it says, “They’re just fucking with us now.”

7.10-12: Aaaaand this is what it’s all been leading to. This is where it all hits, and I have to admire them because they just went there. These episodes happen simultaneously with Episode III, and we see Order 66 from the point of view of the Clones, whom we’ve been invited to sympathize deeply with the entire show. It’s as gut-wrenching as you’d think. It’s Ahsoka and Rex just dealing with it and they’re magnificent and heartbreaking, and Anakin and Obi Wan are clueless. The great Jedi Knights went through this whole war with their heads so far up their asses they never figured it out. And that last goddamn scene. Geezus.

I’ve seen a couple of commentators claim you just need to watch the last four episodes, but I think you need a bunch of the Clone episodes, and you need to see Ahsoka’s journey of disillusionment, for those last four episodes to have an impact. That’s the arc that forms the spine of this show.

 

Dickinson (TV show)

March 12, 2021

I watched both seasons of “Dickinson,” the anachronistic and surreal Apple TV show about Emily Dickinson. It’s wildly uneven, by turns brilliant and awkwardly heavy handed. It’s one of those period shows where someone starts coughing in one episode and dies in the next. Hailee Steinfeld is great in it. It’s got some interesting things to say about being an artist, and how one gets emotional support as an artist.

But I judge everything Emily Dickinson-related by whether it mentions Carlo, Emily’s big Newfoundland dog who was her beloved companion for her entire young adulthood. The very good film from a couple years ago, “Wild Nights with Emily,” gets a pass because it takes place after Carlo died.

This show, which takes place exactly during the time when Carlo was in his prime, makes no mention of Carlo. It seems like a big missed opportunity, given all the other weird imaginative stuff that happens in the show. I can picture this big lunk of a dog offering Emily advice and saying “I told you so” when she doesn’t take it.

There are entire biographies of Emily Dickinson that barely mention Carlo, and I don’t understand why not. He was important. The time in her life when Dickinson became reclusive coincides with Carlo’s death. Dog people understand this, how having a dog at your side can make you brave and adventuresome when you might not be otherwise, and what a blow losing that can be. I wonder if there aren’t enough dog people studying Dickinson. Dickinson scholars are cat people, and so they don’t understand.

Here’s the story I wrote about Emily and Carlo, that I don’t think I’ll be able to read now that my own dog Lily is gone.

 

TV catch up

February 9, 2021

I was interviewed by the “Drinking With Authors” podcast! Links to the two segments can be found here and here.

I don’t even know what TV I’m watching anymore. It’s all a blur. It’s February, and I’m hitting my “can’t get warm” winter wall, on top of the pandemic wall that I’ve been bouncing off of over and over again since November. You know, I can’t actually remember November. I’ve read articles that talk about Pandemic Wall like it’s something you hit and get over or hit and stop at. I just keeping hitting it like a ping pong ball. It sucks.

I’m writing a lot, but I’m worried that everything I’m writing is going to turn out awful, like what happened with the novella I wrote over the summer.

Actually, truthfully, there’s been some awfully good TV to watch and it’s been making me happy. My deep dive into The Clone Wars ate my brain for awhile, but it’s probably time to talk about other things.

There are SPOILERS below:

The Expanse season 5. We all know I’m tremendously biased in favor of The Expanse, but I truly believe this continues to be one of the best space SF TV shows of all time. It just has so many moving parts, so many well-drawn characters, and a story that encompasses science, politics, relationships, all of it. This season was particularly stressful and rewarding for folks who’ve read the books…right down to the last five minutes of the finale. If you haven’t read the books…you have no idea what’s about to land on you.

The Mandalorian. I loved it even better than season 1, and it’s weird, because season 2 leans even harder on the fan service, which I’m always suspicious of, but it also used it to go epic? Katee Sackoff is amazing, and it’s Rosario Dawson’s portrayal of Ahsoka that finally got me to watch The Clone Wars. As for the big reveal… fan service, y’all. I confess I wasn’t completely blown over by that reveal, mostly because I was looking for all the ways this could have just straight-up turned into a live-action Rebels sequel. Ahsoka and Luke aren’t the only Jedi running around, you know. Maybe later…

WandaVision. I love this. Love it. I know we still have a couple of episodes left and it could still botch the landing. But what it’s doing so far is amazing and different and wonderful and terribly, terribly sad. And no, the first couple of episodes aren’t slow, they’re absolutely necessary to build the creeping, awful tension. They’re a commentary on American mythologies of domestic happiness, embodied in sitcoms, and how Wanda’s version of it reveal the cracks in her own psyche. The opening of episode 4, portraying the true magnitude of undoing the Snap (“They’ve all come back, we don’t have the capacity!”) — I mean, there I was, sitting down with my pizza thinking I was going to get another sweet sitcom pastiche and thirty seconds later I had to hit pause so I could put myself back together and dry the tears from my food. This is a story about grief. It’s got everything I love about the MCU and it’s breaking my heart like nothing in the MCU ever has.

Onward…

First off, the important bit: it’s my birthday. Woohoo!

I will now summarize the entirety of The Clone Wars in one sentence:

“A strange game; the only winning move is not to play.”

I explain:

The tragedy of the prequel films is Anakin’s fall to the dark side, which has this Greek tragedy air to it because it’s pre-ordained by the original trilogy.

The tragedy of The Clone Wars is that it turns out Anakin’s fall wasn’t inevitable because Ahsoka Tano showed him a way out – you just walk away – and he didn’t take it. I think he thought about it. But he didn’t do it. The whole show then becomes about a set of characters who are so entrenched in moribund organizations that they sacrifice their own sense of self, and their principles, trying to stay loyal to them. But the show also present the alternative:  just walk away.

I know there’s a fan canon out there:  if Ahsoka had been able to get that last message to Anakin, had been able to talk to him, he wouldn’t have turned. I’m not at all comfortable with putting that responsibility on Ahsoka. It wasn’t her job to keep him from turning. He was already questioning the Council when she showed him a way out. That he didn’t follow her example is on him. In the end, he wanted the power that came with being on the Council, with having Palpatine’s confidence. He couldn’t let that go the way Ahsoka could.

The Clone Wars is horror. This is a story about people caught in a conflict they can’t escape, subject to shadowy forces they can’t defeat. In the case of the clones, this lurking evil has been physically implanted in their bodies without their knowledge. When one of them discovers the truth and tries to raise the alarm, he’s destroyed. Nobody has agency. All actions are futile. It’s a nightmare.

If the whole thing is horror, then Ahsoka is the Final Girl. The one who lives. Now, I know technically she’s not really the last one standing. Lots of people survive, from Rex to Bo-Katan to Obi-Wan and yes, Anakin. But I’d argue Ahsoka comes out of the war with the clearest vision of who she is and what they suffered. She’s the one who claims agency and thus steps out of the existential nightmare.

(She’s actually not the only one:  the first episode that made me sit up and take notice, that really piqued my interest, is 2.10: “The Deserter,” when Rex meets a clone trooper who deserted and made a life for himself as a farmer. It’s the beginning of Rex’s storyline, and another bit of supporting evidence for my thesis:  the only winning move is not to play.)

Several episodes of Rebels now become an epilogue to The Clone Wars. It’s in Rebels where Ahsoka learns what really happened to Anakin (and vice versa). Ahsoka and Rex’s reunion is that much more poignant, after everything they went through.

So yes, there’s a great story in The Clone Wars. But it’s buried, and you have to pick it out from lots of noise. Did we really need entire episodes dedicated to banking interest rates? Ah well.

I’m still working up my list of favorite episodes.

 

(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.

Guess what Star Wars fan decided to finally binge-watch The Clone Wars the same month there’s an actual armed insurrection and ongoing coup against her country’s government, incited by the lame-duck president? If you guessed “This one!” you’re right!

I’ve been going through a lot of boxed wine, y’all.

Anyway, here we are. Long post ahead.

Why I Didn’t Watch The Clone Wars Before This

  • I tried, when it first aired. Made it I think two or three episodes? But it was all droids and clones blowing each other up, and it was really boring. Basically, the worst bits of the prequel trilogy on repeat. (I have since learned that the first couple of seasons’ episodes are not in chronological order. This was likely a contributing factor.)
  • I really dislike that animation style. It lacks nuance and expression. It’s kind of ugly. (Now that I’m halfway through, I don’t hate it. I don’t know if the animation has smoothed out over the seasons or if I’m just getting used to it.)
  • Even fans of the show are qualified in their praise. I’ve been told to skip the first season. Or the first and second season. Or, like, everything until season four, which puts us 2/3 of the way through the series and… no one has ever told me I must watch The Clone Wars. Not like they told me I must watch Rebels.
  • I remember and loved the Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars series. It was beautiful and intense and why does no one talk about this anymore? Anyway, part of not watching the new series is pure petulance that the previous one seems to have been largely forgotten.

How I’m Watching 

I’m giving myself permission to skip as much as I want. I’m not using any of the online lists of best episodes or most necessary episodes. I just…skip. If there’s a bunch of people standing around talking about trade blockades, I skip. If there’s a big droid battle, I skip. Basically, if it resembles the most boring bits of the prequel trilogy, I skip. If Anakin and Padme are being particularly toxic, I skip. (After the mutual respect and support and pure joy that is Kanan and Hera’s relationship, Anakin and Padme are tough to watch.) Jar Jar Binks appears? Oh yes, I skip.

It’s nice. If you judge me on this or tell me I’m missing some kind of nuance by not watching every single minute, I will ignore you.

My Thoughts So Far

The last years of the Old Republic are a nihilistic and dystopian hellscape, the Jedi Order is moribund and useless, and deep down the show knows this but doesn’t quite know what to do with that knowledge and so trundles on as if the Jedi are heroes who can actually make a difference when we all know they can’t and that most of these characters are destined to die horribly, and soon. Darth Sidious/Palpatine is manipulating everything. We know this. Which means that nothing anyone does is ultimately going to make any difference. It’s an existential nightmare.

But it thinks it’s a Star Wars heroic adventure and that’s… odd.  There’s a point where Obi Wan and the rest just can’t seem to figure anything out. Like, they’re just dumb. They simply aren’t allowed to solve what’s really happening. It’s so frustrating.

This is Greek tragedy. I felt this during the prequel trilogy – it’s Greek tragedy full of hubris and blindness. But it keeps acting like a Star Wars heroic adventure story. I think this cognitive dissonance does find its way into the show in various ways, but that only serves to highlight that this cognitive dissonance exists.

And this is why Ahsoka and Rex and the Clones are the best characters, and so very necessary. I’m happily following them to the point of skipping everything else, because they’re the only characters who are questioning anything. They’re the only characters whose arcs aren’t pre-ordained by what happens in the movies. The clones, who are giving themselves names and differentiating tattoos, and experimenting with independence and questioning their own motivation and existence. Ahsoka, who loves the Jedi, loves Anakin, loves fighting for justice, and you can just see how that’s all going to come crashing down around her, even as early as season 3. (Meeting Ahsoka in The Mandalorian, after she has matured and survived and learned a ton and has scars, was inspired. That episode is the main reason I finally decided to give The Clone Wars a shot. I want to see where she came from.)

More Thoughts

  • It’s really dark. So much torture. Lots of graphic on-screen deaths. Way more than in the live-action films. Remember in Empire, the torture of Han happens off-screen, except for the screaming, which somehow made it worse, right?  Well, Clone Wars just shows it. Frequently. It’s really disturbing. See discussion of dystopian hellscape above.
  • The Republic, which is anti-slavery, also utilizes an army of manufactured sentient beings with no freedom. The Jedi Order uses child soldiers. (The Padawans, early Ahsoka and Caleb Dume let’s say, are what? 15, 16 tops?)
  • It’s so weird when these villains pop up, terrorists and agitators aligned with the Separatists, and every time they get cornered they have a rant about how the Jedi and Republic and out of touch and corrupt and unable to stop the conflict and…they’re not wrong? They’re actually kind of sort of right? But they’re the bad guys?
  • I hate Obi Wan Kenobi. I really do, and the thing that clinched it is the way he’s always grabbing Duchess Satine’s arm and pulling her back and telling her she’s wrong. No, just no, he’s a jerk, he’s terrible. Let her alone. I’m starting to think that man died still believing he was right and not realizing what an absolute hash the Jedi Order made of everything there at the end. Also, there’s an episode where he basically saddles Ahsoka with the responsibility of keeping Anakin in check, and I’m shouting at the TV, no, you don’t do that to a young person lower in the chain of command. That’s terrible leadership. Obi Wan is an abusive menace.
  • Super weird watching it after Rebels instead of before. I can see now there’s all kinds of things that would have been big reveals and shocks had I seen Clone Wars first:  the appearance of Rex, Hondo, the Syndulla family, etc. I guess I’m getting those big reveals in reverse. Speaking of which, creepy evil Hondo of Clone Wars is a little disconcerting after bumbling comic relief Hondo of Rebels.
  • The most interesting thing of all:  There are ways in which Rebels is purposefully deconstructing all the squicky disturbing stuff about Clone Wars. Like, Ezra Bridger insisting that the Geonoshan, who has a name, be treated as a person deserving of respect and not cannon fodder. The episode where the gang encounters an enclave of battle droids who don’t know the war is over, and the droids get to be actual characters coming to grips with what has happened to them. In The Clone Wars, everyone is trapped in this existential nightmare. In Rebels, the characters achieve agency on their journeys. Rebels asks you to question everything that came before and find your own path.
  • That Hutt mummy. There’s a Hutt mummy. The Hutt mummify their dead. WTF. It’s in the episode where Sly Snootles is conducting a torrid affair with a Hutt who talks like Truman Capote and WTF is even happening.

I was telling a friend about the increasing levels of WTF in this show. She said I ain’t seen nothing yet.

I’m scared, y’all.