The second string of episodes for Star Wars The Clone Wars has been hit and miss for me. While the animation has improved greatly, the story line involving Count Dooku (a character I ordinarily enjoy) ultimately fell flat. It is a good idea to vary plots, but returning the series’ direction to the war and its impact on the Star Wars galaxy has resulted in better quality episodes.
The latest episode, Trespass, involves yet another race that is not involved at all in the Clone War. However, this is mainly down to the fact that no one even knows that their planet is inhabited.
Generals Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker accompany the young Senator Riyo Chuchi and his Chancellor, the aggressive Chi Cho. Investigating a missing clone security force, the squad finds both droids and clone bodies littered all around the snowy terrain, leaving the cause of their destruction a complete mystery. Looking for answers, the Jedi Knights encounter the nearby Talz (the big snowman-like alien with the tube mouth from A New Hope) who struggle to communicate. Taking their peaceful intentions mainly on good faith, the Jedi leave them be, but Chi Cho thinks of them as trespassers and decides to wipe them out with the clone troopers’ help. Using his political influence, there seems to be little the Jedi can do to stop the bloodshed.
The story is yet another lesson in both xenophobia and how war begets war. I can’t help but see similarities to old DC war comics while watching these stories. The clones are always portrayed as valuable rather than fodder, creating possibly the first children’s cartoon where violence has real consequences. The program is not exactly preaching a doctrine of pacifism (as we saw last week) or non-intervention, but it definitely is invitingthe audience to think these things through.
However, I think this complex message of violence having consequences would be more valid if the opposing forces did not consist of the Battle Droids, which are little more than comedic mannequins. While the Clone Wars cartoon has breathed new life into the Star Wars prequel franchise, I still cannot wrap my head around the Battle Droids and how goofy they are. If the entire series were so juvenile, it wouldn’t stick out as much as it does, but there it is.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars airs every Friday night on the Cartoon Network. Check local listings in your area.