Now isn’t exactly the best time to be watching these couple of episodes, what with the world still suffering the effects of the pandemic that we’ve been living with for the past few months. Although with all the other terrible things going on these past few weeks on top of that, it kind of every horrible thing that could happen in these episodes has a real life parallel going on somewhere in the world right now.
Season 1, Episode 17: Blue Shadow Virus
We’re on Naboo with Padme and Jar Jar Binks. A unit of Separatist droids have been captured and C-3PO is doing an amazing job of bullshitting them into revealing the location of a hidden Separatist laboratory in the swamps on the planet. The exact location is revealed by Jar Jar thanks to his continuing innate zoology skills.
Despite calling for backup, Padme decides to investigate the lab herself. I’ve gone on about how Padme seems like one of the most capable characters in the entire series, but she doesn’t half rush headfirst into trouble at any given opportunity. Along with Jar Jar and a pink female Gungan they meet along the way, they are immediately ambushed and captured by the droid garrison guarding the base.
Because what else did she expect to happen, especially when you’ve got a Jar Jar handicap.
The pair encounter the Faust scientist Nuvo Vindi, who is a proper character right from his first appearance. Not even taking into account his very peculiar design that makes him look like Victor Fries from DC comics, we get some atypical camera angles that really extenuate the joyful insanity of the scientist.
The whole macguffin of this episode, as the title would indicate is a deadly virus by the name of Blue Shadow. By the way the characters talk about this virus, I could have sworn that it was something the writers had pulled from the old continuity, but nope. It was something created entirely for the purposes of these two episodes.
Anyway, the doctor is off his rocker, having little to no regard for sentient life with that affection directed towards the virus itself. And his passions have allowed him to create a weaponized airborne strain which he intends to release on a number of key Republic worlds.
Which is a truly evil, major war crime kind of thing that could destroy most life in the galaxy. I’m assuming Sidious green lit this plan, but for what I reason I couldn’t possibly fathom.
Anyway, the bulk of this episode deals with Anakin’s super obvious attachment to Padme and how his love for her almost costs the entire planet of Naboo. It’s a return of the theme Aayla Secura was lecturing Ahsoka about in the previous group of episodes, in weighing the lives of the many vs the lives of the few. Only this time, there is a genuine choice to make.
One Obi Wan grimly reminds Anakin that the sacrifice of Naboo and its people might be a possibility to stop the virus spreading throughout the galaxy. Something Anakin continues to fail to deal with when push comes to shove and Padme is being threatened in front of him.
In the end, the doctor almost escapes, throwing vials of the virus around like a total loon while trying to escape. To which Anakin seemingly forgets he can use the force at each instance and dives around catching them. It’s the pink Gungan who just so happens to be in the right place at the right time to capture Vindi and stop him from escaping.
Season 1, Episode 18: Mystery of a Thousand Moons
Picking up right where the previous episode left off, Ahsoka and the clones are clearing out the lab when a doughy little droid managed to grab a single vial of the virus and detonate a bomb, flooding the underground lab with the virus and activating the lockdown in the process.
Trapping Ahsoka, Rex, Padme and Jar Jar inside and infecting the prior two before they can get into the safe room. From here, the search for an antidote begins. Luckily, the solution comes from the most unlikely of places; Gregar Typho, who informs Anakin and Obi Wan that there is a root that might cure the virus (which means it will cure it) and that it can only be found on Iego; the planet of a thousand moons.
It’s all about as convenient as this kind of exposition dump has ever been in this series. But Naboo’s head of security is also a microbiology expert, who knew. Thus Anakin and Obi Wan have 48 hours to travel across the galaxy, get a root that might not exist, formulate it into a vaccine and hope it even works.
Having learned a little something about how viruses and creating vaccines for viruses work during this whole real world pandemic we’re going through, I can’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of this situation resolving itself within 48 hours. Science fiction T.V. show through I guess.
Anakin is doing a pretty poor job of hiding his anger and frustration throughout this situation, although it’s never addressed. Which is fine, seeing as how we know where this will eventually go, seeing it first hand is just him acting within character. One little thing I did like though is seeing how angry Obi Wan is also, angrier than I’ve ever seen him. But he just does a far better job of keeping a lid on it and not allowing it to sway him.
Iego seems cool, both from space and when planetside. I don’t know why, but I love the visuals of cities build on plateaus over an inhospitable lower world. Additionally, we get a fun little lord of the flies moment when the Jedi are greeted by a smattering of junked battle droids, reprogrammed by a wise-ass kid.
While on the planet the pair have a brief meeting with an Angel. A luminescent alien which stands there as a direct reference to one of the most infamously bad scenes from The Phantom Menace where Jake Lloyd’s Anakin Skywalker asks Padme if she is an angel. “They’re from the moons of Iego, I think.”
Kudos to the writers from bringing this full circle and having the bravery to actually reference that moment from Episode I.
Anyway, the Jedi get the root, discover a Separatist defence grid surrounding the planet, deactivate it and manage to get back to Naboo all before anyone dies from a deadly airborne virus.
You might notice that I rushed through this second episode a little, well there’s a reason for that.
These two episodes are incredibly misbalanced to me. The first episode feels mostly uneventful, and very pedestrian in terms of what goes on. It’s just another assault on a facility/base with some hostage situation in the mix. I’ve seen it does a number of times already in this series, and I’m only 18 episodes in.
On the other hand, Mystery of a Thousand Moons feels overstuffed to the point that it’s rushing through to get to the end by the final few minutes. Which sucks considering it had a ton more going on and was more interesting both visually and conceptually.
I get that they want this to be an anthology series and have separate stories that are only loosely connected, but this episode should have been a straight up two parter and the events of the second episode should have started half way through the first part so to better focus on the race for the cure, which was the most interesting thing about it all.
In terms of Star Wars lore though, this episode doesn’t introduce a whole lot except the Faust, which haven’t shown up again in the lore according to the wiki.
The next part I’ll be covering the three parter consisting of:
- Season 1, Episode 19: Storm over Ryloth
- Season 1, Episode 20: Innocents of Ryloth
- Season 1, Episode 21: Liberty of Ryloth
Stuff kicking off on the Twi’Lek homeworld.