Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited – Part 29: Slavery is Bad, duh

I might have to stop writing which episodes I’m planning on covering in upcoming entries for this series going forward. Because it’s really a shot in the dark as to whether there’s going to be enough going on within them to warrant splitting them up into multiple parts or not. Like here for example; we’ve got a three-part storyline that, while dealing with heavy subject matter, is ultimately a pretty open and shut kind of story. And something I can just talk about all in one go.

I guess it all ends up being about how they handle these stories rather than their subject matter themselves.

Season 4, Episode 11: Kidnapped

Kidnapped is another episode that could have almost been a self-contained one, the only relation it has to the others is to act as the springboard for another, larger story that would follow it. It begins with the Separatists descending down upon the pacifist Togruta colony world of Kiros. When the Republic forces arrive ten days later they find an empty city, devoid of like almost as it some kind of rapture-like event had taken place. Much to the confusion of Obi-Wan, Anakin and Ahsoka.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited - Part 29: Slavery is Bad, duh

Obi-Wan Kenobi is summoned to the central spire in the city to meet with the Separatist leader stewing there, so they can talk about surrender. This leader is revealed to be a Zygerrian; an almost catlike alien created for the purposes of this series. Upon seeing the alien, Anakin shows an especially venomous outburst of anger. Zygerria is a world that once ruled an entire Empire on the backs of a massive slave industry they created.

Given Anakin’s own past as a slave, his reaction is more understandable. As he calms himself, Obi-Wan tells Ahsoka about her master’s origins and that “Anakin has struggled to put his past behind him”. All while a melancholy arrangement of the Imperial March plays. It’s the closest I’ve ever actually seen Obi-Wan come to actually address Anakin’s frequent brushes with emotions that lead to the dark side.

Upon meeting with the Zygerrian leader, Obi-Wan learns that the city is filled with bombs. A fact he covertly shares with his comrades below. Thus the rest of the episode has Obi-Wan buying time by intentionally getting his ass kicked for long enough that Anakin and Ahsoka can ride around the city and disarm all of the explosives that are rigged on buildings filled with Colonists.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited - Part 29: Slavery is Bad, duh

Something that’s revealed to have been a big fat lie by the end, as all of the colonists have been moved off-world to be sold into slavery in the name of the Gygerrian Empire. This episode introduces the Zygerrian species; a race that once held great power through the trade and use of slaves, only to be reduced to a mere shadow of their former power thanks to the Jedi. Thus a lot of their people have a deep-seated grudge against them.

 

Season 4, Episode 12: Slaves of the Republic

This episode picks up with a Republic strike team made up of Anakin, Ahsoka, Obi-Wan and Rex. All making their way to the Zygerrian homeworld to investigate the fate of the Togruta colonists that were taken from their homes by the Separatists. And as we enter the city we immediately see an alien monkey knife fight. That’s not an important point, but one I feel the need to mention nonetheless.

Our guys are disguised as slavers, with Ahsoka playing the role of a newly captured slave. A cover she almost blows right away as she stops a Zygerrian slaver from whipping a Twi’lek slave. It’s an act I’m of two minds about. Because while it’s a naïve and dangerous move, it’s also a testament to Ahsoka’s innate goodness and strength of will as a Jedi. She can’t just observe a wrongdoing and allow it to go unchallenged.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited - Part 29: Slavery is Bad, duh

Something we’ll see directly juxtaposed by Anakin himself later on.

It works out though because drawing attention to themselves gets Anakin an audience with the Queen. And upon meeting, she takes an immediate liking to Anakin, who is playing the role of the swaggering, flirtatious asshole with relative ease. While trying to gain her trust enough to get the information about the colonists out of her, a Twi’Lek slave girl tries to murder the Queen with a knife.

An act Anakin instinctually prevents from happening. You could say it works out for the best, that is until the girl throws herself from the balcony, choosing death over the prospect of being returned for “processing”. Anakin goes to catch her with the force, but stops himself at the last minute in order to maintain his cover.

It’s the exact opposite decision to what Ahsoka made earlier and kind of undermines Anakin’s very status as a Jedi. Especially when he ends up getting no information out of the Queen before he’s forced to blow his cover in order to rescue a captured Obi-Wan. In which is a pretty charming homage to the barge execution scene from Return of the Jedi.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited - Part 29: Slavery is Bad, duh

It all goes poorly for the Jedi though and they’re all eventually captured and shipped off to different parts of the Slave machine.

All except Anakin, who finds himself regaining consciousness in the Queen’s own bed. As it turns out, the Queen really has the hots for him and seems supremely confident that she can break Anakin into becoming her personal bodyguard. And her personal concubine too I’d imagine. (Although a male version of that would be called Concubinator I guess. Which I find hilarious.) She even goes as far as giving his weapon back, only to tell him that his friend’s lives hang in the balance. Which is enough blackmail material to keep him in line for now.

Elsewhere Obi-Wan meets the leader of the processing centre, who murders a bunch of Togruta colonists just to show Obi-Wan he can. And he does it all with a smile on his face. Man, forget the Sith, these guys are the worst villains in the galaxy. Their utter disregard for life is despicable.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited - Part 29: Slavery is Bad, duh

The final parts of the episode has the Queen trying to play mind games with Anakin, saying his commitment to his Jedi code and his friends is a type of slavery. Which is utter bollocks if you ask me, and only a conclusion a person of extreme privilege could come to. In the end she asks Anakin to willingly commit himself to her because she believes he’s the kind of man who would take his own word incredibly seriously.

This chick is dumb as hell.

 

Season 4, Episode 13: Escape from Kadavo

The Zygerrian plan seems to be to break the Jedi they’ve captured to show just how powerful their Empire could be once again. Doing so by mentally torturing Obi-Wan in the forced labour camps, punishing everyone around him for every one of his minor misdemeanours. Making it so the very people he’s trying to help come to hate him. Eventually breaking his will and his spirit.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited - Part 29: Slavery is Bad, duh

They never really get that far though, because things go sideways for the Zygerrians when Count Dooku shows up to order the execution of all the Jedi they’ve taken as slaves. The Queen is opposed to this because, 1: She has the hots for Anakin and 2: Her being subservient to Dooku’s orders essentially makes her no better than a slave in her own mind.

You can’t see it, but I’m rolling my eyes real hard right now.

Anyway, Dooku kills her and tries to pin it on Anakin. Only for Anakin to escape with Ahsoka and get the location of Obi-Wan and the Torgruta colonists out of the Queen before she dies.

The rest of the episode is the rescue of all of the slaves in this giant processing facility, which just seem to amount to Obi-Wan, Rex and a couple dozen Togruta. Let’s just call this one a budget limitation and not point out how few people this ended up being for them to rescue. I have very little to add beyond this for this episode specifically.

 

Verdict:

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited - Part 29: Slavery is Bad, duh

Once we get to Zygerria, there’s a whole lot of people postulating about being slaves to this and slaves to that. But at the end of the day, it’s easy to talk big and proud about being a “slave to the system” or your job or money. But when you’re talking from a position of wealth build on literal slave labour where people are being whipped and tortured, your moral gesticulating can just go straight to hell.

I don’t know if I’m supposed to feel bad for the Zygerrian Queen by the end of these episodes… but I don’t. Oh, boo hoo, Count Dooku has you under his thumb. I bet that feels so bad for you while you eat your luxurious food in your giant palace while being fanned by children wearing shock collars. In a world where there are literal machines built to do those exact same jobs, the concept of slavery is purely arrogance and driven by ego. Man you can just all go to hell Zygerrians.

These episodes are fine. It feels like it sets up some plot points that never really go anywhere in favour of toying with the idea of being a metaphorical slave and true freedom. Which all falls flat when you’re the literal queen of a slave empire. It’s interesting that I see this after reading the book Master & Apprentice, which also deals with the idea of Slavery and how the Jedi combat it.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited - Part 29: Slavery is Bad, duh

Although in that book it was enough to disillusion Qui-Gon Jinn from joining the Jedi Council. Here it’s just something the Jedi seem content to allow to happen in the background. Because there’s no talk about launching a major offensive against the Gygerrians and liberating the millions, of not billions, of slaves they’re using, selling and “processing”.


seeing as how the next episode is a one-off followed by a four parter, I’m going to just talk about a single episode next week. Or maybe I’ll do it early as a mini part. We’ll see how much there is to talk about:

  • Season 4, Episode 14: A Friend in Need

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