Wow, talk about coming to a screeching halt. After two really great story arcs, we arrive at this trio of episodes. Ones that genuinely almost put me to sleep while I was watching them. Then again, it was pretty late, so I wasn’t doing myself any favours there.
A story featuring a love triangle and a finance dispute… It’s no wonder this was initially a B-plot in another storyline, one broken off into its own story arc.
Season 6: Episode 05: An Old Friend
This episode reintroduces Rush Clovis, an old flame of Padme and the guy who was revealed to be double-crossing the Republic and funding the Separatist droid foundries the last time we saw him all the way back in season two. Now it seems like he is trying to make amends for the sins of his past by revealing the deep financial issues the Banking Clan are hiding from the Republic.
He also seems desperate to get his hands on Padme again, who makes it pretty clear she wants nothing to do with him. Romantically at least anyway.
After stealing some information to show how the Banking Clan are out of money, Padme is arrested and her secret husband Anakin Skywalker is sent to take her into custody. Together they go looking for the information they stole and Anakin is incensed to discover Rush Clovis is in contact with his wife again.
After a fairly unique chase sequence down the side of a snowy mountain, it’s revealed that all of the events that have transpired so far have been playing exactly into Darth Sidious’s hands.
Season 6: Episode 06: The Rise of Clovis
This middle episode spends a lot more time dealing with the nature of Anakin and Padme’s relationship. With Chancellor Palpatine ordering Padme and Clovis to stick together to continue working to unearth the corruption of the Banking Clan, Anakin proves himself to be a pretty crappy husband.
It’s a continuation of the story established during Clovis’s first appearance so many long episodes ago, but Anakin is jealous, controlling and unwilling to trust Padme around Clovis. So much so that the writers finally deal with the fact that it’s always been super obvious that there’s something going on between Anakin and Padme. Yoda comments on it, Palpatine comments on it and Obi-Wan comes to meet Anakin in his quarters to talk to him about it.
He might not be aware of the extent of their relationship, but he makes it clear that he knows there are feelings between the two. And he also reminds Anakin how his judgement is easily clouded when such feelings are involved, and at the very least to take that into account when dealing with this situation.
It’s advice that begins and ends at Anakin’s front door, because the next time we see him, he’s walking into Clovis trying to push himself onto Padme. After the pair attended an opera? How was that working towards overturning the Banking Clan exactly? Either way, Anakin just lays into Clovis, beating the crap out of him and totally losing himself to his jealousy. I’d say he’s been gripped by the sway of the dark side here, but I honestly think we’ve seen enough of his jealousy to say he’d have the exact same response even if he had no connection to the force.
As he recovers Clovis is approached by an agent of Count Dooku to proposes allowing Clovis to take control of the Banking Clan so he can put it right for everyone’s sake. A proposition that Clovis is wildly naïve for agreeing to.
Elsewhere Padme rightly breaks up with Anakin, or at least says they need to be apart for a while.
Season 6: Episode 07: Crisis at the Heart
As Clovis takes control of the Banking Clan, Dooku wastes no time in putting the screws to him and forcing Clovis’s hand in raising interest rates on all Republic loans and making it seem like he was working for the Separatists all along. Again, Clovis seems wildly naïve about this entire situation and does himself no favours whatsoever it making it look like he was planning on betraying the Republic all along.
As it turns out, Palpatine’s entire plan was to throw Clovis under the bus just about as hard as I’ve ever seen anyone thrown under a bus so that the senate will panic and vote to give the Chancellor total control over the banks. I know, exciting stuff.
The meat of this episode comes from Anakin’s rescue mission of Padme, who finds herself a prisoner of the Battle Droids that Dooku left behind. In a double-cross disguised as a different kind of double-cross, it looks like Clovis launched a surprise attack on Republic forces as soon as he came into power. While Anakin rushes to the planet Scipio to save Padme.
Which he does, with Clovis sacrificing himself at the end in order to save Padme’s life, and also maybe to atone for how easily he was fooled and manipulated by Count Dooku.
So here’s my issue with these episodes. It seems like Clovis, for whatever his faults, genuinely want to redeem himself and do right by the Banking Clan as a neutral party. All the while we have Anakin telling anyone who will listen to him that Clovis can’s be trusted. Not because he knows anything anyone else doesn’t but because he’s jealous of his wife’s ex.
By the time the arc is over, everyone is telling Anakin he was right all along and Padme especially apologises to him profusely after almost dying at the end. Which makes me feel kind of crummy. Not because Clovis was innocent and was used as one giant scapegoat in the plan to put the banks under the direct control of the Sith. It makes me feel crummy because it justifies Anakin’s childish, jealous behaviour.
Anakin never has a reasonable, mature reason to distrust Clovis. No more so than anyone else who deals with him in these episodes given his history as a proven Republic traitor. And yet his behaviour, which culminates in him attacking another man in a jealous rage while vocally undermining his own wife’s agency ends up coming across like it was justified.
I might have a different opinion on this had it been framed as one of the reasons Anakin eventually falls to the dark side, but I never got that impression through. It just seemed like he was being a jealous, controlling husband. And the episode ends with him being apologised to despite his behaviour.
I know that’s not the message of the episode, given the blatant manipulation of events throughout by the Sith. But I still found myself not really liking it as a result.
Not big on these episodes. But as I mentioned before, I read that these ones were once a part of a different storyline involving Ahsoka and her thing with Lux Bonteri. Maybe the contrasting of their different relationships would have made this story hit differently. Or maybe not. Either way, if I were still doing verdicts on these episodes I would most likely say this one is a story arc worth missing.