TCW, Season 2, Episode 14: It’s Always the Ones That, In Hindsight, You Really Should Have Suspected

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The Clone Wars, Season 2, Episode 14: Duchess of Mandalore
This entry is part of a series. To start at the beginning, go here.

If you thought our Mandalore Adventure was done now that everybody’s safely back in the capital, you were wrong! It’s time for everyone’s very favorite thing about Star Wars that no one ever complains about: politicians talking about stuff! No time for Voiceover Recap Guy, let’s just dive right in.

Recurring Theme: Some Badass Lady Yells At People In The Senate

In the Senate, Satine gets the news from Evil Horrible Wicked Uncle Palpatine that a friend of hers has sent a hologram over in which he asks for the Republic to come intervene and occupy Mandalore. He implies that they can’t listen to Satine, because she’s too much of a hippie pacifist.

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She’s shocked; this guy is someone she trusts and someone whom she thought agreed with her — she doesn’t understand where this is all coming from. I bet you will never be able to guess who’s behind all this craziness.

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She demands to hear from this dude directly:

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…and LOL OMFG seriously: Palpatine is like “well that’d be nice, except…”
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WHAT A SURPRISE. That’s so WEIRD, amirite? Stuff like this just always seems to happen whenever Palpatine has New and Surprising News for our friends.

So, now Satine’s in a real bind, because her planet is in turmoil, and coupled with the message played in the Senate, the Republic has the perfect chance to step in and send in troops, which will undoubtedly escalate the violence (and probably endear the citizenry to the terrorists.) And I don’t know if she’s mentioned this ever, but she’s a pacifist, so she’s against all of this! She has a fit about this in her little floating Senate pod, and she charges out of the building for what is, if my count is correct, the first of at least three storm-offs she does in this episode alone. So, Obi-Wan’s got a thing for hotheads. (…I think most of us already knew that.)

Bail Out, Obi-Wan Kenobi, It’s Your Only Hope

After Satine storms out of the senate, Obi-Wan goes running out to catch up to her.

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There is a ridiculous moment where he asks her to stay and talk with him – they’re totally platonic friends who are not at all romantic with each other ever for any reason in perpetuity throughout the universe, after all, right?

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At this, she lobs this wistful bit of melodrama at him:

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Wait, what? Did this line need to be here? Lady, you’re the one who speed-walked away from him the last time you guys talked about feelings; you can’t just throw this out there now. Also there is kind of a lot of other stuff going on right now, and he’s trying to help you. What precisely are you hoping he’ll do about your love-that-can-never-be situation at this exact moment out here in what is basically the Senate parking lot? I mean, true: nothing good awaits either of you in the future, so if you were smart you’d both just high-tail it outta there and, I don’t know, go have a bunch of pretentious and very pale children together, I guess, but we all know that’s not happening.

Obi-Wan then proceeds to do himself absolutely zero favors in this conversation by suggesting that she’s flying off the handle:

My words out loud when watching this scene were “Oh my God, Kenobi, you beautiful idiot, you are like 2 seconds away from asking her if she’s PMSing. ABORT.”

This Line Deserves Its Own Section

The upshot here is that Satine literally drops the words “hither and yon” into her response rant, which is easily one of the best things anyone in the Star Wars canon has ever said, so it was all worth it. God, I love when this franchise just goes for it with the lines they give these characters. It’s glorious, and anyone who hates on the approach to dialogue in the prequel era can take a hike because this is a thing of true cornball beauty:

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…she demands to know why she’d take the advice of someone like Obi-Wan, who’s always killing people and blowing shit up. She turns her back on him and takes her leave, telling him:

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Obi-Wan just looks sad in response as she flies away. I guess he knows she’s kinda not wrong.

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Recurring Theme: Your Dark Side is Showing

So, now that Obi-Wan and Satine have finished arguing with each other about the merits of using violent force and giving each other “if only” face for what feels like the 10 millionth time in this episode alone, she’s flying away from the Senate. Minutes later, her ship’s navigation system gets blown up, requiring her and her staff to jump out midair, and killing her pilot — in what she believes must have been an act of sabotage.

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She sits down with Palpatine afterwards, and he pulls his usual routine of knocking strategic dominos over from his den of somewhat poorly-cloaked evil, by first telling her that he’s oh so sorry, but there’s no evidence that what happened was anything other than an accident.

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Naturally, this is all part of the plan, because once she flips out and protests that it surely must have been a deliberate act, the room changes its tune and she starts getting support for it not being an accident. It’s then that the real objective becomes clear:

Satine, never one to just let stupid creeps tell her stuff she knows is bullshit, is like are you FUCKING KIDDING ME HERE?!

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Palpatine is like “sorry, sweetheart: I guess we’ll just have to let the Senate decide what to do on Mandalore, and also maybe hope that Maul does me a solid later because you are a real pain in my ass”:

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Ironic Question Time

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Obi-Wan, in need of a look into the Truth Mirror.

Obi-Wan finds Satine in the hallway after this, and she proves that, having spoken with Palpatine for 5 whole minutes, she’s about 4 years ahead of the Jedi in figuring out who the Ultimate Evil is – despite the fact that sensing Ultimate Evil is practically their entire job, and they see Palpatine constantly. Good work, guys. She knows something is off with this whole situation, but Obi-Wan pleads with her to let the Republic handle things in Mandalore.

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She’s not budging and she’s getting increasingly pissed off at him – however, as it turns out, this conversation will become pointless about 40 seconds later when Padme shows up with the news that hey, the Senate’s already decided to occupy Mandalore: they voted on it while Satine was meeting with Palpatine.

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Well, that’s not suspicious at all! Satine is furious and storms off again, pointing out that HA HA I WAS RIGHT KENOBI YOU HANDSOME IDIOT:

…and Padme and Obi-Wan make some concerned faces at each other in her wake. Oh whatever Padme, we all know you and Kenobes are two peas in a “have a thing for hotheads” pod. Like you’ve never seen a grown adult have a tantrum before.

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The Call is Coming From Inside the House

After leaving the Senate building, Satine meets up with a contact of hers who hands off a disc to her containing an unedited version of the hologram that was played in the Senate at the beginning of the episode.

This disc, as it turns out, proves that she was right all along about how Mandalore feels about being occupied: the original version is actually in firm support of her decisions. This means someone, perhaps some kind of practitioner of an ancient, long-thought-dead evil of some sort, manipulated the message to make it look as though Satine was not supported by her own people. Hmm!

Immediately after this, the contact gets taken out by a terrorist/assassin (in Mando armor, of course,) who’s been stalking Satine, and as clone troopers show up to help, she ends up looking like the party responsible for this guy’s murder as the real killer flees. She goes off on the run as a warrant is put out for her arrest.

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Evil Plot Status Updates

The bad guys, as they are in about 45% of Star Wars, are all on conference calls with each other. I guess I can take comfort in knowing they don’t get to have THAT much more excitement than the rest of us working stiffs. Pre Vizsla is holo-Skyping about what the Duchess may or may not have gotten her mitts on:

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…meanwhile, Count Dooku is reassuring Sidious that everything’s gonna work out just peachy:

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Sidious is evilly pleased as punch about this:

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What a charming guy.

Recurring Theme: Help Me Obi-Wan Kenobi, You’re The Only Guy I Know Who’ll Willingly Involve Himself In This Nonsense

Satine now calls Obi-Wan for help (via hologram, naturally, as that is how distressed maidens always contact him):

They meet, “disguised”, in public, to strategize. I say “disguised” because it’s just them wearing hooded cloaks over their regular clothes, which I have a hard time counting as a disguise for Obi-Wan considering that he is dressed like this in about 70-80% of the entire canon, including when he is an actual ghost.

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Recurring Theme: Someone Pretty Much Spells It Out For A Jedi, But Nothing Will Come Of It

They sit back-to-back as Satine fills him in on the latest, but not before he gets a chance to be like “OH THANK GOD YOU’RE NOT DEAD BECAUSE YOU’RE MY ONE GREAT LOVE.” Of course, he doesn’t say this in quite such obvious terms, but again: recall that Obi-Wan is pretty much the most repressed person in the entire galaxy (which is SAYING SOMETHING), so when he’s like “I’m glad to see you alive” he really means “MARRY ME.” (I don’t even know how we are to interpret him literally telling Anakin he loves him later, given this, but now I’ve made myself sad again so maybe let’s just drop it.)

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Awwwwwwwwww.

Satine, handing off the Disc of Truth to him surreptitiously, drops the truth bomb on him that she now has proof that whoever is trying to screw with her, and Mandalore, is someone within the government.

They once again, and not for the last time, fail to connect all the dots, so they still have no idea who’s ultimately behind it.

They hatch a plan: Obi-Wan will give the disc to Padme and have her show it to the Senate, while Satine gives herself up in order to distract the Senate guards long enough for Obi-Wan to sneak into the Senate unnoticed (so he won’t be searched on his way in.) There’s a lot of “you’re naïve if you think you won’t be searched”, “no, you’re naïve, my dear” going on as they construct this plan, and just…guys? Just go save the day already. We don’t have time for your weird foreplay right now. PS: Again, you are both oblivious.

We Can Never Just Make a Quiet Exit

Of course, walking off to the Senate quietly and peacefully would be asking way too much of our heroes, so before they can move their plan into action, there’s a fight sequence first. That Mando assassin from before returns, allowing Obi-Wan to show off for his girlfriend one last time in this arc:

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I Feel Like I Really Neglected To Note This In An Earlier Version Of This Recap

So, I went back and updated this arc after its initial publication for better consistency with my other recaps, and when I did this, I realized that I forgot to call out something that is both hilarious and heart-squeezing, which is that the Duchess of Fricking Mandalore calls Obi-Wan “Obi.” She yells this out as she chucks his lightsaber to him:

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Obi-Wan emerges victorious, sort of, and the Mandalorian of Mystery flies off on his jetpack as Satine and Obi-Wan watch him go:

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Padme Amidala, A Thorn In Palpatine’s Side For Hundreds of Reasons

In the Senate, they’re all getting ready to move on Mandalore when Padme’s like “oh hey Palps! You know what I bet you’d really love to see because you are committed to truth and justice as we all are? This unedited version of that message from the Duchess Satine’s friend that is the exact opposite of what you showed us before!”

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Palpatine is SO pissed while this plays and then stifles his glower into a pained smile. Ugh. He’s going to enjoy killing Padme most of all.

I’ll Get You Next Time, Duchess (Or At Least Someone Will)

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Pre Vizsla is royally pissed that their plan to take over Mandalore was foiled, and threatens to move ahead regardless in his latest holo-Skype to Count Dooku. Dooku convinces him to chill until they can regroup, because they simply don’t have enough backing them to maintain control of the planet for more than a day at this point. Vizsla relents, but he is not happy with the Customer Service at this particular branch of SithCo., so let’s just say he’s likely to maybe start shopping around for a different service provider.

Spoiler alert: Next time we all do the “Let’s Kick Satine Out of Power” plot, things are going to go even worse for Vizsla and everyone else involved, too.

Search Your Feelings, People, For The Love Of God

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Afterwards, our Jedi Power Couples spend a few moments talking to Palpatine about how he’s just super glad that everything worked out the way it did because he definitely has no clue who was behind this evil plot. Or any evil plot! He loves the Republic. He loves Democracy. And so on. (…why is Anakin there? Was he just doing his usual stalking of Padme and/or Obi-Wan and ended up there?)

I love how they look suspicious as hell and are side-eyeing Palpatine while he’s talking to
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. GUYS, I am begging you: maybe you should all get together and honestly discuss your thoughts on this subject at some point before every single one of you gets put on a trajectory that will end with you getting directly or indirectly murdered by this guy. Please. Have a few drinks and let it all out. It doesn’t have to be this way! You will save us all SO MUCH TIME. THE DAMN PHANTOM MENACE IS LITERALLY RIGHT THERE. Sigh.

Just You and Me and the Gathering Darkness That Will Destroy Democracy

Palpatine and Padme head off to do Senate Stuff, Anakin…leaves to go watch Padme from behind a trash can somewhere or write love songs about Obi-Wan or just stare dramatically out a window while ruminating on his Inner Turmoil, or whatever he does in his spare time, and Satine and Obi-Wan take a moment to discuss what the hell just happened.

Satine: “Well, I’m glad I’m not dead or going to prison, but don’t you think we should probably find out who was behind it, or…?”

Obi-Wan, in response, is super helpful by more or less saying he doesn’t know who could have been behind all this, and that you can’t trust anyone anymore.

So…you think maybe you should explore that line of thought a little further, Kenobi? Or are we just gonna leave that there until Revenge of the Sith rolls around to spell it all out for you super, super clearly (and even then it’s still going to take you what feels like an eternity to see what’s going on?) I see. OK, then. Enjoy your time at Mustafar Volcanoes National Park, pumpkin. Also pack some sandals; you’ll eventually be needing them.

So we end the arc with some Prophetic Pronouncements about how everything’s probably going to go to hell, which seems like a safe bet. This is the Star Wars universe in the post-Phantom Menace timeline, and as far as I can ascertain from this show, Rebels, and the seven saga films, nothing will ever be “going well” for more than about 25 seconds at a crack ever again. We’re really in for a nonstop barrage of sadness from here on out, and not even a party with the Ewoks can save us.

…I digress. Now it’s time for people to go find a large window to stare wistfully out of whilst standing side-by-side, as we head into our iris wipe.

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In conclusion, this delightful arc is wonderfully good fun to me, with its many melodramatic, sweet, and/or lovably dopey moments, which is about 80% of what I’m there for when watching anything in this franchise. And when taken altogether, we really ticked a lot of boxes off the Star Wars bingo card over the course of these three episodes:

  • Missed Chances to Address Anakin’s Inner Turmoil: Check
  • Obi-Wan Gets Something Else to Discuss in Therapy Someday: Check
  • Things That Are Definitely Coming Back to Haunt Us Later: Check
  • Darksider-in-Chief Was Behind It All: Check
  • Guest Appearance by the Associate Darksider: Check
  • Anakin Kinda Likes Killing People: Check
  • Pretty Girl in a Crazy Hat or Funky Hairstyle: Check
  • Someone in Mandalorian Armor Being a Badass: Check
  • Overwrought Speeches About Forbidden Love and/or Sacred Duty: Check
  • Political Machinations: Check
  • Obvious Fork-in-the-Road, Path-Not-Taken Foreshadowing: Check
  • Person in Trouble Asks Obi-Wan for Help Via Hologram: Check
  • Anakin and Obi-Wan Bro It Up in an Elevator: Check

…so, that’s it! This group of bad guys are on the back burner for now, but they won’t stay there forever. And, because literally nothing good ever happens to Obi-Wan, the next time he’s called to throw down on Mandalore, the events that transpire are going to be so cruel to him that they will come close to “this is so mean it’s almost wrapping around to humorous” territory.

Previously:

To Be Continued in: