The Clone Wars, Season 5, Episode 15: Shades of Reason
This is the second part in a three-part arc. To start at the beginning, go here.
Here we are again, hanging out with some of our nearest and dearest evil villains of the Clone Wars era. When we left things, Darth Maul and Death Watch Head Honcho Pre Vizsla, having joined together to create an army of the damned, were both plotting to double-cross each other in order to further their own agendas. Using, abusing, and losing each other: it’s the way of the Star Wars Bad Guy! This installment will put us back in the Mandalorian capital of Sundari, and queue things up for the Very Bad Things yet to come. Settle in!
Recurring Theme: Ulterior Motives
On Zanbar (LOL, oh Star Wars — I don’t write this stuff, I just report back, guys,) Team Evil is pulling their plan together: Maul and his cronies will sow discord on Mandalore, making it look like Satine can’t keep things together. Then, they’ll allow themselves to be “caught” by the Death Watch, which will make them be welcomed by the people as heroes.
Outside the Plotting Tent, Bo-Katan is uneasy: she is not completely stupid, so she thinks trusting Maul is a bad idea. Vizsla assures her: once they get control of Mandalore, Maul et al will be executed and they’ll rule forevermore unlimited powaaaaah etc. She smirks her approval at him in reply.
Savage Oppress is voicing similar concerns about Vizsla to Maul, who counters that they have no choice: they need those guys to help keep the Jedi outta their hair (er, horns) for a little bit longer. And at the end of the day:
The gang arrive in the capital, and can I just say quickly here that Mandalore is maybe the craziest-looking place Star Wars has yet introduced us to? I mean, it’s like an Escher, made out of glass:
Anyhow, as they arrive, the criminals put Phase 1 of the plan into action, taking over the shipping docks under the guise of the Pyke Syndicate. Because Mandalore are PEACEFUL I SAY, the best they have is like, a strongly-worded poem asking the gangsters to leave, so needless to say they get taken over quickly.
Well, We’re Boned
Satine gets word of all of this and one of her advisors tells her the people are demanding that they do something to rid the place of these thugs. She looks Deeply Concerned in response:
I just want to pause to thank whoever wrote this Warm Greeting Robot into the script. Why is this here? To make me laugh? Mission accomplished.
So, now the Black Sun and the Pykes and Maul and Savage and all kinds of baddies are running amok all over Mandalore, holding up banks and just generally being assholes:
Recurring Theme: Try to Talk Sense Into a Giant Angry Mob
The people are getting fed up with this, and the next scene shows Satine pleading with an enormous crowd to just chill the fuck out while she figures things out. Pre Vizsla swings by on a jetpack, which I appreciate for both its over-the-top quality and humor factor. I love that “also they should have jetpacks!” was something someone floated for the Mando Look at some point.
Satine calls Vizsla out as being the one behind all of this:
I love that they’re going to just hash this all out in front of a zillion people. He throws down that only the Death Watch have the balls to take on these criminals, and that the politics of pacifism have failed. From now on, it’s All Badass All The Time here on Planet Crazy, and don’t you forget it! The crowd goes wild in approval.
Vizsla flies off with the support of the people at his back, and Satine looks super unhappy as we end the scene.
Everything’s Going So Well
On board his ship, Vizsla holo-Skypes with Darth Maul, and the two determine that it’s time for Phase 2 of the plan:
We see grateful citizens being “freed” from the gangsters and Sith and random baddies by the Death Watch, and how courteous of them to recycle some dialogue while they’re at it:
The End Game, Part ? of ?
Satine and Vizsla Have Words back in the Non-Denominational Church Throne Room and just…OH WHY STAR WARS. Y’know. Sigh. Vizsla tells her her reign is over, and it’s time to vacate. Satine refuses to fight in response, knowing now that she no longer has the support of the populace at large, and also because Pacifism. I know, it’s never come up before.
So, next we find the Death Watch claiming rule over the government, and Pre Vizsla installed as the new Prime Minister. They lie, telling the people that Satine and Co. have run in cowardice. I have a lot of feelings about Bo-Katan and WTF is going on here, that I do hope Rebels will allow me to expand on eventually, but we’ll leave them aside for a rant on another day.
In a jail cell, Satine is yelling at her captors…
…when she learns that former Prime Minister Almec, a guy who she jailed for corruption in an arc where he poisons schoolchildren with black-market juice boxes, is in the cell next to her. They have some back and forth about Who Was Right After All and she sadly looks away as she contemplates her fate.
Recurring Theme: Dirty Double-Crossers
Hold up! Satine’s not the only one getting screwed over in this episode, as Maul discovers that Vizsla’s going to get to the double-cross before he does. Vizsla tells him that he’s not interested in working with Maul anymore, now that he has what he wants, and so Maul is put under arrest. Fret not, Maul: Vizsla promises:
But! Maul is about 200 times smarter and more powerful than Vizsla, so while he puts on a good show of being angry about all of this, once he’s in his jail cell with Savage, he is more or less totally unfazed: he knows that all around them, there must surely be former advisers to the Duchess who he can easily use to prop up his shadow government. He tells Savage:
…and God I love this show, because Savage literally just Hulks out and Force-Rages all the glass around them to shatter into a zillion pieces and hurl a guard into the air. No big thing. The two Sith Brothers head out on a little walk around the jail.
First stop: Satine. Maul checks her out and tells her he doesn’t need her — not yet, though he does have plans for her and aaaaggghhhh I’m already shaking my fist at the screen — but he is wondering who else is in the neighborhood. Satine tells him that everyone from the government who was left is either with the Death Watch, or already dead. Everyone, that is, except for Almec…
…and at this, Maul is like DING DING DING WE HAVE A WINNER.
So Maul and Savage go to check out Almec’s deal, and Satine is like NO STOP THAT GUY SUCKS:
…a guard appears and Savage force-chokes them, because, again, this arc is LOADED in choking.
So now Maul’s like, “‘Sup, Almec, I’m looking for someone to set up in my puppet regime: you in?”
Maul clarifies that he and Vizsla broke up. Almec then wonders how Savage and Maul alone are going to take on the entire Death Watch, and Maul hilariously says that since Vizsla’s a soldier, he’ll challenge him to a duel, which he will have to accept because…he just will. Honor and whatnot.
Almec’s like “Sweet, good plan! Also if you best him in the fight his soldiers have to follow you because That Is Our Way here,” and Maul’s like, “…yup. Kind of the idea. Thanks for spelling it out for the viewers though my dude.” Let the Battle of the Creeps begin!
I Have The Honor To Be Your Obedient Servant – D. Maul
Maul, Savage and Almec arrive in the First Church of Mandalore Throne Room and literally make their entrance with a force-choke. Vizsla and his team get into a battle stance but before anything else can happen, Maul sets off into a spectacular announcement challenging Vizsla to a duel, that honest-to-God includes him throwing his arms out to both sides in the air and THANK YOU TCW WRITERS for understanding everything that gives me joy as regards Star Wars. The good guys should always be dorks that say stuff like “I’m Luke Skywalker and I’m here to rescue you!”, and the bad guys should always be dorks who do stuff like show up in a cloud of dry ice while clenching their fists. I do not accept cool people in Star Wars and I never will, so some of you can just take your updated Marvellian dialogue elsewhere. You know who you are.
Vizsla takes the bait as planned, and a throwdown ensues:
Ultimately Maul emerges victorious, and Vizsla, having accepted his defeat, parts ways with his head:
Maul gets to keep the Darksaber as a parting gift, and oh gee, that seems like a great idea. (PS: I cannot wait to find out how Sabine ends up with this thing in Rebels. Like, at ALL. I bet it’s gonna be ridiculous because every time anything happens to this blade it’s because of something insane.)
Bo-Katan, possibly because Pre Vizsla was like her One True Love or something, is Not Having Any of This, and counters that regardless of The Rules, she’ll never join Maul:
She and a few others make their escape to places unknown, for now, and meanwhile, Almec goes to claim the title of Fake Ruler of Mandalore and feed the people a line of bullshit about Satine murdering Vizsla:
As we wrap this installment, Maul pats Almec on the head and gives him a cookie for being a good puppet, and chills out on Satine’s throne as he awaits his next move and I go grab myself a big box of tissues and a full bottle of wine for the third and final episode in this arc. Iris-wipe this one out — we’re done!