The Clone Wars, Season 5, Episode 2: A War on Two Fronts
This is the first installment of a four-part arc.
Welcome, readers, to another irony- and melodrama-filled Clone Wars journey. This time we’re off to Onderon, a place that is significant in part because, well, at least one of the people we’ll encounter there is going to be spending some quality time assisting the rebel scum in Rogue One, which will give us the first animated-to-live-action canon jump any Star Wars character has done to date. It also gives us an introductory insight into the embryonic stages of what will eventually be part of the Rebel Cause of Great Star Wars fame, and hilariously one of their biggest advocates in this arc is Darth Vader, because he is really good at screwing himself over. So: are we ready to go? Let’s do it!
Recurring Theme: The Jedi Temple Keeps The Same Hours as a 7-11
Things get underway with a night meeting in the Jedi Temple for the 2,341,965th time in this series — and now, in addition to wondering about the electricity situation in the temple, I’m also kinda wondering what the deal is with work hours around this place. Jedi DO have to sleep sometimes, right? They’re not all just throwing themselves around in shirtless nightmares all night or popping trucker-grade pep pills, correct? I’m just saying: The Council is in that damn room like ALL THE TIME. Even if they’re holo-Skyping in from elsewhere, they must be interrupting their day (and night, apparently) for these sessions constantly. No wonder they’re getting their asses kicked in the war and failing to observe the MANY OBVIOUS CLUES ABOUT ULTIMATE EVIL, who is probably at this moment drinking brandy in his office right down the hall and watching The Galactic History Channel while laughing at how dumb his enemies are.
You Rebel Scum
Aaaanyways, a holo-Skype session is underway with Lux Bonteri, an incredibly huge dork whose prior (thus-far-unrecapped) appearances in this show largely involved him stupidly almost getting himself killed and needing Ahsoka to save his ass, and Saw Gerrera, a renegade badass who will figure prominently in this arc. The planet Onderon is in turmoil and they need help, but once again, there’s some political BS about how Onderon’s king is allied with the Separatists, so the Republic’s not supposed to help them because the Separatists are the bad guys and blahblahblah. Saw tells them that the “true” king of Onderon was usurped by a traitor claiming the throne, and they want to displace him: but they need help with supplies and training to pull this off. Can the Jedi do them a solid?
Yoda says they’ll try to help them, and OK, you know what? If I were Obi-Wan I’d be waving my arms around like CRAZY during the Mandalore arc that follows this because seriously: the council’s gonna immediately take these guys at their word and eventually agree to send four of the Republic’s biggest badasses to help train insurgents on a SEPARATIST PLANET (including Lux, who will, later in this episode, out-and-out SAY he won’t join, or fight for, the Republic), but they also won’t officially send a single fricking Jedi to go help a NEUTRAL SYSTEM from being overrun by murderous terrorists whose stated objective is more or less “we just want to kill things because Mandalore”, even though their pacifist government who LIKES THE JEDI begged them for help? Man. I mean, I get it, kind of, but still. I like how these guys all really seem to pick and choose what rules they’re going to follow on any given day.
They wrap up this Skype session and as they do, Lux and Ahsoka make brief Meaningful Eye Contact and just….no, Clone Wars. Let’s not. For so many reasons.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Self-Saboteur
Anakin, reaching into the gigantic bag I assume Dave Filoni keeps in his office labeled CAUTION: CONTENTS CONTAIN EXTREME DRAMATIC IRONY, pulls out this gem: gee whiz, guys, all these rebels need is some training and guidance from the Jedi and then they can totally kick the bad guys’ asses! I laugh for 400,000 years at this, and then pause for a moment to further revel in the fact that now that Rogue One will be joining this crazypants canon, this arc literally involves Darth Vader passionately advocating for training his own enemy. Whoopsie daisy!
Anakin makes his case to the Council, spending about 50% of the time Vaderishly clenching his fist at things as he speaks.
Recurring Theme: Your Insignificant Rebellion From a Certain Point of View
Obi-Wan is, let’s say, maybe not super OK with Anakin’s proposal to train a bunch of rebel cells. And again, I pause to laugh, this time at the fact that this arc also includes Obi-Wan Kenobi, Eventual Wise Wizard Patronus of the Galactic Rebellion’s Main Hero, out-and-out calling the rebels terrorists.
The Council’s not fully sold on this approach. Terrorism? Uh…that…may not be not the Jedi way.
…and Anakin counters back with the cherry on this irony sundae:
Eventually, though, the Council agrees to beta-test this whole train-the-insurgents thing on Onderon. Anakin is clearly pleased with himself, saying this could be a great new weapon for them, almost as cool as if they’d built a gigantic superweapon that blows up planets (OK, fine, he doesn’t say that last part, but given this ridiculous conversation, I’m almost surprised he doesn’t.) Ahsoka and Obi-Wan both side-eye the living hell out of him for being so excited about this, but, as with all side-eyes directed at Anakin in this series, IT WILL COME TO NOTHING and we’re all still doomed.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Loves Anakin
Anakin says he’ll assemble a team, and Obi-Wan immediately bolts out of his chair and tells him he’s going with him, because Obi-Wan is a predictable man with a gigantically huge Willfully-Blind Spot in the shape of Anakin Skywalker. Awww, don’t you trust Anakin, Obi-Wan?
So, just to review, Obi-Wan: you think Anakin is wrong and you are against this idea, buuuut you’re still gonna be first in line to pitch in with the effort and it has nothing to do with not wanting to sleep alone while he’s gone, right?
Oh! I am sorry. I must have gotten confused there for a moment, because obviously there is zero subtext surrounding these two anywhere in the canon except for all those times. Our friend Obi-Wan is going along because he has to keep Anakin’s Shenanigans in check, of course. That Anakin! Such a handful.
I’d better move on from this topic, in part because this is already like 1,000 words long and I have only covered about 4 minutes of the actual episode. Oops.
Recurring Theme: I’m a Huge Nerd and I’m Here To Rescue You
Anakin, Ahsoka, Obi-Wan and Rex arrive on Onderon, dropped off into a dark jungle:
Anakin is greeted in the misty darkness by a girl riding a mythical creature, who demands to know who he is.
Anakin, remembering his training, dramatically unhoods himself:
Ahsoka introduces herself as Commander Tano:
…and the girl introduces herself as Steela. Delighted to see that the Jedi have rolled up to help out, she guides them through the jungle overnight to their base camp.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Pretty Unimpressed With This
Obi-Wan notes as they arrive that these, er, lower-case-“r”-rebels are not quite the high caliber soldiers they’re used to.
Anakin says that this is why our friend Rex is here. We shall mold them into badasses!
Recurring Theme: We Make Entrances in This Galaxy, Damn It
Saw Gerrera is at the base camp, posing atop a crazy flying dinosaur-like creature because everyone in Star Wars knows that it’s all about the entrance.
He approaches the group and oh good Lord, Anakin introduces all four of them and I swear, if this group showed up to teach anything to me I’d be too busy yelling “oh, my GOD, you are all too cute LOOK AT YOU GUYS LOOK AT YOUR ROBES AWWW hang on lemme get another picture AWW IT’S A CUTE ONE” to pay attention, and Anakin would get pissed off and fail me, so, points to Onderon for being able to focus on the task at hand despite the adorable factor involved here.
Recurring Theme: Train The Rebel
So, Team Awesome sets about teaching the Onderonians the ropes of being a hero in this universe: how to destroy various droids, how to style your hair, how to dramatically disrobe prior to a battle, and snarky one-liners to deliver before, during, and after saving the day.
There is a moment prior to beginning their training where Ahsoka and Steela have a passive-aggressive bitchy high-school-girl caliber standoff over Lux and just…you know, this show has asked me to accept a lot of ridiculous things, but this one might be close to the top — because, for one thing, I’m pretty sure no one in this universe is good enough for Ahsoka Tano. I roll my eyes dramatically at these antics and move on.
Recurring Theme: These Two Need The Truth Mirror
Anakin has the rebels do some simulations of various scenarios with Separatist tanks, and Lux and Saw spend part of this time arguing with one another about how bad a soldier Lux is, and Obi-Wan, apparently lacking any self-awareness, tsk-tsks the fact that…
Anakin is optimistic that they’ll figure it out — they just need time. Obi-Wan nervously points out that time is not something they have in abundance here. Especially true, given that as this is happening, the Separatist battle droids are sending out probe droids to find them…
Meanwhile, Lux and Saw are jabbing at each other again about which one of them is a better soldier, and Steela is getting in between them to try and break up a fight (and LOL forever if Lux thinks he’s going to win that one.) Ahsoka watches them all warily and I again roll my eyes.
Droids and How To Kill Them with Professor Vader
Anakin starts explaining how to take down a destroyer droid to the rebels in the next scene, and seriously, this guy really seems to be enjoying himself. If he hadn’t blown it so spectacularly he would have been a pretty enthusiastic Jedi Professor someday and now I’ve made myself sad.
Ahsoka demonstrates how to roll one of these deactivator dealies just so, so that it passes through their shield and zaps them dead. Saw and Lux then take turns trying it out.
Saw fails, and Lux doesn’t:
And once AGAIN I have to deal with this annoying Dawson’s Creek storyline they’re trying to force on me here. I do have to say that as irritating as I find this all, I do love Anakin’s smug face in this scene. He sure does seem to enjoy the HELL out of laughing at other people’s awkward romantic foibles, which is pretty damn rich for the guy who once delivered the infamous “I don’t like sand” speech and all but threw up on Padme out of hormonal nervousness multiple times in Attack of the Clones.
Steela’s next to try her hand at this activity, and she blows it, giving Lux the chance to spend some time suggestively holding her arms to help her get her form right. Ahsoka laments:
Rex tells everyone to pair up now, and Lux and Steela partner together, leaving Ahsoka looking dejected. Saw comes over and offers to be her partner. She accepts this offer as a lurking probe droid reports back to the battle droids about the location of the rebels. The droid army marches out to find them. Uh oh!
Steela is having a hell of a time learning the method for dismantling the Destroyers, and Ahsoka briefly takes a moment away from pouting to encourage her. Steela asks Ahsoka what her secret to mastering this was: the Force?
Ahsoka assures her it was just perseverence. Steela says she’s not letting this get her down: holding up a rifle, she notes that she knows what she’s good at.
Recurring Theme: We Are Officially Out of New Dialogue
In the next scene, Steela is indeed showing off what she’s good at during target practice, and Anakin decides that, since we’re all bonding and having a good time and he’s being a hero and stuff, it’s time to bum us out and remind everyone what lies ahead for him by recycling some dialogue — her work is Impressive…
Steela does well hitting both stationary and moving targets, and Obi-Wan gives her some kudos while Ahsoka looks glum because Lux totally likes Steela better OMG:
Anakin checks in on her and I hope that Anakin, the King of Hiding Things and Pretending Everything’s Normal is not expecting full disclosure here on whether someone’s romantic feelings for a person is compromising their focus.
Recurring Theme: Sneak Attack
Steela is about to do another round of target practice when she sees something coming through the trees. Uh, those are not practice targets!
Team Handsome backflips their way into a defense stance as the droids move towards the rebel camp:
Anakin starts planning out how he and Obi-Wan are going to take these guys down and Obi-Wan cites the blahblahblah stupid rules at him about how they can’t fight the war for the rebels, only defend them, and just…like, who is going to care? You’re already there FFS.
Regradless, there is a big battle and the rebels step up and kick ass, especially Steela, Lux and Saw, and they emerge from this sequence victorious. Hooray!
Anakin and Obi-Wan give the crew a pep talk in the wake of this victory and honestly, Anakin does the Vader Sentence-Punctuating Fist-Clench like 450 times in this episode alone. A lot of his mannerisms that I’d long blamed on The Turn are apparently just…things he does. As someone who talks with their hands a lot, I kind of think I should incorporate this manuever into my own everyday speech.
The gang all decide that it’s time to take the fight to the droids, by infiltrating the city and attacking. But they need a plan to blend in so that they can get in in the first place. Lux has an idea…
Recurring Theme: Undercover Rebels
In the next scene, the group’s assembled a caravan and are riding into town, with the Jedi all hidden and be-hooded in their cute little robes:
They tell the droids at the city gate that they were out hunting, which is why they were outside the city in the first place, and goad them into letting them through by pretending that they’re in a big hurry, and whatddya know:
Once inside, they decide to split to up gather supplies, etc, before their next big move. There’s another Awkward Teenage Crush Moment as Lux, Steela and Ahsoka split up, and well, at least Anakin’s having fun with this storyline, smirking at Ahsoka’s awkwardness:
Anakin and Obi-Wan finish off this episode with a bro moment about whether or not this whole crazy thing is going to work. Anakin seems genuinely pleased that Obi-Wan’s coming around on this whole idea:
…and the episode ends with Obi-Wan saying this:
….and then I feel sad for him because that guy should probably never feel especially hopeful about almost anything, and yet he always does.
The iris wipe is here, and that means we’re done for now — but not done with Onderon! Will our rebel friends emerge victorious? Will someone or multiple someones end up with more pathos to wearily carry around with them for the next couple of decades? Will Obi-Wan and Anakin peace out, but make sure to return to bask in the glory of getting accolades later after Ahsoka does most of the work? (I’ll go ahead and tell you right now that that answer is yes.)
Til next time!
Categories: The Clone Wars, Season 5