The Clone Wars, Season 3, Episode 5: Corruption
This is the first episode that has been recapped from this arc.
Hello friends! So: who wants to go to Mandalore? You? No? Well too damn bad! Today’s episode finds us in TCW’s third season, and back in one of the craziest places in the Star Wars universe where nothing is ever fully happy and everyone’s mood can be described as either “stabby, and actively stabbing someone” or “stabby, and using all of my energy to suppress the desire to stab someone because Pacifism.” The Mandalorians are a complex people.
Anyhow, given this, you’ll all be deeply surprised to find out that it’s desperate times on Mandalore! according to Voiceover Recap Guy, as we open on an episode whose moral is “the challenge of hope is to overcome corruption,” and admit it, writers: eventually you guys just threw a bunch of Star Wars Words in a hat and started writing these things based on whatever you pulled out, right?
We find out that the reason Mandalore’s in trouble this time is because the Republic and the Separatists are a bunch of assholes who have decided to punish Mandalore’s neutrality in the war by denying them humanitarian aid and access to supplies. You know, it’s almost like the Republic and the Separatists are controlled by the same Ultimate Evil or something and so neither of them are really “good”! Wouldn’t that be wild. I’m sure if that were true, though, there’d be all sorts of red flags and warning signs that the characters would totally pick up on.
Oops, it appears I’ve written three paragraphs already, and I’ve watched 15 seconds of this episode’s preamble, so I better get a move on. Satine is getting the freeze-out because She is a Pacifist (JUST IN CASE YOU FORGOT), and so Mandalore’s been reduced to buying supplies on the black market, which has led to “a world consumed by greed”, and, honey: if you think the universe is consumed by greed now, just wait until it literally gets consumed by it in the last prequel movie (oh, wait, you can’t because you’ll have already gotten Mauled by then. Well then. Haven’t even started the actual episode yet and I’ve made myself sad. Swell.)
An-y-way! I’m sorry. Mandalore makes me wordy. Satine needs help quelling the rising tensions in the Mandalorian capital of Sundari, and so she’s called on someone she’s friends with to come help her out: Senator Padme Amidala! Who knew those two had anything in common? HUH. HOW ABOUT THAT. I definitely will not be bringing this up repeatedly or anything. On with the episode!
Recurring Theme: We Just Really Really Like Talking About Trade Routes
Satine greets Padme, and I squeal and die a thousand deaths at the outfits that are happening here. I hope these two got to go hat shopping together at some point. As they head out in Satine’s speeder, Satine says that she’s like totally sorry that the Republic are a bunch of violent assholes who want to punish her for being better than them, and Padme’s like “OK thanks, but some of us are not assholes and would like to help you, so chill, friend: what do you need?” and Satine pulls out the Star Wars Playbook and it is like “Trade routes! Open up some trade routes for me!”
Padme’s like “we’re working on it, and Bail Organa and Mon Mothma and I are totally gonna get all of this government stuff sorted out before there’s any sort of Ultimate Evil Apocalypse or anything, you can bet on that! I mean, it’s not like all of this is going to end with both of us dead, Anakin living in a robotic life support suit and Obi-Wan rage weeping in front of a river of lava or anything, right? THAT WOULD BE INSANE SO OF COURSE THAT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.” OK FINE: she doesn’t say this, but my inner monologue does, and I honestly cannot handle this show, or Star Wars in general, sometimes.
OH GOD THIS RECAP IS GOING TO BE SO LONG. I’m so sorry.
Recurring Theme: Ostentaciousness Is Our Speciality
…well, that’s a relief, Satine, because holy hell these two have a lot of other things to talk about, don’t they? I would like to be there for their conversations. About things. Many, MANY things. Please do not omit any details, ladies. I will buy the wine, and you will talk and I will listen.
Padme teases that she and Bail Organa had been gossiping about what a dramatic fancypants Satine is and so she’s kind of surprised that there wasn’t a full royal court waiting for her when she arrived, and then they fly out of a tunnel and Satine’s like CHECK THIS:
Padme is impressed and thrilled because let us be real for a moment and acknowledge that there is no way someone who dresses like Padme is not into big fancy parades.
Satine’s like “yep, we know how to do things here” and I’m like yeah I can’t imagine how either of you two ended up with guys who have been diva-ing their way across the damn universe, dramatically swooshing their robes around and swinging from chandeliers while waving their hair in the wind. (I. LOVE. THIS. FRANCHISE.)
Satine wraps up this scene by saying that Mandalorians are a people of tradition, and OK, but isn’t Mandalore’s “tradition” being insane murderous nutcases who fly around on jetpacks? I mean, I’m not siding with the Death Watch here or anything, friend, but…
Will This Week’s Villains Enter and Sign In, Please?
So now we see some shifty characters dropping off a shipment at a loading dock. The customs official is like “oh heeeeyyy guys, what are you doing here? I don’t see you on the official list of Legit Shipments” and some money changes hands as they insist that surely it was just an oversight. Mystery Shipment is allowed through:
Let Us Pray
Hey! The First New Age Church of Mandalore Throne Room! I’ve missed it. Presently, Prime Minister Almec is complaining to a group of people assembled here that things aren’t going so well on Mandalore on account of the whole peacenik thing and the Clone Wars and you know, all that jazz.
Everyone is like shut UP, Almec, we live here so we KNOW what’s going ON, the question is WTF are we going to do about it?!
Everyone starts arguing and Padme’s like “Huh. Your PM seems overwhelmed and your planet’s not doing so well, Duchess,” and Satine’s like “Oh! You volunteering, Amidala? PLEASE, by all means, jump in,” and, ladies? I cannot handle you guys going for the sassy-comrades dynamic, too, OK? I have already had to recap enough of Obi-Wan and Anakin’s snarky bullshit. Please do not do this to me, this episode is my vacation from those guys.
Padme takes the floor and addresses the group: people, you can’t use the black market as a substitute for fair and legal trade. Almec challenges:
Padme’s great idea here, predictably, is that they should let the Republic defend them and help them out and everyone is like BOOOOOOO and really, Padme, you should have seen this coming.
Everyone starts yelling again and Satine makes this AMAZING FACE that I would like to share with you all:
Recurring Theme: Satine Kryze Is Done With Your Shit
Satine snaps at everyone to shut the hell up, and then stands and gives an amazing “everyone go in time out” Mom Speech.
Everyone is quiet and chastised. This woman. She is my hero. For all the reasons; pick one.
Back with this episode’s Bad Guys, the shipment from earlier is being unpacked. As it turns out:
…their plan is to dilute the hell out of some tea, so that they can have twice as much to sell on the black market. But, uh, isn’t that, sort of, you know: poisonous?
No way any of this can break bad!
Oh boy oh boy oh boy you GUYS, Padme and Satine are having dinner together and they have new crazy outfits on AND THEY ARE DRINKING OUT OF MARTINI GLASSES and everything I’ve ever wanted in this world is happening right this damn minute.
All right: I’m OK. As it happens, this isn’t going to be as fun or funny as I would like it to be: instead, they’re talking about the shitty state of galactic politics.
Padme says that Palpatine’s been telling her things are going well for the Republic in the war, but she hears otherwise from people who are not Ancient Evil incarnate. She’s worried about the war.
Padme says that, well, sometimes she wishes she could be more like Satine:
Satine is like, well the galaxy is pretty much full of shifty losers:
…crooked Senators, terrorists, criminals, bounty hunters, Jedi Knights who never pick their robes up off the damn floor and use up all your expensive shampoo, and Padme’s like “Well, the Republic’s not all bad, some of us still have hope that we can fix things, because if we don’t this saga can’t ever have a satisfying conclusion. Also I’ve found that if I keep the laundry hamper closer to the bed that keeps the robes off the floor [Author’s Note: Do not even attempt to tell me that sleeping with a Jedi does not involve THE MOST DRAMATIC DISROBE EVER] but I have no good advice for you about the shampoo thing, and if you ever figure out a solution to that problem please let me know because SAME, girl. I feel you.”
Satine then says:
…and I clutch my heart. OK, by all means, let’s change the subject oh yes let’s do! Satine, please: ask Padme if she’s seeing anyone lately. Pretty, pretty please? Amidala: please keep drinking before you answer.
…Oh. Uh, sure, Satine, I guess that’s a thing we could talk about instead. SIGH. Tomorrow, she says, she and Padme are going to go visit said hospital, and see “true good at work”. Then they do this:
…and my heart explodes, and this scene ends.
Recurring Theme: Everyone Deserved Better
It’s now the following day — so, we never got to see the end of the earlier dinner, so I choose to believe that the wine kept flowing and Amazing Tales of Romance were told that included a lot of commiseration and “OH GOD wasn’t Jedi Trainee Hair the actual worst?! At least the boys are bringing it in the hair department now, though, amirite? OMG sure let’s open another bottle, why the fuck not. Anyways, uh, speaking of Obi-Wan and Anakin…have you noticed those two are like, super close? Like, close-close?”
Padme and Satine are indeed checking out the aforementioned hospital. When they arrive, though, there’s a crisis in progress: a huge number of schoolchildren have been poisoned and are being brought into the hospital, the cause of which is unknown.
I would like to jump up and down yell loudly right now about how sweet the Duchess is here with these sick little children and that STAR WARS CHEATED THIS WOMAN OUT OF A HAPPY LIFE AND I HATE EVERYTHING.
ANY. WAY. If they can determine the cause of the poisonings, they might be able to create an antidote, but until then, these kids are in for a bad time.
Recurring Theme: The Pompous and The Passionate Team Up To Fight For What’s Right
Later, Almec, Satine and Padme are discussing the poisonings and who’s behind it all. Almec is like “This has gotta be those Death Watch assholes,” and Satine is like “…eh, I don’t think so, those guys usually just try to kill me.” Almec’s like “buuuuut, they are terrorists, and also I bet they’re only getting poisoned because of your dumb friend visiting.”
Almec also doesn’t seem super concerned about these sick kids, and Satine is super pissed off about this because she CARES SO MUCH ABOUT HER PEOPLE AND THE CHILDREN AND WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS STAR WARS. Then she takes a page from her booooooyfriend’s playbook and decides that the time has come to get a Skywalker (er, by marriage,) to agree to help her with her crazy plan to save the day. Padme’s in! Go get ’em, gals!
Recurring Theme: The Same But Different
Cut to the First Church of Mandalore, where Satine is sitting regally in her throne, informing her personal guards that they’ll be investigating these poisonings for her, because she trusts them. She struts over there all pompously, detailing a few things out before handing it over to Padme to expand on the mission, and OMFG I CANNOT HANDLE THIS since we have literally seen Obi-Wan and Anakin DO THE SAME THING like 16 trillion times in this show. Satine informs Padme, as the group disperses, that they’ll be starting their investigation with the schools.
Recurring Theme: I’m Moonlighting As a Space Detective
So our ladies head over to the school and do a Q&A session, where we learn that they know it’s not the food that poisoned, and that the kids only drink water with their school lunches, and they know THAT’S not poisoned. Satine notices that some kids are drinking bottled beverages, though — what about those?
Ah HA! So, hilariously the guy literally swipes a bottle of tea right off of a kid’s tray, and he, Padme, and Satine walk off with it without so much as a single word of explanation to this kid. This would be like if the actual President of the United States came to your school, asked your principal to steal your soda, and then wordlessly walked away. LOL. (Author’s Note: This seemed a lot more far-fetched and ridiculous when I first wrote it, for the record.)
The stolen tea is tested, and:
Satine and Padme decide to head for the shipping docks to see if they can figure out where the tea came from, and you know what? These two should have done this more often. They’re pretty good at saving the day together.
Padme reads over the log of shipments at the docks and — DUN DUN DUUUUUN! — the tea is not listed on there. All of a sudden the superintendent with them starts getting rrreeeeeeaaaaall shifty and tries to make a break for it, and Satine yells at her guards to stop him.
Recurring Theme: You Can’t Tell Me I’m Wrong Here
OK. So. They bring this guy over to Satine and she is like OK LISTEN HERE ASSHOLE, WHERE THE FUCK DID THAT POISONED TEA COME FROM and I need to tell you all right now that Satine? Goes Full Skywalker here and is like I WILL HAVE YOUR ASS KICKED IF YOU DON’T TELL ME WHAT I NEED TO KNOW and Padme has to be like “…whoa girl, let’s just take it down a notch or twelve” and Satine is like DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO AMIDALA and just…ladies and gentlemen, if you do not think OBI-WAN KENOBI HAS A TYPE, well, I do not know what to even tell you anymore.
The guy is sufficiently terrified of her that he talks, and tells her he didn’t know the drinks were poisoned! He needed to cut costs and get money somehow!
He gives them their next clue, which is to go talk to this guy, Siddiq, who is a smuggler who can give them more details on the shipments of tea.
If Money Is All You Care About
Siddiq is a Han Solo-in-Episode-4-style jerkass who’s not in it for your revolution, Duchess, he just works here. He disinterestedly gives them some helpful information about the shipments, but when Satine presses him to determine whether they have the full picture:
…he says he’s not sure, he’d have to narrow it down, and Satine gives him the most amazing withering look of distaste:
He suddenly realizes he’s willing to do just that! And hey, a shipment of tea is due in this evening! He tells them which dock and off they go again!
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan’s Got a Girrrrrllllfrriend!
So there Padme and Satine are, creeping around the dock at night, and Padme’s laughing about how she did not necessarily expect this diplomatic trip to go this way. Satine says this in reply:
SO! I would like to point out that this means she and Kenobes discussed Padme at some point after Episode 1, which was after he was on Mandalore the first time. Exactly just how many times has that dude been back here since then, hmmm!? Or do Satine and Obi-Wan holo-Skype on the regular? Or, knowing these pompous dorks, do they write each other letters in quill pen?
How are you? I am fine. Oh wait, no I’m not because Qui-Gon got murdered in front of my face and now I have to raise a strange child who seems to take great joy in annoying the everloving shit out of me. He is kicking the back of my chair as I write this. By the way, I had some fun hijinks with Queen Amidala the other day! We both almost died a couple of times. It reminded me of almost dying with you all those times.
Hope you are well and that no terrorists kill you before you get this letter. Aren’t you glad we decided not to run away together? I know I definitely don’t cry myself to sleep over it or anything. Our lives are way more fun this way. I am not at all consumed with a crushing remorse that will haunt me until my dying day.
PS: I am enclosing a picture of my new haircut. Still sure you don’t want to ask me to leave the Order? I look pretty fucking handsome if I do say so myself.
The Double Dates That Never Were
Padme, for her part, asks no follow ups about when or how said discussion about her took place, because she already knows those two banged because Anakin definitely, like, busted through Padme’s apartment wall Kool-Aid-Man-style the second he got back from Voyage of Temptation and was like “OH MY GOD PADME OBI-WAN AND SATINE TOTALLY DID IT” and the two of them gossiped about it for actual weeks and have been trying to think of a way to “accidentally” have them both over for dinner and then be like “Oh HA HA! It’s almost like a double date! How FUNNY except that we’re definitely not a couple and neither are you guys right???!!” Padme instead says something about how one can only stand being a boring queen for so long before you need to have the Jedi roll up and almost get killed with you, and Satine says:
Caught In The Act
They observe the bribery of the customs official in action as another shipment comes in. Satine is outraged and vows to see how far up the chain this corruption goes.
Back at the Throne Church, Satine is getting into it with a space policeman about how he can’t believe anyone could have bribed the customs official, we run a tight ship around here, and Padme’s like we saw it ourselves, blahblahblah anyways Satine tells the guy to go to the docks and start arresting people already.
They arrive at the dock and see some guards standing in front of a locked warehouse:
Recurring Theme: You Do Not Fuck With Padme Amidala
Padme grabs a blaster and joins the melee as they force open the door, exposing the Secret Tea-Poisoning Operation and Padme is such a force to be reckoned with here and everywhere and I need about 1200 additional episodes that are just Padme and Satine being awesome. Like, can I get a parallel Clone Wars series just about them? Sigh.
So they emerge victorious, and on Satine’s orders, they burn down the Warehouse of Poisonings, marking neither the first nor the last time that someone stands there and watches Mandalore burn:
Back with Almec, Satine is yelling at him about how messed up everything is on this godforsaken planet, and insists that he promise to figure out how deep the corruption goes and he will totally get right on that, everyone.
I See You, Duchess
Padme’s saying her goodbyes now, and Satine is decidedly less optimistic than Padme is about the situation at hand.
Just then, totally out of nowhere and not because she’s been trying to come up with a good reason to ask for a Jedi to swing by all day every day for years, Satine is like HEY! You know what might be JUST what, er, Mandalore really (…really) needs? A Jedi! Padme, could you maybe do a friend a solid and send one over here to help us out?
I kid, I kid (well, sort of): she’s actually looking for a Jedi to go undercover at the youth academy here on Mandalore, which will be the focus of the next episode in this arc, in which Ahsoka gets to spend a WAY less heartbreaking time on Mandalore than she will in the unaired series finale arc for this show, which I am not even a little bit ready to deal with so maybe it’s almost better that they never made it.
I digress: Padme says she’ll talk to Yoda about scrounging up a Jedi to blend in with the Young People.
The two say their farewells, I raise my martini glass to two of my favorite female characters in this franchise (and really, this franchise is an embarrassment of riches in that regard,) and we iris-wipe our way out of this installment! ‘Til next time!