TCW, Season 2, Episode 3: We’re Winners and Losers

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The Clone Wars, Season 2, Episode 3: The Children of the Force 

To start at the beginning of this arc, go here

Swoosh! Greetings, nerds! We head on into the final chapter of our Chad Something Steals a Holocron Arc, and we’ll start by giving ourselves a little refresher on where we left things:

  • Cad Bane’s stolen a holocron and the Kyber crystal!
  • The Jedi sort of knew what was going on when he first broke into the Temple to steal it, and they sort of tried to stop it, but then they blew it anyways, which is pretty much their actual mission statement so no surprise there!
  •  Ahsoka got used by Cad Bane as bait!
  • Anakin is PRE-DICT-A-BLE and was afraid Ahsoka was going to die so he opened the holocron for Cad Bane, which means Bane (and Darth Sidious) now know where every Jedi Baby in the galaxy is right now, marking NOT THE LAST TIME Anakin will be a grave threat to these kids (sorry)!
  • At the end of the last episode, they think Cad Bane died in a ship explosion but also Anakin kind of doesn’t think he’s dead!

There! All caught up. Now: in this episode, the short-term winners are the long-term losers, and the long-term winners are the short-term losers…and even then, this doesn’t really cover it all because every victory in Star Wars is tinged with a touch of impending despair, and every loss is tinged with hope. As always, we get another glimpse into the never-ending chess game between good and evil.

Will our Jedi friends emerge victorious? (Eh…) Will Chad Something and Wicked Uncle Palpatine win the day? (Depends on how you define “win the day”!) Will I ever get tired of recapping this series? (Doubtful!) Here we go, kids, we’re off!

Recurring Theme: Person in a Trooper Uniform is Not An Actual Trooper

Anakin, Ahsoka, Rex and the remainder of the 501st gang that came with us on the last adventure are departing their ship. Everyone’s dispersing, when a couple of the clones find something that prompts Rex to call Anakin over to the shuttle again.
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Uh, there is a substance on the ship. It looks like blood, but it’s green, and it’s not…
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Ahsoka, meanwhile, is following a “clone trooper” who seems injured.
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Oh golly gee, what could be going on here? Just then, Anakin and Ahsoka have a joint realization: shit, it’s Chad Something!

Yep, they all got played by Cad Bane. Amusingly, this means that in the last episode when Anakin was like “huh, Bane’s dead but I can still sense him, oooh I’m Anakin Skywalker and I’m having a Force Moment”, BANE WAS BASICALLY STANDING RIGHT BEHIND HIM. Like, I’m not even sure that was the Force at work, Skywalker. Maybe you just smelled his cologne. BECAUSE HE WAS RIGHT BEHIND YOU IN A SMALL CONFINED SPACE.

Recurring Theme: Cad Bane’s Great Escape
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Bane takes off and jumps into an open ship and like, do these things not require a badge or an iris-scan or something? It’s WAY too easy to start a ship you have no business flying in this universe (see also: Anakin, age NINE, flying into an actual space battle.)

Anakin runs after Bane, jumping on top of his ship (because of course he does; Anakin spends like half his life on TOP of ships doing stunts.)
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He gets thrown off, and Bane escapes JUST as they’re about to disable the hyperspace ring thingers — so he’s able to get far away, quickly.

Anakin, annoyed, says to Ahsoka that they’d better go tell the old people that Bane got away again.

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FML.

I’ve Got Bad News, Space Dads

Obi-Wan is like HEY GREAT JOB GUYS WAY TO LET CAD BANE GO AGAIN and just WHATEVER, Obi-Wan. We’ve already established that you haven’t really done squat in this arc so far. We all know about your secret spa day.
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Mace Windu is like “…and let’s not forget the part where you also let him get away with that whole big list…
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So, if I may, Jedi Order: how exactly did you guys find out about the fact that Anakin OPENED THE FUCKING HOLOCRON for Cad Bane in the first place? Did Anakin actually come clean and tell you he did this? And whether he told you, or you had to pry it out of him, why isn’t Anakin in a helluva lot more trouble than he is here? THAT SEEMS LIKE A BIG DEAL YOU GUYS. Especially if he told you WHY he bent to Cad Bane’s demands. This really seems like something you guys should at least flag in his permanent record.

Obi-Wan wonders how they’ll figure out which kids the bad guys are going to go after first. Yoda hopes aloud that they’ll be able to sense this in the Force to help guide them to where they should go. Otherwise…
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Recurring Theme: A Sith Will Take Care of People on Mustafar

Cad Bane is holo-Skyping with Darth Sidious, who tells him that he’s got more work for him if he wants it: go get some of the kids on the Jedi Baby Honor Roll and bring them to Mustafar. Sidious will take care of them there, and honestly, what kid wouldn’t want to join in, really? Kids love roiling cauldrons of lava and creepy old men in dark cloaks who radiate waves of evil. I bet Sidious will be a great babysitter. Look at what a great job he’s done with Anakin.
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Bane is like “…kidnapping innocent kids? That seems pretty lame and boring and bush league” and…OK, Bane, that’s an interesting take on the situation, I guess. Sidious is like “PFFT, the Jedi?! Are you kidding me here, Bane? Even the kids aren’t innocent,” and FINE, Sidious, I get that this is part of your characterization and all but these kids aren’t even technically Jedi Temple kids yet. Bane is like “yeah yeah, whatever, fine, just gimme the money and I’ll handle it.”

Recurring Theme: Another Boring Team Meeting

So now we’re in Yoda’s little meditation room, and it’s Yoda, Mace, Obi-Wan and Anakin who are put to the task of group-forcing to find out which kids will be the first victims of this evil plot. I like how Anakin’s here, when he is A) not a Jedi Master, B) not on the Council, and C) the reason these kids are in danger in the first place. I mean, I’m sorry Skywalker, I get that you’re Mr. Chosen One and all, but I’m not wrong here.

OK, so they all have flashes of different places, and Anakin is all:
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I was on this super hot date where I told my wife I was in favor of replacing her and her colleagues with a dictatorship. 

Your Author Would Be The Worst Jedi
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Anakin says he saw a Gungan child who was screaming. Yoda tells him that he’s seeing the future. People, I am so super unclear on how visions, dreams, and the miscellaneous other flavors of force-fueled freakouts work in this universe. Like, I’m not even really asking for an explanation, since it doesn’t bother me, I’m more just stating that I have absolutely no fucking clue how anyone’s visions of literally anything are supposed to be taken.

Does seeing something mean it’ll definitely come true? No, not always, it seems, because the future is always changing. But then sometimes just HAVING the vision appears to make whatever it was happen because of how insane it makes someone, or maybe it doesn’t because it was always going to happen. And sometimes the vision is (maybe?) someone actually speaking to you from beyond the grave, except also sometimes it isn’t. Anyways, let’s just say there are many, many reasons why I am glad I am not a Jedi, and this is one of them. I’d have a vision and then be like “welp, I don’t understand anything anymore, and no matter what I do the universe is probably fucked, so I’m going to go lift some rocks with the force because it looks cool, and then probably just peace on out, guys.”

Back to the matter at hand. Yoda tells Anakin to go to Naboo, and take Ahsoka with him. Obi-Wan’s going to head for Rodia, and as for the kid on Glee Anselm, well, it’s too late already and the Dark Side is shrouding things there. Shit. OK, get a move on guys!
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All You Need is a Robe
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Now we’re on Rodia, and Cad Bane, disguised as a Jedi, is priming a Rodian mother to hand over her son. I love that Bane’s whole Jedi costume here is just “brown robe, with hood, over my regular clothes”.

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Like me, for example.

She is so not into this because this is her only kid and man, thanks for making us feel bad about the whole kiiiinda Child Kidnappers thing the Jedi have going on, Show. Anyhow, Bane tells her that he has to take the boy earlier than the typical two-year mark: Jedi Impostors are all over the place these days, kidnapping Jedi kids. She’s uneasy, probably because Cad Bane is like the least reassuring, warm and fuzzy person in the entire galaxy after Darth Sidious, and so he busts out a little reinforcement.
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Obi-Wan arrives shortly after and, as has been pointed our elsewhere on the internet a few times, runs into a droid on his way to the house in question, and I laugh at this.

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Pardon me!

When he gets there, the Rodian mother is hostile — she thinks he’s the Jedi impostor Cad Bane was talking about, and pulls a blaster on him that she got from Bane:
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Recurring Theme: So Uncivilized
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Obi-Wan, his eternal disdain for blasters on full display as usual, is like A JEDI WOULD NEVER USE THIS PIECE OF ABSOLUTE TRASH, WOMAN; WE WOULDN’T EVEN LOOK AT IT HOW VERY DARE YOU as he flings it on the ground like the pompous ass that he is. The mother realizes her error with horror as Bane starts making his getaway, with his jet boots because it’s funnier than a regular getaway and this show loves me.
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Bane outruns Obi-Wan and Obi-Wan clenches a fist of frustration as he watches him leave. Skywalker: it’s all you now buddy!

A GFFA Historical Site
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Anakin and Ahsoka arrive on Naboo in The Hangar of the Fates from Episode 1 because, I dunno, maybe Anakin likes the nostalgia factor, or he’s big on fan service. The Naboo already know he’s coming because it’s Naboo and I presume Anakin is there frequently “on business” ifyoucatchmydrift. Since they knew he was coming, this means that the upshot here is that unlike on Rodia, the baby’s parents know they’re coming. Ahsoka says she wants to lead the charge against Bane:
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Anakin is like “OK fine, Snips, I’ve got some Other Stuff to take care of first.” I don’t know what this means, but I’m raising my eyebrows at you, Skywalker.
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OK, so since the mom of this last baby was tipped off in advance, they’re able to lay a trap for Bane — he approaches the baby’s crib only to find a stuffed animal, and Ahsoka, awaiting him.
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They get into a tussle where first she says this and I hope Anakin literally taught Ahsoka to “curse”:

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…and then she loses her lightsaber, but then Anakin gets back from whatever the fuck he was doing and the two of them take Bane down and into custody. As they nab him, Ahsoka gets part of her beads back and I realize that I forgot to mention this in an earlier recap: in the last episode, Cad Bane took them. So now you know. Sorry for my oversight.
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Would You Like Extra Sadness With That Irony?

Ahsoka is doing a wrap-up with the Gungan family, and Ashoka tells the mom:
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…and I’m like NOOOOOO SHE’S NOT NONE OF YOU ARE WHY STAR WARS WHY, especially when Bane, being led away by Anakin, asks him:

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Come on Bane I’m trying to live my life here.

AGGGHH.

Law and Order: Coruscant
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Back in the capital, Kenobi and Windu are playing cops and trying to get Bane to tell them where the holocron — and the children he did successfully kidnap — are. He’s not interested in helping them out. Anakin is like “hey guys I have an idea let’s use a Jedi mind trick”, Obi-Wan’s like he’s not going to fall for that, then Ahsoka’s like buuuuuuut:
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So, there’s a danger here, though. If you perform an Extra-Strength Mind Trick on someone who’s generally immune to them, their brain might overheat and stop working or something:

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Whatever it is, it sounds bad. Anakin’s like “well what other choice do we have?”, and they agree, marking the 77-trillionth time that someone in Star Wars is like “But we CAN’T do [whatever]!” immediately followed by them doing it.

Mace, Obi-Wan, and Anakin get to it:

Finally Bane is like OK FOR FUCK’S SAKE GOD I’ll take you to your stupid dumb holocron just get outta my head.

Recurring Theme: Anakin Loves Palpatine

So Bane’s being escorted by some clones to wherever they’re going and Mace, Obi-Wan and Anakin are debating whether or not they should report all of these developments to Evil Uncle Palpatine. To the surprise of exactly no one ever, Anakin is like BUT WE HAVE TO TELL HIM HE’S SO NICE while Obi-Wan and Mace are like “we don’t even get what you see in that guy.” SIGH.

Obi-Wan puts on his patented Look of Smug Bastard Amusement and is like “weeeeelllll Anakin since you looooooooove Palpatine so much, why don’t YOU go tell him? See ya.”

Recurring Theme: You’re Gonna Need Me On This One, Master

Anakin is all like WAIT NO OBI-WAN DON’T GO I LOVE YOU MOST OF ALL and also it’s probably a trap because this is Star Wars! Mace is like “fucking DUH, Skywalker”:

Obi-Wan says they’ll report back when they’ve collected the Jedi kids, and Ahsoka and Anakin look on worriedly as they depart. I’m disappointed that Anakin didn’t take the time to look at Obi-Wan like he was 3.5 seconds away from just full-on making out with him (and vice-versa) during this conversation like he does in Episode 3’s version of this scene, but maybe it’s just because a cartoon can’t quite capture the sexual energy required. (Though God knows the animators sure as hell tried in this series.)

Oh, I’m sorry, I appear to have drifted off into talking about Obi-Wan and Anakin’s obvious romance again. My bad.

Aboard their ship, Windu, Kenobi and Bane are chatting about where they’re headed. Bane gives them the coordinates:

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…and Kenobi is like “Uh OH! That’s NEUTRAL space!” and OK Obi-Wan, but we all know that you excel at, uh, “navigating Neutral Territory”, amirite nudge nudge wink wink? (Sorry.)
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Bane is like “WTF this is where they are do you want them or not?” and so off we go into the wild dark yonder.

Recurring Theme: You’re On My Evil Roadmap

Meanwhile, Anakin and Ahsoka go to visit Palpatine and JUST A GODDAMN MINUTE HERE: Palpatine’s hallway is completely dark. I KNOW THIS ROOM HAS ADEQUATE LIGHTING BECAUSE I’VE SEEN IT:
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…OK, granted, this appears to be two opposite ends of that weird Hallway of Sithly Revelations (leading into different parts of Palpatine’s office,) but even still. What the hell is going on here? Why is it so much darker when both scenes occur during daylight hours?

There’s probably some real explanation, like these aren’t even the same space or something, but why get hung up on facts: I choose to say that the only conclusion is that either A) the bulbs were burned out, or B) he was leaving them in darkness here for symbolism purposes. That does seem like something he’d do, so I guess I’m more OK with this than I normally am.

OK OK FINE ENOUGH ABOUT THE LIGHTS. Palpatine is like oh HEY Anakin, my golden son…and then he looks over at Ahsoka and man, it’s like a cold wind rips through the scene. He may as well have greeted her with “hello, impediment to my ultimate plan who I’m going to have to eliminate later” for all the warmth he shows her here.
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I’ll Be Right Back

He tells Ahsoka to leave them alone, and guides Anakin away with him and OH WHY STAR WARS:

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I’m coming right back, Snips.

The worst part is that Anakin fucking WINKS at Ahsoka as the door closes on them — not a goofy wink, but like a “you’ll be fine, it’ll only be a minute” kind of thing and this is such a tiny little thing but I feel like my heart has been run over by a steamroller here. I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS ABOUT THIS SHOW YOU GUYS. Ahsoka also, somewhat tellingly, makes that same face of “Huh. That guy…I don’t like” that LITERALLY EVERY JEDI EXCEPT ANAKIN MAKES AT PALPATINE ALL THE FUCKING TIME. Jedi: could you guys do me a solid and maybe follow through on your hunches? What’s that? You need Palpatine to win in the PT so he can lose in the OT? Ugh, fine. I guess. (We don’t even have to talk about the state of the universe in the ST right now guys, but I’m NOT PLEASED.)

Recurring Theme: Sheev Palpatine, Own Biggest Fan

Palpatine is like SO: heard you guys made an arrest in the plot to destroy the Jedi. JUST IMAGINE:
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Can I pause for a minute here, again? (Yes I can.) I need to address how often everyone –EVERYONE  — in Star Wars has a conversation with another person and their stage direction is to walk over to the nearest gigantic window and stare wistfully while talking. Does ANYONE IN REAL LIFE DO THIS, like, ALL THE TIME? I’ve worked on upper floors of high-rises and I cannot think of a single meeting in my life where I was like “come over here, coworker, and let us gaze upon the horizon while we discuss tomorrow’s group meeting, and our plans for ordering lunch from…the PANERA OF DESTINY.” God, I love how grandiose Star Wars is. Even shop talk with your coworkers requires a panoramic view of a sunset and a John Williams soundtrack.

Anakin tells Palpatine, in a move that no doubt delighted this wicked old creep, that he doesn’t even think this could be Dooku’s doing. No…
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Sheev Palpatine, Maker of Dramatically Ironic Jokes

Palpatine:
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…and just HAHAHAHHAHAHA Crazy Uncle Palps, oh, that’s a good one. The Jedi. Knowing who’s behind something. Hang on, I need a tissue.

Anakin:

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Of course not.

Sheev Palpatine, Twister of the Knife

 

They wrap this scene up, in front of a sunset, and Palpatine decides that I’m having too much fun laughing at things, so here’s something to bum me the fuck out. Hang in there, Anakin, it won’t be long before you all know who’s behind this plot:
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Recurring Theme: Visit Scenic Mustafar Volcanoes National Park
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Anakin’s evidently left Palps’ office now, because he’s holo-Skyping to a nanny droid on Mustafar (although, I dunno, man: Anakin can be pretty fucking dense sometimes. There’s at least a 9% chance he’s sitting right there while Palpatine conducts this call in full Sidious Mode.)
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As it turns out, the plan here is that Palpatine is going to put these babies through a slave conditioning process so that he can make what sounds a lot like a proto-Inquisitor army — a network of Force-sensitive spies who can do his bidding.

At the same time, Cad Bane is leading Obi-Wan and Mace to their next location, some kind of space station. The kids aren’t there…
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…but the holocron is.
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Mace goes to obtain it, and steps on a spot on the floor that triggers a security system of some kind. Obi-Wan takes a moment to be an asshole because nothing ever changes around here.

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For fuck’s sake Kenobi give it a goddamned rest for two minutes.

A fight to escape the security system ensues and in the chaos, Bane makes his escape.
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Recurring Theme: The Snips and Skyguy Detective Agency

Anakin and Ahsoka are inspecting Bane’s ship that he was using whilst kidnapping the kids, and make a couple of important observations.

One:
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And two: they have his fuel records, so they know roughly how far he was traveling. They whip out a map and smartly put two and two together: he must have stopped on this one volcanic planet called Mustafar. Have we heard of it?

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I hope you don’t leave anything, er, behind there this time, Skywalker! (Sorry.)

Anakin decides that anything beats what they’re doing now, so it’s off to Mustafar with them. Good detective work, guys! You should stick together forever and help save the universe. (SIGH.)

 

Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan’s Brush With Death

Mace and Kenobi make it out alive just before the space station blows up, and Obi-Wan grabs the holocron:
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They get back on their ship in the nick of time and Cody gets them the hell out of there.
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I Am Sending You To the Mustafar System
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Aboard the Twilight, Anakin and Ahsoka are approaching their destination. Sidious gets word that a ship has landed — but it’s not Bane’s ship. Sidious is like “well shit, I guess we better go to Plan B. Move the kids to another one of my hideouts, and then torch the place on your way out.”
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I can always rebuild!

Anakin and Ahsoka head down that one platform — you know the one 😥 — and into a building. Ahsoka is creeped out:
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Anakin knows what it is! Huh.

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I remember it from its constant, incessant creeping into my life.

The two of them sense the kids nearby, and what follows is a daring rescue, of course. First they have to use the Force a couple times to find the kids:
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…and then grab them from their evil robonannies as the building begins to self-destruct. Anakin and Ahsoka each snatch a kid at the last second:

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And we ultimately get to watch Anakin Skywalker, on Mustafar, saving Jedi children from a fiery death and/or future as a slave to Darth Sidious. That’s…fine. I’M NOT CRYING YOU ARE. DON’T LOOK AT ME.
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They rush to their ship, and Ahsoka and little kids just gets me every time.

We Are Screwed But We’re Not Sure How

We wrap up in the Council room — do you guys wanna guess? Let’s do multiple choice:

Q: Our characters are in the Council room. What is the lighting situation?

A) It’s daytime and it’s nice and bright
B) It’s dusk and getting harder to see, and no effort is being made to properly illuminate things
C) It’s nighttime and everyone is sitting in the dark save for weak spotlights powered by tiny flashlights that do next to nothing.

While all could have been possible, if you guessed C, you are correct:
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This arc ends on a pretty low note for the gang: Bane got away, which Ahsoka is SO annoyed by…
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…also, they have no idea who was trying to kidnap the kids or why, and other than being mostly sure the holocron info wasn’t copied (and getting the holocron back — hey! I guess Obi-Wan DID do something after all! Good job, my little ginger space peanut!) they really don’t come out ahead at all. This is doubly true when you consider that those kids they just saved are not ultimately safer at all having been “saved” by the Jedi here, considering that the Jedi who rescued them IS GOING TO MURDER THEM LATER. (Sorry. Again.)

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…I guess? In a way?

Given all this, Mace and Yoda are pessimistic. Something just…isn’t right here. It’s almost like the Jedi are doomed or something. Well you guys get right on figuring all of this out — I’ll warn you though, the clock is ticking, and I am not super confident you’re going to like where this story’s leading.
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…and on that incredibly depressing note, that’s a wrap for this arc! The iris-wipe shows itself, and the credits roll. Until next time, readers!

Previously:

TCW, Season 2, Episode 1: Chad Something and the Chamber of Secrets
TCW, Season 2, Episode 2: Attachments Are His Speciality