The Clone Wars, Season 4, Episode 12 : Slaves of the Republic
This is the second episode from this arc. To start at the beginning, go here.
You know how like a big thing about Star Wars is moving on and letting go and putting the past behind you and all that bullshit? And then, regardless, the entire story from beginning to end is about the same things happening over and over and over again? Like, HOW CAN ANYONE MOVE ON when we’re all just stuck in Star Wars’ insane Möbius strip of daddy issues and slavery and old men telling young gifted kids crazy stories?
It is in keeping with this proud tradition of Let’s Cover The Same Stuff Again that we arrive at today’s episode. You’ll recall that, in our last installment, Team Amazing Space Family arrived on Kiros, a peaceful artisan colony of Togrutas that got taken over by the Separatists, their population enslaved by the Evil Zygerrians. Anakin and Ahsoka had gone in search of the kidnapped populace, while Obi-Wan had spent the entirety of the episode making bedroom eyes at literally every single person in his vicinity and ALSO getting the absolute living shit beaten out of him. We ended with the group discovering that the Togrutas had been sold into slavery on Zygerria, and Anakin had Felt Some Ways About This because Childhood Trauma/Encroaching Dark Side.
Will our friends be able to save the slaves? Will Obi-Wan face the Flirting Intervention he so desperately needs? Will Rex finally put in a request to be transferred to another Jedi? Will Anakin’s brain survive this latest round of electrocutions? Let’s find out!
Recurring Theme: Costume Party!
Rex, Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka are arriving on Zygerria, on the hunt for the missing colonists. This requires them to go undercover. The boys are decked out in Zygerrian uniforms and Obi-Wan and Anakin are marveling at how many people are coming to the planet as they approach:
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, PLEASE
They depart their ship, and Anakin lays out the plan for dealing with the Zygerrian Queen:
The best part about this is that Obi-Wan’s reply is sort of his usual brand of long-suffering “Oh Anakin you obnoxious little shit” here, but it’s also equally like “…well, yeah, I know, you are totally hot, so.”
Recurring Theme: My Tragic Backstory
BONUS Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Own Biggest Fan
So! Ahsoka is now standing near them, and she throws out the annoyed question about why she’s the one who has to be the slave in this latest Wacky Scheme of theirs:
Anakin, rather nonchalantly because he is totally and completely OK with his tragic childhood of slavery and his dead mother and everything is going to be TOTALLY FINE, says:
Then he dickishly throws this in there:
…and OK, that’s cute, Skywalker, except that this episode and Star Wars at large would like to repeatedly point out the Dramatic Irony that you will never actually really be anyone’s master and you will A) figuratively die when you break free of the Republic/Jedi Order and B) literally die when you break free of your final evil overlord. (You’re welcome, everyone!)
I do love that Obi-Wan’s face was the clear winner in the “most hilariously in love with himself” category in our last episode, and now we’re about 3 minutes in and Anakin easily has that category in hand this go-round. Look at this guy. LOL.
Recurring Theme: We Are All Ahsoka Tano
Ahsoka, winning my heart yet again, is completely not playing along:
OK, I love that she did this right in front of Obi-Wan. Like, this is like when your own kid is being a little shit in front of your parents and they make that smug “payback’s a bitch” face at you. Not that I would know what this is like. Also, ONCE AGAIN please note that I got a screengrab of AHSOKA LOOKING AT THE AUDIENCE. Did the animators do this on purpose? What the hell. It happens too often with her and it’s starting to freak me out.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker’s Uplifting Life Story
Anakin, hoping to remind us all that he is definitely competitive with Obi-Wan for Star Wars’ Highly-Coveted Worst Life Ever Award, walks through a market with Ahsoka and says that his mother lived a life similar to the slaves here:
They encounter some Zygerrians who want to know what Anakin’s deal is, since he’s wearing their armor but he’s not one of them. He tells them that he wants to speak to their queen. They’re not feeling it:
Anakin throws out there that oh darn, that’s too bad, because the queen might be pretty unhappy about that…
There’s a probe droid hovering by them and as soon as it hears this, they get the notification that Anakin is totally absolutely needed at the Queen’s house:
The One Time TCW Failed Us All
So Anakin and Ahsoka get brought to the palace, and Anakin gets introduced as his alias, “Lars Quell”. Please allow me a moment to notify you all that this show really let us down in one very important regard here, and that is that Anakin is not wearing the getup he wears in the comic book version of this arc. Why was the comic so much better, you ask? Oh, I don’t know…maybe it has something to do with…
…the fact that Anakin Skywalker’s entire disguise in the comic book was a FUCKING EYEPATCH? I am so, so sad that they did not go this route here. It’s a damn shame they didn’t at least let him use an eyepatch in addition to his Zygerrian costume. I’m just so disappointed in you all, Team TCW.
Anakin Skywalker, Member of SAG
Anyways, as I said, they introduce Anakin to the queen:
The queen is all intrigued:
Anakin does the GOOFIEST ACTING JOB EVER here, pulling off his helmet, sexily jostling his hair around (I HAVE NO IDEA WHO HE PICKED THAT ONE UP FROM) and being all “yes your highness, I am…”
May I, once again and probably not for the last time, call out that no two people in the entire history of anything have ever been as COMPLETELY NERDY AND EMBARRASSING as Anakin and Obi-Wan trying to be suave, and yet they are so handsome while doing it that I’m almost offended by it? I don’t even know why this is. I literally cannot ever watch either of them play up the “you’ve grown more beautiful” “hello your highness” stuff without being both completely into it and yet also somehow mortified on their behalf. They have some sort of gift. Is being a “sexy, utterly embarrasing dork” an actual thing? Evidently it is.
Anakin Skywalker, Liar
The queen is unimpressed at first, because she’s wondering: um, so did this Denturri guy happen to mention to you that I, uh, HATE HIS FUCKING GUTS?
Anakin, without batting an eye, works around this by being like oh, don’t worry, that guy won’t be mentioning anything to anyone about anything anymore m’lady:
He presents Ahsoka to her as a slave from Denturri’s palace:
Ahsoka Tano, Not a Member of SAG
Ahsoka is unveiled and LOL, she overacts SO terribly, and like COME ON, Tano: have you learned nothing from the dramatics of your dads? Isn’t “convincingly lying to people” on like page 1 of the Obi-Wan Kenobi Manual?
The very best part of this exchange is that Anakin judges the hell out of her performance here and she clearly feels SUPER AWKWARD about it and just…this show, you guys. Sometimes I just don’t have words.
Recurring Theme: Ahsoka Tano, From a Long Line of Hotheads
The queen is impressed with Ahsoka, as well as Anakin’s Tale of Killing Some Guy We’ve Never Heard Of:
She examines Ahsoka closer and Ahsoka bristles:
The queen notes that she’d fetch a high price.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Still Still Killing Me Here
Anakin. Oh good GOD. He goes all in with this little speech to the queen about how he can’t be expected to reasonably price a slave like Ahsoka when the queen is in here blinding him with her hot assets:
You know what? I would like to put in a request right now for a story where Obi-Wan teaches Anakin the finer points of getting into someone’s Secret Plans or Evil Hideout by first navigating your way into their pants, because let’s face it: Anakin did not pick up this material out of thin air, and I’m like 100% sure he didn’t get it from Yoda or from the Hutts back on Tatooine. In fact, considering that this is the same guy who once told a woman she was beautiful “for a Senator”, I kind of wonder if after Attack of the Clones Obi-Wan dragged him aside and was like “OK, so we’re going to war. First things first: we are going to work on…all of that, because I am not going to let you go around embarrassing me across the fucking universe with this awkward amateur nonsense.”
And Ahsoka. Oh, girl. I feel you so much right now. She goes full eyeroll as Anakin continues:
Recurring Theme: ANAKIN CHILDREN WATCH THESE SHOWS FFS
Not willing to stop at that, Anakin then leans in and starts whispering, regaling the queen with explicit information undoubtedly culled from the internet’s vast library of Anakin Skywalker Mature-Rated Fanfic, and she is furiously blushing and being all “oh you!” about it:
Ahsoka then officially crosses the line over into Done territory:
Anyways, Anakin’s handsomeness proves effective, because if it didn’t it would be the first nonsense thing to ever happen in Star Wars that I could not support.
The queen buys in, and tells Anakin to follow her: maybe they can find a way to put a price on his slave.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Will Pay For Trying to Do Something Good
Obi-Wan and Rex are seeking out the kidnapped Togrutas, and they find the Governor trapped in a pit:
Obi-Wan goes all “I’m Luke Skywalker and I’m here to rescue you” on the guy, pulling off his mask:
He carries the weakened, frightened man out of there — doing an amazing, amusing Force-jump to get them up and out — and they’re setting out when they get busted by the bad guys. Oh no!
Recurring Theme: Kids’ Show!
Anakin, meanwhile, is listening to the queen expand on how slavery is like the best thing ever and how It’s The Way of the Universe and blahblahblah whatever:
A Twi’lek slave woman listening to all of this finally Has Had Enough of This Shit and tries to come at her with a small knife. The queen is furious:
And then this poor woman, understandably horrified at the prospect of going back to Slave Training Camp, says this as she backs up towards the ledge:
Anakin, sensing where this is going, tries to stop her…
But it’s too late.
So, just so that we’re all clear here, this Star Wars cartoon show just showed the suicide of a woman who chose to die rather than be subjected to a life of slavery. I mean, damn. This show did not mess around.
Anakin Skywalker, Holding It Together
The queen tut-tuts that oh well, I guess that person who just died in front of our faces was more trouble than she was worth. I’m going to pause right now to tell you that I’ve been in a bad mood the past few days, and I hate this bitch more than I normally would.
Anakin, actually able to keep his mind on the task at hand instead of just murdering this asshole, tells the queen that he’s gifting Ahsoka to her. The queen is like oh YOU what a delight you are tra-la-la-la-la:
He takes her hand again and Ahsoka moves from “Done” into some sort of Beyond Done category:
I love how Anakin’s “hitting on someone” face makes him look mildly intoxicated all the time.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Underpaid Employee
We’re back with Obi-Wan now, and Season 4 of this show has yet more fun in store for our ginger Jedi friend. Not content to merely have him get the snot beat out of him in the last episode, he’s now chained up in a cell and being lashed with some kind of electro-whip, thus ensuring that Obi-Wan not only gets further beaten, but also electrocuted because it had been a few hours since we’d seen that in this show.
The bad guys are trying to figure out what his plan was in trying to save Governor Roshti, but he’s not talking:
Who Could Forget Obi-Wan?
Then, one of the Zygerrians has a lightbulb moment: I know that guy! He’s that handsome ginger from the hologram!
Ah-ha! So he’s a Jedi, huh? Well, that’s probably not good news for Obi-Wan. But then I never expected this show to deliver any good news to him ever anyways, so whatever.
Evil’s Having a Sale!
So, now we’re in some kind of arena of sorts and a Zygerrian is hyping the day’s big event: we’re gonna have ourselves a slave auction! It’s gonna be great! We’ve got all kinds of Togrutas and we’re having a promo and everyone get your coupons and God it’s kind of hard to write a sarcastic asshole recap about a show that focuses on slavery you guys because it’s a decidedly unfunny topic!
Ahsoka, upon hearing what’s on offer for today, is horrified:
Anakin Skywalker, Undercover Detective
Anakin, meanwhile, is still trying to get info out of the queen. Where does one store 50,000 slaves…
You know, because he’s just interested for random reasons. Before she can answer, though, someone stops in and whispers some Late Breaking News to her:
She largely ignores Anakin’s question, telling him that “all will be revealed in time” — but for now, she’s got a major announcement!
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Needs Some Tea and A Fucking Nap
She delightedly informs the crowd of assholes and creeps who have assembled to buy slaves that they have a new item on offer:
Anakin and Ahsoka are both shaken as they watch Obi-Wan get trotted out in front of the crowd.
You know, a few months ago there was all this back and forth about whether there was even anything worthwhile to be covered about Obi-Wan’s time on Tatooine, in the larger discussion around whether or not Obi-Wan should get his own anthology film. Some of the logic at the time among parts of the Star Wars crowd was that, well, he’s just hanging out and meditating, so what is there to show? I WANT YOU TO LISTEN TO ME RIGHT NOW, TEAM OF NERDS WHO MAKE STAR WARS: at this point I have seen this poor man suffer so fucking much, I would GLADLY watch two and a half hours of Obi-Wan McGregor quietly napping under a warm blanket, hanging out with local wildlife and sipping some tea, OK? I need to see this man have a single happy moment in his goddamn life. Please. He doesn’t even have to have a happy moment. At this point I’d settle for just peaceful.
Recurring Theme: Yes We Get It The Government Was Corrupt But Maybe They Still Didn’t All Deserve To Die, OK SHOW
The crowd makes a big commotion about this — hey look it’s a Jedi LOL they must not be so tough! and so on. The queen throws out there, once again, that the Jedi work for the Senate and OMG those guys suck…
…while adding a nod to the episode’s title and hammering home that same stupid thing about how the Jedi Serve The Corrupt Republic And Are Sometimes Kind of Rude To People and Pompous So They Deserved To Have Ultimate Evil Take Over the Government And Kill Them All. In case it was not clear, I am sort of tired of this.
Wow, Uh, OK
The queen, having completed her legally-required Overwrought Villainous Diatribe about the corruption of the Jedi, now instructs Anakin to bust out a whip and wail on Obi-Wan.
I…was this season like, the result of some kind of very-targeted TCW focus group? Was the BDSM community asked to weigh in on where they wanted to see the series go this for this season? And they all wanted to see Obi-Wan suffer? Obi-Wan takes a beating in so many ways this season. I’m not sure where to go with this.
And no, readers. I am not even going to wade ANY further into the fact that Anakin heads down there and this whole scene happened, OK, because I’m just not and you all need to get your minds the hell out of the gutter because this is a children’s show obviously can’t you tell from everything else that’s happened so far.
I. OK. You know what? Nevermind.
So Anakin is all like OH HEY OBI-WAN:
And Obi-Wan is relieved to see him:
Anakin’s trying to figure out his next steps here when the queen is like JUST DO IT ALREADY:
Anakin acknowledges that neither option sounds especially good to him, and that’s when he makes eye contact with Rex…
…who then makes eye contact with Ahsoka…
Recurring Theme: The Family That Fights Together Will Inevitably End Up Shattered and Broken Together Thanks To a Skywalker
The team springs into action. Anakin goes into Cocky Hero Mode:
Artoo hurls the boys’ lightsabers over to them…
…and a battle ensues!
Recurring Theme: Ahsoka Tano, Teenage Warrior Queen
Ahsoka, now armed herself, takes on the queen and delivers a patented Star Wars Premature Declaration of Victory:
…yeah, sorry Tano: it’s not gonna be that easy. And also weren’t you feeling left out? Never fear, it’s time for you to get electrocuted too! The queen zaps her and subdues her.
Team Handsome is still fighting the good fight in the arena, but things are about to take a turn for them, too:
Alas! Our heroes are defeated, and taken into restraints as the queen watches from above.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Rageaholic
Anakin awakens in the queen’s palace again:
She tells him that he sure made a shitshow of her little slave auction, and also that he should be thanks her for letting him live because everyone, Dooku included, wants him dead.
Anakin’s like “eh, you might regret that choice”:
She chokes and he makes a sass face:
Finally he releases her, so that she can cough out an observation that NO ONE EVER has made about Anakin except for like 2,653 actual other times.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Serving Evil to Defeat Evil
She now goes Full Sidious and lays out the situation:
Anakin pretends like this isn’t the sort of thing he’s likely to buy into:
So: Anakin’s getting set up to serve as some evil creep’s slave. And he’s going to do it to Save His Friends. Thanks, Star Wars. We really needed to live through this again. The queen assures him that his friends will be Quite Safe, which we all know is always super truthful when a Star Wars villain says it.
Recurring Theme: Do Not Fuck With Ahsoka
Ahsoka, meanwhile, is being suspended in a cage over an abyss (of course.)
She’s meditating, and her captor is bragging to her:
With a flick of her wrist, without even opening her eyes, she flings the guy off the ledge because she is AMAZING:
Unfortunately the guy manages to catch himself and to repay her for being so awesome, he zaps her:
Obi-Wan and Rex Are Gonna Use Some PTO After This
The guys are now being led to some kind of slave conditioning camp. This has to be a moment where Rex was like “OH SURE. HAD to get assigned to the Chosen One and his husband. Couldn’t have gotten assigned to the Jedi standing guard on Peaceful Space Fiji or anything, nooooo…”
YOU GUYS. Look how sad Obi-Wan is. I just don’t understand, show. Why must you do him like this?! WHY.
They see the Togruta colonists lined up in front of them.
The Governor is somewhat heartened:
The Head Slave Driver is there and boy is he excited to see Obi-Wan, and I’d make a joke about how everyone is always excited to see him because obviously, but no: fuck this guy. He doesn’t even deserve an Obi-Wan Is Sexy joke in his scene.
Then, to show off his Ultimate Powaaaah, he presses a button and the floor drops out underneath some of the colonists, sending them plummeting into nothingness:
Somebody Hug Obi-Wan
Obi-Wan looks on miserably as the Evil Guy informs him:
YES OK WE KNOW ANAKIN WAS A SLAVE
Hey, readers: did you know Anakin was a slave as a child? I know it was hard to miss what with it being a key plot point of an entire saga film, then revisited as a concept over and over again in the remaining saga films, and then brought up approximately 678,092 times over the course of this series or the comic canon either directly or indirectly — but he was. And also he has some baggage about this! It was very important that they spell out how Not OK Anakin is with slavery, because of course otherwise we would all have assumed that he was totally fine with it.
The queen brings this up:
What follows is just a whole lot of the same: Anakin is dedicated! To his friends! He’s loyal! How unusual for a Jedi! Et cetera! And so on!
Recurring Theme: You Could Totally Live Your Best Life By Selling Your Soul To Me
Anakin is having none of this and is all “well I don’t see commitment to something as slavery” and she then dangles out that whole “but what if love is holding you back from being like, the Universe’s Most Superior Badass? Hey I have an idea how about you be my slave to achieve this?”
Then he’s like “bitch, there’s no “we” here” and then caps this off by saying something that HEY MAYBE YOU SHOULD WRITE DOWN ON A PIECE OF PAPER SKYWALKER AND STAPLE IT TO YOUR SHIRT AND GET A TATTOO OF BEFORE YOU PLEDGE YOUR ETERNAL ALLEGIANCE TO FUCKING SATAN:
As this episode mercifully comes to an end, she throws out a proposal: stay here with me and be my Evil Cabana Boy. Anakin’s not into it, until she says…
Oh, what do you know: someone’s gonna try dangling this one out there at him. Well, not to worry! Anakin doesn’t seem like the type to take this bait.
Anakin stares out into space, looking worried because even ANAKIN knows he’s not good at making choices like this…
…and as he he does, the iris-wipe arrives! Will Anakin give it all up to become the queen’s boytoy? Will Obi-Wan write a sternly-worded letter to the writers to ask them to lay off the beatings for a couple of episodes? Will Ahsoka’s eyes get permanently stuck in an upward eyeroll position? Only time will tell! ‘Til next time!