TCW, Season 4, Episode 19: That Old Black Magic

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The Clone Wars, Season 4, Episode 19: Massacre

Happy Rogue One Day/Rogue One Day Eve (as the case may be for you), everyone! Give yourself the gift of something to read that’s not spoilers, and/or compulsively posting on social media about how you don’t want spoilers (or posting your own spoilers), and spend some time with me over here instead, OK? I promise you can go right back to discussing Vader’s appearance or whether or not you spotted the Ghost in the background of some random shot just as soon as we’re done with this.

Today’s episode is a little dark (both in story and color scheme — I felt myself squinting through the screenshots I took and wishing for the millionth time that SOMEONE IN THIS UNIVERSE WOULD TURN A DAMN LIGHT ON,) shows us some Force wielders that don’t hail from one of the Two Big Force Religions, and it is 100% bananas. It just is. I don’t know about you guys, but I absolutely assumed that the Star Wars universe featured a zombie army at one point. Didn’t you?

This means we’ve now had ghosts, zombies, people controlling things with their minds/invading other people’s minds, space worms, people shooting lightning from their hands, a swamp-dwelling Muppet who is supposed to be one of the most powerful beings in the Galaxy, more than one partially-robotic villain who wears a dramatic cape, a mummy (immobile, but a mummy nonetheless), and a virgin birth in this canon. I could go on. I’m just throwing this out there in case anyone ever tries to tell you that some particular installment of Star Wars was “serious” or “mature”, so that you can recall this list and know that you are talking to an idiot.

Voiceover Recap Guy arrives on the scene to queue us up for today’s outing: Asajj Ventress, Badass Extraordinaire/Yet Another Star Wars Character Whose Life Is Terrible, is heading back to Dathomir after Savage Oppress betrayed her in an episode from the previous season that I haven’t recapped yet. She waltzes past a group of Nightsisters having a little campfire outside…

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Coming Soon: Storage Space

She heads for — hey! You guys know what that is, right?

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Before…

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…and after.

Yes! Why it’s the location of Maul’s Obitine-Revenge-Themed U-Stor-It, as featured in last week’s episode of Rebels! At this point in the timeline, though, the ladies are in charge here and they’re keeping this place decidedly more organized, and no one’s writing the names of their mortal enemies on the walls in their own blood (eh…probably.)

Ventress connects up with Mother Talzin and tells her that she’s returned after being on the run after being screwed over by Dooku and Savage, so now she’s returned to Dathomir, because sometimes you just need a break from the guys and so fleeing to a planet filled entirely with women who practice magic seems like a reasonable idea.

Mother Talzin is like “pfft, MEN! Fuck ’em”:

Sorority Rush

Talzin continues that Ventress just needs to stay here, and pledge herself to the Nightsisters, and fulfill her destiny! It’s rush week, so let’s do this thing! Fuck the patriarchy, fuck the Clone Wars: let’s just chill together and be badass bitches and maybe practice some voodoo on people we hate!

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Recurring Theme: We Are Officially Out of New Dialogue

Count Dooku, having…I dunno, probably sensed some sort of disturbance in the Force or whatever, is giving orders to General Grievous, a character that I cannot believe has not shown up in anything I’ve recapped yet. Anyways, here he is in all his preposterous nonsense glory:
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Dooku’s like “Grievous, my dude, it is time for me to give you a new assignment and also do a dialogue callback…”

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Is there a handbook these guys have that instructs them on what phrases to use? Is this part of Star Wars Villain Boot Camp? Do they attend a week long seminar where they stomp around and clench their fists and practice for their Big Bad Guy Moments?

General Grievous, Fashion Icon

Anyways, Grievous is like “k” and he heads off to Dathomir. Uh oh!
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I want to take a minute to talk about Grievous’ fashion sense here. The guy is nearly 100% robotic, but he takes the time to make sure to sport a cape that can only be described as adhering to the Length Requirements of the Star Wars Galaxy. It is so long it practically drags behind him. The guy has robot legs! This seems like a huge risk — the robe could so easily get caught in his joints or under his insane robot feet, and yet he just goes for it anyways Because Drama. I salute you, General. You are doing this galaxy proud.

Recurring Theme: Force Hazing Ritual
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Ventress is now undergoing her Nightsisterification, which requires her to stand in something that appears to be runoff water from a chemical plant with numerous EPA violations under its belt. As she does this, Mother Talzin calls on her to pledge her fidelity to the sisterhood:

Which she does:
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Mother Talzin pronounces her an official Nightsister and I LOVE that the girls are all like PAR-TAY in response, dancing and cheering and throwing their hands in the air:

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This Party’s Over

The part-robot General and his robot army (LOL I LOVE THIS STUPID SHOW) approach Dathomir, and orders are given:

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Meanwhile, the ladies are now dancing and cheering around a fire. Is this all they do all day? Party and have bonfires and cheer on their sisters and then occasionally carry out some kind of evil plot? Being a witch sounds fucking awesome.

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Just as Asajj is starting to heartwarmingly bond with the girls in her tribe, an explosion hits and she busts out her blades, as Mother Talzin announces:

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Recurring Theme: No Happiness or Family For Anyone Ever

I mean, are we surprised this is happening? Did we really think Star Wars was going to be like “welp, this character’s finally settled in with their family and feels a sense of belonging, I guess we’ll just let them live out their days in peace and happiness”? Of course we didn’t.

Ventress is dismayed as she conveys her guilt to Mother Talzin:

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Talzin tells her to suck it up: there’s no time for regret! We have to fight!

Ventress speculates that it’s gotta be Grievous running the show here, and Talzin protects herself from incoming fire by magically building some kind of Darksider Magic Bubble around her body from which she can SHOOT GREEN LIGHTNING. Oh my God.

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Cool! OK, so, evidently that’s a thing that can be done. Neat.

Recurring Theme: What We Need Is A Damned Army

Talzin and Ventress both agree that they’ll need way more people than they have to fight Grievous and all these droids. Talzin says she’ll go talk to Some Old Lady to get reinforcements.

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Recurring Theme: Hilarious Ancient Made-Up Language

Grievous is getting ready to take the fight to Ventress, sending out defoliator tanks and doing some bad guy yelling about how they’re gonna take these ladies down…tcw-s4-e19-0053

…while at the same time, Mother Talzin has gone to see Old Daka. Talzin’s like “yeah we’re gonna need some more fighters, so Do The Thing”:

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Daka needs absolutely no convincing on this, and she immediately launches into Silly Nonsense, which she refers to as The Chant of Resurrection (LOL):
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You guys catching all that? Me too.

Who Didn’t See This Coming?

So, obviously the solution to “we need more people for our army” is “let’s just real quick whip up a batch of actual zombies”! Well, duh. Everyone knows that’s how you do it. Either that or you make yourself a few billion clones of some sketchy-ass bounty hunter! Oh Star Wars. Please never ever change.

So Daka’s magic spells carries over to what passes for a graveyard here on Dathomir — where people are, evidently, buried upside-down in little cocoons hanging off of giant branches. That’s not creepy at all! As the magic takes effect, some new/old Nightsisters arise and aren’t they lovely?  tcw-s4-e19-0060tcw-s4-e19-0061

Yikes!

Recurring Theme: I Love The Closed-Captioning On This Show

The battle intensifies, and the ladies are trying to outrun a defoliator bomb which is causing a wall of flame to chase them down:

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As this happens, I am treated to the amazingness that is this actual closed-captioning:

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I just love the idea of someone who cannot hear, or who is listening to this with the sound off, or whatever, being like “oh of course. The sound of an undead army roaring. Everyone can immediately imagine what that sounds like.”

With this hilarity behind us, Talzin is pleased that the zombies she ordered have taken to battle, and now things are a little more even as the Nightsisters fight back the droids. She’s got bigger fish to fry! tcw-s4-e19-0065

Recurring Theme: THIS SHOW

OK, so Mother Talzin’s got Plans for Dooku: she is given something that, when opened, reveals an item inside:
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WUT. God, I know I’m saying this a lot right now but this SHOW, you guys. THIS SHOW. You assumed Dooku was going to be the victim of witch-related voodoo at some point, right? Didn’t you? I totally did.

She takes this lock of Dooku’s hair (…side question: do we know why or how she has this? I can’t remember the last Nightsisters arc well enough off the top of my head and I’m too unmotivated to pull up the episodes or even Wookiepedia here, so for the sake of humor let’s just say they never told us because it’s MUCH funnier if she just randomly has DOOKU’S HAIR on hand) and she throws it into a witch’s cauldron and I no longer understand anything about this entire universe anymore because last I checked this was the series about space battles and whatnot, but LORD HELP ME I love it:

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The caption on this one! Star Wars in a nutshell. 

Recurring Theme: Long-Distance Pain

Dooku, back in that weirdass room he’s in all the time with the neon lighting (honestly, it looks like he needs some blacklight posters in there and a fog machine) is suddenly like OH GOD OWW:

His head breaks out in painful boils and he’s like THAT BITCH! ARRRGGHH! Don’t you just hate it when your enemies cast an evil spell on you from afar and you have to clear your whole damn calendar for the day to deal with it? I mean, we’ve all been there. So annoying.

Fight Me

Ventress has caught up with Grievous now, and she tells him that he should fight her alone: she’s who he’s after anyways, and she goes for the tried-and-true method of taunting the villain to lure him into a fight:

To the surprise of exactly zero people, Grievous is like WHATEVER I AM THE BEST ONE I WILL DEAL WITH THIS SITH DEFECTEE SLIME MYSELF, as he busts out his extra arms and FOR GOD’S SAKE EVERYONE IN THIS ENTIRE SERIES IS ABSURD. This character is some kind of alien cyborg, with four arms, ALL OF WHICH USE LIGHTSABERS. I mean…oh, and he frequently wears a gigantic cape. Which he sometimes uses for a Dramatic Disrobe. I just…sometimes you need to really sit down and write it all out and the ludicrous nature of all of this just washes over you like a delightful wave of foolishness. Or maybe that’s just me. Whatever.

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So Ventress and Grievous get their battle underway, while Mother Talzin ups the pain factor for Dooku, using a sort of wax VOODOO DOLL. A voodoo doll! God bless us, everyone.

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And I will know true happiness.

Recurring Theme: Something The Nerds Who Wrote This Show Just Wanted To See

Ventress and Grievous are now fully into their fight. What follows is, of course, yet another one of those things the TCW staff makes us watch periodically because, let’s be real, they just thought this shit would look cool (see also: Anakin and Ahsoka fighting in zero-G against Cad Bane, the fact that Cad Bane has jet boots, that time Palpatine fights Maul AND Savage, the darksaber, etc). Here we get two people and SIX LIGHTSABERS!

In the writers’ defense, IT TOTALLY DOES LOOK COOL:

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Pretty!!

Eventually Ventress takes a hit to her shoulder and is hobbled:

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She stumbles, too injured to fight back. Grievous is about to inflict some more damage on her when The Undead Army appears to back her up, climbing all over Grievous and treating us to more entertaining captions again:

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Ventress is walked off by one of her sisters, who then takes a blaster bolt to the back. As she dies, she tells Ventress to flee with some very not-optimistic words:

Alone, Ventress stumbles away as the zombies keep Grievous occupied (this episode has General Grievous fighting an army of zombies. I’m just reminding you.)

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General Grievous, Really Hoping For a Bonus Check This Year

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UH I’M A LITTLE BUSY RIGHT NOW

While Grievous is contending with the zombies, he gets a holo-Skype call from Count Dooku. I am thoroughly amused by the fact that he takes this call AS HE IS BEING MAULED BY ZOMBIES, and does not even mention that this is happening as he does. Say what you want about Grievous, man, but that right there? Is a dedicated employee. I have to say that I cannot personally guarantee I would take a call from my boss, no matter how urgent, were I in Grievous’ robot shoes right now. I hope Dooku sent him a gift card or gave him some extra PTO for this.

Dooku pleads: forget about Ventress — you have to go kill Mother Talzin before I die over here!

Grievous, again looking to meet all his performance goals for the year, is on it immediately as he shakes off the last zombie:
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I Hate When This Happens

As Grievous heads off in pursuit of Mother Talzin, Dooku gets a visit from the lady herself in the form of some kind of weird possession of sorts that involves her appearing in a cloud of smoke that is emanating from his gut. Sure. Of course. Just another day on the job, huh Dooku? I have to believe that on occasion, even though he hates them, he wishes he was just hanging out in the dark with the rest of the Jedi Council. Occasions such as this, for example. They might be doomed and they might be annoying but at least none of them are currently getting their bodies melted down by a Wicked Witch.

She makes a demand:

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He’s like “NEVER!!!”, and she evilly declares that he’s going to die one way or the other:

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Follow The Green Mist Road

Grievous is nearing the end of the trail with his droid army marching behind him:

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They march their way inside the structure, and Grievous quickly makes short work of Old Daka, giving her the Maul treatment and effectively decommissioning the Nightsisters’ Zombie Army in the process:

With the Undead Army now falling still, the Nightsisters suddenly find themselves greatly outnumbered on the battlefield, much to Ventress’ dismay. The droids realize their advantage quickly and open fire.

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Mother Talzin is not faring so well, either, disappearing into a cloud of green, Nightsistery smoke as Grievous goes after her too:
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Dooku gasps as her grip on him is released, collapsing in relief and looking like he just woke up after a night of extremely heavy drinking:

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…everclear. Never again, man.

Asajj Ventress, Deserved Better

Ventress has managed to survive the massacre, and as she stumbles through the woods of Dathomir, she encounters Mother Talzin’s Off-Brand-Force Ghost. Talzin’s got some bad news for her:
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Ventress is distraught:
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She then moves on to the self-blame portion of her Star Wars journey and MAN, she and Obi-Wan really SHOULD have hung out more, shouldn’t they? They could have bonded about all sorts of things: getting thrown over by their Masters, being good-looking sarcastic assholes, and talking about how they each blamed themselves most of all when everyone died.

Mother Talzin tells her, more or less, to suck it up and get to moving on:

Ventress, despondently, cries out after her as she reaches for her:

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Someone hug Ventress. I know she’d hate it, but I still think she needs one.

The camera zooms out, revealing only Ventress, alone and sad, on her now-desolate planet as the iris-wipe shows itself to put us out of our misery for now:

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Well, Star Wars, it appears you’ve done it again: introduced a character, made me feel compassion for them, and then proceeded to destroy everything they’ve ever had that was good in their lives. And, as the icing on this crappy cake, I have to live with the knowledge that Star Wars will be back eventually to make sure to close out Ventress’ life story later on in a book that involves her taking a bullet for her ~tragic love~, and just WHATEVER, Star Wars. Ugh. I am so done with all the girls in this series having to put up with this bullshit. I mean, in fairness it’s not like any of the guys’ lives are a day at the beach either (LOL, or maybe Anakin’s technically IS, since that guy would be miserable and full of murderous rage on a day at the beach,) but still. My girls deserved more than all this.

That’s it for this time, kids! Everyone have a great time at Rogue One, if you’re seeing it in the next few days. Make sure to get yourself some good movie snacks, and try not to cry too much when Anakin “Darth Vader” Skywalker shows up. (Or whatever, go ahead and bawl your eyes out. I understand. You’re among friends here.)