Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones (Part IV)
Who’s ready for more of this craziness? You! Yes, you. No, you’re not allowed to pretend you don’t like it.
Stick around: today, I’ve got all sorts of “fun” on deck: Obi-Wan fighting a dude with a jetpack (again), Anakin being a disaster (again), and a bunch of wacky and/or Bad stuff happening that will send the universe careening off course and headlong into Ancient Evil (…again.) OK, so a lot of Star Wars repeats itself. I think we all knew that by now. Oh! And if I still haven’t convinced you to settle in and join me here, I’ll also sweeten the deal by letting you know that there is, in fact, a Shirtless Nightmare in this installment. So. Y’know.
You’ll recall that our last outing here was a doozy: Obi-Wan met the Grand Army of the Republic for the first time, and while he spent the rest of the installment getting into oddly sexual conversations with Jango Fett and posing handsomely, Anakin rolled around in a field with a girl he likes and shared some feelings about sand with us all. Yes, the Negotiator and the Hero With No Fear, truly some of the top professionals the Republic has to offer. Right then: off we go to join our boys once more!
Obi-Wan Kenobi, In Need of an Umbrella
We open today back on Kamino, where Taun We is seeing Obi-Wan out the door. She reminds him to tell the Republic that if they want more clones (and who wouldn’t, the GAR’s pretty great,) it’ll take a little more time to grow them. Creepy. Obi-Wan thanks her and is all cute and smiley and he heads off into the rain towards his ship. It is absolutely pouring, and really Kenobes, your hood is going to do jack shit to keep you dry here so why even bother? Too bad this evidently predates the era of Krennic-style Waterproof Capery. I love that Obi-Wan is an actual space wizard with supernatural powers but he does not have ready access to something as wild as an umbrella.
So Obi-Wan stands out there in the driving rain and starts yelling out a message to be holo-Skyped via his astromech droid. REALLY? There’s NO WAY to send a message to them that doesn’t involve just standing there in a deluge? I mean, I’m OK with the Rainy Kenobi Content here, but wow.
So he instructs Arfour to send this message over to Coruscant, “care of the Old Folks’ Home”. HAHAHAHA WHAT OMG. I accept this, George. Yes.
Recurring Theme: Electricity is the Path to the Dark Side
At said Old Folks’ Home, a couple of old folks (well, or at least one VERY old folk,) are sitting around in Yoda’s Meditation Closet watching this holo-Skype. Again: do these things just start on their own? No one ever seems to be picking up these calls, they just start playing.
So Obi-Wan spills the deets to Mace and Yoda: he met with the Prime Minister of Kamino! They’re building a Clone Army for the Republic! Mace asks if he thinks the clones were involved in the plot to kill Padme that happened what feels like 7 billion years ago in this film, and Obi-Wan says no, “There appears to be no motive.” OK: so Kenobes is saying that he discovered that someone built an enormous army for the Republic and he assumes it had NO MOTIVE? Like, what: Sifo-Dyas just figured it’d be a lark? All right.
Yoda is like “ehhh, I wouldn’t assume anything, Obi-Wan” and Obi-Wan looks kinda chastised by this. He continues: he heard that this Army was built at the request of Sifo-Dyas on behalf of the Senate almost ten years ago! Yoda and Mace exchange The Famous Oh Shit Glances of Star Wars as Obi-Wan asks: but wasn’t Sifo-Dyas already dead by then? How can a dead guy request a Clone Army? Now, obviously this is because There Is a Plot Afoot Here, but honestly? If the actual story was “Sifo-Dyas requested a Clone Army despite being dead”, I wouldn’t even question it at this point. This is how deep into the Star Wars Universe I am now. If anything I’d be like, “Well, right, I assumed he did it from beyond the grave somehow. Or that he’s on robotic spider legs.”
Obi-Wan, his Secret Scottishness unable to be fully hidden because they keep giving Ewan lines that include phrases like “Clone Army”, asks Mace if he knows if the Council ever authorized such a crazy thing. Both Yoda and Mace insist that Obi-Wan get Jango Fett over to the Council Room so that they can sit in poor lighting and interrogate him.
Recurring Theme: Master Yoda, Already Knows They’re All Screwed
They hang up the holo-Skype, and Yoda hangs his head sadly: oh my God, we are so up a creek if we had no idea this shit was going on. Mace looks crestfallen, and suggests that it may be time to tell the Senate that the Jedi are running on Diminished Force Capacity these days. Yoda, however, is not on board: sure, the Sith (whoever THAT GUY IS,) knows that they are weakened, but no one else does. If they tell the Senate, then all of sudden ERRRYBODY’S going to be popping out of the woodwork to take a shot at the mighty Jedi. So for now, they’re gonna keep their lips zipped and pretend like they are totally still awesome at using the Force.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Shirtless Nightmare-Haver
Back at Padme’s Lake Mansion of Totally Being Just Friends, Anakin is having a very dramatic and very much shirtless nightmare. I am still not over the fact that this isn’t even a joke, this is actually a for-real thing that happened more than once in the films. God bless America. Or Canada, I guess.
Anakin’s Nightmare du Jour is about his mom again, and evidently this time it’s quite disturbing.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan’s Apprentice Knows How To Pose
The next morning, he’s posing outside on a balcony (BIG FREAKING SURPRISE) as he meditates his way through this all.
Padme arrives and just…her nightwear and the hair she evidently wakes up with is the best. I mean, as in it’s actually beautiful and ALSO hysterically funny to me. Actually that’s how I feel about all of Star Wars, I guess.
She walks over and sees that he’s meditating and makes to leave, but he’s all OH NO WAIT YOU MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER. She surmises that he had a bad dream, and he’s like YUP, and then he’s like I GOTTA GO TO TATOOINE I’M SORRY (I mean, it’s not like it’s an irregular occurrence in this galaxy so it was probably about time someone ended up there,) and they decide they’ll go together.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Scourge of Mandalorians
I…am not sure what the timeline is doing here, because in the time it took Yoda and Mace to commit to withholding information from the Senate and for Anakin to have a Shirtless Nightmare and decide to leave for Tatooine, Obi-Wan has made ZERO progress in getting Jango Fett to Coruscant.
Hilariously, the Fetts are packing up the Slave I to flee Kamino, and Obi-Wan comes jogging towards them and before he even gets to say ANYTHING, Boba is like AHHHHH DAD LOOK OUT EVERYONE RUUUUUN! LOL. I know they sort of got a Suspicious Vibe from Obi-Wan before, but for all they know he could have been like WAIT HANG ON YOU FORGOT YOUR KEYS! It’s not like Obi-Wan was charging at them with a lightsaber pointed at their faces.
At any rate, Jango tells his mini-me to get in the ship, and he and Obi-Wan get down to fighting, in one of those sequences that I fondly refer to as “Fight Scene That Was Written Partly Because a Star Wars Nerd Thought It Would Look Cool.” Yes, it’s Obi-Wan, fighting a dude in a jetpack (in Mando Armor no less), in the rain.
Boba starts up the ship as the fight culminates with Obi-Wan dangling over the side of the platform (OF COURSE) by a string, and Jango just barely making it onto his ship as Obi-Wan comes back around the other side — just in time to watch them fly away. He hurls a homing beacon onto the ship as they take off, and makes the face of a Very Tired Man as they disappear from view.
You Maybe Shouldn’t Go Home Again
Padme and Anakin have arrived on Tatooine, and they’re being transported via Space Rickshaw to go off in search of Anakin’s mom. Clearly this is going to end well for all involved.
I am sorry, but I would be doing you all a disservice if I did not point out what Padme is wearing here. OH MY GOD. She’s been here before! She knows what a sandy craphole this place is! And yet here she is, wearing some couture multi-piece outfit (with a bare midriff AND a HUGE hooded animal-print cloak, because why not.) What an icon.
It makes total sense that he would, given the fact that he was an actual child slave on this planet, but it also kinda makes me laugh that Anakin looks SO annoyed to even be here right now. He just walks around looking mildly disgusted by everything.
Anakin Skywalker, Missing Persons Investigator
He spots Watto, the dude who owned him and his mother when he last left Tatooine, and at first Watto doesn’t even recognize him (probably the haircut.)
Anakin asks where Shmi Skywalker is and eventually Watto puts two and two together: holy crap! It’s Anakin! And he’s a Jedi, wowee. After some back and forth, he tells Anakin that he actually sold Shmi to some guy named Cliegg Lars — and he freed her and married her! ISN’T THAT SOMETHING.
Anakin makes a face that suggests he is feeling Many Ways About This, probably at least in part due to the fact that he was not asked to be a ring bearer in this wedding. Padme makes a Face of General Concern about all this. Anakin gets all I Mean Business-y and insists that he’d like to know where they’re living these days. Watto gets the message that he probably doesn’t want to mess with Anakin, and offers to review his records and give him the scoop.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Cheater of Death
As Anakin digs up Ghosts of Star Wars Past, Obi-Wan gets into digging up some Ghosts of Star Wars Future. He’s tracking the Fetts and catches up with them just outside of Geonosis (“Ask Us About How We Can Make YOUR Secret Superweapon a Reality Today!”) and a chase scene ensues that gave Ben Burtt a chance to showboat all of the place with the sound effects.
Eventually Obi-Wan evades them by more or less faking his own death (AGAIN), and after waiting long enough to allow them to land on the planet surface, lands in secret as well. He notices there’s a lot of Federation ships out here and that it appears that Mysterious Things Are Afoot. As usual, he does not even know one-tenth of it. He goes off into the night, the wind flinging his robe and hair around because of course it is.
Recurring Theme: Your Author Is Almost Derailed From A Recap Due To Hair
OK, so Anakin and Padme have made their way to the Famous Homestead, where they’re greeted by Threepio, and I am sorry but ANAKIN’S HAIR IS KILLING ME. LOOK HOW SPIKY IT IS. Why is this hairstyle a thing. WHY.
(Sidenote: I recently discovered that as far as I can tell, there is nothing in the Jedi Rulebook that says you have to have anything but the unfortunate braid. Which means that there is a possibility that both Obi-Wan and Anakin OPTED FOR THE VERY SPIKY HAIR AND THAT TINY WEIRD PONYTAIL. BOYS. WTF.)
Threepio’s thrilled to see Anakin again (aww) and Anakin, Vaderishly, flatly asks to see his mom. Threepio fumbles and says maybe they should go inside.
Luke Skywalker’s Family Reunion
Threepio leads them down into the main living area, where he introduces them to Future Uncle Owen and his girlfriend, Future Aunt Beru. OK, I am sorry but I am DYING at this meeting because Owen and Beru, Luke’s adoptive parents, look more or less like normal people (like, normal in a Star Wars context at least,) with their reasonable outfits and pretty normal hairstyles…
…and then there’s Luke’s biological parents, who look like they have traveled from a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT UNIVERSE.
I get it: Tatooine is supposed to be the ass end of nowhere and they’re supposed to live much more simply and all that, and Padme is crazy rich and a Senator and Anakin is a Space Wizard BUT LOL FOR DAYS HERE. LOOK. AT. PADME. No wonder Owen always side-eyed the idea of Luke leaving the farm. I’d be a little wary of Luke going out into the wider world and then showing up back at home with Anakin’s haircut too, Owen.
Aaaaaanyways, Owen is like “I guess I’m your stepbrother, that’s cool I guess or whatever” and Anakin, one-track-minded as usual, is like WHERE’S MY MOM? I know he’s worried about her and he’s wary of these people but they’re not at all threatening and Anakin can’t even be bothered to be like “nice to meet you” or even dignify Owen’s stepbrother remark with ANYTHING. He just is like “Information Accepted. NOW WHERE IS MY MOM.” I love that Padme kind of gives Anakin this “OK, rude,” face.
Cliegg appears now and informs Anakin that Shmi is not here. He suggest they go sit down because they have a lot of Tragic Backstory to cover and at this, Anakin makes a face like he knows Star Wars is about to dump a bucket of Sad on him. Obi-Wan has taught him to recognize the warning signs.
Recurring Theme: Gather ‘Round The Table for a Sad Story
So the group sits down at the homestead’s dining table, most famous for that time that Owen informs Luke that he thinks that OBI-WAN DIED AT THE SAME TIME AS ANAKIN, which I am still not and never will be over thank you for asking. Beru brings in refreshments (red this time instead of blue, which you just KNOW is some Symbolism that got baked in here to make us feel extra bad about things to come,) as Cliegg tells Anakin that Tuskens came, and they’ve taken his mother, and severely injured Cliegg. He says they searched for Shmi until they couldn’t anymore, and that while he doesn’t want to give up all hope, it’s been a month so there’s really only one conclusion to draw.
Anakin is deeply affected, and stands up: he’s going to go find his mom. Cliegg tries to reason with him — there’s no way she’s still alive, and he should accept it. Yeah, sorry Cliegg, but Anakin is bad at that.
With that, Anakin and Padme have a Sad Farewell complete with Shadowy Foreshadowing and Padme watches him ride off to totally not commit mass murder because he’d never do that who is he Darth Vader? I love that the Force Theme is blaring here because it is never one to miss a moment of High Drama.
Hey Did You Hear About What Happened To Anakin Skywalker?
We know we’re in for Pain now as the music gives way to Duel of the Fates and Anakin goes riding off (sunset obviously occurring to give him a symbolic backdrop here.) He stops to get some info from some Jawas, then heads off for the Tusken’s camp.
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Just Getting a Sneak Preview
Back on Geonosis, Obi-Wan is wandering around some kind of underground building that looks like a basilica. Except unlike most basilicas, this one has a droid factory in it for Mysterious Reasons.
As he stalks around, he ends up overhearing a conversation between a small group of Bad Guys: one in which Nute Gunray asks Count Dooku if Padme is dead yet or not because he’s not doing SQUAT until that’s done. Dooku insists he’s a man of his word.
Now settling into a huge conference room that this insane structure has for some reason, the Bad Guy Consortium blather on some more about how they’re all gonna band together and how they’ve got a SWEET droid army ready to go that will be the biggest and best in all the land and totally exhaust the Jedi (…welp).
So, just so we are all clear: Obi-Wan has been playing detective for like a day and a half in this movie, initially just to find out who ONE GUY WHO TRIED TO KILL PADME WAS, and he’s now stumbled upon not one, but TWO ENORMOUS SECRET GIGANTIC ARMIES that everyone in the Galaxy was too dumb to have clued into prior to this. And eventually he’s going to get almost killed BY BOTH OF THEM. Oh Star Wars.
Anakin Skywalker, Straying From The Path Prepared For Him From a Certain Point of View
It’s nighttime on Tatooine and Anakin is cozying up to Padme and peacefully settling in for the evening while getting to know his stepfamily better. Nah, I’m kidding of course: Anakin’s out on the road to Murderville! He scopes out the Tusken camp…
…slices his way into a tent…
…and finds his mom, who is tied up and gravely injured. He cuts her loose and holds her, and I know this is a Very Sad Scene and my heart breaks for Anakin who loved his mom so much, but I’m sort of dying that Anakin gets to have someone he loves die in his arms here. Like, at least he was trained for this by the All-Time GRAND MASTER OF THIS STAR WARS TROPE. (Sorry.)
Shmi tells Anakin he’s handsome (Shmi did always seem like one of the smarter people in this show,) and as she begins to tell him she loves him, she dies.
Super. Can’t see this coming back to haunt any of us.
Anakin Skywalker, Darth Vader
Anakin accepts this unchangeable thing that has happened and solemnly carries his mother’s body back to the Homestead for burial. Nah, I’m kidding again — he goes Full Vengeance Mode and kills everyone in the Tusken camp.
I’ve got nothin’ here, really. Settle in, everyone, because Anakin’s gonna fighting off The Rage for a looooooong time starting now.
Master Yoda, Should Really Use Post-It Notes or Something
So evidently, in the Force somewhere, Qui-Gon is heard yelling for Anakin to stop murdering people. Oh sure: Qui-Gon probably just doesn’t want everyone to end up being right about that kid after he went into that Council meeting and caused all that drama and also was super mean to Obi-Wan. Sensing all of this anguish is Yoda, who’s deep in meditation in that one room STILL. Is this a different day? Is he in here whenever he’s not in the Council room?
Mace arrives and eyes Yoda warily. What’s wrong, little camper? Yoda looks devastated and lowers his head, almost looking like he’s going to cry. He senses Pain! Suffering! Death! Something Terrible Has Happened to Anakin Skywalker! SO: you guys gonna GET ON THAT OR ANYTHING? Did they put this on their to-do list and then forget about it? GUYS. COME ON. It’s one thing to forget to pay the utility bills for years on end but THIS IS THE CHOSEN ONE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT HERE.
With that, the scene ends because of course no one has any fucking clue how to help Anakin or fix anything and everyone is doomed, and on THAT bright note, that’ll be all for today’s installment! Join me next time, when Obi-Wan says something hilariously dorky (who saw it coming?), and Padme wins even more of Anakin’s heart by insisting that they risk their lives to save Obi-Wan’s. See you then, friends!