Star Wars, Episode II, Part V: Vote Palpatine!

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Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones (Part 5) 

All right! Back to all this wonderful weirdness. Previously, on Anakin Skywalker Starts Dancing With the Dark Side, Anakin and Padme had gone on a hot date to Tatooine (literally! Get it? Tatooine? Hot? Because it’s a desert planet? WELL FINE, NO ONE’S MAKING YOU READY THESE RECAPS, YOU KNOW.) While they were there, they discovered that Anakin’s Sainted Mother Shmi had been freed from slavery and married a guy named Cliegg Lars, and moved to the Famous Star Wars Tatooine Homestead. But a happy reunion wasn’t meant to be — turns out, Shmi had already been kidnapped by Sand People before they got there, and Anakin went off on a rescue mission just in time to watch her die in his arms, which….y’know. This is a guy who was raised by Obi-Wan Kenobi for the last half of his youth. I have to assume he sort of saw this coming. However, unlike Obi-Wan, instead of just stuffing his feelings into a small box and locking said box and throwing said box in the ocean, Anakin went in the opposite direction, taking down the entire Tusken village in retaliation. Whoopsie daisy!

As all of this Significant Pathos was occurring, Obi-Wan was making an important discovery — he showed up on the watery planet of Kamino, only to learn that a Shadowy Conspiracy was afoot and, uh, long story short, the Republic is now the proud parent of about ten zillion clones of Temuera Morrison. Oh! And after chasing Jango and Boba Fett to Geonosis, he learned that the Separatists are getting ready to shore up their own military might with about 200 zillion battle droids.

This all probably sounds very silly put so succinctly (and it IS, because this is Star Wars and every single thing that has ever happened in it is comical and/or nonsensical,) but I think it’s worth noting that an absolute TON of important crap happens in this movie, and what I just described? Are things that end up being important for the next several DECADES of the GFFA Timeline.

OK then: it’s time to move on! Put away your Death Star plans and let’s hit the road.

Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Huge Nerd
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We open back on Geonosis with Obes Kenobes, who is trying to get a message back to the Jedi Homebase. However, he’s not able to transmit that far, so he decides he’s gonna leave a message on Anakin’s voicemail and ask him to forward it on to the Temple.

Now, I need to tell you all that the way Obi-Wan phrases the handful of lines he has when he’s trying to contact Anakin here are some of my favorite things he’s ever said. Because he contacts Anakin, and while doing so, he identifies himself as Obi-Wan Kenobi. First name, last name.
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YOU GUYS: WHO THE HELL ELSE who is BOTH A) named Obi-Wan and B) a Pompous British Dweeb WOULD EVEN BE CALLING ANAKIN AND BARKING OUT ORDERS AT HIM? HOW MANY OBI-WANS COULD ANAKIN POSSIBLY KNOW. Was it necessary to mention his LAST NAME here? Come on: we all know Anakin doesn’t have a ton of friends. And even if he DID, what are the odds of some OTHER Obi-Wan calling him? Is Anakin honestly THAT dim that he’s going to get a message from THAT GUY, with THAT VOICE, saying “Hi Anakin it’s Obi-Wan” and he’ll just be like “Obi-Wan who?” Oh my God.

Anakin Skywalker, AWOL

He does some Space Tech BS and discovers that Anakin isn’t on Naboo like he thought he was: he’ll have to widen the range to see if he can find him! As he does, he sighs worriedly: he does hope nothing’s happened to his boyfriend! Aww. Obi-Wan Kenobi, you old softie.
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While Obi-Wan’s worrying like a mother hen about his little chick, a Geonosian ominously spots his ship from a distance. DUN DUN DUUUUN!
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Obi-Wan picks up Anakin’s signal: it’s coming from Tatooine! I love how he makes a big deal about this like he has no fucking idea WHY Anakin, the guy who was having Many Troubling Nightmares About His Mother at the beginning of this movie, would be on Tatooine, the planet said mother lives on. Oh, the deductive reasoning skills of everyone in this universe.

Obi-Wan collects himself and goes and starts transmitting a message to Anakin in the most CHIDING, School-Marmy voice possible, once again identifying himself by his full name.
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Recurring Theme: R2-D2, Recipient of Important Holograms

On Padme’s badass chrome ship, Obi-Wan’s message begins to appear, while Artoo is just sorta hanging out. Delightfully, initially the only thing that keeps coming through in Obi-Wan’s message is “Anakin!” in this super-irritated voice, over and over. LOL.
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Anakin Skywalker, Cares More Than You Do And He’ll Punch You To Prove It
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As this is happening, Anakin is arriving back at the homestead with Shmi’s body. And let me tell you, he looks 1200% pissed at EVERYBODY about it. He literally stalks around with her body in his arms looking at everyone like, “…wanna FIGHT??? HMMM?!!!” Anakin, please. He walks Shmi’s body inside.

Recurring Theme: Adult Tantrum

Downstairs at the homestead in that room where Luke Skywalker will famously play with a toy spaceship at age 19, his father is a mere couple minutes away from having a tantrum at age 19. Oh, the Skywalkers.
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Anakin broods that life seems so much easier when you’re just fixing robots or whatever, as Padme brings him a tray of snacks and blue milk while dressed in one of her more casual insane ensembles.
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Anakin asks Padme why his mom had to die, as though Padme’s gonna have any real answer for that. He cries that he knew he could have saved her, and he doesn’t understand why he failed this time.

Padme, correctly, observes that sometimes there are things that no one can fix. I would like everyone to recall that Yoda basically says the exact same thing to him in the next go-round, with his whole “death is a part of life” spiel, and Anakin evidently didn’t buy it now, either. She expands: you’re not all-powerful!, to which Anakin pissily retorts that HE SHOULD BE! And someday he will be! Someday he’ll be like the BEST JEDI EVER AND EVEN BE ABLE TO STOP PEOPLE FROM DYING!

One Of The Funniest Lines In Star Wars

aotc-part-v-0012Padme says his name, and makes a face at all of this like she’s fully aware that Anakin is veering from Grieving Son into Crazypants territory.

Anakin, undeterred, continues his rant: you know who’s REALLY at fault here? OBI-WAN! He’s super jealous of Anakin, and holding him back! I am sorry, but hahahahahahahahahahahahhahaha. I am not sure what I love more about this: that Anakin is blaming Obi-Wan for this whole debacle despite him being only peripherally involved (Obi-Wan didn’t bring him into the Jedi! Obi-Wan didn’t take him away from his mom! Literally the ONLY thing Obi-Wan did was tell Anakin that bad dreams usually go away on their own!) or that Anakin is OF COURSE bringing up Obi-Wan because of course he is because this is Star Wars.

Padme Amidala, A Better Sport Than I

Padme has somehow managed not to bust out laughing at this because she maybe hasn’t seen as much of Star Wars as I have, and is like “dude: WTF is your problem?” Anakin pauses and cries and MAN I love how much of this part Lucas shot JUST LIKE IT’S A SOAP OPERA BECAUSE IT FUCKING IS, and then he spills the story about how he killed like EVVVVVVERYBODY in the Tusken village.
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I know this is a very emotional scene and I totally feel for Anakin and everything? But also I vividly remember giggling to myself in the theater when I saw this part because at the end of his Unhinged Yelling about how he hates the Sand People, John Williams plays The Imperial March Lite, like we’re going to forget that Anakin and Darth Vader are the same person if he doesn’t. WE GET IT, JOHN.
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Padme sits down next to Anakin and is all “to be angry is to be human” and I want you all to know that I have nothing against these two and I will literally fight people to defend this movie’s honor but COME ON, AMIDALA: to be angry is to be human, sure. Usually when I get angry I end up saying something idiotic or drinking a beer. I do not end up committing a mow-down of an entire village. I AM JUST SAYING.
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Anakin laments: he’s a JEDI! He’s supposed to be better than this! Anakin, I don’t think it’s only Jedi who are held to the standard of “I got mad but I didn’t kill a lot of things”. Anakin does some more crying and Padme does some hair-stroking/internal speculating about how much better he’s going to look without this godforsaken Padawan haircut, and the scene ends.
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We Interrupt This Funeral Due to Robots
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The family holds a funeral for Shmi outside later that day, and Anakin makes sure to look as Vaderish as humanly possible as Cliegg says a few sweet words about his departed wife.

Anakin’s contribution to the eulogy is to blame himself for being unable to save Shmi, and then weirdly vow that he won’t fail again. Look, I know grief understandably makes people say and do some weirdass things, but I have yet to see someone swearing that they’ll never let another person die while at someone’s wake.
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Before Anakin can expand on this, Artoo comes rolling up and Threepio conveys his message: he’s carrying a message from an Obi-Wan Kenobi! Har! Get it? Because in the first movie he ended up at the homestead with a message for Obi-Wan Kenobi! Hilarity. Oh, nerdy mirroring. I am always here for this.

News of this magnitude is apparently enough to break up a funeral. Way to ruin the moment, Artoo.

Obi-Wan Kenobi, Here With a Summary

Padme and Anakin, back on Padme’s ship, play Obi-Wan’s message, which gets entertainingly simulcast to Palpatine’s office where everyone’s gathered ’round for a viewing party. The message itself is pretty much just a recap of the last 20 minutes of Obi-Wan’s time in this film: he tracked the Fetts to Geonosis, and the Trade Federation’s about to take ownership of a droid army that was built here, and that Nute Gunray’s the guy who’s been trying to kill Padme. Also a bunch of other flavors of Bad Guys are here and they’ve all pledged their allegiance to Count Dooku and they’re probably going to form some kind of Unholy Alliance that he and Anakin are going to spend a REALLY WEIRD FEW YEARS fighting.

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LOL that they both look so into it

He’s stopped mid-sentence by an attack from a droideka and everyone looks Worried for ol’ Kenobes, most notably Padme, since she hasn’t had WELP HE’S PROBABLY DEAD NOW EVERYONE JUST MOVE ON drilled into her head from infancy.

Yoda observes to Mace: sure looks like shit’s been going down on Geonosis, huh? Mace, agreeing, takes over the transmission to instruct Anakin to stay where he is with Padme and protect her at all costs.

LOL, Windu, this is a dude who literally vowed that he would never let anyone die ever again like 4 minutes ago. I am pretty sure you do not need to worry about him letting Padme die. If that happened, or if he even maybe just thought it was going to happen, he’d probably go totally off the rails, and then he’d — oh. Right.

Recurring Theme: The Skywalker Family Just Really Loves Obi-Wan
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Padme watches all of this and, as the holo-Skype call ends, looks at Anakin with despair: they’ll never make it to Geonosis in time to save Obi-Wan! And Obi-Wan is like one of the best people this wretched universe has! And look: they are way closer to Geonosis than the others are! They could go save him!!
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Anakin, flatly, is like, “…if he’s still alive”, and just WHATEVER Anakin, I know you’ve had a very, very bad day or so here, and you’re mad that Obi-Wan didn’t somehow divine that that “I had a dream about my mom” inherently meant “my mother is going to be brutally murdered and I’m going to partly blame you for it,” but even so: NO ONE IS BUYING THAT YOU ARE THIS CHILL ABOUT THE IDEA OF OBI-WAN DYING. (And he will seriously never be this OK with this concept every again.)
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Padme, is also not buying it: so…what? You’re just going to let OBI-WAN die? Get outta here, Skywalker. Everyone knows how obsessed with him you are! Just think about how many times you’ve brought him up in the few days you’ve been bodyguarding me!
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Anakin cuts her off — Obi-Wan’s like his father! His father that he doesn’t have because his actual father was the Force just knocking up somebody for kicks, or Darth Plagueis making an Anakin Potion in his evil lair that somehow got Anakin’s mom pregnant, or whatever the actual insane nonsense story is that they’re gonna try to sell me on someday. But as much as Anakin wants to go save him, he was given instructions to stay put! And this time Anakin actually wants to follow directions!
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Padme, determined, is like PFFT FINE, then I’m going to go save him — and you’re just gonna have to come along for the ride if you’re gonna protect me, Skywalker. At this, Anakin makes this DELIGHTED face of “…sweet: you love him, too. Good to know!” as they head off. Yes, Padme and Anakin have some important things in common.

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“…niiiiice.”

Recurring Theme: My Ridiculously Circuitous Plan Is One-Quarter Complete

Back at Palpatine HQ, the group is discussing What All Of This Means. Now that they know that the Separatists are banding together and they have Count Dooku and a robot army, the Republic is really gonna need that Clone Army that someone who is possibly dead Under Mysterious Circumstances signed for without telling anyone. But the Senate is never going to be OK with them using a gigantic army without being attacked first! Oh no! Whatever will they do!?
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Ah ha! They’ll just have to vote to give Palpatine a bunch of emergency powers for Vague Reasons, and then Palpatine will commission the army on his own! Easy peasy!

Vote Palpatine!

I have to give our friend Sidious this: his whole universe-takeover plan is WAY more detailed and interesting and thought-out than most Insane Villain Takeover Plans, which usually involve stuff like “1. Steal the sun, 2. ????, 3. Profit”, or are just sort of thinly-veiled excuses to confront/flirt with their superhero nemesis or whatever. He’s put a lot of love and care into this plan to enslave the galaxy, and I feel like I need to recognize hard work when I see it.

Palpatine frets because he’s just so very very worried about everyone: that all sounds well and good, but what kind of Senator would be brave enough to propose something as ill-advised as giving additional powers to a Supervillain who’s hiding in plain sight?

Mas Amedda laments: oh, if only Senator Amidala was here. Right. Because Padme would be all about helping to form a dictatorship. Jar Jar sits there, listening to this all with a face of concern and sadness. NO JAR JAR DON’T DO IT THESE DUDES ARE ASSHOLES.
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Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, World’s Handsomest Hostage

On Geonosis, Obi-Wan finds himself once again being held hostage by the bad guys. Get used to it, Obes, because about 45% of your life for the next few years is going to be spent as a hostage of one villain or another.
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Dooku comes swooshing cape-ily in, as required as part of their shared ridiculous Jedi lineage, and is like OH MY WHAT A TERRIBLE MIX UP YOU SHOULDN’T BE A HOSTAGE OBI-WAN!
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Obi-Wan is outrageously peeved by all of this: sure, right, you had nothing to do with this. Whatever. Just set me free soon so that I can get a move on. I have a lot of stuff on my plate right now, Dooku!

Dooku is like “sure, sure, I’ll get right on that: but also WTF are you doing here in the first place? Just curious.”
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Obi-Wan tells him, as he’s told about 73 different people now, that he’s tracking a bounty hunter named Jango Fett LIKE WATCH THE REST OF THE MOVIE OK DOOKU???

Dooku insists: nope, no bounty hunters here! You must be confused. The Geonosians don’t trust bounty hunters so they’re not allowed here! Um, OK, but it’s not like Jango or Obi-Wan had to go through customs to land on this planet and be quizzed about their job title, Dooku.

Obi-Wan snarks back that nobody could blame them for not trusting bounty hunters, but the fact remains that Jango is totally here.

Recurring Theme: Count Dooku, Dropping Crumbs of Truth

Dooku then starts waxing on about how he’s sad that his path never crossed with Obi-Wan’s before, since Qui-Gon had high praise for him. Wow. Really? These two NEVER met before? In all that time, Qui-Gon never invited Cranky Grandpa over for tea? No wonder he’s so angry at the Jedi. It’s just full of disappointing kids who never call.
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He tells Obi-Wan that he wishes Qui-Gon hadn’t died, because he could use his help right about now. Obi-Wan, through gritted teeth, is like DON’T EVEN GO THERE ABOUT MY DEAD DAD. He’d never join you! He was a Jedi, like his father before him, until that father became evil! (Same old song and dance, amirite?)

Dooku smirks all don’t-be-so-sure. Qui-Gon and I both totally thought the Senate was full of corrupt assholes, and Qui-Gon wouldn’t have gone along with them if he’d known just how bad it’s gotten. You see, Young Kenobes, Dooku’s learned a Terrible Truth: the Republic is now under the control of Dahhhhhk Lord of the Sith — some guy named Darth Sidious! DUN DUN DUUUUUUN!

A Sith? In My Senate?

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Obi-Wan summarily dismisses this: nah, the Jedi would OBVIOUSLY see if something that OBVIOUS was OBVIOUSLY right under their noses! I guess Obi-Wan’s forgotten what universe he’s in. Dooku tells him that the Dark Side’s clouding everyone’s vision, and that Nute Gunray and the Trade Federation Guys were once in league with this Sidious guy, but Sidious betrayed them and so they sought out Dooku for help and told him the whole sordid story and now Dooku’s like totally trying to save the Republic from itself by becoming the leader of the Separatists. That sounds pretty fake, Dooku, but OK.

Dooku presents Obi-Wan with an opportunity: you could join me! And we could destroy the Sith together! Ha, I love how every Sith is just constantly looking to buddy up with someone so that they can ice the guy who funded their education at Sith University. Ungrateful!

Unsurprisingly, Obi-Wan rejects this offer, and Dooku bitchily intimates that it may be difficult to secure his release.

Recurring Theme: Someone Thinks They’re Trying To Help Padme But Ends Up Causing The End of the Universe Instead By Accident

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We’re back in the Crazy Senate Room now, and lo and behold: there’s Jar Jar, doing what he thinks Padme would want by proposing that the Senate give Palpatine a company credit card with no limit for which he does not need to provide expense reports. Now, lest we heap all of this on Jar Jar, I’d like to point out that it doesn’t really seem like the Senate needed all that much convincing, since the chambers break out in cheers.

Palpatine takes the podium and falls all over himself about how VERY MUCH he loves the Republic and he so didn’t WANT it to come to this and he’ll totally just take a teeeeeeny tiny bit of emergency powers and then totally give them right back just like every ruler ever has. Sigh.
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…and with that, he’s just gotten a super great idea: let’s commission the creation of a Grand Army of the Republic! OK, hahahaha: so recall that the clones are going to show up and help the Jedi out at the end of this movie. So, like, later this afternoon. Does NOBODY during the entire war ever leak the fact the army Palpatine JUST commissioned like half an hour ago showed up BATTLE READY on Geonosis? LOL. This is absolutely consistent with how everything goes in this galaxy. Man, I love Star Wars.
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Mace and Yoda are less than upbeat about this whole thing. Mace sighs that he’ll get a Jedi Posse together and go help Obi-Wan on Geonosis, and Yoda says he’s gonna swing by Kamino and take a peek at this Clone Army for himself.
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Recurring Theme: Padme Amidala, In Charge Of Security Here

Padme and Anakin arrive on Geonosis, and as soon as they do Padme starts barking out orders: let her do the talking (in her defense, she has seen what happens when you let Anakin ramble nervously) and maybe they can find a diplomatic solution.

I love that she busts out a HUGE WOOLY SHAWL for this part, like, YOU ARE GOING TO ANOTHER DESERT AND YOU KNOW YOU MIGHT GET SHOT AT. WHY IS AN ENORMOUS SHAWL NECESSARY (oh right, because it’s Padme.) Anakin sighs that he’s given up trying to argue with her. I wouldn’t mess with Princess Leia’s mom, either, Skywalker. The two of them sneak off into a Dark and Mysterious Building.
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Back on the ship, Threepio and Artoo have one of their earliest marital spats about whether or not they should go help Anakin and Padme.

…naturally, Anakin and Padme’s Journey Through a Scary Dark Tunnel Lined With Gigantic Insectoid Aliens takes a turn for the worse, and Anakin springs into day-saving action…
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Looks like the Skywalkers have found themselves some trouble, for neither the first nor remotely last time! That’s a wrap for this edition of This Is What Happens When You Split Up Obi-Wan and Anakin Even For Part of an Afternoon — next time, we’ll see the Famous Droid Foundries up close and personal, and Padme, Anakin and Obi-Wan’s threesome does not go as Anakin probably hoped. Thanks for joining me!