The Clone Wars, Season 1, Episode 17: Blue Shadow Virus
Hello again, dear readers! As a token of my gratitude to you for your patience between entries these days, today we return to the crazy world of the crazy Clone Wars, and boy oh boy, as usual, it doesn’t disappoint in the Wackiness department. I’ve seen today’s episode roughly 9 trillion times, because it is a favorite of my oldest child (and let me tell you, you have not ever really Star Warsed if you haven’t experienced it with a small child. It is the most refreshing nerdy experience. It will cleanse your palate of all “Well ACTUALLY”/”ruined my childhood”/”the Force doesn’t work that way”/”THANKS Disney”/”George Lucas is dead to me”/”people don’t talk that way”/”why didn’t they just [whatever]?” Discourse you’ve ever had to endure.)
So, here we are, back in Season 1 of this endlessly fun and deeply weird TV series — and if you thought we’d checked every box off the “cartoonishly silly” checklist before with the zombies, Sith ghost Force hallucinations, giant aerial jumps and wicked cackling we’ve previously seen (to say nothing of whatever the hell happened on Mortis,) well, I am pleased to inform you that today’s adventure contains an actual mad scientist. Also Padme makes some impulsive choices and Anakin is concerned that she’s going to die in this arc, so, rest assured that while we are introducing some new elements here, we’re not straying too far from the essentials.
OK! Put on a bio-hazard suit and let’s dive in!
Recurring Theme: The Hangar of Destiny
Voiceover Recap Guy yells at us about how the Separatists are on the move in Naboo — the good people of Padme’s home planet have spotted some battle droids out and about, and now everyone’s all concerned that Naboo’s about to become a hotbed of political strife yet again. Also there is a Shadowy Threat looming (shocker!) that they don’t even know about yet! Not to worry, though, because we have these three coming to Naboo’s aid:
LOL. Sure. The woman who married Anakin Skywalker after knowing him for 45 minutes, 15 of which included him committing mass-murder, the galaxy’s most anxious robot, and Jar Jar. I feel great about this plan already!
They land in The Hangar of Destiny, which I am a little disappointed does not just constantly have Duel of the Fates blasting in the background:
Padme, who it goes without saying is dressed in something that doesn’t necessarily seem super practical for work, bolts out of her ship and asks the Queen if they’ve spotted any more droids.
The queen confirms that they haven’t, and then is like “You’ve GOTTA tell whoever is in charge of this terrible war to help us!” YEAH GEE I WONDER WHO THAT COULD BE.
Padme says that just a few battle droids won’t be enough to convince anybody of anything. OK, but like…it’s still pretty damn suspicious, no? Battle droids don’t just appear out of thin air on their own, do they? Where do they think these are coming from if not the Separatists? Did Hondo just steal some and let them loose on various planets just to fuck with the Jedi? (I mean, that WOULD be something he’d do.)
Anyways, Captain Typho is informed that they have done some analysis on one of the droids, and the group leaves to see what’s up with that.
C-3PO, Definitely Built by Anakin Skywalker
So they go into a room where these droids are laying around, and while Jar Jar gets distracted by some kind of insect, they start slicing open one of the droids’ heads, and Threepio is like AGGGGGHHHHHH ANXIETY ATTACK and tells Padme he’s outta here:
Padme denies his request and he’s all discombobulated by this, and then the droid sits straight up and just…look at Threepio:
How did Anakin manage to program in THIS MUCH of his own anxiety and inclination towards freaking out into a robot at AGE NINE?! He really was the Chosen One. I am impressed.
Padme gently encourages Threepio to shake some info out of this droid, which he does by pretending that they’re on a Separatist ship:
The droid spills that he had been carrying some kind of virus…but it got out! And no one can know about the Secret Lab on Naboo!
Naturally, Hijinks ensue as Jar Jar continues to pursue the insect he’d spotted because he wants to eat it, and just as the droid is starting to clue into their ruse, Jar Jar falls over and basically trashes the place, squishing the droid as a result.
I love that the good guys in Star Wars have prevented things from working out almost as much as they’ve actually helped a situation.
Padme spies the bug:
Jar Jar is like yes! And it had a certain type of mud on it, just like the droids did, and Padme is like AH HA! THE EASTERN SWAMPS!
Recurring Theme: Padme Amidala, Girl After My Own Heart
Hahahahaha, ohhhkay, so now the gang is on a holo-Skype with Yoda and Mace, who are being informed that there is clearly some kind of Plot afoot here on Naboo. I sincerely love how absolutely fucking DONE these two ALWAYS look on these calls. I can’t say I blame them. I wouldn’t want to be in charge of, or put up with, most of the people in this galaxy either.
So they’re asked to get the Jedi involved, and Yoda is like “OK fine, I guess you can have two Jedi, Padme,” and LOL FOREVER YOU WILL JUST NEVER EVER GUESS WHO SHE IMMEDIATELY PICKS:
I take back what I said: sure, Padme has made some questionable choices in her life, but also I WHOLEHEARTEDLY SUPPORT THIS. This is exactly what I would have done in her shoes: what’s that, Master Yoda? I can pick any two Jedi I want?! GEE LEMME THINK REALLY LONG AND HARD ABOUT THIS ONE JUST KIDDING GET THOSE TWO HANDSOME IDIOTS OVER HERE POSTHASTE. I don’t even care if they’re the right dorks for the job! They don’t even have to do anything except stand over here in front of this wind machine I have for normal reasons!
Hilariously, Padme’s justification for specifically requesting Team Handsome is that the Gungans love Obi-Wan. She provides no rationale for why Anakin needs to be the other Jedi they send, which means that everyone involved in this discussion just sort of assumes that if you request Obi-Wan, Anakin is going to come along whether you want him there or not. (And/or everyone has accepted that Padme wanted Anakin there because EVERYONE IN THE ENTIRE GALAXY KNOWS THEY ARE SEXING EACH OTHER, given that they are the least-subtle secret couple ever.)
Mace and Yoda kind of glance at each other and are like “FINE, Amidala: deal. Please allow 1 business day for your Hot Hair Gift Basket to arrive. Make sure someone’s home between 9 and noon to sign for them!”
Padme is like “nice: so, before those two doofuses get here, I want as much info as we can get.” She order Typho and the queen to have Threepio try to download any more info off the droids they have, while she and Jar Jar go and look for the lab. Yes, Padme, by all means: please go put yourself in mortal peril before Anakin gets here so that he can be sure to have a heart attack as soon as he arrives. Wouldn’t want him to have even one day of his life where he’s not panicking about your impending demise!
Typho is like “uh, are you sure that is a smart decision?” as she takes off, and honestly, dude: you’ve known Padme a long-ass time. You know she’s going to do something dangerous. Why even waste your breath anymore?
Padme Amidala, CDC Representative
We find a gungan, Peppi Bow, over by the side of a river with a bunch of those giant space potato animals from Attack of the Clones which I am too lazy to go look up. The animals drink the water and immediately it becomes clear that something is Very Wrong Indeed: they all start keeling over!
Padme and Jar Jar arrive, wearing hazmat suits. They have a chat with Peppi, who tells them whatever is making the animals die is in the water. They’ll want to follow the river down to the trees where Padme thinks the virus is coming from.
So there’s Padme and Jar Jar, walking through the forest, and she says this:
Well, that shouldn’t take long! This is Star Wars, after all. Give it a few minutes and something impossibly weird is bound to show up.
Dr. Vindi, Gonna Fit Right In Around Here
The two of them uncover a hatch in the forest floor, and while they try to determine how to get in, their arrival is noted from down below by one Dr. Vindi, who is HI-LARIOUS:
It’s important that you know that this guy has an absolutely ridiculous Evil Cartoon Scientist Accent as well. Star Wars was not even going to attempt to be subtle about this character in any way, shape, or form here.
Just after Padme gets coordinates over to Typho, they’re taken hostage by some battle droids and brought underground to meet the doctor himself.
Recurring Theme: Go Evil To Defeat Evil
Down below in Vindi’s lab, Padme and Jar Jar get the scoop: the Separatists have recruited this unstable person (that…seems to be a thing with them, though in fairness it’s not like the Republic’s really doing much better in that regard,) to re-awaken the Blue Shadow Virus:
Padme is like BUT BUT I THOUGHT THAT WAS EXTINCT!! Ah, he notes: yes, it WAS! But now he’s brought it back to life! For Reasons!
He informs them both that the virus USED to only be able to live in water, but thanks to his Mad Scientist Lab, he’s fixed that little issue! Behold, it can be carried in the air now!
LOL. Shocking it with electricity makes it airborne? I don’t think the science here checks out, guys, but whatever. I suppose the rules are different for a batshit universe like this one.
Padme and Jar Jar are not impressed:
Naturally, this gives Vindi the chance to be the 600,000th person in Star Wars who is about to do something terrible that will end up killing a lot of innocent people to be like BUT WHO’S THE REAL EVIL HERE, HMMM? Probably the Jedi or whatever and definitely not me, an obviously deranged person!
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Calm Rational Person Who Has His Life Together
Yay! We’re back at the Hangar of Destiny, and the space family’s here! Awww, I love that Obi-Wan and Anakin were such devoted participants in Take Your Daughter to Work Day. I also love that Anakin hasn’t even stepped off the ship yet and he already looks pissed off, possibly because he’s worried about Padme, and possibly because you know that he and Obi-Wan bickered the entire fucking way over here and he’s still angry that they didn’t stop for ice cream.
Typho does not even get to finish ONE SENTENCE before Anakin is like WHERE THE ABSOLUTE FUCK IS PADME:
Typho says Padme left to look for the lab, and Anakin is like WHO AUTHORIZED THIS I DIDN’T AUTHORIZE THIS WHERE IS SHE OH MY GOD, and Threepio, somehow The Voice of Reason here, is like “…well, you know how that one is: can’t talk her out of anything, whether it’s risking her life to save her people or making a risky move in the Senate or something ill-advised like sleeping with you, Skywalker.” (OK fine, I may be embellishing.)
Anakin is like “oh, right, forgot about that”:
Recurring Theme: Hilarity Thy Name Is Star Wars
Peppi is there, and she tells the gang that Padme and Jar Jar went to go look for what was sickening her livestock. Anakin tells Ahsoka to go with Peppi to find the lab site, and Ahsoka adorably is like A+ YES YOU’VE GOT IT MASTER in this SUPER spunky tone of voice.
As soon as she’s out of earshot Anakin goes all HOW DARE YOU NOT GO AFTER PADME, and Typho’s like “we thought it was better to wait for you now that we have some more Important Plot Information”. Please, enjoy this reaction shot from Team Handsome:
We cut to the droid examining room or whatever this is, and Typho proclaims that they did a “robo-lobotomy” on the droids. LOL. Good Lord, this show.
So they bring up what they found from one of these, uh, robo-lobotomies, and there’s Vindi again, spilling the details of this Evil Plan in highly entertaining fashion:
My favorite part of this sequence is that our heroes have just learned that an evil mad scientist is hell bent on infecting the entire galaxy with a deadly virus, and Obi-Wan is like “well, that sucks”:
I feel like this is a testament to how horrible this guy’s life already is that like, he seems concerned, but is also pretty much taking the angle of “…OK, guess we have to deal with this other potentially universe-ending thing now, SIGH. Clear my afternoon. I guess it’s not like I was going to have time to catch up on my Netflix queue anytime soon anyways.”
Recurring Theme: These Two
So they all blahblahblah a bit more about the location of the bombs in Vindi’s secret lab, and Obi-Wan is like “we’ve gotta get over there and blow shit up”, and Anakin predictably is like BUT WHAT IF PADME GETS KILLED, which is both amusing and depressing as hell because Obi-Wan replies with something like “better that people die on just this one planet than throughout the entire universe” and it’s like, whyyyyyy do we have to keep having this conversation, Anakin?
Ahsoka and Peppi have followed Padme and Jar Jar’s tracks to the site of the secret lab, and they hunker down as Dr. Vindi’s Ring doorbell tries to spot them.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Better At This Than You
The boys, meanwhile, are just chilling out in the Hangar of Destiny, and I’ve gotta ask: did neither of them feel compelled to be like “…so: here’s where all this bullshit really kinda started for us, huh?” HAVE YOU NO SENSE OF NOSTALGIA, GUYS?!
Anakin can’t reminisce right now, because his brain is too busy overheating because AKSJLKNDKSBDKJSDGSJKDBASJKBKAJBS WHERE ARE THEY OMFG:
Obi-Wan does his usual “chill the fuck out, Ahhhhnakin” routine and smirkily says that Anakin “seems a bit on edge”. NO, Kenobi. Anakin has never been JUST a “bit” on edge, OK? AND YOU KNOW IT. Anakin has never been just a “bit” ANYTHING.
Anakin does that thing that I have definitely never personally done and is like “UM A LOT OF BAD THINGS COULD HAPPEN SO YES YES I AM VERY CONCERNED WHY ARE YOU NOT PANICKING”:
Obi-Wan, who probably needs a hug more than usual because he’s one room over from where he watched his dad get murdered in front of his face and the site of Maul’s First Death, just sort of shrugs and is like “I’m better at holding it together?” This is 10000% me and my husband. I feel such deja vu, and I should note that I always feel very uneasy when I’m like “yep, I am Anakin Skywalker right now.”
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Won’t Let You Die Unless He’s the One Killing You
Ahsoka comms over to her dads and tells them she found the lab and thinks Padme’s inside. Obi-Wan tells her that he wants her to blow up the bunker with the bombs in it, in part to cause a diversion. Ahsoka looks WAY too pleased about all of this, hahaha:
…well, at least someone’s having fun on this field trip!
The boys head for their ships to go rendezvous with Ahsoka, and Obi-Wan takes a moment to remind Anakin about his job and the fact that one person’s life is not more important than the lives of the billions of people that are at stake here, even if said person does have nice-smelling hair and is one of the only people willing to put up with Anakin on a regular basis:
Anakin is pretty much already having a personal crisis here, and then is like DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO:
…so, great. Seems like he’s got everything under control. Just look at that face. He’s gonna tackle this with a level head for sure.
Recurring Theme: The Trifecta of Badassery
AHHH. OK, so back at the lab site, Ahsoka first gently sends a bomb over the bunker with the Force and blows it up:
THEN, she dives down into a fiery abyss, lands inside a hallway of the underground lab, and does this:
THEN, Obi-Wan follows suit, leaping from a ship in midair:
THEN, Anakin, not to be outdone here, rounds things out for us:
DEAR LORD. Look at them all! What a family! They’re amazing. God.
Ahsoka and Rex lead a charge to hold off a ton of droids in a hallway, and Ahsoka is FAR MORE AMAZING THAN ANY TEENAGER HAS A RIGHT TO BE:
Anakin, meanwhile, makes his way into the chamber where Padme is being held, where he immediately caves to Dr. Crazypants’ demands because Oh No Padme:
Ahsoka starts to reach a point where things aren’t looking so good for her…
…and THEN THE DAMN CEILING CAVES IN AND THIS HAPPENS:
HAHAHAHAHA. THE POSE. THE SASS. The fact that he SHOWED UP ON TOP OF A GIANT CHUNK OF RUBBLE. I cannot handle Obi-Wan Kenobi AT ALL.
Ahsoka, like me, is delighted to see him.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Believes Own Hype Sometimes
This episode’s Action Sequence, which follows, is a DAMN DELIGHT, and I encourage you to watch it in full. Some highlights:
- Anakin is presented with the choice of Helping His Loved Ones or Stopping The Evil Guy for probably not even the tenth time this week. First, Vindi is like here’s the deal:
Anakin, hilariously, is like SURE:
Vindi’s like, nah: I’m gonna go with the Skywalker Special:
- I know no one saw this coming, but Anakin chooses to save Padme!
- Obi-Wan and the clones have to deactivate a gigantic room full of bombs While the Countdown Begins:
- Obi-Wan doesn’t even really have to guess whether or not Anakin chose to get the bad guy or save Padme — but hey! We get some Banter out of the deal at least:
Anakin Skywalker, Sometimes Into Doing His Job
Eventually they realize they’re one bomb short, and they need to find where it headed off to: Padme might have an idea!
The group then have to split up in different directions to find both the Mad Scientist and the bomb, which I was surprised about only because I cannot believe that Anakin allowed Padme out of his sight for even 5 minutes:
Anakin tears off after Vindi and really gets into it with the posing and Heroic Statements:
Vindi makes a break for it, which prompts Anakin to call Obi-Wan like he always does whenever anything happens to him:
Obi-Wan responds as he usually does as well:
Padme and Jar Jar end up finding the droid in question in what appears to be Dr. Vindi’s grow room, and manage to pry the bomb from his tiny hands:
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Fucking Glorious Space Wizard
The boys, backed up by some of the clones, chase Vindi to some kind of platform thing (OF COURSE) and Vindi start lobbing vials of Liquid Death at them, prompting Obi-Wan to HURL HIMSELF BACKWARDS AND COLLECT SAID VIALS IN MIDAIR BEFORE LANDING while his little Jedi dress billows around in the air:
Recurring Theme: Ahsoka Tano, Totally Knows
Vindi tries to make his dramatic escape, but the bombs are all deactivated JUST in the nick of time (how else?), including the last bomb — the one Padme and Jar Jar found — thanks to Teamwork!
His plan is foiled! The day is saved! Anakin gets to stand around handsomely while yelling at people!
Anakin comms over to Ahsoka, primarily so that he can be like HOW IS PADME, to which Ahsoka wonderfully is like “Yeah, she’s fine, AND ALSO I, AN ACTUAL CHILD WHO IS IN YOUR CARE, AM OK TOO THANKS”:
I love that Anakin doesn’t even acknowledge this. Again: this marriage is the worst-kept secret ever. I’m not surprised, because it’s not like I really think Anakin is going to be good at being subtle about anything, but STILL. Seriously, people.
Aaaaanyways, the boys stand there like the complete and absolute nerds they are, looking extremely pleased with themselves. We’re iris-wiped away to the credits, and yet another Space Family Adventure comes to a close. Don’t worry, though: we’re not quite done with this Blue Shadow Virus business just yet! Join me next time, when — just to change things up a bit — Anakin will be worried about Padme, and someone probably does a bunch of giant Force jumps or something. Til next time!