Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Part IV)
Readers! It’s been ages! I apologize for my lax updating as of late; I have been bombarded by travel and Real Life Commitments
and trying not to die of Election Season-Related Anxiety on an hourly basis. But I’m here! I’m alive! And I’m going to recap some more of this craziness, because I love you, and also Star Wars.
Let’s remind ourselves (OK, let ME remind MYSELF) of where we were when we left off here in Wacky Spaceland: Space Wizard/Poncho Fan Qui-Gon Jinn had been having himself one hell of a weird day at work. He and his Padawan, Space Babe/Terrible Haircut-Haver Obi-Wan Kenobi, had shown up near Naboo to do Normal Jedi Stuff like blather on about trade routes and con people into buying them free drinks, but instead had ended up doing the, uh, other Normal Jedi Stuff, namely getting almost murdered a couple of times, and then somehow ending up making weird new friends, including a teenage girl who’s 100% ready to fight.
The gang had found themselves having to pull over on Tatooine (“You’ll Never Get the Sand Out of Your Hair, Or Your Heart”), where Qui-Gon, Padme and Jar Jar had run across a tiny forceling by the name of Anakin Skywalker. Anakin immediately bonded with them, and is probably already working out the details of his eventual marriage to Padme in his head. Obi-Wan, meanwhile, stayed back on their ship with a bunch of teenage girls, whom I am very jealous of.
During this little side-trip to Sandsville, Qui-Gon had made a startling discovery about young Anakin, namely that he might be God. (Or, as it turns out, possibly created by Space Satan, but that’s later, so we won’t worry about that for now.) There wasn’t time to sit around and reflect on whether or not running across Anakin was a good thing, or the absolute worst thing ever, though, because the group — like everyone — needs to get the fuck off Tatooine ASAP. Padme needs to get to Coruscant so that she can get help from the ever-reliable Galactic Senate! Qui-Gon needs to wash his poncho! Obi-Wan is probably very tired of fending off swooning handmaidens by now!
Given their broken ship, and lack of funds with which to buy the necessary parts (and because of the various ridiculous things I pointed out in the last entry), the gang ended up solving their financial problems by entering a small child in a race that absolutely could have killed him, and betting on his success. And remarkably, Anakin not only managed to not die, he won! Yes, Qui-Gon won his bet, and will get the parts they need! The day is temporarily partially saved!
Complicating things now, though, is the fact that Qui-Gon tacked a rider onto his bet with Watto — and now, unbeknownst to Anakin, Anakin is no longer a slave. What will our young, supernaturally-gifted friend do with his newfound freedom — spend a few days just catching up on TV? Enroll in the 3rd grade? Or will he leave the sandbox behind to seek his destiny, and cross paths with his other other half? Why, we’ll just have to find out! Right then, follow me through this door here…
Qui-Gon Jinn, Not Having This Shit
With the race completed and Anakin victorious, Watto is not happy. About any of this. He’s lost everything! This is some bullshit! It’s not fair! (Dude, please stop stealing all of Anakin’s lines.)
Hilariously, Qui-Gon just sort of stands there for a minute all DID I STUTTER?
…why, maybe Watto would like to take this up with the Hutts? Hmm? How’s that sound?
Watto, as you’re a slave owner and a general creep, I’m not super concerned about your feelings here, but also maybe don’t be too put out about not having to deal with Anakin Skywalker anymore. You may have ended up coming out ahead after all.
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Probably Gonna Feel Bad About This Later (But Not That Much)
So the gang goes back to the ship! Where Obi-Wan is! He still looks pretty grossed out by Tatooine!
Qui-Gon, riding on a space camel, tells Obi-Wan they’ve got the parts they need and everything’s good but also? He’s got just one teeeeeeny other thing he has to go take care of first. At this, Obi-Wan is like oh Jesus, what the hell is this man up to this time?, and says the following:
HAHAHA. Yes, Obi-Wan hasn’t even met Anakin yet and he’s dragging him.
He instructs Obi-Wan to install the hyperdrive whateverthingy, and Obi-Wan agrees to do so, looking VERY WARY INDEED.
Obes, let me tell you, as someone who has witnessed the rest of your life: you SHOULD be wary. Now might be a good time to go ring up Satine and see if you can’t still leave the Order for her. You’ll probably end up dead anyways, but at least you’ll be more well-dressed before it happens?
Qui-Gon Jinn, Bearer of a Mixed Bag of News
Qui-Gon walks with Anakin to Skywalker Ranch, and hands him a fat stack of cash:
Anakin is like WHAT??? SWEET, probably immediately thinking about how many anxious robots he’ll be able to make with this kind of scratch, and Shmi is equally delighted:
…and that’s when Qui-Gon drops a bombshell on them:
Anakin does that thing he does where his brain kinda overloads (not for the last time) and he’s like EXCUSE ME???? Shmi looks overwhelmed, as one might expect, but tells Anakin:
Um. Lady, have you SEEN Anakin’s dreams?! Shmi Skywalker is the one parent whom I will unreservedly advise NOT to tell their child to “make their dreams come true”. The worst part is that, in Revenge of the Sith for example, ANAKIN ACTUALLY DOES DO THIS. HE MAKES HIS DREAMS COME TRUE. AND EVERYONE DIES AND DEMOCRACY IS DESTROYED AND SATAN GETS INSTALLED AS PRESIDENT FOR LIFE. Geez, Star Wars, way to make me feel all kinds of conflicted ways about a mom being nice to her kid.
Qui-Gon Jinn, Just Making Shit Up As He Goes Along
All right, so Shmi is all “climb ev’ry mountain” at Anakin here, and asks Qui-Gon if he’ll take Anakin with him: is he going to become a Jedi? And I laugh, because Qui-Gon instantly says yes.
LOL. Who the fuck do you think you are, Jinn? You don’t get to just unilaterally declare that someone gets to be a Jedi, especially when you KNOW said person is already probably not an ideal candidate for several reasons! I know it’s that Qui-Gon is just so dazzled by Anakin’s Jedi Cholesterol Test Results that he’s made up his mind that no matter WHAT, Anakin HAS to be a Jedi, but still. Sure, dude. Don’t even bother to run it past literally even one single other Jedi or anything. It’s not like, say, training Anakin could indirectly end up killing them all or anything HA HA HA HA. HA. Oh, we have fun here in Star Wars.
Anakin, of course, has no idea how much this dude is just winging it, so he’s totally impressed: HOLY SHIT! He’s gonna get to go with QUI-GON?? IN A SPACESHIP???? Damn, kid: just wait til you see who’s ON the ship! Your tiny head is gonna explode.
Recurring Theme: Let’s Let a Kid Decide Something That Might Have Far-Reaching Galactic Consequences
Qui-Gon levels with Anakin: this Jedi shit ain’t easy, OK little buddy?
Yeah, like, sometimes when you’re a Jedi, your best friend betrays you and then you end up having to live here, for example!
Anakin is unfazed: NOPE, he super wants to be a Jedi! Can he go, Mom? CAN HE CAN HE CAN HE??
Shmi tells Anakin that this is his decision:
I admire everyone’s commitment to letting Anakin make his own choices here, because that is a very caring and respectful thing to do, but since it’s Anakin, I’m just over here going “this is a terrible idea, nooooo, please someone else make Anakin’s decisions for him HE’S SO BAD AT DECISIONS YOU GUYS”.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Didn’t Think This All The Way Through
Anakin is like SOLD! and cheers as he runs off to pack his bags, before suddenly realizing that he hasn’t considered this from all angles: what about his mom?
Qui-Gon explains that he tried to free both Anakin and Shmi, but he was not able to.
I will spare you all my seven-paragraph rant about why this is very important to note, but I will not because that is not how this blog rolls. This blog is really ultimately about two things, and two things only: making fun of Anakin, and making fun of Obi-Wan. AS IT SHOULD BE.
Ahem! Right, so, Qui-Gon tried to free Shmi, too, but could only manage to free Anakin. This means that no, she won’t be coming with them to Coruscant.
In Which Star Wars Personally Attacks Me
Oh, boy, is this scene the business. With the knowledge that his mother isn’t free, Anakin presses — she’s coming with us, right?
Shmi delivers some Major Plot Points for us in the form of explaining to Anakin that her place is here, her future is here:
Spoiler alert: Anakin is fucking terrible at this. Like, it is NOT featured on his resume.
Anakin protests: but he fears change!
Man, I feel you, pumpkin. I’ve been there. Accepting shit you can’t change, or accepting shit that changes, IS REALLY HARD. But it’s life. And you’ve gotta try and be zen about it.
Qui-Gon Jinn, Breaking My Heart
With that, Shmi sends Anakin off to his room. After he’s gone, she thanks Qui-Gon:
Then Qui-Gon makes a promise that it turns out he won’t be able to keep (…OR WILL HE? FROM BEYOOOOOND THE GRAAAAVE?):
And, touchingly, he worries for her:
Look, please know it is taking 100% of my self-control to not let this devolve into another “PLEASE LOOK AT HOW A JEDI WAS CARING AND COMPASSIONATE TOWARDS SOMEONE AND NOT, ACTUALLY, COLD AND HORRIBLE.” I’m just…you’re welcome, OK? You are welcome.
Anyways — Shmi indicates that she will, in fact, be OK, and we cut back over to Anakin for some more heartwarming stuff.
Recurring Theme: I Love This Part
In his bedroom, Anakin flips on Threepio to bid his farewells:
I love that Lucas shot this from the droid’s perspective, for a lot of reasons. This is such an important moment! Look how teeny Anakin is, and look how excited he is and OH GOD IT’S ALL GONNA GO SO HORRIBLY WRONG.
Recurring Theme: Fond Farewell
Oh man, the FEELS. As a general rule, I strongly dislike people who play the “as a MOM, I have Feelings that other people could never EVER have because I’m so special for being a MOMMY” , but I would be lying if I said that this bit isn’t just a bit harder to watch now that I have kids.
Anakin and Qui-Gon are starting to make their departure, when Anakin freezes:
He runs back to Shmi, and they say their nearly-last goodbyes:
Recurring Theme: Darth Maul, Looking for a Fight
The probe droid Maul sent out reports back to him, and he hops on a speeder bike and sets off into the sand:
…and it’s at that moment that Qui-Gon and Anakin are racing towards Padme’s ship:
I know they’re in a hurry and stuff, but it’s kinda cracking me up that they’re running like they’re being chased. Maybe Anakin had to pee really bad, in which case, I’ve been there, Qui-Gon.
Ah ha, but they WERE being pursued! By Darth Maul!
OK, one: I am laughing that this is pretty much the MAX amount of time Anakin and Maul ever spend together. For two people whose lives were heavily involved in ruining the galaxy, they really managed to stay out of each other’s ways. (I’m still a little sad that it wasn’t Vader who killed Maul. Don’t get me wrong, I thought his end was well-done and I’m glad Star Wars finally threw Obi-Wan a bone, but there’d have been something Emotional about Vader taking him down, too. I digress.) Two: it amuses me greatly that Qui-Gon and Maul just INSTANTLY fly into full saber combat:
…like, they haven’t run across a Sith in 80 billion years, and Qui-Gon’s just like, READY TO DANCE. Yeah yeah, Jedi reflexes and all, but still. Color me impressed.
When We Woke Up That Morning We Had No Way of Knowing, That In a Matter of Hours We’d Change the Way We Were Going
Anakin bolts into the ship as Qui-Gon and Maul duke it out, and I laugh because as soon as Obi-Wan is informed that Qui-Gon’s in trouble, he says this:
LOL. I know, I know, it’s because they’re gonna fly over to him but I always crack up thinking that Obi-Wan was just like “…Qui-Gon’s in trouble? LET’S FLEE.”
Qui-Gon manages to fling himself onto the ship, so that he can carry on the proud tradition of Jedi Masters running away from shit:
Once on board, Qui-Gon gets the extreme privilege of being the first person to bear witness to the future Team Handsome bolting into a room all dramatically:
LOOK AT MY BABIES. LOOK AT THEM THEY ARE SO TINY AND CUTE. I was going to also say “…and nothing bad has happened to them yet”, but, uh, Anakin was a child slave until like 15 minutes ago, and I don’t know all of Obi-Wan’s canon backstory yet but I’m just gonna go out on a limb and say it was probably terrible. Seems like a safe bet.
While Obi-Wan asks Qui-Gon about what happened and what just attacked him (oh Obes, you don’t even wanna know), I die a thousand deaths because ANAKIN. Anakin is just sitting there listening to this and doing double-takes back at Obi-Wan.
What is going ON in his teeny brain? Was he just Force-slapped in the face with like “oh SHIT, there he is, my Other Half of a Single Warrior?” Can he even begin to comprehend how much his life has changed simply by WALKING INTO A ROOM THAT CONTAINED OBI-WAN? And he just met Padme, like, yesterday! Anakin’s mind must be more overloaded than usual. This is a lot for him to have to cope with all at once.
So Qui-Gon is like “I dunno who that guy was, but I bet he was after the queen”, and Anakin, in response, is like GOLLY QUI-GON WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO? and I die all over again at Obi-Wan looking at Anakin here:
LOL. His face. “Who is this tiny person and WHY DOES MY HEAD HURT SO MUCH?”
Recurring Theme: Anakin Loves Obi-Wan
Qui-Gon replies that they’ll have to be patient and wait to find out just how horrible everything is surely about to become, and then realizes that the galaxy’s most historically significant introduction is in order. And, yes, it was necessary to include this many images here:
Well, RIP me, I guess. It was about time these two finally finished the job of ending my life. As if their little handshake here wasn’t cute enough, Anakin is SO IMPRESSED WITH OBI-WAN, like, immediately, and really WHO CAN BLAME HIM? Anakin might not have the right idea about everything, man, but when you’re right, you’re right, Skywalker. I can’t even with their faces in this entire scene. MY HEART IS WARMED AND THEN BROKEN ANEW.
Qui-Gon, probably feeling the Force doing some sort of Tilt-a-Whirl moves around these two idiots, is understandably entertained:
Recurring Theme: Won’t Somebody Please Think of Democracy?
Back on Naboo, Sio Bibble is being told by Nute Gunray that he’s gonna die, and he’s like “fraid not”, and Nute Gunray’s like “fraid so”:
…and then also a battle droid tells Gunray that they’re gonna go look for the Gungan underwater cities:
Recurring Theme: Padme Amidala, Already Has Too Much On Her Plate and Now Anakin’s Gonna Add To It
Padme, en route to Coruscant, is watching Sio Bibble’s message about how Everyone’s Gonna Die, and she looks none too happy about her options:
Over in a corner of the room is Anakin, freezing his ass off:
Padme then makes the well-intentioned but ultimately galaxy-destroying move of giving Anakin a blanket:
Well, now you’ve gone and done it, Amidala. You’ll NEVER get him out of your hair.
Anakin asks her why she seems sad, and she explains:
Anakin then hands her this:
…he explains that it will bring her good fortune, which is not accurate. Like, not even a little bit. This is such a very sweet gesture from a kind little boy, and yet I also want to encourage Padme to maybe consider hurling that thing into Mount Doom because it might be cursed.
Padme reassures Anakin that she could never forget him, and then surmises that Anakin misses his mom. He spends the entire scene looking up at her like a wounded puppy, and man, that really is Anakin Skywalker, isn’t it?
Recurring Theme: Nobody Cares About You More Than Your Wicked Uncle Palpatine
Oh THANK GOD, we’re finally back on Coruscant.
…well, shit. Great! Palpatine’s waiting for us. I’m sure glad he’s gonna be there!
Please allow me to tell you all, again, ABOUT HOW MUCH I LOVE IAN MCDIARMID. He is without question one of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT STAR WARS.
LOOK AT THIS JERK. He’s not even DOING anything but standing around smirking and I just hate his guts. God, I know I say this in every entry but YOUR FAVORITE VILLAIN COULD NEVER. He is the best, and the worst, and Star Wars can try for another hundred years and never come close to making me love a bad guy this much. BYE KYLO; YOU TRIED.
Palpatine then proceeds to engage in one of his Top 5 Favorite Things: lying to Padme (well, Sabe, but whatever). (Also in the Top 5: Lying to Anakin, Lying to Yoda, Attempting to Murder Obi-Wan, and Cackling.) Yes, he’s SO glad she and her handmaidens are OK OH GOODNESS HE WAS SO WORRIED AND DEFINITELY NOT FURIOUS THAT SHE AND THE DAMN JEDI MADE IT BACK HERE SOMEHOW.
Padme sneaks Anakin a reassuring smile while the grownups talk:
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Hates Palpatine
L O L. OK, so Valorum blathers on about how worried everyone is, and Sabe (as the Queen) is like “yeah OK great thanks for the thoughts and prayers” and Palpatine leads her away, grinning about how he’s pretty sure everything’s gonna work out just fine:
I immediately laugh, because as they depart we cut to Obi-Wan, who is staring at the retreating Senator Palpatine with this face:
I live for how much Obi-Wan hates this guy. It only gets worse from here, and it’s hilarious AND IT MAKES ME SAD.
Qui-Gon, meanwhile, needs to go somewhere, and I bet it’s not going to be well-lit!
Recurring Theme: Gee Thanks, Star Wars
…but we’re not quite ready to check in with the gossipy old biddies of the Jedi Order quite yet! Qui-Gon sends Anakin off with Padme and the handmaidens, and we end up in an opulent evil lair/room for more of Palpatine’s wise words. What’s on the old man’s mind these days?
- Oh, people are so uncivil these days:
- The Republic’s just not what it used to be:
- Someone should really drain the swamp already:
- Someone should let us act unilaterally to stop all the Bad Things, but Society won’t allow it and also someone’s spreading Fake News about corruption:
I just…I need a moment. Star Wars is kind of a lot to handle sometimes.
All right, so, Padme’s like “fine, everything’s bad, I get it. What should we do?” Palpatine suggests, y’know, just spitballing here he totally hasn’t been thinking about this all day every day for 25 years or whatever, but maybe they could push for the election of a new chancellor? Maybe make the galaxy great again?
Padme balks: he’s been their strongest supporter! Palpatine is like “well, I hate to break it to you, but other than that our only other choice is to file a lawsuit or whatever,” at which Padme is like “oh great, the one thing slower than the stupid Senate”.
Palpatine sighs that it’s looking like they’re just going to have to live with the Trade Federation’s occupation for the time being.
Poor Padme. I wish she’d been able to divine the future so she could have leapt forward right now and strangled this guy with one of those ridiculous tentacles she’s wearing on her head.
Recurring Theme: There Is No Electricity, There Is Drama
It’s time for Snark Wars’ twelve-thousandth visit to the Jedi Council room, and yes, before you ask, the lights are off. But it’s daytime now, so I guess we’ll let it slide this time.
Qui-Gon and Obes Kenobes are standing in the middle of the room, reporting back on Operation Help Naboo, which went totally sideways: they ran into someone!
Oh, and Qui-Gon’s already figured out what’s up:
Ki-Adi-Mundi is like “LOL those assclowns? We crushed that shit a thousand years ago!”
Mace chimes in, as Yoda frowns thoughtfully, that there’s probably definitely no way the Sith could have crawled in through the back door when no one was looking, and I am dying at Mace’s face because his eyes are looking at Yoda all “are you hearing this shit GOD what is WITH Qui-Gon WHY IS HE ALWAYS LIKE THIS”:
Yoda notes that sometimes the Dark Side is weird and not always super easy to see, and so then Mace wraps things up by being like “aaaaanyways, Qui-Gon, we’ll figure out who this jerk was who tried to kill you, have a nice day and thanks for shopping at JediCo”.
But Wait, There’s More!
Obi-Wan makes to leave, but Qui-Gon hangs in there: he’s got more to say!
…ha. That’s one way to describe Anakin. Mace is like “what the hell are you talking about?”
THIS. IS ONE. OF MY FAVORITE SCENES EVER. I am in love with every single person in the Council room, OK? I LOVE THEM. Qui-Gon explains: this kid blew a .5 on his Force Breathalyzer! Importantly…
I laugh for ten minutes as the room starts to pick up what Qui-Gon is putting down, in a way that suggests this is like the sixth time this week that Qui-Gon has claimed he’s found someone he thinks is Space Jesus.
Mace, skeptical, is like WAIT. Is this about that Prophecy?
Qui-Gon tries to be like “well, no, I’m not SURE of it”, and Yoda is like BULL-SHIT MY YOUNG GRANDPADAWAN:
In conclusion, please enjoy the facial expressions of everyone in the room at Qui-Gon’s “will of the Force” bit:
I love the Jedi Order, you guys. So much. I wish this scene had included all the shit-talking that happened the INSTANT Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were gone. Oh my God.
Me too, guys. I feel you.
That’s all from me and this movie for today, readers! Next time, Obi-Wan pleads for sanity, Qui-Gon throws a curveball, Padme gets still more terrible advice from Palpatine, and Anakin, a problem, insists that he doesn’t want to be a problem. Sounds like a typical day in the GFFA! Catch you next time, friends.
The next entry in this series hasn’t been published yet.
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