The Clone Wars, Book 2: Wild Space [Legends] by Karen Miller, Chapter 18
In theory, I should be writing more than ever here lately. In theory. And truth be told, I had many big plans for a bit of a revitalization over here. But that was several whole weeks ago, which as anyone could tell you may as well have been several decades ago at this point.
Needless to say, it’s been an unusual time, and so while in theory I should be over here being an idiot more than ever, that obviously hasn’t been the case. Turns out suddenly scrambling to cancel travel plans, being on deck to help your kids — who are now in the house 24/7 — finish their school year, and the intense gripping fear involved with the world itself completely turning (further) inside-out for God knows how long is not all that conducive to pounding out thousands of very silly words about how even cartoon Obi-Wan is handsome as hell. If I’m being honest, I’ve barely even paid attention to the latest run of TCW episodes — not so much out of a lack of interest, but a lack of ability to stay engaged with them even when I’d like to be. My brain simply doesn’t have the real estate available right now — it’s all been taken up by news articles, and group texts about how bored everyone is, and what feels like the CONSTANT process of figuring out how to keep everyone in my house fed while acquiring groceries as infrequently as humanly possible.
I’m lucky; no one I know is or has been sick, and my household is weathering all of these changes OK. But it doesn’t mean I’ve been exactly in the right frame of mind for my usual bullshit.
That said, I suppose people might still want something funny and distracting to read when they’re trapped in the house awaiting the latest installment of whatever fresh hell is on its way to us all next. Hell, *I* need something to read that isn’t a summary of the many ways we are screwed beyond imagination right now, even if I have to write it myself. And I know that often the best way to get something written is to pretty much just force yourself to sit down and do it, even when your brain doesn’t want to cooperate. Sometimes getting something written down leads to the rest of it all eventually trickling out. So that’s what I’m doing right now. Or trying to.
Today’s recap is going to take us back to a regular reader favorite, something that made the top 5 in my recent poll of requests. It’s a delightful book about ridiculous things and while I wouldn’t exactly call the Clone Wars Era of Star Wars uplifting, what with the whole impending-doom-for-all aspect of it and whatnot, well, let’s be real and acknowledge that any book that involves Obi-Wan slapping Anakin’s ass in front of the entire enraptured Jedi Temple is never going to make me sad. Yes: it’s Wild Space Time again, at last.
Previously on Bail and Obi-Wan’s Very Much Not Excellent Adventure Unless You Count That Part Where Obi-Wan Was Walking Around Nude While Doing His Laundry, Obi-Wan had managed to not die for the 10th or 11th time in this book, and he and Bail had set up camp on Zigoola, a Sith Planet which maybe doesn’t have any actual Sith currently on it, but has like…eeevil Sith spirits? I don’t know; at one point in time I would have made note of the fact that this book isn’t actually officially-official canon and so whatever crazy Undead Sith Spirit Nonsense it throws at us doesn’t matter anyways, but then JJ Abrams was like “hold my beer” in the actual canon storyline, so, sure: Sith ghosts or whatever are inhabiting this planet for Dumbass Star Wars Reasons, and you don’t need nor will you be given any real explanation for this. Get used to it, I guess.
Bail had deduced a bunch of stuff about the war and the Sith and on and on, none of which will ultimately end up helping him basically at all, and he had also had the great idea that he and Obes should go closer to the Sith Temple or whateverthefuck on this planet that has been causing Obi-Wan to, among other things, go mildly insane, have blood coming out of his eye sockets, and try to Force-choke Bail to death. Yes, this sounds like as solid a plan as any in Star Wars. Can’t imagine why everything is always the worst around there.
But before we can get back to Leia’s Dad and Uncle’s Worst Camping Trip Ever, we’ve gotta check in with Leia’s Bio-Dad Anakin, a man we’re led to believe is some sort of Super Powerful Space Messiah despite the fact that he is confused and/or furious 90% of the time, and seems like the kind of guy whose most prestigious title is a record he holds for Most Pizza Rolls Eaten in a Single Sitting, and who would regularly get his head trapped in a sleeve while trying to put on a T-shirt. (Incidentally, this shouldn’t be taken as a dig at Star Wars, or Anakin. This is the kind of Space Messiah I am here for.)
OK: on with it, then. Bear with me, friends; I’m trying.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Deadbeat Employee
We open with something many people are more familiar with than usual lately: an annoying work conference call. Here, Anakin is holo-Skyping the Council about his latest fuckup. Please enjoy:
I love Yoda and Mace’s Eternal Side-Eye of Judgement, and while it was unnecessary, I also appreciate that we’re told that Anakin is angry at his own self. I mean, he might as well be, since he’s angry at everything else already.
Sweetly and also destroying-ly, Yoda and Mace both don’t even bother to yell at Anakin about this, because they know no one will be harder on Anakin than he’ll be on himself (oh!). Mace, further, doesn’t really see a point in agonizing over something that they can’t change, because Mace Windu has read the Jedi Handbook UNLIKE SOME PEOPLE in this Skype meeting. He tells Anakin they’ve got shit to do, and that they’ll work on getting him a new droid.
They explain that Grievous isn’t doing much right now and that Dooku’s focusing his efforts on fighting a PR campaign against Palpatine, to which Anakin smirkily says his money’s on the Chancellor to win that one. Mine too, Anakin, but not for the reasons you probably think so.
Anakin asks if Dooku can possibly think he can win over hearts and minds, when he’s out there evilly occupying all these places, and Mace counters:
LOL. I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest that Yoda and Mace told Anakin, specifically, this, because God knows I wouldn’t wanna listen to Anakin’s bitching either. Obi-Wan probably bribed them to tell Anakin that bad moods cause Jedi to have bad hair days or something in an effort to get him to stop writing all that angsty poetry. Also? I think I need to start taking Anakin’s approach here. The HoloNet puts me in a bad damn mood these days, too.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, More Powerful Than All of You According to Self
Anakin eventually is like “OK so…like…do you guys even have a job for me to do right now, or can I go back to rolling around in Padme’s bed being fed space grapes while she braids my hair?” Mace explains that they got his latest report about the condition of his new cruisers, and their overall performance, which was apparently not up to Anakin’s Very High Standards. Anakin stammers that he didn’t exactly mean to imply that they suck…only that, like…they could be…better?
Hahahahahahahaha. HA. OK, let us dissect this:
- Why is Mace at all surprised that Anakin thinks he knows better than people who are almost certainly more experienced than he is?
- Anakin just being like “yep, I am way better at it, based on the fact that I think I am”. Yes yes, I know he’s supposed to be an engineering supergenius nerd, but you also know as well as I do that Anakin would make the leap from “I’ve built a droid that has anxiety and one time fixed the vacuum cleaner” to “I can certainly design a ship the size of a small planet better than this large group of trained professionals with advanced degrees”.
- Mace being like “well, that logic checks out because a Noble Jedi would never lie about such a thing” WHAT MACE WHY. This is both hilarious if you wanna take the uncharitable reading of it, because COME ON MACE, REALLY, and HEARTBREAKING if you want to take him at face value here. He just has so much faith in the Order to not have a dumbass who is going to make the worst decisions ever in their midst, EVEN AFTER HE ALREADY KNOWS THAT DOOKU EXISTS AND IS EVIL, that he can’t fathom Anakin being untruthful here. Kill me.
Anyways, Yoda and Mace decide that Anakin is super smart and they trust him — Yoda notes that while he CAN be a prideful pain in the ass, he’s not a liar — so they tell him to go back to the Space Shipyard with the fleet and boss around all the shipwrights there who I am sure will love a 22-year-old smug jackass rolling up into their workplace and telling them how to do their jobs. I am dying at how Mace and Yoda don’t even give it a second thought. Again, Skywalker: PLEASE TELL ME ABOUT HOW NO ONE TRUSTED YOU OR EVER LET YOU DO ANYTHING OR GAVE YOU ANY RESPONSIBILITIES.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Loves Obi-Wan
Anakin’s like “cool, thanks!” and so obviously this conference call comes to a close, because what else would they have to discuss? OH RIGHT:
LOL. Oh, Anakin. As reliable as the setting of the sun.
Yoda, definitely not even .00005% surprised about this, is like “nah, he’s not back yet, why?” Anakin explains that he’s just got a bad feeling about whatever’s happening to him. Yoda tells him not to worry — he can’t go into details about Obi-Wan’s mission, but they heard from him not that long ago and he’s definitely probably not dead or possessed by a Sith ghost or getting sweaty and naked with Bail Organa.
Anakin tries to press for more info about where Obi-Wan might be, but Mace tells him that he should focus on his current assignment. He adds, kindly, that the Council is really pleased with Anakin and Ahsoka’s work so far and that it is giving them all hope that the war might be over soon and I am fine with how everything turns out for all involved, as always, in case any of you were wondering.
The REAL gem of this scene comes after Anakin politely hangs up the call, though: Yoda sighs that Anakin having Bad Force Vibes about whatever’s happening with Obi-Wan makes him uneasy, probably because Obi-Wan is clearly Yoda’s favorite grandchild, because Yoda knows what is UP, OK. If Anakin is concerned, perhaps there is cause for alarm!
Mace MAKES ME LAUGH OUT LOUD with his response:
Now, OK: this book is of course suggesting that Mace is concerned that Anakin is Oh So Very Frightfully Powahful because he can do something like detect Obi-Wan’s state of affairs from across the galaxy, and that he thinks maybe they should be worried about that. But, because I am eternally 17 years old, I choose to believe has more to do with Mace wondering if those two were really just “making a refueling stop” at that planet in the honeymoon district that one time a couple months ago, or if they were literally getting space married, thus explaining their weirdly intense bond. (You know SOMEONE on the Council has money on this.)
Recurring Theme: Take Another Little Piece of My Heart Now, Star Wars
Yoda is like “well sure, Anakin is maybe insanely powerful and it’s probably Not Entirely a Great Sign that he can detect Obi-Wan from 12 trillion miles away despite that he shouldn’t be able to do, you know, DO THAT, but that’s all the more reason why we need to take extra good care of him and teach him and guide him and keep him safe”, so, thanks for that. At this, Mace is like BUT WHAT ABOUT OBI-WAN WE NEED TO MAKE SURE HE’S OK. I’m right there with you, Mace.
Awww. Why is everything like this.
It gets worse, too: Mace tells Yoda that he thinks Yoda should spend his time solely focusing on whether or not Obi-Wan is OK because this is a Very Very Important Thing (is…is this like an affliction throughout the Order? Kenobi Obsessive Syndrome? There’s however many thousands of Jedi; WHY IS EVERYONE SO CONCERNED ABOUT THIS ONE GUY. Is there poison gas in the vents there or something that is making everyone insane? Did it also travel to my home?) Yoda tells him that that would make far too much work for Mace to handle on his own, to which Mace retorts:
GoodBYE everyone. Yoda thinks Obi-Wan has a destiny as important as Space Savior Skywalker? Wh- I mean, obviously I’m not disagreeing here, but HOLY CRAP. Also I love that Mace can handle the idea of Obi-Wan dying almost as little as ANAKIN can here. This entire galaxy is HOPELESS, I TELL YOU.
Yoda’s like OK FINE, I will spend 100% of my time searching the Force for any hot smooth-talking redheaded presences and set up a Google News Alert for any articles that mention a compulsively-flirtatious pompous dweeb showing up in the far reaches of space, while you handle 99.9999% of everything else on the Order’s plate, Windu. Seems like an effective use of resources!
Recurring Theme: Ahsoka Tano, Babysitter of Adult Men
Over on his end, Anakin has hung up the space phone and is predictably being a giant baby about how Maybe The Council Isn’t Right About Anything for the 12,000th time in like 2 days, because they’re not just letting him run off to save Obi-Wan. Please note that these are the same people who MINUTES EARLIER told Anakin that he gets to be in a charge of a bunch of shipbuilding stuff that he has not actually been formally trained in, based entirely on the fact that Anakin merely told them he thought he’d do a better job than trained professionals with decades of experience. It’s not exactly as if they waved off all his concerns and sent him to his room without dinner here. Look, buddy: NO ONE IS MAKING YOU BE A JEDI, OK? It is covered MANY TIMES IN CANON that you are not being held hostage here. You wanna fuck off to Padme’s and play Battlefront in your boxers and a stained T-shirt while both she and Obi-Wan work on doing actual things to help people, go for it. DOOR’S OVER THERE.
Ahem. So Ahsoka is forced to listen to his whole Hot Take Internet Rant about how the Council could possibly always be wrong about everything (he for-real suggests this before being like “OK fine maybe not, I GUESS they’re probably not wrong about everything, MAYBE”) and lamenting the Bad Orders he’s been given (which, again, included LETTING HIM DO A THING HE WANTS TO DO based solely on him recommending himself for the job) before admitting that there isn’t much he can do about Obi-Wan, considering that he doesn’t even know where he is. Ahsoka replies that even if he did, uh, Obi-Wan probably wouldn’t want Anakin to come find him right now?
Right, Anakin: you know what’s best for Obi-Wan. WAS LOSING HIS WHOLE JEDI FAMILY IN A HORRIBLE BLOODY WAY WHAT WAS BEST FOR HIM? WAS HELPING TO SEND HIS OWN MEN AFTER HIM WHAT WAS BEST FOR HIM? WAS MAKING HIM LIVE ALONE AND SAD AND WITH A BAD BACK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DESERT WITH NO FRIENDS EXCEPT SOME BANTHAS WHAT WAS BEST FOR HIM? WAS MOWING HIM DOWN IN FRONT OF YOUR OWN SON WHAT WAS BEST FOR HIM? DON’T WALK AWAY FROM ME SKYWALKER I AM TALKING TO YOU —
Ahsoka thinks to herself that she hopes that when they see Rex next, he can give her some tips on dealing with Anakin, to which I can only say: good luck, Lady Tano. You are gonna need it.
Recurring Theme: Someone Get Obi-Wan Some Ambien
Back on Sith Bullshit Planet-Number-Whatever, Obi-Wan and Bail have set out for this apparent temple they’re seeking. Obi-Wan has had yet another of his typical great nights:
Great; good. Bail starts in yet again with interrogating Obi-Wan about what the Sith are doing to Obi-Wan’s mental state, and Obi-Wan replies that they are basically trying to invade his mind, and it’s not the most pleasant thing, if you can imagine. Bail pesters him about how he just HAS to keep Bail abreast of everything the Sith are trying to do to him, which Obi-Wan wearily agrees to. He begs Bail to stop talking, then, because he needs all his concentration to fight off all these psychic attacks that keep coming at him. He should have tried this line on Anakin at some point, haha. Maybe he’d have gotten a few hours of peace.
Yes, as it turns out, Obi-Wan is having a flashback again to the time he fell into a nest of stinging insects. I need someone to do a study about how Obi-Wan Kenobi can be such a beloved character across such a wide swath of the Star Wars fandom, and yet prompt SO MANY of the franchise’s writers to subject him to SO MANY SHITTY THINGS. Way less bad shit has happened to even people like MAUL at this point, and Maul was both evil AND had an objectively terrible life of misery that involved spending a not-small amount of time going crazy in a pile of trash. Rey is the orphaned and abandoned granddaughter of SATAN HIMSELF, and her life is a goddamn picnic compared to Obi-Wan’s.
Bail goes to help Obi-Wan snap out of this latest episode of his, and Obes responds by pummeling the everloving crap out of Bail before coming to his senses. He berates Bail: what were you thinking?! I could have killed you! He gruffly tells Bail he’ll have to help him by using a med kit and not Force healing, because he’s too unbalanced or whatever to do that right now.
This turns into, yes, YET ANOTHER ARGUMENT ABOUT HOW THEY SHOULD PROCEED. I’m not even going into the play-by-play because WE HAVE ALREADY BEEN DOWN THIS PATH OH SO MANY TIMES, but ultimately Obi-Wan gets Bail to swear that next time Obi-Wan has a Sith Attack, he’ll just let Obi-Wan tire himself out rather than try to intervene. Bail is not super sure about this but half-assedly agrees, while thinking about how Insufferable and Frustrating and Handsome Obi-Wan is.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Better Than You
They trudge forward towards their goal, and all the while Obi-Wan is miserable: tired, physically in pain, psychically under constant attack. He tries to cling to the light, to draw strength from teachers like Yoda, and Qui-Gon, and even Anakin, who has apparently taught him useful things and not just, I presume, how to make a giant embarrassing scene in public (who am I kidding? We all know Qui-Gon taught him that first.)
He thinks about how Bail shouldn’t even be here, for the one-billionth time, but also notes that Bail is providing him a modicum of strength as well: in fact, now that he thinks about it, Bail and Padme aren’t all that different…
And so, knowing all of this, he knows he must protect Bail at all costs, and keep moving forward — even if he suspects it might cost him everything. He speculates that by the time they reach their destination, he might have nothing left to give; that he’ll be burned out and destroyed by whatever the Sith are throwing at him.
…and no one ever will, apparently! I’m still more than slightly surprised Obes’ ghost didn’t will himself more directly back into the action in the sequel trilogy. They really expected me to believe THIS GUY was gonna sit back and just be a vaguely helpful disembodied ghost in the face of all that nonsense? As if he wouldn’t have dragged Kylo off by his ear back to Leia’s house after making him write a handwritten apology note immediately after Kylo bought his first Scary Sith Lord Mask. Whatever you say, Star Wars. Sounds fake but OK.
All right! What do you know: I wrote a recap! A really for-real, new recap! It feels good, my friends. It feels good. In a world where absolutely nothing is especially OK right now, lovingly dragging Anakin Skywalker feels oddly reassuring: his confused, angry himbo presence is paradoxically a stabilizing force for me in a world gone mad. Bless that mess, truly.
I hope this entry finds you and yours as well as can be expected, and as always, I thank you for joining me here on this very ridiculous blog. Stay safe out there (and most importantly at home, if and when you are able to, especially for those who cannot), everyone.
Next on Snark Wars: The Siege of Mandalore arrives to TCW! Who’s ready? You? Nah, me either.