Star Wars: The Clone Wars (“Defenders of Peace”)

Season 1, Episode 14
Date of airing: January 23, 2009 (Cartoon Network)
Nielsen ratings information: 2.168 million viewers

This was another surprisingly great episode. Sometimes it’s kind of shocking how good the show actually is, in spite of the things that make STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS the kids show that makes it deserved of airing on the Cartoon Network. Sometimes it can be impressive with what story the writers were coming around the corner with this time around, and how close to the franchise it actually comes. But then again, not everything about the show is super perfect, and this episode managed to be a bit repetitive with Tee Wat Kaa’s non-war stance, although there was an interesting aspect in his decision to leave his folks out of the war, when it means that they will get eradicated in the progress. That also meant the writers were creating a story they never had time to handle in this episode: the conflict between Tee Wat Kaa and his people. Yes, Wag Too was standing against his father midway through Lok Durd’s attack on the colony, but maybe more than just one of them could have stood up to their leader and decided to get into the war, simply just to defend their livelihoods and live to see another sunrise.

The innocents are always good cannon fodder.

Meanwhile, the episode might also have unintentionally shown the disadvantages of living your life under a certain belief system. The village people intended to live their lives under peace, never to be involved in any kind of war, even if some of them can’t agree. Turns out it almost cost their lives, because if it hadn’t been for the Jedis and their two remaining Clone troopers, they would have been eradicated, as the Separatists weren’t just landing on the planet looking for escaped Jedis. Granted, Jedis crashing on a planet not involved in the war, followed by Separatists landing on same planet to test out a new weapon, is quite convenient storytelling, but it functioned quite well as a framing narrative device leading a village who hasn’t seen war in probably forever to fight for their lives for the very first time. Anakin could have guaranteed Tee Wat Kaa that the Republic will never mingle in their affairs from now on, but fact is that the village is now involved in a war, whether they want to or not.

The battle between the Jedis and the Separatists looked pretty cool once again, making me realize I have a serious crush on those action sequences, which still look surprisingly great for an animated television show. When the super weapon hit the shield above the village, I almost felt reminded by the attempt of CBS to do a proper UNDER THE DOME show, and the nuke was exploding right outside the dome. This episode showed what UNDER THE DOME could have looked like in that regard, if budget hadn’t been an issue, proving once more that animated films and shows can do so much more with their story when the writers don’t have to lookout for an overblowing budget. I’m also quite glad that the action is still being kept in the realm of the realistic and possible — three Jedis and two Clone troopers don’t just clean up three waves of battle droids like that. No, they will breach the shield, they will ransack the village and they will destroy the shield generators, bringing a little bit of tension to the plot, because it’s what always happens in a war: Sometimes the bad guys almost win, but a few clever good guys turn the tables every once in a while.

Under theme you get to see the fire wave hit you.

Best part of the episode: The assault on the Separatist base at night had something cool to it. The show should do those kind of breaches more often, in which barely anything is seen, no one says a word, and all you can hear is a lightsaber slicing a battle droid. More of this, please.
Worst part of the episode: Tee Wat Kaa happened to be annoying near the end, still refusing to go into war, accepting the fate of his folks that was essentially annihilation. You should never trust a leader whose only opinion on war is that it’s bad and before you get to kill someone you rather want to die.
Weirdest part of the episode: So, who was Lok Durd really? His name already sounds funny, and George Takei put some of his weird voice into the character, turning Durd into what his name sounds like, but the guy was yet another Grievous clone with a super weapon who failed to impress Dooku at the other end of the transmission. At one point this is getting ridiculous.

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