The Clone Wars Review: The Soft War

5×03: The Soft War

Directed by: Kyle Dunlevy

Written by: Chris Collins

Fortune cookie: Struggles often begin and end with the truth.

 

Plot:

Yay, we’re on Onderon again! Can you feel my excitement?

Okay, so I don’t hate these episodes, but I’m definitely getting tired of this arc. This episode starts with more of the same: the Onderon rebels mount another attack on battle droids in the capital city of Iziz. They are successful, and a huge hologram of Steela is projected over the city. (Because a huge hologram yelling at you isn’t scary at all.) She urges citizens to fight back against the new king, Sanjay Rash, and reinstate the old king, Ramsis Dendup. (To reiterate, Rash = bad and Dendup = good. Got it?)

Then we have yet another scene in which Rash orders Dendup to stop the attacks, but Dendup insists he is not involved. How can he be, when he’s been locked up in prison? Rash doesn’t like this answer at all, so an execution is planned. The rebels learn this and argue about the best way to save Dendup. Saw things that something must be done now, while Steela is more cautious. (Again, I feel like I’ve seen all this before, leading me to wonder why four episodes were needed to tell this particular story on Onderon. Oh well.)

Later on, Ahsoka talks to Obi-Wan and Anakin via hologram. She says she feels responsible for the rebels, and asks for guidance. They caution her to stay uninvolved.

To no surprise, Saw tries to rescue Dendup on his own. Dendup tells Saw it’s his fault that Onderon is part of the CIS, as he refused to choose a side between Republic and Separatist. He doesn’t want to cause any problems, until Saw tells him that the Jedi are helping the rebels. The king is ecstatic and says that he’s been waiting for this for a long time.

But oh no, they’re trapped inside a one-way shield! Who didn’t see that one coming?

Back to the rebels, who argue about rescuing Saw. Steela says the important person to rescue is Dendup, even though Saw is her brother. He would understand. Purpose must come before feeling, remember? (Learn that lesson well, kids! Or else you’ll turn to the dark side and destroy everything you ever loved.)

Onderon’s human general, Tandin, and the droid general, Kalani, torture Saw, asking for the location of the other “terrorists.” He refuses to give information. Tandin tells Kalani that no matter what happens, more terrorists will take the place of the current ones.

Of course Steela and the other rebels rescue Dendup right before he’s about to be executed. I was going to say that there’s really horrible security in that town square, but then they’re surrounded by super battle droids and Dendup is set to be executed again.

But wait! Tandin and Onderon’s human troops rush in to save the day! Woo-hoo! And then Ahsoka rescues Tandin before he can be shot! And then the crowd goes after the Rash! Gasp!

Back at the rebel headquarters, Tandin pledges support to Dendup. He says they have to win the will of the people. (Haven’t we gone over this already?) Saw says they’ll have to teach the Separatists another lesson. (Haven’t we gone over this already?)

Oh, another hologram. Obi-Wan says the real fight is about to begin. Anakin tells Ahsoka it’s up to the Council whether or not to send more Jedi to help. (Right. Because Anakin has always cared so much what the council things.)

Looks like more is going to happen on Onderon next week. Yay.

 

Analysis:

Despite my annoyance with a repetitious plot, I enjoy the fact that the rebels remain somewhat divided. It’s more realistic that way. Still, it’s rather annoying that everyone was supportive of Steela as leader at the end of last week’s episode, but then this week has even more fighting. This could be fixed with having three episodes in the arc instead of two.

I still think it’s hilarious when Anakin says things like “Purpose must come before feelings.” Right, Anakin. Again, I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens to Anakin to make him go back on this so much.

Also, Obi-Wan’s advice seems solid, by wanting the rebels to stand on their own. After all, the rebels aren’t going to get any help for about twenty years, during the dark times.

Saw’s torture was very graphic and intense. I respect him more after standing strong through that.

The debate about terrorists vs. rebels, and the best way to win back freedom, is definitely an interesting one and rooted in our own reality. However, after three episodes it’s feeling very heavy-handed.

Finally, the last episode ended with Dooku sending in a new droid general, Kalani, who proceeded to do nothing throughout this episode. But the human general, Tandin, hardly got any background information and ended up being much more important. That was kind of annoying. I’m hoping Kalani has some importance in the next episode.

All in all, this was a good episode with interesting dialogue and implications, but I’ve been bored with Onderon since the last episode. Leaving Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Rex out of the action was a bad decision. (I’m expecting them to swoop in and save the day in the next episode, or else I’m going to wonder why they bothered sending them away. Unless it was all a big test for Ahsoka.) Frankly, the characters in these episodes aren’t as interesting as Obi-Wan and company, and I miss them. As for the characters we do have, they’re not that well-rounded enough for me to want to spend more time with them. And I was expecting much more interaction between Ahsoka and Lux, and for the writers to milk that tension for all it’s worth, but they’ve hardly talked yet. The most they’ve done is made googly eyes and have Anakin scold Ahsoka for losing focus. I’d like to see more of Ahsoka questioning  her feelings. It could be such a nice parallel to Anakin in Revenge of the Sith. This is a lost opportunity, in my humble opinion.

Hopefully, more will happen in next week’s episode, the conclusion to this Onderon arc. (Since this week’s episode was called “The Soft War,” does that mean the war finally turns hard next week? I hope so.)

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