“Crisis at the Heart,” episode 7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars Lost Missions, directed by Danny Keller and written by Christian Taylor, has some exciting battle scenes but continues and magnifies the flaws of “The Rise of Clovis.” The argument between Anakin and Padmé is simplified and then deleted. There’s some attempt at shading when Yoda seems to suspect that Clovis might be betraying the Republic for the right reasons, but I find it difficult to believe that the Jedi would expect Anakin to let go of his selfishness when he is proved right over and over again. It’s Anakin’s strength – literally – which saves the day, and while this might reflect on the reasons he believes he can save Padmé again in Revenge of the Sith, it is both nonsensical and anticlimactic for Padmé’s story to end with her apologizing to the husband who ordered her around and shouted at her.
Even the political side of “Crisis at the Heart” has more logic than this: after voting to put Clovis in a position of power, the senate seems pretty quick not to blame themselves or Palpatine, but instead the Separatists, for the problem – a situation which could be used to teach kids about real-world governments. Parts of the episode are gorgeous, including a large Republic ship in drydock and a battle that really shows how much more detailed explosions on The Clone Wars have become.
Padmé, though, is forced into the role of only ever saying no – to Clovis, to Anakin, to the conflicts around her. That doesn’t deepen her character, and it doesn’t reflect well on the show in a world where female characters’ stories are often driven by the men around them. Padmé has held her own in The Clone Wars before – but this time, she gets pushed further and further into the background. There are a good amount of female authority figures in The Clone Wars, including multiple senators in this very arc, but seeing Padmé helpless immediately after episodes in which Shaak Ti was thwarted at every turn made me wish that this arc, the one in which Padmé is a central figure, actually featured her succeeding at something.
The Clone Wars does set itself up as a moral story – with koans at the beginning of the story giving basic advice about trust and peer pressure. The koan for “The Rise of Clovis” warned kids against jealousy, and yet Anakin’s jealousy has no consequences in “Crisis of the Heart.” The lesson at the end of this episode seems to be that an unequal relationship filled with jealousy can be cured by an action scene.
Clovis dug himself into a hole and then preened, trying to be tragic – and his story is actually very similar to that of Fives in the previous arc, with someone that the good guys don’t quite trust bringing true information, which then plays into the hands of the chancellor. His mission to ensure the galaxy’s financial security was nowhere near as engaging or as immediate as someone fighting to avenge the death of a brother, though, and Anakin gets rid of his romantic rival without actually having to learn anything.