Episode 14: Defenders Of The Peace
WARNING: This review contains Spoilers that may ruin your enjoyment of this episode.
Following on from last week’s gripping episode, the latest installment of The Clone Wars has a first for Star Wars – a member of the Star Trek crew has gone where no other member of the Enterprise has gone before and taken an acting gig on the world’s biggest sci-fi franchise. (Not including video games!)
Nope it’s not Shatner, but in fact, George “Joe Swash BFF” Takei, but more of him later. The story picks up directly from Episode 13 where the Jedi have encountered a more peaceful species than they claim to be, the Lurmen.
These little guys refuse to help the titular Defenders of the Peace, but things take a turn when a Separatist ship lands with an army of clankers, sorry I mean “Battle Droids” and a powerful new weapon (what, another one?) that destroys all life in its way but not machinery.
This ship is headed by General Lok Durd, voiced by the aforementioned sultry-toned Jungle Celebrity runner-up, Takei. He steams in with all the diplomacy of Georgey Bush and claims the planet as his own. But what will the Lurmen do?
Not much. These furry critters will die if it means retaining their pacifistic principles – and aren’t afraid of acting all snooty and recalcitrant when the Jedi want to help. Their help, states their Irish-voiced leader, would be a complicit act in the war.
These ideals are perhaps the most interesting and complex that Star Wars has ever presented and the denouement of this tale leaves the Lurmen wondering what price the Jedi’s help truly costs them. There’s no answer given but the anti-war and anti-violence themes are strong here and presented in a manner that could have been presented better cinematically.
Some of the problems in this episode include the voice casting with George Takei proving to be the worst offender. Lok Durd is not a believable character at all and those familiar with Family Guy will hear “Helloooooo” every time he utters one of his laughable sentences. The Scottish and Irish accents present (from the Lurmen) are also misguided – though the makers were probably trying to channel Braveheart.
More foolhardy antics come in the form of the Battle Droids (“No, really?” I hear you cry!) who will make you drop your beer/wine in disgust as they jump and cheer when Durd announces his new weapon doesn’t affect machines. Though this is counterbalanced when we see the new toy in action, destroying the world the Lurmen inhabit, poor little blighters. Geekoids (like me) will rejoice as we see an early version of the Imperial Probe Droid (from The Empire Strikes Back) that looks like one of those Galactic Heroes toys.
Not as good as the set-up and visually not as impressive, Defenders Of The Peace is an acceptable second part and full marks for trying to broach the notion of pacifism and the complexities that lie therein. Oh, and a gold star and a “see me after class” for whoever came up with the shot of Ahsoka downing two Battle Droids with her lightsaber – all in silhouette. Nice!
Check out Cameron’s review of episode 13 here.
28 January 2009