Warning: this review contains spoilers.
4.12 Slaves of the Republic
The second part of this new story arc takes the rather unusual step of moving the action from the previous episode’s locale to a new planet, Zygerria. Last week’s installment saw Zygerrian slavers abduct the people of Kiros, and here we find Obi Wan, Ahsoka, Anakin and Captain Rex on the trail of the missing population.
This move does freshen the atmosphere considerably (some story arcs can become rather samey in style) as Zyggeria counters the luscious, artful surroundings of Kidnapped with the harsher Eastern flavoured streets of the slavers’ homeworld.
In style, it owes a great deal to the hive of scum and villainy, Mos Eisley, and, more accurately, Mos Espa (from The Phantom Menace), as the gang tread the streets on their quest. Of course, it’s not long before they split up.
For the most part, we follow Anakin as he hooks up with Miraj Scintel, the Zygerrian monarch. She seems to take a shine to his charms, which is odd as he doesn’t have much of a personality to speak of here – he’s constantly brooding. It’s an issue that brings the episode down somewhat, since it’s still hard to care that much about Skywalker at times.
Much more interesting are the antics of Obi Wan, who sparks with a great deal more charisma, and when the Jedi are reunited, in a scene almost mirroring the Jabba’s Sail Barge set-piece from Return Of The Jedi, one feels the Force, so to speak. It’s a great moment, seeing Artoo spew forth not one but two lightsabers, with Anakin mimicking (or preempting, depending on your point of view) Luke’s salute to the astromech droid in Episode VI.
But the heroics are short-lived, and juxtaposed with some shocking scenes of torture (a trait that The Clone Wars has become most proficient at), and a won’t-someone-think-of-the-children, eyebrow-raising suicide.
Perhaps the most revealing moment, however, comes when the sultry Zygerrian Queen questions the notion of slavery. She turns it on the Jedi – who, she claims, are the real slaves of the Republic, since they’re bound by the constraints of the Senate and forced to do their bidding. Again, amidst the action, The Clone Wars throws up some thoughtful, intelligent debate rarely seen in an animate series.
Read our review of last week’s episode here.