Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 6 Review (Part 3): Indiana Binks
Say what you will about the Banking Clan arc that preceded this two-parter, but at least its willingness to even think about economics in wartime was admirable, if boring. "The Disappeared" was worse than boring. It was completely and utterly forgettable.
On Bardotta—a planet cobbled together from pop culture representations of Nepal, Tibet, and Mesoamerica—members of the religious order called the Dagoyans were disappearing just as some ancient prophecy had foretold that they would. With their disappearances, the ruling council—led by Queen Julia—requested assistance from the Republic in finding out where their religious leaders were vanishing to. However, they only wanted the help of one being: Jar Jar Binks. The Jedi, being weird and horrible on this series, decided to send Mace Windu along as well because even though the Bardottans/Phuii don't much care for Jedi, those silly-and-not-totally-in-groove-with-the-Force-backwater-planet-beings don't know what they really need. Also: Jar Jar really can't be trusted to figure out what's going on anyway.
Things went from bad to worse pretty quickly as Queen Julia—a romantic flame of Jar Jar's from way back?...!...?—was kidnapped too. All signs pointed to the resurgence of a cult of some sort, and it turned out that they were kidnapping the Dagoyan leaders to harvest their Force energy. Why did the cult want all this Force energy? To give it to Talzin, the Nightsister who, last we saw, was helping Darth Maul get back on his feet. Talzin would then resurrect the cult's demon master, or become the cult's demon master, or use Queen Julia as a vessel, or something—I lost track of/stopped caring about the plot a bit near the end, I can't lie.
The very basic idea of "Let's pair up Mace Windu and Jar Jar!" isn't in and of itself terrible: One is a badass Jedi Master and one is a clumsy but very lucky Gungan, which could've arguably been the best buddy cop comedy duo ever. They went through the beats of Jar Jar wanting Mace to let him do his own thing, Jar Jar screwing up, Jar Jar redeeming himself, Mace coming to grudgingly respect/understand Jar Jar, Jar Jar screwing up again, Mace fixing things by being cool, and Jar Jar fixing things by being a physical comedian.
Sadly, none of it really amounted to much in the end, since both of these episodes felt like they were crossing items off a checklist instead of doing anything particularly interesting. The pair's one good scene came early in "The Disappeared" Part 2, when Jar Jar was ready to go after the cultists with guns blazing while Mace wanted to to meditate for a minute to better get a sense of Julia's location on the planet. It was the one time the two really had a second to breathe and interact, and you could see their personalities rub up against each other to create some friction.
Friction may have ultimately been what was missing from this arc. The fact that the Bardottans didn't like the Jedi—seeing them as kidnappers—and that the two groups had different approaches to engaging with the Force could have been a source of real conflict, but that was completely brushed aside at the end of Part 1. If their clashing principles had been coupled with Talzin being a Nightsister and the magicks-instead-of-the-Force approach to the universe, we might've ended up with an interesting meditation on cultural differences in religion, spirituality, and power, but that may've been too ambitious.
All told, "The Disappeared" was merely a collection of warmed-over homages to and riffs on the Indiana Jones flicks—I'm shocked that the cultists didn't stuff Julia into a basket—but none of them were clever or winking enough to justify a sly chuckle on behalf of the audience, and like the episodes themselves, they were best forgotten as soon as the episodes came to a close.
What did you all think of this third arc of The Clone Wars Season 6?
Note: If you've already finished the season, please avoid spoilers for Episodes 10-13 in the comments!
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