Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 6 Review (Part 3): Indiana Binks

By Noel Kirkpatrick

Mar 18, 2014

Star Wars: The Clone Wars S06E08 and S06E09: "The Disappeared" Part 1 and "The Disappeared" Part 2

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?


PREVIOUSLY:

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 6 Review (Part 1): A Band of Brothers

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 6 Review (Part 2): Bank On It


Note: If you've already finished the season, please avoid spoilers for Episodes 10-13 in the comments!


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  • antdude Apr 05, 2014

    It was a filler, but it wasn't awful. This arc was definitely the weakest of the final season.

  • JT_Kirk Mar 20, 2014

    I just watched this arc, and was left feeling that there were some really stupid choices made to move the action to the forefront, but there were ideas as the underpinnings of this episode that had kernels of interesting avenues in them:

    - The Bardotta don't trust the Jedi because they're baby-thieves (they ARE);
    - Mother Talzin is out there manipulating people;
    - There are other ways to use The Force than just the way the Jedi do it, there's the magicks and there's the Dagoyans;
    - Jar Jar had a life at some point (my guess is after TPM, perhaps early in his congressional career);
    - The Dagoyans have a Thugee-like cult in their past who have had premonitions and either Talzin affected them or is using them;
    - The Frangawl cult had the power to turn day into night, and had robotic/mystical golems;
    - Mars Guo would have spoken with an Indian accent should we have ever heard him.

    So all of those, aside from perhaps that last one, could have made this arc more interesting had they been fleshed out. Hell, all this talk of The Living Force could have translated by the Dagoyans into "Jar Jar's innocence is so pure his seemingly-random actions are willed by the Force itself" type of thing, justifying the nonsense without outright stating it.

    Instead, we get this boring mess where Mace Windu is an utter dolt and is so gratingly stupid and aggressive in the situations that he ends up making Jar Jar look better by comparison. Jar Jar meanwhile is still Jar Jar, and the fact that Windu - a Jedi Master - cannot accept that he is who he is, should at least have made the buddy cop thing work, but instead it feels dull because it's going through the motions to service the plot moving along.

    Ultimately, the villains also let the story down, we're never given a sense that they're any more dangerous than any random villain in a LEGO Star Wars video game, they have big helmets that get knocked off easily and they die/get defeated just when the script needs them to and not a moment sooner or later, no matter how organic to the plot it would be.

    You've nailed the review, but what surprises me most is how different direction and likely another episode probably would have made this better.

    Also, as a sidenote, these episodes were written by Jonathan Rinzler, the guy who wrote the Making of Star Wars, ESB, and ROTJ plus a bunch of other SW reference non-fiction books; as well as writing the Dark Horse "The Star Wars" based on the first draft of Star Wars. Rinzler is a masterful non-fiction writer, but The Star Wars has been a debacle and now we have these 2 episodes to add to the pile of evidence against him as a fiction author.

  • chrelle66 Mar 19, 2014

    Completely pointless. Particularly since it is 'after last' season, any character development is completely meaningless.
    I really hope it picks up in the last arc.

  • JT_Kirk Mar 20, 2014

    There's a stand-alone story before the last arc, so you may like that, or you may not.

    Personally, I don't really mind where it stands in character development, the characters should matter within the story as themselves first and foremost.

  • chrelle66 Mar 22, 2014

    Maybe I was a bit harsh. I just meant that the only point of the story was character development for Jar-jar and Mace, and that is meaningless since the show is finished.

  • chrisdynamo39 Mar 22, 2014

    The sad thing is, without these terrible Jar Jar, political and droid episodes, TCW is a really great show, but Filoni keeps shooting himself in the foot and ruining his own programme.

  • JT_Kirk Mar 22, 2014

    There are a very small number of droid episodes I like, but otherwise you are right on target. I wonder if it's Filoni or being forced to work under Lucas that causes this sort of thing.

  • chrisdynamo39 Mar 24, 2014

    It's unbelievable to me, I mean EVERYONE wants to see more of Ventress, Maul, Boba, Cad Bane etc. but he gives us CLOVIS, a guy most had forgotten about. I did.