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

Star Wars: The Clone Wars S06E05, S06E06, and S0607: 

"An Old Friend," "The Rise of Clovis," and "Crisis at the Heart"

Only a series spun-off from a movie trilogy whose inciting incident was the blockading of a planet by an organization called the Trade Federation would do an arc that existed almost entirely to NATIONALIZE THE GALACTIC BANKING SYSTEM. It is exactly as ridiculous and boring as it sounds.

In my review of the first arc of these Lost Missions, I devoted a lot of time to extrapolation and how those four episodes used the malfunction of Order 66 in one clone to explore and comment on post-traumatic stress disorder. It was interesting on that deeper level, but still exciting if you just wanted to see things go boom and blaster shoot outs. Even if the PTSD aspect wasn't your cup of tea, that the arc involved Fives gave the story a focal point that helped to provide some emotional oomph.

In this arc, we still had extrapolation as the Banking Clan engaged in shady loan deals that likely would've brought about the near-disaster of the galactic economy while reassuring the Senate that everything was totally fine. Sound familiar? The problem is that the ups and downs of the galactic economy weren't very exciting in one episode, let alone stretched across three. The show can have a snowy escape, Anakin beating up Rush Clovis, and an attack on the Banking Clan's headquarters, but none of these things really balanced out the fact that we were essentially watching Palpatine maneuver everyone so that he could assume control of the banks. Like with all of Palpatine's schemes in the prequel trilogy, it was painfully convoluted, but I sort of admired watching all the pieces fall into place. I just don't care that they did.

I think on some level, The Clone Wars knew that the banking aspect of the episodes just wasn't all that exciting, and was something of a difficult sell—even if it was a potentially fascinating aspect of how nations operate in times of war and upheaval, a major component of The Clone Wars' narrative DNA. So I think the re-emergence of Rush Clovis—last seen left to the mercy of the Trade Federation waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in Season 2—as a romantic rival for Anakin was an attempt to give the abstract political narrative some emotional grounding. 

Sadly, things fell apart there, too. I acknowledge that one's mileage may vary on this, but the romantic trials and tribulations of Anakin and Padmé were never the trilogy's strong point or this show's. It wasn't just an issue of knowing that Anakin and Padmé's relationship would survive no matter what designs poor Rush Clovis had on her, but that there was no sense of Rush as a real romantic possibility for Padmé. Maybe, sure, there were inklings of it in that Season 2 episode, but here there was just Anakin being petulant and insecure—which, admittedly, is Anakin's default setting when it comes to dealing with Padmé. I mean, seriously, he pulled the "As your husband..." card on her. So much for Jedi enlightenment.

Up next will be Episode 8 and 9: "The Disappeared" Parts 1 and 2. The arc involves Mace Windu and Jar Jar. So, you know, half of it will be cool.


What did you all think of this second 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 8-13 in the comments!


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First two episodes were slow, but the third one. Nice!
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Re: Rush Clovis and the "romantic rivalry" to Anakin.

On this score, I think you kinda missed the point. Rush was never meant to be a true romantic rival, which just serves to highlight how irrational and ridiculous Anakin is being. The conflict here is not that Padme might leave Anakin for Rush, but that Anakin's jealous, controlling nature is already very much at play. What these episodes did was show that Anakin's behavior in RotS is consistent with how he's behaved in the past. And it also showed that Padme was very much aware of and resentful of his failings...but was too codependent to break things off for real.

This arc was basically a perfect lead-in to their relationship in RotS -- which was actually pretty integral to the plot of the film -- because you see that their stilted, awkward interactions are actually, well, meant to be awkward and stilted. If I had seen these episodes before I watched RotS the first time, I would've appreciated their "love scenes" a whole lot more. In that I would've understood they were meant to showcase how their relationship, far from being some idyllic picture of marital bliss, was actually falling apart.

Obviously this falls under YMMV, but relationship dynamics are pretty much my bread-and-butter in fiction. So I was actually very pleased with this arc.
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The prequels are all about politics, taxation, trade negotiations, and so forth, but it's never felt more infectuous than in this arc. Nationalizing the banking system, it wasn't even as interesting as you made it sound, my friend.

None of the action scenes you mentioned even tonally made sense in this setting, they were the odd man out. And each one involved Anakin at his least interesting and least Jedi-like, each had Padme as a passive dishrag of a victim.

Palpatine's maneuvers on this show are too convoluted, but more importantly, they don't feel like they add anything to his power base, they don't feel like they're propping up the character's successes in any way.

I truly feel like better writers could have made the premise of banking during a time of war more interesting and approachable, but never really more compelling as a kids show. George Lucas set up a lot of problems for the political narratives of the prequel era, and it's why he never intended to tell these stories in the first place when he came up with them, they were just the boring framework elements to make the interesting story - Star Wars: Episode IV - feel more rounded; they were just writing tools. And now we're stuck with this junk, it infects everything. Have you read "The Star Wars" comic series from IDW based on Lucas' original draft? It's akin to this in too many unpleasant ways.

You are absolutely right that the emotional content here was a broken mess.

So next is Jar Jar and Mace Windu as buddy cops? I'm there!
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So next is Jar Jar and Mace Windu as buddy cops? I'm there!

Stop anticipating my reviews, JT. JUST STOP IT.
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I can read between the lines, Kirkpatrick. And you've just stepped over that line! TURN IN YOUR BADGE, YOU'RE ON SUSPENSION!

Ah, buddy cop movies, where have you gone? Besides to cartoon shows, I mean.
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Have you ever dreamt about wanting your teeth to be pulled out, scrubbed with a wire brush, then re-inserted back into your jaw while you lay there under local anesthetic, watching every moment? Then you're in luck, because this lost "gem" of a trio of episodes that was dumped from Cartoon Network's 5th season of The Clone Wars will make you feel right at home. You know something's happening, but you're never really told what it is or why, you're just ou're quickly left numb, confused and disinterested, but you can still feel the dull tug of pain at the root of each tooth as these episodes slowly drag out the misery.

Padme is the Lisa Simpson of this series, every time she appears you know it's going to be an eyeroll, and every time her name appears in the official synopsis, you know it's going to be a terrible episode.

I honestly cannot tell who this story arc is meant for. It's unintelligible, boring, and woefully long so the kids won't get into it at all; but it's also poorly written with huge swaths of missing information to fill in why a more discerning adult audience should care either; and for fans it has no imaginable benefit as it undermines the third prequel movie by undercutting Padme and Anakin's marriage while offering no other resonating elements except the standard "we know the Empire is coming". The single reason to sit through this drivel is that it's one of Ian Abercrombie's last performances, and he does a good job as ever.

Things we never get answered:
- what was Embo the bounty hunter's motivation?
- why would the Separatists use centralized banking?
- how would the Separatists continue to use centralized banking without exposing Palpatine's involvement?
- why did anybody trust Rush Clovis for anything ever?
- how exactly did Dooku wrest control from Clovis when Clovis now controlled all of Dooku's money?
- if the credits-swapping scheme was working and robbing Peter to pay Paul wasn't affecting the war, what was the point of exposing it?
- how is it that robotic-armed Anakin, the most powerful Force-user ever, can't pull up a lightweight waif of a woman and a rather slim human?
- who cares about any of this?

So that last one unfortunately looms the entire time, but there's also a total failure on the writers' parts (I believe there were more than one listed) to create any meaningful foundation in the first place. Over and over, in fact, if one is forced to pay attention to what's going on there's a lot of plot holes and question marks. And that's before the questionable use of two separate voice actors' imitations of Howard Cosell.

This was in every way a total waste of production resources and viewer time.
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You're my hero.
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Yes, I had a lot of trouble understanding how Anakin could not save them both, not that I cared for the character, but that was a cheap way for Clovis to go out.
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It wasn't my favorite arc, and as far as the political arcs go it could have been worse, but it is a shame this arc got made, and not another arc to conclude other stories, but I just have to remind myself that this was an arc made for season 5, and had they known this was the final season, I bet this arc would not have been made. I don't have much to say about this arc other than I always forget how big of a dick Anakin is around Padme. Ahsoka and other truly bring out the best of him, while jealously brings out the worst.
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