The Clone Wars slows down a bit with The Rise of Clovis. While we've had some of these themes played out before, we get to see a bit more of Anakin and Padme's "marriage" plus a really cool backstory for Clovis, which gives us limited insight into cultures in galaxies far, far away. Read on!
Parts of this episode pay out as you might expect - Padme goes to Coruscant, gives a report, and has to go back in for dangerous action. We've seen this before - but what I thought was really fascinating was the brief backstory on Clovis as a human adopted by the Muun and brought up in the ways of their main business - banking. I think it's a little strange that most planets and races in this franchise tend to be one-trick ponies, but I guess it's easier than nuance. We've seen variations on this - differing cultures raising kids to get an enlightened or warped outlook - in Star Wars before, so it's nice to see some of it on the cartoon. Why not have a human raised by bankers?
As expected, one of the Muun is clearly in league with Darth Sidious, there are banking problems all around, and Palpatine is sure to play everyone like a fiddle to make sure he can cause all sorts of fun problems. It doesn't help that Anakin's relationship woes are becoming obvious to those around him, particularly since the "secret" relationship seems to be getting out. Dancing around this issue makes Revenge of the Sith seem a little less interesting, mostly because we're pre-tackling story beats in this animated series that, chronologically speaking, let the air out of the story's tires too soon.
But surely, if we are to sit through this, there's a reason. Our reward is a full-on Clovis beatdown courtesy of Mr. Skywalker, which he ultimately takes with a smile - it's a little ridiculous, but it does show that given the chance, nobody seems to want to stop Anakin from doing whatever he wants. Padme tries to talk some sense into him regarding their relationship, which seems more than a little stressed and he comes off like a bad boyfriend, or the kind of husband that would be deserving of some sort of DTMFA treatment. This is why you never, ever use sex as a weapon, kids. Someone gets thrown through a coffee table.
Because it's a Padme episode, there has to be a vote or a senate thing in here somewhere and this time, we're treated to watching senators push buttons to vote on the new head of the Banking Clan. I understand the principles of "show, don't tell" but in this case, much of this chunk could probably have been reduced to the exposition in the cold open. I'm delighted we're getting more action sequences, more characters, and more imaginative backstories beyond "yeah, they're from the evil separatist planet that produces nothing but 2% blue milk" but these multi-part stories do seem to feel the bloat in the middle. Thankfully this is only a three parter, so we'll be done with this story in just a little while. Gee, I wonder if Padme will leave Anakin for Clovis?
Takeaway from this week:
Anakin is playing with a model Jedi Starfighter, not unlike Luke's Skyhopper in Star Wars.
The late Ian Abercrombie is back as Palpatine, thanks to these episodes having been produced out of sequence and a long time ago. He really was spectacular in the role.
We don't get a lot of lightsaber-free beat-downs, so Clovis' bruising (for which he was a-cruising) was quite a scene to behold.
Please say this is the last I see of the Senate voting. I would be quite happy.
Next time: Tune in for "Crisis at the Heart," which brings us one step closer to the final Yoda arc which I hear is pretty good. We get some Jar Jar hijinks first, though, but honestly I tend to dig those more than is probably respectable.