This week on The Clone Wars: All those boring corruption-on-Mandalore episodes act as backstory to the highly-entertaining "Shades of Reason." While not as overstuffed and crazy as last week's installment, you probably get more Mandlorian armored action than you've ever seen in a single televised installment of the show plus a major change in the Mandalorian political hierarchy. (It's entertaining, I promise.) More after the break.
While "Eminence" put all the players on the board, "Shades of Reason" puts forth a big planetary takeover plot with the vast majority of the galaxy's organized criminals (sans signs of the Hutts) visiting Mandalore. In it, the Black Sun and some other thugs invade Mandalore's loading docks and apparently this is enough to topple the government. Just watch it before you read, though, because it truly was exciting.
The plot: Darth Maul puts his plans into motion while Pre Vizsla plans on stabbing him in the back. Black Sun plays the fall guy as they "invade" Mandalore with the other criminals, while Death Watch gets to pretend to rescue the planet and install one of its own as leader. Maybe. It's very much in line with the action cartoons of the 1980s as this doesn't seem so far off from what Galvatron might try to do.
Despite lots of talking (and an appearance from Duchess Satine) this episode had a surprising amount of action. Big (staged) battles make this episode a ton of fun, even though we sit through some big political speeches and spend some time in a prison. They're cramming a lot of stuff into 22 1/2-minutes, plus we get the return of the imprisoned former prime minister Almec and a callback to those episodes like "Corruption" which were, let's face it, a real drag. While you could argue that they provided important backstory for the episode, well, we didn't need like three episodes of boring Mandalorian episodes to enjoy the political intrigue and big explosions here.
This season has had themes of revolution, personal growth, and coming to terms with one's own limitations. Not this week. Now we get flying Boba Fetts and rockets galore plus we finally see Savage Opress doing what he does best, acting as a big mean thug. The dude just shattered a prison cell with the Force - why can't we see more stuff like that? Maul and his brother then tour the jail to look for a figurehead to install after they kill Pre Vizsla, who himself was planning on killing Maul and Savage because evil is as evil does. Bad guys teaming up generally means someone is going to get stabbed in the back. Or elsewhere.
The episode concludes with a one-on-one three-minute honor duel between Vizsla and Maul, with high-flying antics, launching miniature saws, and other stuff. This episode may be the best single reference for demonstrating what a suit of Mandalorian armor can do, but it also will probably suck away the surprise of finally seeing Boba Fett in the armor this season or next (as we have been told we should expect this) or an upcoming other movie or TV project. Still, it's a heck of a fight and is sorely needed to distract audiences from the fairly lackluster invasion sequence. I know they have to recycle sets for budget reasons, but wow, like a dozen gangsters landing on your loading docks does not an invasion make.
Takeaway from this week:
Mandalorian loyalty gets tested! And Mandalorians are super-fickle.
Crowd scenes pretty much confirm Mandalore and the Mandaorians are Scandinavian. These are very blond pretty people.
Savage Opress really was the muscle this week, acting well as Maul's stooge.
Bo-Katan needs a toy, yes?
Next time: If I'm reading this right, everything will wrap up quickly with "The Lawless." Obi-Wan is back!
See you then!