Clone Wars Debriefing: “The Mandalore Plot”

Obi-Wan and the Duchess of Snark:

When you sign up for SW fandom, you have to accept that canon is often like the shifting sands. Aside from major plot points and themes in the films, just about everything else is subject to change. Especially what we “know” from the expanded universe.

Karen Traviss dropped out of the SW stable after she realized this story arc in CW was going in a different direction from her books (popularly known as being “jossed”). The Mandalore we see in this episode seems like a nice place with big modern cities and a strong pacifistic streak. The wars of the past are over and the warrior caste was exiled to Concordia, a nearby moon. It looks like the Mandos are all of the same race, and they all look like Swedes (more on that later).

But is it some horrible irreconcilable cataclysm? Not really. Bits and pieces of what has appeared in the expanded universe before are in the show’s vision of Mandalore. For example, Concordia (sorta like Concord Dawn) resembles Traviss’s description of Mandalore and Mando’a is spoken during one short exchange in the episode.

Obi-Wan is dispatched to Mandalore to check into rumors that Duchess Satine, the planet’s ruler, is cooperating with the Separatists. Satine and Obi-Wan Have A Past and the rawr starts flying as soon as they’re in the same room. Satine is such an uber-pacifist, she makes Padmé look like Rambo. She insists Mandalore is a peaceful planet. Obi-Wan shows her a holo of a captured Mandalorian warrior who killed himself so he wouldn’t talk. Satine and Obi-Wan go on a private stroll and Satine admits not everything is peachy in paradise. There’s a group of saboteurs called the Death Watch that would like to see a return to Mandalore’s old ways. Sure enough, a bomb goes off. Obi-Wan pursues a guy who flees the scene, who jumps to his death (damn, TWO suicides…hardcore). Well, he’s merely mortally wounded until he’s able to talk to Satine. Then he dies.

Satine and Obi-Wan go to Concordia, ostensibly to bring the body of the dead Death Watch terrorist. They meet Concordia’s governor, Pre Vizsla (voiced by Jon Favreau). Obi-Wan excuses himself to “meditate,” i.e. spy and root out Death Watch. Satine remains behind with Vizsla and drinks a lot of martinis.

Of course, Death Watch is totally involved with the Separatists. Death Watch wants to overthrow Satine and then enter the war on the Seps’ side. Bwahahahaha!

Obi-Wan finds some new machinery inside a mine and discovers some new jet packs before he’s attacked. The Mandos knock him out and then stick him on a conveyor belt to be crushed. Fortunately, he gave a signal thingie to Satine and he calls her to come rescue him. She slips away from Vizsla and takes a speeder bike out to save Obi-Wan. She manages to cause a diversion to distract the two not-so-smart Mando warriors who abandon their posts, leaving Obi-Wan by himself. She is then able to save him. More snarky repartee results.

They run into more Mandos and Obi-Wan is at a disadvantage because he has no lightsaber. But Satine throws a rock at one of them (heh heh), allowing Obi-Wan to physically kick his butt. More warriors arrive, including their leader. You can tell he’s the leader because he has a cloak and walks with a lot of attitude, then he kills the defeated warrior for being a wuss. As it turns out, the leader is none other than Vizsla. He gives Obi-Wan his lightsaber back, because he’s a sporting sort of fellow. He takes out his own sword stolen from the Jedi archives in the past. They duel and have an awesome fight. But Obi-Wan manages to best Vizsla, so he sends his minions to finish the job (Vizsla comes from the Cobra school of villainy). Obi-Wan and Satine dive down a shaft to avoid some heat-seeking missiles, allowing the Mandos to fight another episode. Oh look, he lands on top of her…bow chicka wow wow!

Back on Mandalore, Anakin, Cody, and Rex arrive to accompany Obi-Wan and Satine to Coruscant. She doesn’t think Death Watch has anything to do with the Seps and will do anything to stay out of the war. Buckle up, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Who couldn’t love this episode? I enjoyed Obi-Wan and Satine’s banter. What a snarky duo they are, kind of like Han ‘n Leia. There is however a barely concealed philosophical difference between them that’s a mile wide and deep. It’s obvious she thinks Obi-Wan has cashed in his values through the Jedi’s involvement in the war, while he doesn’t get her pacifism-at-all-costs philosophy. There might be other issues that will come out in the following episodes.

It’s interesting that the Mandalorians seem to be a race of Nordic-looking people, though we all know Jango Fett is anything but Nordic-looking. When Fett is mentioned, one of the Mandalorian officials snarls that he’s not one of them, that he’s a bounty-hunting loser or whatever. Some of the guys on Concordia share Fett’s accent, though not Vizsla. Now in the expanded universe, Jango Fett was “adopted” into the Mandalorian culture and it’s possible that still stands, but maybe he was adopted by Concordian/Death Watch guys. It is certainly interesting to see Rex and Cody there among the culture that is their sorta/maybe genetic heritage. Also notice that the Mandalorian guards have similar armor to the Death Watch.

I’ll be interested to get the details on Satine’s relationship with Obi-Wan, which I’m sure will bring much amusement to Anakin. Can’t wait!

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