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Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Episode 214

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The last two installments of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, “The Mandalore Plot” and “Voyage of Temptation,” were pretty heavy on high-energy action sequences. However, the conclusion of the three-part Mandalorian story arc, “The Duchess of Mandalore,” is all about political intrigue. And while senatorial proceedings are never as interesting as space battles or lightsaber duels, this episode works thanks to its focus on Duchess Satine Kryze of Mandalore, one of this series’ strongest original characters.

On Coruscant, Satine explains to the Republic Senate that while a Mandalorian splinter group called the Death Watch has aligned with the Separatists, her planet remains neutral. However, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine’s staff has received an urgent message from Mandalorian Deputy Minister Jerec requesting Republic assistance in dealing with the Death Watch. Later, an attempt on Satine’s life prompts the Senate to vote on and approve Republic occupation of Mandalore without her knowledge. Having goaded the Republic into a standoff, the Death Watch prepares for battle. As Count Dooku explains to Darth Sidious via hologram, the people of Mandalore will be so resentful of the Republic’s actions that the insurgents will be viewed as heroes.

In Satine’s eyes, none of this seems right. Why would Jerec request Republic occupation? Why did the Senate vote on the issue without her? She meets with a Mandalorian contact from the Republic Ministry of Intelligence who informs her that Jerec’s message was faked. He hands the actual message to Satine, but is soon killed during yet another Death Watch assassination attempt. The authorities suspect Satine of murder, so she’s on the run as the fate of her planet is on the line. She’s just not having the best week, is she?

Finally asking her old friend for help, she passes Jerec’s genuine transmission over to Obi-Wan, who delivers the data to Senator Padmé Amidala. In the Senate, Padmé presents the message—which reiterates Mandalore’s stance of neutrality—and prevents the Republic occupation. Without the backing of the Mandalorian people, the Death Watch stands down. While victorious in preventing violence on Mandalore, Satine and Obi-Wan wonder who forged Jerec’s recording and who they can trust as the Clone Wars escalate.

Without actually shoving it in the audience’s face, “The Duchess of Mandalore” strongly implies that Palpatine is responsible for the faked message. With so much going on in this series, we often forget that the Clone Wars, in the grand scope of things, are entirely orchestrated by Palpatine so he can justify the formation of the Galactic Empire. Palpatine’s facial expressions and mannerisms in this episode effectively reinforce Palpatine’s role as Star Wars’ resident political puppetmaster.

One hopes we’ll be seeing a lot more of Satine later on in The Clone Wars. Her history with Obi-Wan makes our favorite bearded Jedi all the more interesting, and she adds yet another strong female presence to the Star Wars saga. Also, let’s hope we see much more of the Mandalorians because, well, jetpacks are awesome.

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