Overview

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Episode 215

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Throughout the second season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, supervising director Dave Filoni and his team have taken this series into some dark, serious territory. But perhaps most importantly, the storytelling has become far more nuanced, sophisticated and, at times, even subtle since the show premiered in 2008. For an animated series primarily aimed at children, The Clone Wars seldom panders.

Such is the case with this week’s installment, “Senate Murders,” which more closely resembles an episode of Law & Order than a typical swashbuckling Star Wars adventure. In it, Senator Padmé Amidala and a coalition of like-minded politicians are working to oppose a measure in the Senate that would escalate production of clone troopers. In the Senate chamber, Padmé argues that increasing military spending will not end the war, and will only lead to more death and destruction across the galaxy.

Her speech is met with thunderous applause, but some senators—such as Kamino’s Halle Burtoni, who supports increased troop production—call her anti-war stance unpatriotic. Padmé and her allies—including Mon Mothma and Bail Organa, as well as Lolo Purs and Onacanda Farr of Rodia—meet for a drink to celebrate their political victory in the Senate. But shortly after they toast to their success, and after a less-than-friendly visit from Burtoni, Farr drops dead.

Inspector Lieutenant Tan Divo, voiced by Tom Kenny (SpongeBob Squarepants), reveals that Farr was poisoned. Divo warns Padmé to stay out of his way during his investigation—displaying a clear distaste for politicians—but the impetuous former queen of Naboo decides to get to the bottom of things herself.

Because so much of this episode is focused on politics and intrigue, it’s relatively light on action overall, and some viewers might dismiss “Senate Murders” as dull. Also, the big reveal at the end of the episode that Purs, a fellow Rodian, is the murderer just isn’t all that impactful. Her actual motive is interesting however, in that she sought revenge on Farr for dragging their planet into the war.

As for Divo, we’ll probably be seeing more of him in the future. Since we’ve never really had a gumshoe detective in Star Wars before, he certainly brings something new. However, let’s hope he’s used sparingly; his irritatingly egotistical shtick could get old fast.

“Senate Murders” introduces heavy ideas, including ripped-from-the-headlines story elements like troop escalation, but unfortunately the otherwise well-crafted story itself falls a bit flat by its conclusion. Having said that, it’s great to see Padmé’ display her political strength as she lays the groundwork for what will one day become the Rebel Alliance. 

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