Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Clone Wars -- "Defenders of Peace" (Ep. 1.14)

--When surrounded by war, one must eventually choose a side.

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I suppose I'll start with the fact that George Takei does a bit of voice acting in this episode. It's too bad it's just a one-shot performance, because he has a distinctive voice that they really could have built a character around.

The previous episode, "Jedi Crash," poses the question, "Does fighting for peace justify fighting?" You should go back and read my review for that discussion. This episode carries that question one step further: If an aggressor is going to attack and kill you despite your declaration of non-violence, at what point do you defend yourself?

The show does not handle this question as well as it did the previous question, because, I suppose, of our American sensibilities, the writers couldn't help but provide an answer to that question. I think providing answers to questions like these is pretty much always a mistake.

So here's the scenario (and the rest of this will be all kinds of spoilery):
The Separatists invade the planet of the peaceful people that helped Anakin and his crashed team in the previous episode. The invasion has nothing to do with the Jedi, but the head of the village wants the Jedi out so as not to provoke the Separatists. He believes that he declares their peaceful intentions that the Separatists will leave them alone. However, the Separatists have come to test a new weapon against the peaceful colony, a weapon which will be the genocide of the people if it works.

Despite the fact that the Separatists lead an unprovoked attack against the village wherein they declare that the village is now under their control, the leader of the village insists upon not fighting back. He believes that they should all be willing to die rather than to fight. He also insists that the Jedi do not come to their aid, because it would be better to die than to have conflict and violence in an effort to protect them.

And this is where it falls apart when dealing with the question: not everyone in the village agrees with the leader. Rather than reducing this question to a personal decision, they try to make it one person's choice for a whole body of people. And, of course, the Jedi come to the aid of the village anyway, because Anakin is not willing to allow genocide to take place just to assuage the the beliefs of the leader of the village.

The whole thing ends with some of the village choosing to fight and, of course, the Separatists are defeated... And the leader comes to the Jedi and thanks them for their help. Everyone is happy. It removes the weight of the question completely.

It's not a bad episode, but it was bad handling of a difficult philosophical question.


  1. As with the pirates story, this tale started better than it ended. You're right. They wimped out on the philosophical question.

    1. TAS: It really would have been nice for them to have dealt with the idea of a people who would rather have died than resort to any form of violence to save themselves.
      But, then, I guess you'd have to wonder how they survived that long to begin with.

    2. And, of course, it's a kids' show. Genocide would be a bit of a downer.

  2. I have nothing noteworthy to say when it comes to Clone Wars (even though my hubby loves it) so I'll just say, "hello!"

    1. Elsie: You should go back and check Monday's post, then.
      And, "hi!"