Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Clone Wars -- "The Hidden Enemy" (Ep. 1.16)

-- Truth enlightens the mind, but won't always bring happiness to your heart."

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This review will be full of spoilers. You've been warned.

Many of the early episode of season one dealt with the individuality of the clones, that they were not all just copies. Each of them had their own thoughts and feelings that stemmed from their individual experiences. They had preferences that were unique to each of them.

And, yet, they were still all similar. They tended to think the same, respond the same, be loyal the same.

Which is why it's so surprising when one of them betrays the rest of the clones, his brothers.

The question, of course, is "Why?" "Why" is a very good question in this circumstance. Why would a clone, who are basically programmed to obey the Jedi, go so far afield as to become a traitor to his brothers.

The Sith do have something to do with it; Ventress has convinced the turncoat that he's a slave to the Jedi, and he wants to be free. He also wants his brothers (the clones) to be free, and he's willing to hurt them (kill them) to get them to see that they are slaves.

All of this brings up a very good question: Are the clones slaves? They, other than the traitor, do not feel as if they are slaves. They do, after all, have free will. After a fashion. Well, it's not that they don't have free will; that's the point in having a clone army: having troops that can make independent decisions based upon circumstances rather than just blindly following an order or a program the way the droids do. But, yet, the clones are genetically programmed to be obedient to the Jedi. There is still, though, a component of choice in their obedience despite the programming.

It's an interesting conflict that's brought up in  this episode. I hope they explore it further (because I don't actually remember if they do or not, though I did remember this episode quite vividly once I put started it up. It had an impact on me the first time I watched it, too.

The next question is whether the traitor, Slick, is justified in his actions, actions that resulted in the deaths of many of his brothers, whom he professes to love. The other clones are understandably horrified at what Slick has done and can't believe that he would both turn traitor and cause the deaths of his brother clones. Slick sees the deaths as necessary.

Neither of these questions is brought to conclusion in  this episode, which I think is a good thing. Difficult moral questions should be brought up and pointed out, but it is often a mistake to try to answer a question like that in a 22 minute television show.


  1. I love a good treason story and I think reluctant sympathy for the traitor is a key to making it work. The relationship between the Jedi and the clones is a complicated one and this story highlights the vulnerabilities of that relationship.

    1. TAS: It does. It's a good story arc, actually, although I can't remember what's next. Which is a good thing!