The Plot Thickens
A TV Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
The Order 66 plot continues on The Clone Wars in a good second installment that takes us back to the clone origin planet of Kamino, one of the few good things introduced by Attack of the Clones. Conspiracy is a gorgeous episode of television, but beautiful animation on this show isn’t exactly a new thing anymore. Seriously though, Kamino has never looked better. Conspiracy is well-paced and intriguing, but suffers from the reality that it is a second-parter in a 4 episode-arc and crucially the narrative at times can feel as if it is merely a segment to get from Point A to Point B without being a satisfying single narrative on its own.
Tup arrives on Kamino for a medical evaluation and we make the great acquaintance of Jedi Master Shaak Ti, the show’s most gorgeously crafted character model and one of my personal favorite Jedi in the Star Wars saga. Master Ti and the other Kaminoans are especially afraid of a clone virus that was mentioned in the previous episode. Biological warfare has been used sparingly in the saga and this was a nice shout-out into a facet of modern-day warfare that has been underutilized as a plot point in the war itself. Tup undergoes a hyper-test, euphemism for super painful medical exam that should take about five minutes. As Master Ti raises her objections, Katie Lucas’s pen raises an interesting point about the morality of the easy path. Sure, the tests produce quick results at great pain, but at what cost? How far have the effects been studied? Fives, lying in the room adjacent to Tup’s, evidently shares Master Ti’s feeling. In one of the Clone Wars’s most haunting sequences, Fives protests powerlessly as Tup is gripped by his seizures, banging his fists against the window that separates the two but Master Ti simply darkens the window with a wave of her hand. More often than not, we become powerless even in the face of imminent injustice. But the true crime is when our voices remain silent.
Shaak Ti and Nala Se have an argument over what exactly to do with Tup after his seizures become more pronounced. Nala Se’s plan is to kill Tup and then analyze his brain to see what exactly had caused him to murder a Jedi Master. Shaak Ti objects, citing a Phase 5 exam that might be painful but would spare Tup death. The Jedi Master pulls rank, leaving behind a furious Kaminoan.
A worried Nala Se approaches Kaminoan Prime Minister Lama Su and they both contact Darth Tyranus, who had given them the chip in the first place. From how the Kaminoans understand it, the inhibitor chips were not just in place to keep the clones from aggravating. Behind that logical line was an understanding that the clones were programmed to kill the Jedi and the Chancellor through Orders 66 and 67 if they betrayed the Republic. As Darth Tyranus put it, the clones were created to serve the Republic, not the Jedi or the Chancellor. The revelation of those orders would only breed more chaos and taint the entire war effort. Thus the secret was necessary. In other holograms, the Jedi Council decides that Tup needed to examined by the Council in person.
The best parts of the episode oddly enough belong to Tup and the droid AZ-3, who has hilarious deadpan one-liners about the true nature of clones. “Maybe you were created to be disposable,” he quips solidly. But despite his deadpan nature, AZ helps Fives quite a bit. He helps Fives undergo a secret test that reveals the chip inside of him, or as he thinks of it, a tumor. Tup’s chip is removed, but not before he mutters about the dreams of a nightmarish mission finally ending. As Shaak Ti perceives it, he was under orders to kill a Jedi. But who, when, where, what, and why for the most part remains unknown.
What the Clone Wars series has accomplished more so than the prequels in their entirety is establish the clones themselves as actual characters worth investing in emotionally and not a mere plot point. In the films when Order 66 is first issued, it is a logical plot point but one whose chief executioners in the clones is never heavily imbued with emotional shades. Revenge of the Sith, for all of its flaws, is much more impactful with the Clone Wars in hindsight. With just two episodes into Season 6, we have gained an extraordinary insight into one of the most poignant moments of the entire Star Wars mythos. Not bad.
Writer: Katie Lucas
Director: Brian Kalin O’Connell
Chronologically Episode #110
Image Courtesy: Star Wars OS