A More Civilized Age or: How Ali, Austin, Natalie, and Rob Made Me Watch 9+ Hours of Bad Star Wars to "Get to the Good Stuff"

Personally I’m hoping they jump out of Star Wars and do Outlaw Star next, but that’s me.

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Watched the Slaves of the Republic arc. Hm.

It has some high highs and low lows, for me. I think, from a storytelling perspective, it isn’t necessarily a strong episode, but it’s… well put together? It feels like a crafted narrative in a way many episodes of this show are forced to just meander and leave loose threads - a symptom of the midquelitis, perhaps - and it managed to establish actual stakes in a way the show often fails to. The Zygerrians look cool, a bit of a mix of cat and bat and, like, coyote or hyena or something? I dig it.

This episode is very unique, because I think at the end of it, I liked Anakin.

Maybe that’s part of the lows, though. I’ll put the rest of my comments in spoilers since I have to get into the details. Jedi nonsense is at a new peak with this one, slavery is bad - but hating slavers? Oh, that’s dangerous. Anakin not letting go of his past, yadda yadda, they are slavers though so let the man get some kills in, goddamn. We watch a slave woman commit suicide, we watch multiple of Ahsoka’s people fall to their deaths, but when Anakin throws a slaver off the palace, we have to cut away to show him comedically falling through hanging sheets and shop covers and falling - hurt but still apparently alive - into some produce or something. Dooku gets to kill the Queen; Rex gets the kill on the dude in charge of the brainwashing facility. But Anakin is denied a cathartic scene of murdering these slavers because it would be meaningful for him.

Anakin is valid. Force choke whoever you like, king. And speaking of royalty, while the dynamic between them is maybe the most yikes thing Clone Wars has made me watch, I do think it is very funny that Anakin happened to marry a queen and now he just has the power to seduce any royal babe he runs into.

Also, my first thought when the Queen does the ‘you’re a slave to a corrupt Republic’ speech:

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And, like, the city design + the outfits (especially the ones Ahsoka wears when she’s pretending to be a slave Anakin acquired) were definitely very Middle East-inspired, which… is not great when it’s a race that is seemingly just entirely evil. I’d say the accents might have been a bit racist, but honestly they were so inconsistent it was hard to pinpoint. Were they meant to be Russian? Egytian? Spanish? Who knows.

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Obi-Wan has gotten his ass kicked about nine times already and it’s only the third episode. I hope this continues, because it’s hilarious how many Ls this guy can take in the course of one arc.

At some point somebody has to mention that the Jedi have a Slave Army, right? They have to have some kind of self-awareness of how fucked this is??

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One would think, and yet.

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I still think this show sucks. There’s so much they just left on the table here. Ashoka and her people is an issue they just didn’t think about. Why would you not make Ashoka a focus of the arc?

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Kinda fucked that an entire race has “loving slavery” as a trait like they are playing a sci fi civ game. Their signature weapon is an energy whip, goddamn.

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On the positive side the battle scene with the swivel-side car speeder turrets and the new Pill-box sniper droids kicked ass.

All of the battles in this arc were stellar, IMO. Some creative movement and animation we haven’t seen before. My problems narratively are echoes of @ricotta’s criticisms. Literally Anakin is the only one with a normal human reaction to slavery and he doesn’t even get to do the thing, i.e. murderize slavers (at least, plot relevant ones who represent the ideology of slavery).

I also think Ahsoka was extremely underexamined here. She kept referring to “her people” but 1) we have no idea what her relationship is to her people and culture. We presume she was taken from them at the normal jedi baby-stealing age so she likely doesn’t actually have any meaningful connection to them. We also get practically no insight into Togrutan culture because they get trafficked so early in the arc and are just off-screen damsels for the rest of it. And 2) jedi are intentionally not anyone’s people. That’s their whole deal. If anyone were paying attention, Ahsoka would get an F in jedi school for feeling attachment to her own race above others.

At the very least, the show lands on the side of “slavery bad”, which is a relief, and manages to make it to the finish line with some challenging subject matter after teetering on that tightrope for basically the entire runtime (and falling firmly into yikes territory more than once!). Yes, let’s conflate chattel slavery with consensual BDSM. What could go wrong?

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After the really solid previous arc that ends with a sudden step on a rake this one is like the sideshow Bob gif. Some interesting seeds are planted right in the beginning, then nothing of substance for 3 whole episodes.

The fact that I’m still watching this show really speaks to how much I enjoy the crew on the podcast. I also know a bit of what’s coming and I’d like to see how it plays out. Although I’m keeping my expectations for how it happens tempered.

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I haven’t gotten to the podcast today yet, but HOW DO I EVEN considering there’s BALD AND SHAVEN OBI-WAN and he’s A BABY under there!! :V

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I’ve been aware of the increased visual quality since season 4 started, but the snow and winter clothes and the sakura trees (or whatever the alien version of that is) were the first time I looked at the show and thought it looked pretty good.

Also, while this feels like a catastrophic addition to the ‘ways the Jedi are to blame for Anakin not trusting them and falling to the dark side’ pile, I do like a good Face/Off. Much better than their attempt to do Seven Samurai, at least.

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I know the Civilized crew have talked extensively about the way Star Wars treats droids, but it is incredibly dark how Lux quips “looks like R2 made some new friends” before all the rebuilt droids get murdered by Death Watch. Can’t wait to listen to the pod once I’ve caught up on the start of the Obi-Wan arc.

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I accidentally watched The Box episode instead of the Nal Hutta episode and I won’t spoil anything but that might be the best episode this show has done. Or it’s just extremely my particular shit.

The more I watch this show, the more I realise the Jedi got what was coming to them.

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  1. Why would a bunch of bounty hunters willingly go into the Box, knowing certain death awaits at least 50% of them? Dooku promised to kill any survivors above 5. I don’t know why Dooku kept regaling them about how they’d be heroes of the Separatist cause because they don’t give a shit about that! They only care about getting paid but no payday is worth that. If I were a bounty hunter and my prospective employer told me I had to prove myself in a deadly gauntlet to get the job, I would simply not.

  2. Why did Mace instantly blow Obi-wan’s cover as soon as he showed up to arrest Cad Bane and Moralo Eval like he’s a high schooler with a piece of juicy gossip? There’s so many ways he could have played that interaction without giving up the ghost and revealing to Renowned and Extremely Dangerous Criminal Cad Bane that the Jedi have face-stealing technology. Pretend like Hardeen was a double agent who got paid off by the Jedi or something! I’m annoyed that this terrible opsec is likely not going to bite them in the ass later.

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I think one of the requirements for becoming a Star Wars writer is not knowing what bounty hunters are and what they do.

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I think Cowboy Bebop is the only space ScFi to get it right, since they actually capture criminals a few times and hand them to the police. Otherwise “bounty hunter” is just a cool word for “mercenary outlaw” or in the case of Samus Aran, Nintendo has admitted to not even knowing what it meant at all.

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The Cagney movie Austin is thinking of is White Heat by the way!

Love that movie. Best ending line.

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I don’t understand what Dooku and Palpatine’s plan actually was at the end of this. There’s like four layers of deception going on here and I don’t know who is playing who or why.

Which is all cool, but wat.

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