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Saturday, February 29, 2020

Force in Focus: The Clones Wars Season 7 Episode 02

"A Distant Echo"

The Moral of the Story
The search for truth begins with belief.

Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker joins Rex and the Bad Batch on a mission to Skago Minor, following the signal Rex believes to have come from Echo. Shortly after arriving on the planet, they are attacked by the native Poletec, but with translation help from Tech, they learn the Poletec merely want to avoid becoming embroiled in the war, and agree to help the Republic forces oust the Separatists, guiding them to the city of Purkoll. Their approach is noticed by Techno-Union foreman Wat Tambor, who decides to set a trap. Anakin and the clones attack his citadel, but Wrecker quickly ignores Anakin's orders to take a more stealthy approach. Fighting their way inside instead, Rex and Tech follow the signal to a locked chamber. Inside, they find Echo, alive but attached to a stasis pod, unsure of where he is. Rex promises him that he's going home.

Firsts and Other Notables
This episode features a new scene (relative to the unfinished version of the episode which previously aired on featuring Anakin stealing away for a holo chat with Padme while Rex covers for him and tries to brush off Obi-Wan. In the process, Obi-Wan suggests he knows more about their relationship than previously established (if not that they're married, then at least they're continuing to see one another and communicate regularly outside any kind of official duties).

As teased last episode (and as insisted by Rex throughout this one), Echo turns up alive, hooked to some kind of stasis pod, a captive of the Separatists/Techno Union.

His captivity (and the plumbing of his knowledge to power the Separatists' predictive algorithm) is overseen by Techno Union foreman Wat Tambor, who first appeared in Attack of the Clones and has a cool visual design (like Dr. Frankenstein & his monster fused into one), which is echoed in the Art Deco/30s-era monster movie design of his citadel.

A new design of battle droid debuts in this episode, with seemingly extra limbs hunched up on their shoulders and reverse leg joints, giving them an even more bird-like look.

A Work in Progress
Anakin references "the Outer Rim sieges" to Padme; this is the final extended campaign of the Clone Wars, mentioned in Revenge of the Sith, which saw the Republic press its advantage across multiple Outer Rim worlds at once. The Battles of Anaxes, the backdrop of these episodes, is part of that.

Padme is clearly pregnant in her holo call with Anakin; he, presumably, is oblivious to this (in his defense, it's entirely possible Anakin has never seen a pregnant woman before, so...).

Wat Tambor insists that the Techno-Union has "corporate neutrality" which is pretty rich considering he's a member of the Separatist council in Episode II and supplies the Confederacy with weapons & technology.

The round, shimmering-resolve-to-image view screen Wat Tambor uses is similar in style/design to that used by the Trade Federation in Phantom Menace (Tambor's Techno-Union, of course, being allies in the Confederacy with the Trade Federation).

Skago Minor, the setting of this planet and home base of the Techno Union, first appeared in the new canon in an issue of Dr. Aphra; this is its first appearance in the Prequel Era.

Austin's Analysis
Continuing more or less where the last episode left off, with Rex now determined to find the seemingly still-alive Echo, this episode benefits greatly from the inclusion of Anakin into the mix. Not only does this mean a healthy dose of "lightsaber-on-battle-droid" action (I will never not get tired of watching Jedi slice into those things), but it gives Rex someone to bounce off throughout the episode, someone with whom he has an established camaraderie and sense of trust (as opposed to the newly-introduced Bad Batch), someone to whom he's more comfortable opening up (and who is, in turn, more comfortable pushing Rex to question what's happening). And, as a bonus, it allows for that great scene where Rex has to cover for Anakin while he has a phone date with Padme, which leads to the confirmation that Obi-Wan is more aware of what's going on than previously established. The Clone Wars has always done a great job of adding some emotional weight to the Anakin/Padme relationship, and it continues that here, with Anakin seeking advice from Padme about how to help Rex, while also re-contextualizing the relationship between them and Obi-Wan with just one offhand line of dialogue.

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1 comment:

  1. Yeah, that little line from Oni-Wan (and Anakin’s silent reaction) was nice to see. I like the idea that he was always aware, on some level, of a relationship between Anakin and Padme. And now I can’t remember how he finds out about it in ROTS. I’ll need to check. I feel like he just sort of knows when he goes to visit Padme at her apartment, but I may be mistaken. I haven’t seen the movie in its entirety in probably ten years.


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