“Crisis on Naboo” was a mixed bag of goodies. This episode had a lot of incredible things going for it, but at the end of the day, it suffers from the same problem that so many other story arcs in this series have, and that is, “What was the point?”
At the end of the day, nothing was accomplished plot-wise. This entire story arc just goes without realizing where it wants to end up, and eventually hits a dead end. Every bounty hunter is now either dead or back in prison, the Separatists just shot themselves in the foot by essentially revealing that kidnapping the Chancellor is a possibility, and story wise, the only thing that was “revealed” is Anakin’s mistrust for the council and even Obi-Wan.
There are a few things I must praise this episode for. First of all, Naboo. The only other time we have seen this many people on screen in this series was the “parade crowd” in “Corruption” when Padme arrives on Mandalore-and Filoni himself admitted that most of the crowd in that scene was the result of camera trickery. Every person on Naboo, however, was walking around, having their own separate animations and everything. It was also a nice nod to see Sio Bibble make an appearance (although, I am saddened he did not have a speaking role). Theed was possibly the most realistic I’ve ever seen this series get. At this point, the only parts of Naboo we have seen are swamps, Gungan cities, and the inside of the Theed Palace. The city truly looked like renaissance Italy. In fact, there were several times I thought I was looking at Assassin’s Creed due to the level of detail. I am just a little confused why there were Nemoidians at a Naboo festival. I understand the invasion of Naboo happened ten years ago, and it is behind them, but to a child who just saw Phantom Menace in 3D, the invasion of Naboo quite literally happened yesterday, and seeing a “bad guy” at this festival probably has a few kids scratching their heads. The one phenomenal part of this episode was the fireworks display. In a strange way, it almost felt like it didn’t belong or work. But by that same token, I think that’s why it worked so well. It almost looked cartoony in a way, but honestly, I’m a simple man who is amused by exploding colors and shapes in the sky, so I was a bit speechless when I saw that.
Now like I said, this episode had some issues. Let’s recap the plot. The Jedi learn of a Separatist plot to kidnap the Chancellor, so they “kill” Obi-Wan Kenobi, disguise him as bounty hunter Rako Hardeen and sneak him into jail. He proceeds to break out of jail with Morallo Eval and Cad Bane, who are to meet up with Dooku on Serreno to compete in a contest in which the survivors will partake in the kidnapping of the Chancellor. The handful of bounty hunters attempt an elaborate plan to kidnap Palpatine. Obi-Wan reports to the Jedi everything that is going on from the inside and the bounty hunters are foiled, only to have Dooku attempt to kill Anakin and try to take the Chancellor on his own, eventually getting onto his ship and flying away.
Got all that?
Yeah, that was dragged out for 4 episodes. That alone is the first problem. The second episode and third episode (although fun to watch) were completely pointless. The second episode literally accomplished NOTHING with the exception that Anakin “senses” that Obi-Wan is still alive, and the third episode is nothing more than bringing down 11 bounty hunters to 5, and putting Cad Bane in charge.
There are also some MAJOR points that are never addressed. 1) The Jedi now have to admit that they lied to everyone in the galaxy and that Obi-Wan is actually alive-and I don’t think Satine is going to take that very well. 2) What happened to Embo, and the other bounty hunters? They just kind of disappear. 3) Cad Bane and Morallo Eval just end up back in prison, so not only is nothing accomplished, but they end up right back where they were. 4) What was Dooku’s plan? He clearly knows Palpatine is Darth Sidious, so what was he trying to accomplish by attempting to “kidnap” him? 5) Why have Dooku and Anakin fight again? Every time they meet, it alters the “My powers have doubled since the last time we met” line from Revenge of the Sith. The common occurrence of Dooku fighting Anakin has become a punch-line in the series, causing fans to respond to the “Last time we met” line, with “Oh, you mean last week?” 6) WHERE IS RAKO HARDEEN? The last time we saw him was the beginning of the story arc. Mace waves his hand and he goes “night-night”. We never see him again. Do the Jedi arrest him for “assassinating” a Jedi, even though they hired him to do it, and he never actually committed murder? Or do they let him go? Either way, they’re either condemning a man for a crime he didn’t actually commit, or letting a man go free, where the galaxy believes he committed 2 crimes he didn’t actually commit (murder and kidnapping).
I have also dubbed this arc the “convenient technology” arc. It is becoming a disturbing trend in the series where basic logic doesn’t work anymore. Every now and then a new technological device is introduced and the audience can’t help but think “Ok, why haven’t we seen this before?” and “Why doesn’t everyone have this”? Hardeen’s genetic structure is “downloaded” into a computer and injected into Obi-Wan, changing his entire genetic structure. Then he swallows a giant device that allows him to change his voice (even though the transformation should have changed his vocal chords). Then, in this episode, the main characters are given holo-disguises, which continuously short out for a second or two. I understand this is for the audience to realize “Oh wait. That republic guard is actually Embo”, but there had to have been another way to convey that without making people wonder why nobody is noticing that the Nemoidian sitting in the crowd is actually Cad Bane.
I will give credit where credit is due, and the few good points this arc had, were well done. For example, Palpatine’s usage and manipulation of Anakin over these past few episodes has been nothing short of stellar. It almost pains me to see this done so well, because due to the passing of Ian Abercrombie, the current voice work now has a limited time before it is a new man, which may not be able to convey the same evil subtlety that Abercrombie has been able to provide. And much like many great people before him, his work is not truly loved and appreciated, until they are no longer there to provide it.
Overall, this episode was fun to watch, if not entirely pointless. Perhaps there is something I’m missing, or something that will be explained further into the series, but I see no reason why any of what just happened in the past 4 episodes needed to happen. Nothing was accomplished, and the bad guys ended up back at square one. The only thing I can piece together is that it made the Jedi look entirely untrustworthy. Perhaps that was the point? Either way, it was a fun story, with a lot of interesting points. I just wish they would close the many doors they opened and never went through.
Oh well….ON TO DARTH MAUL!!!
To read more of Dave’s wrk, check him out over at The Star Wars Underworld