The second episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars in canonical order, is “The Hidden Enemy” from Season 1, Episode 16 (1:16). According to “The Hidden Enemy” episode guide, this episode is the prequel to the feature film of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and I can see why, after viewing the episodes in this fashion. I must admit, I'm only two in, but the anthology nature of this series is quite brilliant; these episodes build upon one another much more strongly than I originally suspected. I knew Dave Filoni was clever, but now I'm even more impressed.
As far as the canonical order of introducing new characters, we have quite a few. The most significant ones being Captain Rex, Commander Cody, and Asajj Ventress. We also meet Clones Gus, Sergeant Slick, Chopper (a bit ironic, considering Star Wars Rebels), and Hawk. We are also aware that the army of General Whorm Loathsom is present, but the character is not shown.
Summary of the Episode
On the surface, this episode is about the invasion of the planet Christophsis, with Anakin and Obi-Wan leading the Republic army of Clones against the brutal onslaught of the Battle Droids. The drastic differences in fighting style are exemplified here, and while some have found Battle Droids to be ineffectual and silly, they are anything but, as “The Hidden Enemy” demonstrates. It is reminiscent of the British style of fighting used in the Revolutionary War, with bravado and impressive shows of force that are seemly unending, efficient, and frightening. We also witness Obi-Wan and Anakin's first duel with the Sith assassin Asajj Ventress, who will feature prominently throughout this series.
However, the real story focuses on a traitor amidst the Clones. In a clever use of modifying genre to assimilate into the Star Wars universe, Dave Filoni paying homage to classic film archetypes, as the clones (featured canonically for the first time) must figure out who the traitor in their midst is. It's a classic tale of suspense, with paranoia mixed in to add to the verisimilitude of the piece. It's a compelling episode, to be certain.
What this Episode means for Star Wars
This episode is integral to disseminating the mystery that will eventually become Order 66. Up to this point, audiences have no choice but to believe that Clones are essentially loyal to a fault. The notion that one could betray one of their brothers appears to send ripples of confusion, anger, and suspicion amongst one another. Perhaps this is a not so subtle sign to the audience that Clones are anything but carbon copies of Jango Fett, and that they have the same ambition, doubt, and complexity befitting any human character.
We even witness the severe psychological duress of Chopper (I still can't get over that there is a Clone named Chopper), who takes Battle Droid fingers as trophies. War, even the Clone Wars, causes trauma, and Clones are not exempt from this. The Clones are equally disturbed by this as well as concerned, which furthers the multifaceted humanity of the Republic army. “The Human Enemy” drives this point home in dramatic fashion, and we look at them through a different lens as a result.
Once Sergeant Slick (aptly named) is under arrest (after a thrilling chase sequence!), he screams at Captain Rex and Commander Cody that they are “slaves”. It would seem a comment like that would get the ire of Anakin Skywalker, but he appears cool under pressure. Nevertheless, it is hard not to think about the nature of a Clone; they are designed for combat, and it's hard to ascertain if any of them has authentic choice in the matter. It is wired into their collective DNA, and while they are allegedly used for good, the fact that Jedi would use them in the Clone Wars is something that should be concerning to Star Wars fans. From a certain point of view, it's deeply distressing, and one that will be revisited time and time again in this wonderful series.
“Truth Enlightens The Mind, But Won't Always Bring Happiness To Your Heart”
For me, it is hard to hear the word truth in a George Lucas world without thinking of Indiana Jones' line from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, “Archeology is the search for fact, not truth.” Truth, from a philosophical and linguistic point of view, is a bit different from truth. In this instance, the truth of identifying Slick as the traitor does bring enlightenment, as far as knowledge, but it does not do much for inner peace (hence the ‘happiness to your heart”). Many people would rather live in blissful ignorance than face reality. It's a cliché, but knowledge is power, and that power has cost. For the Clones (and much more fatally in the not too distant future, for the Jedi), truth can be a frightening proposition, especially when they are not aware of the dramatic irony present; the Clones are the hidden enemy, thanks to Palpatine.
Two down, one hundred and nineteen to go! Up next, the theatrical release of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. See you here in two weeks; happy viewing!Powered by Sidelines