The fifth episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars in canonical order is “Supply Lines” from Season 3, Episode 3 (3:3). Technically, it’s considered the prequel to “Ambush”, as well as the Ryloth trilogy from the end of the first season. It’s a politically fueled episode, with a blockade as the MacGuffin, which brings Bail Organa, Jar Jar Binks, Cham Syndulla, and a slew of new characters into the mix. Sacrifice, loyalty, and deception play important roles here, and while it’s not one of my favorite episodes, it’s not without merit. Of immediate significance, this is the first episode of the series where we see the death of a Jedi; it is a haunting harbinger of Order 66.
This episode features the debut of a few characters, as well as the first canonical appearance of Ryloth, home to the Twi’leks. Ryloth is arguably the most important introduction here, as we meet Cham Syndulla, freedom fighter and father of Hera Syndulla. Cham features prominently in Lords of the Sith, as well as the Star Wars Rebels Season two episode, “Homecoming”. He is joined on Ryloth by Jedi Master Di, a Nikto Jedi (previously, Nikto Jedi were only seen as background characters in the Battle of Geonosis from Attack Of The Clones), and one of my favorite Jedi of the Prequel area. I was truly disappointed to see his fate, but I suppose the not so subtle pun that is his name should have tipped me off. In fact, his full name is listed as Jedi Master Ima-Gun Di (which would make the writers of the original Bullwinkle proud).
Suffering a similar punny fate is our brief encounter with newcomer Admiral Dao (the Official Site mentions his name is an anagram of dead on arrival). The english teacher in me appreciates the irony here, but one could argue it trivializes them (especially Dao, who is not really presented as anything but a sacrificial lamb) as characters. That may be the point, in Dao’s case, as you have to get from point A to point B somehow when telling a story.
Toydaria also makes its first appearance here, as does its leader, King Katuunko. Lastly, the clone Captain Keeli makes his first and last appearance. If you are a new character in “Supply Lines”, you don’t have much of a shot of surviving the Clone Wars.
Summary of the Episode
The episode starts with a blockade created by the Separatists around the planet, Ryloth. The Republic is in desperate need of supplies, as the people of Ryloth are running short on food, fuel, and ammunition. In similar dire straits, the Republic relief supply fleet cannot provide aid, as they are dangerously low on fuel and ammunitions. The Jedi must be contacted, and a plan is concocted to reach out to Toydaria, a neutral planet led by King Katuunko.
Making matters more convoluted is the appearance of Lott Dod, the Senate representative of the Trade Federation, who warns the Toydarian King that any aid would be considered a breach of neutrality, and would make Toydaria an ally of the Republic. The King agrees to hear both sides of the argument, both from Dod, as well as Bail Organa and Jar Jar Binks. As mentioned above, Cham Syndulla and Jedi Master Di fight bravely, and we see another profound example of how the Clone Wars are affecting the individual planets in the galaxy. Incidentally, Jar Jar’s antics help save the people of Ryloth; for all of his foibles, it is worth noting that this is not the first time he has saved a number of lives.
What this Episode means for Star Wars
There are a number of takeaways here. Perhaps the theme that most resonated (for me) was the death of Jedi Master Di. For whatever reason, he really hit home. There are some Jedi from the Prequel era that I prefer more than others, so it was nice to gravitate towards someone immediately. The design, voice, and bravery he exhibited made him a personal favorite. His death has an impact, and brings to the forefront the cost this war is having. It makes things personal and disturbing, and political strife does not help matters out.
Ultimately, it’s a senseless war, and his death is all the more tragic as a result. It isn’t even clear what his personal ideology is concerning the Clone Wars, but he is a brave and loyal soldier, fighting for innocent lives; truly among the finest qualities exhibited by humanity. The irony here, of course, is that the Jedi finds themselves in a war in the first place. This isn’t the only example of irony in “Supply Lines” though.
It’s fair to say that Jar Jar is as polarizing in Star Wars fandom as it gets. I’ve never had a problem with him; there is a definite generation that absolutely loves him, in fact. Besides showing us how important Bail Organa is to the Star Wars saga is, this episode appears to attempt to resuscitate Jar Jar’s reputation and value. His appearances in this series are few and far between, and it would be interesting to see what his presence in The Clone Wars does for a particular subset of fandom. He seems to take on the persona Ian Doescher established for him in The Phantom of Menace; he’s crazy like a fox, which is a fascinating way to interpret him. Speaking of polarizing, the Neimodians continue to instigate and annoy the galaxy, both in and out of story, and the tradition continues here, courtesy of Lott Dod.
“Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way”
While not among the most clever of fortune cookies, “Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way” is certainly among the most straightforward. It is unique in that it applies to so many characters in this episode, to various degrees of impact. Di and Captain Keeli fight for the people of Ryloth, no matter the cost, and ultimately buy time for relief to come. Their sacrifice is a hard-fought, but succesful for the planet and its people.
Building upon this, Bail and Jar Jar assuage King Katuunko to take a stance. An adage I’ve always subscribed to is if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything, and fortunately for Ryloth, Katuunko decides to take a stand against oppression and tyranny. Many will try to convince, subvert, or undermine one’s opinion, hence the necessity to strengthen one’s resolve. Determination and an iron will are strong thematics elements here, and they serve the greater good. It’s completely selfless and comes at great cost, but is definitely inspiring.
Four down, one hundred and seventeen to go! Up next is “Ambush”, episode 101 (1:1), the episode that started it all. Happy viewing!
Note: if anyone has a clever expression or way for me to sign off on these each time (besides “Happy viewing!”), leave a comment and let me know. I am open to suggestions!Powered by Sidelines