Here we go! Time to start from the very beginning of Star Wars: The Clone Wars with the episode “Cat And Mouse”, Season 2, Episode 16 (2:16). Chronologically, this is the first episode of the entire series (which may seem counterintuitive, but should be interesting to see how it all pieces together). The animation is gorgeous and epic in scope, which was cool to see, as my mind's eye did not recall how majestic the visuals of this series appeared early on.
As “Coffee and The Clone Wars” will be approaching the series canonically, this is the first appearance of Christophsis, as well as Admiral Trench and Admiral Wullf Yularen, with Blackout and Spark as the clones introduced.
Summary of the Episode
The planet Christophsis is in desperate need of supplies and aid, but is surrounded by a Separatist blockade, led by Admiral Trench, who, we are told in this episode, is something of a strategic legend. Anakin Skywalker is on the move, but must wait for Obi-Wan to arrive and assist the urgent mission. Anakin finds himself in the position of taking a defensive route, (at the request of Ob-Wan Kenobi) despite his inclination to take the fight to Trench. However, Obi-Wan reveals the Republic's new stealth ship, which has a cloaking device that is virtually in-detectable. This leads to an exciting, suspenseful conclusion, reminiscent of a good naval thriller.
What this Episode means for Star Wars
It was interesting to look back at this particular episode, mostly due to the juxtaposition of Anakin and Obi-Wan's relationship. As Star Wars fans know, they experience more than their share of ebb and flow, and while “Cat And Mouse” features the two quite irritated with one another, it's more along the lines of brothers than enemies. This could arguably be pointed to as a moment of Obi-Wan enabling Anakin, who clearly disobeys a direct order from his Master. Naturally, Anakin's immeasurable talents and charisma win the day, and Obi-Wan's reaction is played for laughs.
And it should be, because it's funny. However, it does stand to reason that if this were, in fact, an example of directly disobeying a direct order from a superior officer, the subordinate would most likely be reprimanded. But, Anakin seems to circumvent the system quite regularly, and from a certain point of view, this is a relatively minuscule (but no less poignant) example of Anakin believing his strength in the Force, as well as his will, come before the decrees of the Jedi. It could be argued that the mere existence of the Clone Wars creates a dynamic where the Jedi have to continually, as a collective, behave in a manner that is personified by Anakin's actions here. Obi-Wan and Anakin's relationship in this episode is a metaphorical commentary on the Jedi's struggle against their core belief system. An intriguing microcosm that will be almost perpetually manifest throughout the series.
“A Wise Leader Knows When To Follow”
One of the most intriguing things about this series (that I miss in Star Wars Rebels) is the text at the beginning of each episode. Here, even though the episode is focussed on Anakin, the fortune cookie seems to point to Obi-Wan's decision to trust in Anakin, even though it goes against his instructions. Anakin's natural tendency to trust in the validity of his instincts over the wishes of others is in full regalia here,and ironically, Obi-Wan does the exact same thing, trusting in Skywalker over his own initial beliefs. The fact that there are no repercussions for Anakin are digestable, because countless lives are saved. This is war, and a different set of ideals replace those in times of peace.
There are no easy solutions here, but there is heroism, bravery, and some spectacular examples of Anakin's flying acumen. The brief scenes that feature clones Blackout and Spark also feature an example of the mentor/mentee relationship, and set the stage for the motif of loyalty present amongst this brotherhood. Sometimes following is the best leadership one can provide, and “Cat And Mouse” provides many captivating examples of that.
One down, one hundred and twenty to go! Next time, it's “Hidden Enemy”, episode 116. Happy viewing!
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