Star Wars: The Clone Wars Review - Season 2, Episode 14: "Duchess of Mandalore"
(Image via StarWars.com)
By Chris "HothIcePlanet" Smith
Original Air Date:February 12, 2010
Key Players:Obi-Wan Kenobi, Duchess Satine Kryze, Count Dooku, Chancellor Palpatine and Pre Vizsla
Key Locations::Coruscant, Concordia and Deep Space
Tagline:“In war, truth is the first casualty.”
Newsreel:A diplomatic mission! As dissent threatens to tear apart the peaceful Mandalore system, Duchess Satine struggles to protect her people against the escalating violence. Betrayed by two of her trusted allies, Satine now travels to Coruscant. There, she hopes to convince the Senate that a destructive splinter group, DEATH WATCH, does not represent the entire Mandalorian government.
The Story:Aboard a Separatist frigate, Count Dooku talks with Pre Vizsla via hologram. Pre Vizsla is ready to attack the planet Mandalore, but Dooku insist on patience as his plan is unfolding as he has foreseen it. He orders a Death Watch assassin to Coruscant to kill the Duchess of Mandalore.
Meanwhile, a shadowy scout has been watching them from afar and reports back to Mandalore, where he meets with Prime Minister Almec. They both feel that if Death Watch attacks they will need the will of the people to be successful. They also agree that if the Republic was to intervene, then the Death Watch would look like a group of liberators instead of terrorists.
Now in the Coruscant Senate, Chancellor Palpatine feels that the Death Watch is a major threat and that the Republic should offer support. Duchess Satine does not feel the situation is as dire as everyone else feels it is. She insists that this is a Mandalorian matter and does not want the Republic’s help. Chancellor Palpatine offers a holographic message as evidence that the Republic should step in. The recording is of Deputy Minister Jerec, and he states that the situation is more that they can handle and that they will need the Jedi and the Republic to help them. He also claims the Mandalorian government has withheld a lot from the people of Mandalore. Duchess Satine is clearly upset and claims the message to be a lie. She knows Prime Minister Jerec, and he wouldn’t say these things. She demands to speak to Jerec, but Jerec was killed earlier that day. Palpatine now feels there is enough evidence to proceed with the liberation of Mandalore. Satine continues to insist that the Republic need not get involved because she does not want Mandalore to become a military target. Palpatine ends this session and announces the Senate will vote on military action in the next session.
Obi-Wan catches up with Satine on a landing platform and expresses his concern about her state of mind and her decision making in this state. Satine gets highly upset and throws it back in his face. She does not want the Republic’s help and feels that you can talk anything out, unlike the Jedi who run around welding a lightsaber at everyone. She boards her speeder and leaves. A Mandalorian assassin is seen watching as Satine’s speeder flies by, and the assassin triggers a remote explosive onboard her speeder. Satine and her two guards must jump to safety as her pilot flies into a nearby building.
Soon after her brush with death, Duchess Satine is in a meeting with Chancellor Palpatine in his office. She is outraged that no charges will be filled on the attempt to her life. Palpatine claims no evidence was left when the speeder crashed and contends it could have been just an accident. Mas Amedda steps in and states that this situation is out of control and is evidence that the Republic should step in on Mandalore. Very discouraged, Satine leaves and runs into Obi-Wan in the corridor. Obi-Wan asks her what happened, and she explains it was an accident and she is fine. Obi-Wan tries to get her to let him and others help, but Satine refuses; she insists on dealing with it in her way. As they continue, Padme Amidala walks up to share information that the Senate has already voted for the Republic to step in and take action. Satine is shocked and asks why she wasn’t included in this meeting. Senator Amidala says the session took place while she was in the meeting with Chancellor Palpatine, and the Republic will proceed tomorrow morning.
Later that night in an alley of Coruscant, Duchess Satine meets with Ravu Golec, a contact of hers within the Republic Ministry of Intelligence. Golec has discovered the original complete recording of Deputy Minister Jerec’s message that was shown in the Senate and turns it over to her. Meanwhile, a Mandalorian assassin is watching and targets the two. In an instant, Golec is shot through the chest, killing him instantly. The assassin then sets his sights on Satine but is blocked by a police drone. Satine has pulled her weapon in self defense and the police droids now think she is the killer! They begin chasing after her. She manages to escape by making the police droids and clones think she jumped aboard a speeder, and when they chase after it, she proceeds in the other direction.
On the Concordian moon, Pre Vizsla receives a hologram message from the assassin, who reports the Duchess is still alive. Pre Vizsla urges the assassin to find her before she ruins their plans of attack.
Meanwhile, on a Separatist frigate Count Dooku reports his status to Darth Sidious. Dooku feels that with the Republic taking the bait and joining the battle on Mandalore, the Death Watch will look like heroes to the Mandalorian people.
Back on Coruscant, Satine contacts Obi-Wan via hologram and pleads for help. Obi-Wan meets Satine in a park, and both wear cloaks so they can’t be detected very easily. Obi-Wan asks her to turn herself in, but Satine turns over the recording disc to Obi-Wan and asks him to take it to Padme. Despite their cloaks, the Mandalorian assassin spots them and tosses a thermal detonator into the park where they stand. Obi-Wan realizes what it is and uses the Force to push Satine out of the way a split second before it detonates. The assassin moves in for the kill, but Obi-Wan counters with his lightsaber. The assassin knocks the lightsaber away and a short fist fight erupts in which the assassin knocks Obi-Wan down. Satine, having picked up the lightsaber, tosses it to Obi-Wan. The Mandalorian assassin pulls his blaster, starts firing and Obi-Wan blocks the assault with his lightsaber. Obi-Wan uses the Force to throw the assassin up against the building, hold him there for a moment and then throw him out over the street into a hanging billboard. The assassin falls to what would be his death, but at the last moment he activates his jet pack and flies away.
Back at the Senate building, Satine turns herself in as a distraction so Obi-Wan can sneak in without being seen and turn the disc over to Padme.
In the Senate chambers, Senator Amidala interrupts the proceedings to project the complete unaltered hologram of Deputy Minister Jerec. Jerec is calling the Mandalorian people to stand up against the Death Watch and to do so without the help of the Republic.
On Concordia, Pre Vizsla is extremely upset that he has to postpone his attack. He insists on attacking anyway, but Count Dooku points out that he will not succeed and should be patient because he has other plans.
Back in Chancellor Palpatine’s office, Palpatine offers his apologies to Duchess Satine.
Afterwards, Satine and Obi-Wan contemplate who could have tampered with the recording and who was out to destroy Duchess Satine.
The Dish:Coruscant! That is what this episode is all about. With this episode the Clone Wars series continues to expand our view of what life is like on the planet. In an earlier episode, “Lightsaber Lost”, we got a glimpse of the dirt and grime of the lower levels of the planet and saw how the criminal underworld bubbles below the surface. This episode shows us what life is like on the streets of the upper levels, as well as in and around the main thrones of government. What we discover is that intrigue abounds – no matter where you are on Coruscant!
The Coruscant street scenes in this episode are well done, and we get to see some “regular” street life going on. Both this episode and “Lightsaber Lost” show us how busy the police droids on the planet are. One very cool detail in this episode is that several of the law enforcement clone troopers don’t carry blasters but instead have a shield and a pike (or metal stick). This is reminiscent of Ralph McQuarrie’s original artwork of the Stormtroopers, which depicts them using shields and laser swords instead of blasters.
It was great to be back in the Senate chambers to see more proceedings as well. The scenes are short, effective and don’t bog down the pacing; the episode remains fun and fast paced even with the politics mixed in.
This episode also raises the bar on Duchess Satine’s character. She demonstrates just how strong she really is – emotionally, mentally and politically. She’s savvy, street smart and not afraid to fight for what she believes in at all costs. We even see her give Obi-Wan a little tongue lashing on the landing platform. Anyone who can verbally spar with the great Obi-Wan Kenobi certainly commands respect!
Finally, it was also fun to get to see more of the Mandalorians. The lone Mandalorian assassin in this episode harkens back to what we all know and love of them from the films. Watching the assassin in action, it is hard not think about Boba and Jango Fett on similar style missions of hate and revenge.
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