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Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Defenders of Peace (The Clone Wars - S01E14) - Television

Series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Title: Defenders of Peace

Season: One

Episode: 14

Chronological Episode: 19

Original Air Date: January 23, 2009

Runtime: 22 minutes

Credits: Review & Text: Mike Taber; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

When surrounded by war, one must eventually choose a side.

Republic forces in retreat! While rescuing General Aayla Secura from certain defeat, Anakin Skywalker has been seriously injured. After a narrow escape, our heroes crash-landed on the remote world of Maridun. Stranded, and with no way to contact the Republic, the Jedi receive medical aid from the peaceful Lurmen colonists. But even on this tiny planet, the war threatens to follow the Jedi....

“Defenders of Peace” is yet another enjoyable season one entry, although it is a step down from the previous episode. On the other hand, this episode does have evil George Takei. That has to be worth something. The episode began with the arrival of a Separatist ship on the Lurmen’s homeworld. The Lurmen leader Tee Wat Kaa reluctantly greeted the Separatist commander while the Jedi and clones slipped away from the village. The Separatist commander was a Neimoidian general named Lok Durd, voiced by the legendary George Takei. I’m not really a Star Trek fan, but just hearing Takei’s voice in Star Wars was a thrill. It was a fun mix of these two iconic franchises. Not only that, but it sounded like Takei was having the time of his life voicing this character. Lok Durd isn’t a particularly interesting or even threatening villain, but I enjoyed his presence because of Takei’s performance. He was big, over the top, and even silly at times but above all else it was fun to watch. They made the great George Takei say, “Ransack this dung heap.” It was Takei’s delivery that made me smile instead of rolling my eyes at that line. It’s okay to go big and over the top sometimes, you just need the right actor and some restraint. After the Jedi and Clones escaped the village, they were spotted by a probe droid. Aayla Secura destroying the probe droid was her best moment in the episode, more on her role later. 

   

The Jedi and clones watched as Lok Durd assembled his forces at the newly established Separatist compound. I’m sure some people will complain about Durd giving an impassioned and lengthy speech to a group of mindless battle droids, but I actually like that scene. To me it underscored that he was both mentally unstable and an egomaniac, and it only added to the character’s eccentricity. Lok Durd traveled to this obscure planet to test the Separatist’s latest weapon, the defoliator. The defoliator is a weapon that destroys all organic matter but leaves Separatist battle droids unscathed, which is actually a smart idea. It makes sense within the context of the story and time period and feels unique. The first test of the weapon was successful, but the next step in Durd’s plan was to test it on the villagers. I have always appreciated that The Clone Wars never shied away from the cruelty of its villains. Lok Durd is a sillier, more cartoonish villain and yet his goal is to massacre a village of defenseless pacifists by burning them alive. That’s not exactly the kind of subject matter you would expect in a “cartoon.” Showing the abject cruelty that some people are capable of is better than pretending that cruelty and malice doesn’t exist. Commander Bly was almost killed by the weapons test, but was saved by Aayla just in time. It’s a bittersweet moment since he will go on to shoot her in the back a few years later. The Jedi agreed that they had to defend the Lurmen, even if Tee Wat Kaa and the Lurmen didn’t want to fight back or for them to get involved. Speaking of the Lurmen, they continued to be one of the weakest aspects of this story. The design still bothers me and the conflict between Tee Wat Kaa and his son over what role they should take in this conflict feels like a missed opportunity. I really liked how the Lurmen challenged the Jedi’s role as peacekeepers in the previous episode, but here they were more focused on generational conflicts within the Lurmen and how war changes society. That too is an interesting and compelling issue to explore, but it felt like a one note and halfhearted exploration of these ideas. 

   

The Jedi and clones launched a stealth operation to infiltrate the Separatist compound and steal a shuttle, which is one of my favorite scenes in this episode. It may be more flash than substance, but it was fun to watch and the direction in that scene was exceptional. In addition to the shuttle, they stole several shield generators to help protect the Lurmen. As the Separatists approached the Lurmen village, Anakin led the effort to defend it. Which brings me to my biggest issue with this episode, Anakin. Injuring Anakin in the previous not only demonstrated that Anakin is not infallible or indestructible, but it allowed other characters and relationships (Aayla and Ahsoka) to take the spotlight. It was refreshing. However, Anakin reclaims the spotlight now that he is healed and essentially pushes Aayla and the others to the background. It’s a shame to see the show establish a touching and compelling relationship between Aayla and Ahsoka, one of the few onscreen female friendships in Star Wars, and push it aside once the hero is healed. Moving on, Lok Durd launched his attack on the village. The flames from the defoliator engulfed the shield surrounding the Lurmen village in the episode’s most visually stunning moment. The Jedi and clones defended the village and destroyed wave after wave of battle droids, but they were eventually pushed back and the shield generator was destroyed. In the end, Anakin destroyed the defoliator and captured Lok Durd while the Lurmen helped Ahsoka and the others destroy the droids that had entered the village. Tee Wat Kaa lamented the cost of his people fighting back. The defense of the village was an entertaining sequence, even if it came to an abrupt and somewhat jarring end. “Defenders of Peace” was a highly enjoyable but uneven episode. Coupled with “Jedi Crash”, it’s an underrated and overlooked two-parter that’s probably better than you may remember. 

   

What Worked

  • Evil George Takei! In Star Wars!
  • The Defoliator
  • Breaking into the Separatist compound and defending the village

What Didn’t Work

  • Anakin takes the spotlight and pushes Aayla and Ahsoka to the background
  • The Lurmen
External Links:
Added: January 17, 2018
Category: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Reviewer: Mike Taber
Score:
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