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Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Trespass (The Clone Wars - S01E15) - Television

Series: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Title: Trespass

Season: One

Episode: 15

Chronological Episode: 20

Original Air Date: January 30, 2009

Runtime: 22 minutes

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

Arrogance diminishes wisdom.

Republic outpost, overrun! The Jedi have lost all contact with the clone security force stationed on the bleak, snow-covered planet of Orto Plutonia. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, accompanied by dignitaries from the nearby moon of Pantora are sent to investigate the disappearance of the clone troopers on the desolate and forbidding landscape....

I love this episode. “Trespass” is still one of the series’ best episodes and it’s a personal favorite of mine. Similar to fellow season one episode “Rookies”, this episode demonstrates the full potential of an animated series set in the Star Wars universe. The story of the Talz and this particular conflict would never be told in one of the movies. That’s one of the many reasons why I love Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It expanded the universe through thoughtful, compelling, and entertaining stories like “Trespass.” Before we dive into the story, I want to take the time to talk about how visually stunning this episode was. Simplistic and wooden animation was a distraction in several early season one episodes, but “Trespass” looks as good as anything we saw in seasons four or five. Small details like ice hanging from the visor of a dead clone trooper or visible breath as the characters talk in frozen environment of Orto Plutonia add a level of realism and authenticity that elevates the episode and makes it more impactful. Those kind of small but realistic details immerse you in the world of this episode. In addition, the animation team brilliantly gave the environment of Orto Plutonia a life of its own as the snow storm mirrored the events of the episode. The storm became more violent and chaotic as war erupted and slowed to a gentle sprinkle of snow when a peaceful resolution was found. The mix of heightened realism through the more detailed animation and the surrealist nature of the storm which is less concerned with overt realism and is more interested in externalizing internal emotions and conflicts creates a unique and complex backdrop for this story. Continuing the discussion of the episode’s visual elements, the cold weather gear for Rex and the clone troopers is one of my favorite Clone Wars designs. It’s the perfect mix of new and familiar. Few episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars have used mise-en-scéne as effectively as “Trespass.” 

   

The episode began with Obi-Wan and Anakin’s arrival on the world of Ordo Plutonia. They were sent to investigate the disappearance of the clone troopers stationed at a Republic outpost on Ordo Plutonia. The Jedi and clones were accompanied by representatives, the inexperienced Senator Chuchi and the combative Chairman Cho, from Pantora which claimed ownership of the supposedly uninhabited planet. The opening investigation was reminiscent of a horror film. From the striking image of clone trooper helmets on spears to Kevin Kiner’s atmospheric score, these scenes quickly established a sense of uncertainty and dread. It quickly became evident that a third party killed the Republic and Separatist forces on the planet, even if Chairman Cho refused to believe it. Anakin and Obi-Wan discovered the local population, the Talz. It’s always nice to see a species from the Cantina show up and I thought the writers created a fascinating culture with the Talz. The Talz were clearly an intelligent and powerful species and they did a good job of developing their leader Thi-Sen despite limited dialogue and screen time. The Jedi set up a meeting between Thi-Sen and Chairman Cho. While “Jedi Crash” and “Defenders of Peace” challenged the idea that the Jedi could be peacekeepers and lead a war, this episode more than anything we’ve seen before showed what it meant for the Jedi to be peacekeepers. Obi-Wan and Anakin never used their weapons and were constantly trying to find a peaceful solution to the situation. I think this episode perfectly illustrated the Jedi’s role in galaxy before the Clone Wars, which was both refreshing and illuminating.

   

The meeting between Chairman Cho and Thi-Sen quickly unraveled as Cho refused to acknowledge the “savages” and claimed their world belonged to Pantora. Cho’s actions deliberately provoked a war between the two civilizations. The central conflict in this episode was a thoughtful and compelling look at the dangers of imperialism and unchecked nationalism. The war itself was one of the most violent sequences in the history of the series as dozens of clone troopers and Talz were killed in just a few minutes. The level of violence works precisely because it was needless. No one except Chairman Cho wanted to fight this war. Showing the brutality of a war that no one wanted and didn’t need to happen makes each death hurt even more. It’s a brutal but effective sequence that works on both an emotional and intellectual level. It gets you to feel for the dead on both sides while highlighting the pointlessness of the war and drawing your attention to the forces that brought about the needless bloodshed. Rex doesn’t say much in this episode, but he has a central role in it nonetheless. In particular, he is a key figure in the war itself and how it unfolds. Rex doesn’t want to fight the Talz and only engaged after they attacked because he was under orders to protect the chairman. The sequence also demonstrated how skilled Rex is as a warrior. I lost count of how many Talz warriors he killed during the battle. Rex’s larger journey in the series sees him question the war and the motivations behind it as he experiences loss after loss, and I think the events of this episode are an important part of that journey. If I have one issue with this episode, it would be the thin characterization of Chairman Cho. He’s an essential character in a story that explores the dangers of imperialism, but he also felt like a fairly shallow and one-note character. The writers only have twenty-two minutes to work with, so it’s a minor nitpick at best. The government of Pantora declared that Cho’s actions crossed the line, and gave Senator Chuchi the authority to bring an end to the conflict. Chairman Cho was injured during the battle and died as a result of his injuries. He died begging Senator Chuchi to avenge his death and destroy the Talz, but she told him that she was going to find a peaceful solution. Senator Chuchi’s speech to Thi-Sen was well done and was a far better exploration of when and where not to fight than the Lurmen adventures in the previous episode. Senator Chuchi is not as popular or recognizable as other recurring characters like Cad Bane or Hondo Ohnaka, but she’s a likable character and this was a great introduction. With a peaceful solution found, the episode ended with a nice moment between Obi-Wan and Senator Chuchi. “Trespass” shouldn’t be overlooked. It is one of the best episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

   

What Worked

  • Striking visuals and an engaging yet thoughtful story
  • Jedi as peacekeepers
  • The Talz and the brutality of needless war
  • Senator Chuchi

What Didn’t Work

  • Chairman Cho’s thin characterization
External Links:
Added: February 6, 2018
Category: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Reviewer: Mike Taber
Score:
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