The Clone Wars Season 2 Episode 13: Voyage of Temptation
Ever since we were first teased about Season Two of The Clone Wars, many of us have been eagerly awaiting the development of the relationship between Obi-Wan and Satine. This episode certainly did not disappoint. It had all the romantic tension you could possibly want, in addition to great Jedi teamwork, creepy droids, a Senate traitor, and many, many homages to the six films.
Voyage of Temptation will stand out in Season Two as the episode that built up the romance between Obi-Wan and Satine. There was so much to love (no pun intended) about their relationship. I liked Satine's biting words about Obi-Wan in the beginning of the episode. It showed the bitterness in their past and proved that nothing is crystal clear for the Jedi. Obi-Wan's relationship with Satine wouldn't have been half as interesting if everything had proceeded smoothly and progressed happily. This tension adds more depth to the situation.
The expansion of Obi-Wan's character by way of Satine was a major component of this episode. Obi-Wan was always the steadfast, wise Jedi, from the time we met him in A New Hope to the time we saw him fighting in the Clone Wars. Adding this new depth to his personality is a great way for the TCW team to bring new complexity to the series overall. Previously we assumed that Obi-Wan was the traditional resolute Jedi. But as with any good series, The Clone Wars successfully added depth and breadth to Obi-Wan, more so than has been done before, at least in the personality department.
The relationship between the two of them was a great alternative to all the combat we've seen recently. Satine reminded me of Padmé, in that she only reluctantly accepted the Jedi protection. Having a Jedi with a romantic past does a lot for that Jedi; seeing Padmé and Anakin together in the Prequels certainly expanded Anakin's character. There was great camerawork in this episode: we saw Satine's sad face for a brief moment when Obi-Wan received the communiqué from Anakin. It reminded me of Padmé's constant reluctance to see Anakin going off to battle. It was clear that Satine not only wanted to remain neutral, but also that she cared a lot about Obi-Wan's safety.
There were also other less-than-subtle elements of the Obi-Wan/Satine relationship in this episode. There was a great shot of them back-to-back when the spider droids arrived. They shared a brief look before they jumped back into battle that contained a lot of emotion. It also occurred to me how ready Obi-Wan was to use methods bordering on torture to keep Satine safe. He truly cared about her, despite what she said to him at the beginning of the episode.
Besides the Obi-Wan/Satine relationship angle, the biggest plot element was the discovery of the spider droids. The storage room inspection scenes were exceptionally creepy; the lights were out, the shadows were ominous, the spider droids were lurking, and I was loving it. I liked the way they juxtaposed the danger of the droid-infested cargo room with the safety of the room containing Satine and Obi-Wan. Even for me, seeing (and hearing) the clones get taken down by the spider droids was pretty scary.
Tal Merrik was an interesting character for sure. I can honestly say that I didn't think he'd attempt to escape from Obi-Wan, but we were definitely rewarded with an exciting plot when he took Satine hostage. Yet again we saw The Clone Wars take a "children's show" to a whole new level as Merrik barged into the cockpit and brutally murdered the pilots and the captain. Their deaths really made TCW feel like a more adult show, but I didn't feel as if the show had jumped fully out of the children's TV zone. For a TCW villain, I will say that Merrik was pretty clever. We're used to fairly shallow villainy, but Merrik actually displayed a certain degree of cunning when he tried to escape. He played Obi-Wan's need to prove himself a defender rather than an attacker against Satine's own paralysis regarding conflict. Unfortunately, he forgot that Anakin was under no such obligation to prove himself capable of holding back from killing.
While this episode was really about Obi-Wan and Satine, Anakin was also out in force (no pun intended) in this episode. Anakin's saber throw to take out a spider droid reminded me of all the times I've done that move in video games; to be honest, we really haven't seen a lot of saber throws in The Clone Wars. I was glad to see him using the Force in combination with his lightsaber; it made for a great kill.
Of course, the bigger kill that everyone's talking about is Merrik. The Senate traitor's line "Which one of you will be the cold-blooded killer?" led perfectly to Anakin stabbing him in the back. Looking at the situation in hindsight, I think Anakin did the right thing. Merrik proved himself to be cunning and cruel, so Anakin really couldn't have been content with incapacitating and capturing him. The brief swell of the Imperial March was absolutely perfect for the moment. I almost saw Vader there for a brief moment. I also thought it was interesting that the three major characters who have used a backstab in this series are Anakin, Asajj, and General Grievous. It says a lot for the brutality of the attack. Anakin's glib response to his former Master's disapproval ("What did I do wrong?" he seemed to say) was the perfect Anakin move. To Anakin, it seemed like he'd saved the day, and indeed he had, but I think Obi-Wan saw the death through Satine's eyes and pondered how it could have been resolved differently.
I really liked Anakin's line to Obi-Wan, "Go rescue your girlfriend." It showed not only how aware Anakin was of Obi-Wan's history, but also the fact that he and Obi-Wan have a great friendship which allows for that kind of joking. That one brief line contained a whole lot of punch, because it was a reminder of how well the two Jedi worked as Master and Padawan, and how well they continued to work during the Clone Wars up until Order 66.
There were actually a great many homages to the films in this episode. First of all, Qui-Gon got a mention. That really helped solidify the continuity of this series and reminded us that Obi-Wan was once an apprentice himself. It was a brief flicker of movie canon that I'm sure a lot of Prequel fans enjoyed. In my opinion, the biggest yet potentially most overlooked homage occurred when Obi-Wan instructed Satine's guards to protect the Duchess as he readied for the arrival of a runaway spider droid. That scene reminded me a lot of the moment, pre-Episode III, where Mace Windu led a group of Jedi to protect Chancellor Palpatine in his office. Grievous's Magna-Guards rushed into his office, quickly overpowered some troopers, and began fighting the Jedi. That battle eventually led across Coruscant, but for the moments where it stayed in Palpatine's office, it mirrored the protection of Satine to a large degree.
Another homage to the films occurred when the Death Watch boarding craft breached the hull of the Coronet. The alarm that went off as guards scrambled to ready positions sounded extremely familiar. I believe it was from an Imperial starship, but I can't be sure. In any event, the alarm was a welcome reminder of battle scenes from the original films. At the end of the episode, we saw yet another homage, this time to TPM. It was a fairly obvious one: the Supreme Chancellor standing on a floating landing platform in the middle of Coruscant, his retinue of guards standing silently behind him.
In addition to the homages, some little things also made this episode feel a lot like Star Wars. We finally saw R2-D2 again, which was nice, and his interactions with Anakin were a welcome reminder of the Prequel Trilogy. Satine's guards' uniforms were also really cool; they reminded me a little bit of the Senate Guards from the Prequel Trilogy. Another fantastic element of this episode was the music. I especially liked the creepy music as the clones investigated the droids. Kevin Kiner is doing a great job bringing an emotional tone and feel to these very emotionally charged scenes.
In short, in Voyage of Temptation we have a fantastic display of a [relatively] new element in Star Wars: love. I would even venture to say that The Clone Wars is handling love better than the Prequels. But of course, that could just come down to the fact that they have more experience now. No matter how this episode arrived on TV, I'm glad we saw it. Voyage of Temptation burst onto the screen with a bold depiction of a new side of Obi-Wan. That character development carried the episode -- everything else was just sweetener. I look forward to the conclusion of this Mandalorian arc. Hopefully we'll see more of Satine in the future, because every time she appears on screen, she lends so much to the characters around her.