The three part Mandalore story arc concluded with Friday's episode, "The Dutchess of Mandalore," which is set entirely on Coruscant and is sort of a distorted reflection of The Phantom Menace. In TPM, Amadala and her Jedi guardians travel to the capital world to petition the Senate for Republic action on the part of her world and is stymied by political bureaucracy and the machinations of Palpatine. In "The Dutchess of Mandalore," Satine makes the trip to prevent Republic interference on her world, as it would exacerbate the terrorist threat on her world...and is stymied by bureaucracy and the machinations of Palpatine. This idea that even with good intentions, going into a situation with guns blazing can make things worse is a fairly sophisticated and timely theme and a nice break from the usually absolutist Star Wars point of view.
The previous episode was so good and wrapped things up so well that "Dutchess of Mandalore" almost seems like a bit of an afterthought. The Obi-Wan/Satine story was well-capped in the last episode and this one is largely concerned with political machinations in the Senate and an attempt by the Mandalorian Death Watch to assassinate Satine. I would have like for the three episodes to have been treated more like a movie, where the resolution of the doomed romance between the Jedi and Satine was moved to this last episode. It would have made the whole thing more satisfying, and spread some of the "quality" around between the three.
I for one am actually a fan of the political angle and intrigue that was present in the Prequels but in this episode, the plot is somewhat hare-brained and dependent on characters making stupid choices. The Clone Wars is often a smartly-written show but can play dumb when it wants to. I can just imagine an exhausted writer collapsing with, "Well it is a kid's show...so it doesn't have to be smart." Wrong, slacker! Lots of adults watch the show and it has proven that it can be smart, so you do have to attempt to reach that bar.
I didn't buy the whole subplot of Satine having to go on the run because someone was shot next to her. She could have easily turned herself in made a case for herself. Are the police on Coruscant that incompetent that they are unable to tell from where a shot was fired? There is a lot of very lazy writing in this episode. I was rather hoping that Satine would be killed off, as it would have great consequences for Mandalore and Obi-Wan, as well and perhaps bring us closer to where things are in the movies. I have a feeling we will be seeing more of Mandalore, if only to put pieces in place for where they need to be in the EU.
Palpatine has a bigger role here than usual and the show doesn't seem to know how to treat him. I have a feeling that the writers under the "Don't let on that Palpatine and Siddious are the same person" embargo, so they are probably required to be coy with him. In this episode his plotting is so transparent as to be laughable. Anyone paying attention can see how he is manipulating things. Palpy is an evil genius and deserves better.
On the plus side, Obi-Wan and the Mandalorian assassin have great fight scene and we actually get to see a Jedi offensively using telekinesis, which they have been a bit shy about on the show. There are also a couple of nice classic Star Wars references such as the presence of Mon Mothma in the Senate chambers and a large outdoor plaza that is straight out of Ralph McQuarries original Coruscant artwork created for Return of the Jedi.