The three-part Mandalore story arc continued last Friday with the melodramatically-titled "Voyage of Temptation" which follows Dutchess Satine, her retinue, a clone squadron, and the Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they head toward Coruscant together so that the pacifist Satine can make her case for Mandalore's continued neutrality and against the war.
This episode arc has a lot of parallels with Attack of the Clones and Obi-Wan and Satine as a couple were faced with a lot of the same dilemmas as Anakin and Padme but made very different choices. There is even a scene as the two Jedi take the lift up to see Satine where Anakin notes Obi-Wan's anxiety that is very similar to the scene in Clones as the two are making their way to Padme's apartment. This was a very revealing episode for Obi-Wan and is full of many great character moments and some really nice dialogue which is not something for which Star Wars prequel or original trilogy) is known.
The great chemistry that we saw on display between Satine and Obi-Wan during last week's episode continues and the two get a lot of great digs in at each other, such as when Satine refers to Obi-Wan as a "collection of half-truths and hyperbole." This insult rings true to anyone who has ever pondered his "certain point of view" speech in Return of the Jedi. "Voyage of Temptation" has the extra level of having Anakin present to relish Obi-Wan's discomfort and to learn something about his former master that he had apparently never known. Obi-Wan and Anakin have a particularly poignant exchange in which Obi-Wan notes the remorse that comes with the Jedi rejection of attachment.
Meanwhile, a traitor in Satine's retinue has smuggled a few Separatist "assassin probes" aboard. These spider-like droids take over the cargo bay and manage to eliminate a lot of clones in a sequence that has plenty horror elements and some nice allusions to Alien. I particularly like the scene in which a clone picks up an empty helmet only to have a mini-droid leap out of it and attach itself to his face.
Some of the droids manage to make their way up to Satine but they are dispatched by Obi-Wan and Satine herself who packs a small ion pistol. The idea of pacifism pops up every now and then on The Clone Wars and is almost always handled clumsily. The show is called Star Wars: The Clone Wars, after all. Satine is one of the few pacifist characters who doesn't come off looking foolish in the show. Her pacifism leads to an interesting ethical Mexican standoff between her, Obi-Wan and the traitor which Anakin resolves in a moment that is at once shocking, immensely satisfying, and totally character appropriate. The fact that the Imperial March plays faintly during it is a great touch, as is Anakin's hilariously nonchalant reaction to it.
"Voyage of Temptation" is a great example of The Clone Wars in top form. In many ways the show manages to surpass the movies in quality. This episode presents well-drawn characters, good dialogue, and even a touching, textured, and mature love story all in a twenty-two minute "children's show," something that all of the movies have struggled to do.