When Padmé is sold out to the Separatists, a friend comes to her rescue -- but he is no Jedi.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.
12: “Bombad Jedi” (Season One, Episode 8)
"Heroes are made by the times."
When Padmé is captured on a diplomatic mission to Rodia, it's up to Jar Jar Binks, cloaked in Jedi robes, and C-3PO to come to her rescue.
Power alone doesn't make for a powerful ally. It takes a good heart, a sense of compassion, and loyalty -- to a cause, to a sense of what's right, and to one's friends. Jar Jar, the lovable oaf, may be the fool in may ways, but his heart is pure and his intentions are good even when they have disastrous results.
To the untrained eye, the Kwazel Maw is a frightening and misunderstood creature of the deep. For a real Jedi, strong in the Force, its massive size could be harnessed through a spiritual connection. Otherwise, it's regarded as a threat and a menace, or disregarded completely, out of sight and mind.
But not to Jar Jar. He may only be masquerading as a Force wielder and he shows no prowess for Jedi mind tricks or levitating objects, but "Master Bombad" embodies some of the essential aspects of the order. He is humble, seeing himself as neither brave nor foolish. He acts to help Padmé rather than choosing to cower safely in a closet. He sees the value in all living things, reaching the sea creature not through the Force but through kindness. With a quick underwater peck, he gives thanks to the being that saved his life and makes a friend he'll need in the final showdown. Their alliance has the desired effect on several levels, completing the illusion that this Gungan in brown robes is in fact a real Jedi (despite getting hissa eyeball stuck in the sleeve), demolishing Viceroy Nute Gunray's ship, and allowing the Rodians to switch sides and swear allegiance to the Republic and capture Gunray alongside Padmé.
Jar Jar's friendship with the native creature is the perfect foil to the fractured relationship that landed Padmé in a cell in the first place, sold out be Onaconda Farr in his desperation to help his people. It's difficult to completely forgive his cowardly decision here, considering the warmth of Padmé's greeting and the personal sacrifice she made in rushing to his aid in the first place. But desperation can push good people to make bad choices.
Better to be aligned with a well-meaning fool who would sacrifice himself to help his friends than a coward who would sacrifice his friend even to help his people.
To be fair, the Republic isn't completely off the hook in this crisis. As evidenced on Ryloth just a few weeks ago, faith in the Senate and the Republic is waning as entire planets are left to suffer without needed food and supplies. When the choice is between starvation and the Separatists, it's no wonder some planets will make a deal with the latter.
But as Padmé so succinctly puts it, "To live in fear is no life at all."
- The Kwazel Maw was designed based on a Ralph McQuarrie concept for a swamp slug creature that would have dwelled on Dagobah.
What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!
Next up: Come back Thursday when Asajj Ventress is sent on a mission to free Gunray in "Cloak of Darkness."
Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.
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