The Clone Wars Rewatch: A Spy Exposed in “Duel of the Droids”

Ahsoka and Anakin must combine a Republic mission with a rescue if R2-D2 is going to make it back in one piece.

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.

11: “Duel of the Droids” (Season One, Episode 7)

“You hold onto friends by keeping your heart a little softer than your head.”

The listening station is seen in a final frame from "Duel of the Droids."

Synopsis:

Anakin and Ahsoka must sabotage a secret enemy listening post, Skytop Station, and save R2-D2 from being scrapped in the process of giving up Republic military secrets. But their new astromechR3-S6, can’t seem to do anything right.

General Grievous watches R2-D2 get hacked apart is seen in a final frame from "Duel of the Droids."

Analysis:

There are few things sadder than a helpless creature being tortured, and that sentiment extends to a sentient droid being hacked apart, its memories forcibly extracted, as it cries out desperately for help from its master. But R2-D2 is defiant even as he’s being led to his doom, an aspect of his personality that cannot be snuffed out despite the deplorable circumstances that have landed him in the mechanical hands of General Grievous.

Ahsoka duels with Grievous is seen in a final frame from "Duel of the Droids."

Upon encountering the asthmatic cyborg, Ahsoka is similarly feisty. Despite her misplaced faith in Goldie and her foolhardy charge into battle against the nefarious general, this mission is where Ahsoka begins to come into her own. She demonstrates incredible bravery here, whether she’s leading the charge or literally leaping to Rex’s defense as he lay on the ground completely vulnerable and helpless.

Grievous, in contrast is always running away it seems. When things get rough, he abandons ship, jetting off to the next location without a thought or care for those he’s left behind.

Ahsoka is knocked to the ground is seen in a final frame from "Duel of the Droids."

Ahsoka and Grievous fight in a final frame from "Duel of the Droids."

Ahsoka is also learning hard-won lessons through her experiences. Her initial defense of Goldie is admirable, but it betrays her naivety. So, too, her desire to charge headfirst toward Grievous even though she is outmatched in strength and perhaps skill. Without her master by her side, she cannot defeat Grievous, and its only through some luck and her agility that she manages to slip out of his grasp and into the ventilation system.

Artoo fights with Goldie is seen in a final frame from "Duel of the Droids."

All is not lost. Thanks to Artoo’s resourcefulness and Anakin’s loyalty to his navigator — “Artoo is more than a droid. He’s a friend,” as he says — the Republic finds the listening post and successfully destroys it. Once it’s revealed that Goldie isn’t just inept, he’s a Separatist spy whose mistakes are calculated obstacles to trap and kill Anakin, Ahsoka, and their men, Artoo fittingly takes down his would-be replacement, frying R3-S6 and watching as he’s torn to pieces, not unlike his own earlier run-in on the surgical slab. But Artoo still couldn’t make it off the imploding station without Anakin’s help, rewarding their shared loyalty with a successful escape.

All that and a fine array of fantastic astromech insults, like “stubby little backstabber” and “sneaky little scrap pile” make this one of the best episodes so far.

Intel:

  • R3-S6’s black and gold color scheme is a nod to Dave Filoni’s hometown football team the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • Because Anakin and General Grievous first meet on screen in Revenge of the Sith, the writers of the animated series had to creatively ensure that the two characters never interact.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back Tuesday when Jar Jar Binks disguises himself to save a friend in “Bombad Jedi.”

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.

TAGS: ,