The Clone Wars Rewatch: The Faces of the “Innocents of Ryloth”

War comes to Ryloth and a young Twi'lek challenges the clones' preconceptions.

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.

23“Innocents of Ryloth” (Season One, Episode 20)

“The costs of war can never be truly accounted for.”

Synopsis:

Obi-Wan Kenobi leads a small clone force into a Separatist-occupied town on Ryloth in an effort to sabotage their anti-aircraft guns. But the Republic’s mission is complicated when they find the natives being used as living shields and two clones encounter a young girl, Numa, on her own.

Analysis:

As the clone forces head to the surface of the besieged planet for the first time, there’s an air of disdain for the natives of Ryloth. Although General Obi-Wan Kenobi’s orders are to keep an eye out for the locals, some of his troops, including Clone Trooper Boil, are dismissive of their plight.”If we’re here to free the tail-heads, the least they can do is get out of our way,” he says.

It’s easy to see an entire village of Twi’leks as little more than a hindrance when they’re a faceless idea, a tactical disadvantage during a perilous game of war and an obstruction to fighting that makes the job the clones are there to do even harder than usual.

But once Boil and his cohort Clone Trooper Waxer meet Numa, everything changes. The emaciated little girl, half-starved and terribly frightened, is tougher than she seems. She’s not afraid to use the weapons at her disposal, including her teeth, to defend herself and she understands when her only hope of survival is to hide. And yet there’s something about her big eyes and spindly arms that makes the clones, born for battle, soften. Although clearly uncomfortable with affection, they cannot deny the compassion they feel for this innocent child.

That Waxer and Boil even possess the ability to change their minds, to recognize that perhaps their first impression of the Twi’leks was too callous, makes the flesh-and-blood clone force superior to the droid army they’re fighting.

The Separatists have created a living barrier of Twi’lek hostages, aiming to protect themselves by playing into the compassion of the Jedi and their troops. It’s a logical play, but the self-assured tactical droid making the call, TX-20, cannot compute every possible outcome.

He does not consider that two clones protecting a child could benefit from learning the navigate the tunnels beneath the village and outwit the Separatists.

He does not consider that Obi-Wan, speaking the language of the Twi’leks, may gain an advantage and their trust.

And, certainly, staring down the long barrel of his proton cannon and safely seated at the controls of a tank, he does not consider that by threatening the general and young Numa, he will be torn limb from limb by an angry mob that so recently cowered under his command. Compassion, the willingness to risk their own lives to save another, simply “does not compute.”

And sometimes, perhaps most of the time, the heart must win out over the mind, for what is logical is not always the same as what is right.

Intel:

  • There’s a Kowakian monkey-lizard painted on the hull of Obi-Wan’s lead gunship, known as the “Crumb Bomber.”

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

Next up: Come back Thursday, November 29, when the battle on Ryloth reaches a climactic conclusion in “Liberty on Ryloth.”

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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