The Clone Wars Rewatch: Who are the Real “Slaves of the Republic”?

Is anyone in the Republic truly free?

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.

78: “Slaves of the Republic” (Season Four, Episode 12)

Those who enslave others, inevitably become slaves themselves.”

A scene from "Slaves of the Republic."

Synopsis:

To locate the missing colonists, Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka go undercover to infiltrate the slavers on Zygerria. Anakin struggles with his emotions as a wily Zygerrian queen, Miraj Scintel, forces him to take questionable actions in order to carry out his mission.

A scene from "Slaves of the Republic."

Analysis:

In juxtaposition to Anakin’s demeanor last week, this time he’s all smiles and charm when it comes to dealing with the Zygerrians on their home world, all part of a proper ruse to free the missing Togruta colonists.

A scene from "Slaves of the Republic."

But it’s almost painful to watch him bend to the queen’s will, even if its a guise to further his mission. At least Ahsoka, for her part, still gets a few good jabs in here and there, never quite conforming to the picture of an obedient servant.

A scene from "Slaves of the Republic."

And even once he breaks character to rescue his master, only to be brought down by the sizzle of electro-whips, Queen Miraj keeps him shackled by fear of what will become of his friends if he should lash out. In an instant he finds himself right back where he started — enslaved, fearful, unequal.

He was freed by the Jedi, given the chance to train and have a better life, but now here he is forced to submit again. From a certain point of view, the queen’s to be exact, the Jedi have already been enslaved by the Republic, forced to compromise everything they believe as peacekeepers to become generals in the war.

A scene from "Slaves of the Republic." A scene from "Slaves of the Republic."

And while she makes a point about the order, agreeing to march into battle to uphold ideals you value versus being forced against your will to obey a master are two very different things.

It’s a study in autonomy and the importance of respecting individuality, something The Clone Wars does well over and over again especially as the clones are seen more as individuals, with unique personalities and other defining qualities. And it begs the question — is anyone in the Republic truly free?

Intel:

  • The Kadavo facility for processing slaves was developed from an unused concept created for the Ryloth arc in Season One.

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

Next up: Come back next Thursday when a grim situation gets even more bleak in “Escape from Kadavo.”

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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