(Full Spoilers Below)
Before I delve into what was probably the biggest episode The Clone Wars has ever had, I just want to take a moment to say that Ian Abercombie, voice of Darth Sidious/Palpatine, passed away shortly after recording for this episode. He was an amazing actor who perfectly captured the characteristic menace of Sidious, and he will be missed.
Now, let’s talk about The Lawless.
Hands down, this is one of the best, no, the best episode of The Clone Wars I have seen yet. Everything about it was perfect, and it served as the amazing climax to what has been the best story arc for the show.
This whole season has been teasing the death of a number of pretty substantial characters, and I’ve been surprised by how many lives have been lost in just these last few episodes. Pre Viszla fell last week, and this week, Duchess Satine and Savage Oppress were added to the casaulty list.
The Lawless delivers in every possible way. After Satine’s oddly named nephew Corkie rescues her from prison, Satine is able to send out an SOS of sorts to the Republic, personally asking Obi-Wan, the man she once and still does love, for help. Of course, she is apprehended again, but Obi-Wan got the message.
It was interesting seeing Yoda tell Obi-Wan there was nothing they could do to help because of Mandalore’s neutrality in the war, and it was a nice reminder that the Republic isn’t the white knight it’s sometimes made out t0o be.
Even more shocking is how brutally Maul tortured and then executed Satine right in front of Obi-Wan. While I’ve never been Satine’s biggest fan (her character was irritating in Season 3) I’ve always loved her backstory and interactions with Obi-Wan. So seeing her impaled on Pre Viszla’s darksaber at the hands of Maul was shocking.
Although Obi-Wan has always been the calm-headed one, even he couldn’t hold back some of heartbreak at the death of Satine. It’s a testament to the strength of his character that he was able to contain himself at all as she died telling him she loved him. James Arnold Taylor has always nailed Obi-Wan’s character, but this episode was a high point for him no doubt.
Along with the many shocking story revelations and insane nerd moments (how awesome were all those A New Hope references?), but the animation also gave us some of the most intense and beautiful moments yet. From Obi-Wan looking out over a flaming battlefield, to the subtle lighting as Satine passed, you need to look no further than The Clone Wars for pristine animation.
This was such a big, epic episode that there’s almost to much to talk about. Bo Katan was awesome as usual, and I loved seeing the two opposing sides of Death Watch battle it out in the air. Talk about fan-fare.
Also, I absolutely loved how well Bo Katan has been developed as a character up until this point. Although she hasn’t had near as much screen-time as everyone else, she’s grown to be an awesome addition to the show. And the final revelation that she was Satine’s sister makes her that much more three-dimensional and I hope we get to see more of that explored next season.
As great and amazing as all of this was, you all know what the real highlight of this episode. The showdown between Darth Sidious versus Maul and Savage.
We all know this was coming eventually, because, according the only Sith rule, there can only be two Sith active at any time. And with Maul and Savage doing their own thing, they obviously broke that rule. But even with all the hype surrounding this confrontation, it still managed to be intense, shocking, and not in the least bit disappointing.
The Clone Wars have done a tremendous job bringing depth and intensity to Darth Maul, who had just one or two lines in The Phantom Menace, and Savage Oppress, who has grown to be more than just a cool villain. Because of this, seeing the two of them fight side-by-side against easily the strongest Sith of all time was truly amazing.
However, we all knew how it would end. They were obviously no match for Sidious, and in the end, Sidious triumphed; slaying Savage and bringing Maul to his knees. Even though I suspected Savage would meet his end in this season, I was still sad to see him go just because of how great he’s been since his introduction back in Season 3.
And seeing Maul, after all this time of making himself out to be all-powerful, begging for his life at the hands of his old master was oh, so telling. I seriously cannot wait to see what kind of plans Sidious has for Maul now, and I’m sure, when The Clone Wars (hopefully) comes back next season, we get to see it all play out.
The Lawless was truly a spectacular episode. It was packed with so much greatness in such a short time, I’m having trouble coming up with a score for it. It’s arguably the best episode of the Clone Wars ever, and when I really think about it, there’s only one number I can give an episode this grand in scope and magnitude.