This is an interesting arc; and I can’t quite decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, although I am leaning towards the former. You see, these two episodes, The Disappearance Parts I and II, pair up the stoic Jedi Master Mace Windu with the bumbling comic relief Jar Jar Binks. Yes, you read that right, Mace and Jar Jar actually work together here, and it creates for a fun, albeit odd, story.
Episodes of The Clone Wars featuring Jar Jar in a leading role have been somewhat of a mixed quality, often presenting some fun concepts that are held back by the over-reliance on Jar Jar’s clumsy nature to elicit laughs. He’s a tricky character to do right, especially since there’s just so much hate directed towards him.
While I doubt The Disappearance will dramatically change your opinion on the Gungan, it handles him better than he’s probably ever been handled before, and I actually laughed at his antics not once, but twice, which might be a new record. He’s still annoying, nothing can change that, but when put with Mace Windu’s smooth, controlled demeanor, the two actually balance each other quite well.
The plot kicks off in a, shall we say, interesting way. Queen Julia of the planet Bardotta calls the Galactic Senate with a plea for help to solve the strange disappearances of some of her most important advisers. But there’s a catch; she’ll only accept help from Representative Binks of Naboo. So either she’s a really bad judge of character, or there’s some history that we’re unaware of.
The answer turned out to be the latter, as Jar Jar and Queen Julia are apparently long-running lovers, which is just as weird and creepy as it sounds. Honestly, I never could’ve imagined anyone falling in love with Jar Jar, but I guess in Queen Julia’s case, love really is blind.
While there were some amusing moments between the two, such as the two of them sneaking away for “meditation,” it was a mostly underdeveloped relationship that was more of a plot point to warrant Jar Jar and Mace teaming up to fight crazy witches and cultists. Which, yes, is both wildly entertaining and outright strange.
What makes these episodes so fun is the obvious absurdity of it all. I can’t overstress how strange it all was, but also how fun it ended up being because of it. This arc is also heavily inspired by Indiana Jones, taking many situations and lines of dialogue from Indy and directly translating them into the Star Wars universe. It could’ve gotten distracting, but stayed subtle and really fun to pick up on.
However, I can’t help but feel that both of these episodes are just tonally confused. One minute we’re meant to laugh at Jar Jar tripping over himself, and the next Mace is having a tense fight with Mother Talzin of the Nightsisters. It makes for a conflicting story that never quite figures out what it wants to be, and it became far more distracting than it should’ve been.
There were, however, some really cool moments during these two episodes. I loved seeing more of Mace in action, especially since he’s spent most of his time on The Clone Wars relegated to the sidelines. His numerous fight sequences were a blast to watch unfold, and it was great seeing Terrence Carson give Mace’s stoic demanor a layer of annoyance towards Jar Jar that will likely mirror the feelings from the fans.
Most memorable of all, however, would probably be his confrontation with Mother Talzin, who somehow magically regained her physical form. It was an unlikely duel, but one I enjoyed nonetheless. Although it is odd that there was little reason given for Talzin’s return outside of some crazy sacrifice ceremony she wanted to finish for no apparent reason.
Even Jar Jar was given some fun scenes amidst his shenanigans, the best of them being when he picks up an abandoned laser cannon and destroys not one, but two giant stone golems. I never thought I would write a sentence like that, but it’s the unexpected surprises like these that made this arc more fun than it otherwise would’ve been.
There’s a good reason Jar Jar was kept out of the advertisements for The Lost Missions, and to be honest I don’t blame them, but I still wonder why they decided to devote two of the final 13 episodes to flesh out Jar Jar’s love life. I think that if the plot had been developed more, and didn’t take itself so seriously, these could’ve been really great stories.
However, even with though they’ll probably end up being the weakest link of The Clone Wars Season 6, I think there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had here. If you can keep an open mind and put your bias behind you, The Disappearance Part I and II might just surprise you. They’re far from perfect, but there’s definitely some fun to be had if you’re willing to look for it.