The Clone Wars Countdown, Essential Arcs // #7 – All Prisons Are Not Created Equally

Coming in at number seven on my most essential arcs and stories from The Clone Wars is a daring rescue that’s not without it’s losses. Plus the introduction of a beyond classic Star Wars villain! So here we go, lets get into it!

#7 // All Prisons Are Not Created Equally

Season 3, episode 18 — The Citadel
Season 3, episode 19 — Counterattack
Season 3, episode 20 — Citadel Rescue

Why it’s essential watching (without giving it all away….):

  • Hello Captain Wilhuff Tarkin – we get our first introduction to Tarkin in the first episode of this arc, The Citadel, as he is the Captain on Jedi Master Evan Piell’s Jedi Cruiser. He is as arrogant as you would hope, and certainly wary of the Jedi and their strategy in the war, having no issue voicing these issues with Anakin over the course of the arc (even though Anakin literally carries Tarkin on his back down a mountain to escape, but whatever). He especially dislikes Ahsoka, and this theme will recur again in later episodes….. There is also a nice exchange between Tarkin and Anakin about their relationships with Palpatine that foreshadows future events, as well as his respect for Anakin and his ability to do what it takes to get the job done, militarily speaking. Oh, and Tarkin actually can use a blaster. Who knew?
  • The Citadel – the Citadel on on Lola Sayu was constructed a half-millennia ago with the purpose of holding wayward Jedi who had lost their way. Now under Separatist control, Piell and Tarkin (and the rest of their crew) are held prisoner there and tortured by the warden, Commander Osi Sobeck. The failsafe’s designed to keep prisoners (especially Jedi) from escaping are elaborate and very well thought out. It all felt really high-stakes to me, for the entire arc. Also of note, Lola Sayu is a really rad planet design, a design which is at least partially echoed in Star Wars Rebels when we see the Mandalorian moon of Concord Dawn in canon for the first time.
  • More Anakin issues – here we see Anakin trying to shield Ahsoka from danger and not let her go on the mission, seemingly more out of his fear of loss than anything else. As noted multiple times in my countdown already, this is a major recurring theme in The Clone Wars, and a welcome one, as it really reinforces his fall in RoTS. We also get a glimpse of Anakin’s growing sense that the Republic will need to get their hands dirty to win the war, and he doesn’t think the Jedi Code will allow it. More foreshadowing…
  • R2-D2 and his troop of B1’s – yes, Artoo is in command of a crew of reprogrammed B1 Battle Droids in this arc, and he leads them as they infiltrate the Citadel and drop/pick up our heroes. It’s pretty funny, honestly, and it works pretty well.
  • Osi Sobeck – at first I hated him, but he grew on me after multiple viewings. The Separatist Commander who doubles as the prison warden kinda looks like a weird villain from Masters of the Universe or something, but he’s a pretty cool character. James Arnold Taylor (who also voiced Obi-Wan Kenobi for the series’ entirety) voices him, and it kinda words. Again, annoying at first but it grew on me…
  • Sacrifices are made – at this point in the series, the stakes are getting higher and we get our first (at least as far as I’m aware) onscreen death of one of the Jedi Council members from The Phantom Menace, as Evan Piell perishes. He leaves a secret with our favorite Jedi Padawan as well…
  • Plo Koon and Ahsoka – Master Plo (as she always lovingly refers to him) and Ahsoka clearly have a very special bond, as he is responsible for finding her and bringing her to the Jedi Temple years ago. They’re quick moments in this arc work really well, as always.
  • Captain Rex and Commander Cody together – surprisingly, we don’t get a ton of Rex and Cody together in TCW, but I always love it when we do.
  • BX Series Commando Droids – nothing too much to note, I just think these Battle Droids are rad. I like to coin them as ‘Jumper Droids’. I wish we would’ve seen them in live-action, but I’ll settle for animation if that’s all we can get….
  • Star Wars dogs – in similar fashion to the BX Droids, the Anooba are pretty cool creatures. More or less huge, rabid Star Wars dogs.
  • Rad canon connections – obviously Tarkin, his desire for a strong military hand and order, and his disdain for the Jedi in general. Plus, we see (well, it’s offscreen) the torture that Tarkin describes in the James Luceno books Tarkin and Catalyst; our heroes are incased in Carbonite to sneak into the Citadel aboard the shuttle Artoo is piloting, and it’s Anakin’s idea — hello Cloud City; the information that Piell and Tarkin have in their heads is in regards to secret, new hyperspace lanes called the Nexus Route, which have been a source of conflict throughout Star Wars history – especially in the older EU & Legends material. I also think that these lanes are what Dooku and Grievous use to launch their surprise attack on Coruscant which led to the capture of Chanellor Palpatine at the start of RoTS. Of course we don’t know for sure, as TCW was never finished and their is currently no canon story that details the capture of Grievous and the beginning of the Battle of Coruscant…. one can only hope…; CT-1409, better known as the beloved Clone Trooper Echo seemingly perishes in this arc, but as has happened before in the Star Wars universe, things aren’t always what they seem….; last and pretty much least, we see that Clone Trooper armor is evolving from Phase I armor to the Phase II armor and helmets we see in RoTS. Nerdy detail, but I like it so I put it in.

I’m gonna take a break tomorrow from the essential arcs and do something a little different for tomorrow’s feature, so stay tuned! In the meantime, check this gallery of images from the Citadel arc from the official site.