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What is it ? : The Republic has heard that the leadership of the Council of Neutral Systems, some 1500 planets, have swung under Separatist control and the leader of the council Duchess Satine of Mandalore is secretly building an army for them. Obi-Wan has a previous relationship with Satine, so is dispatched to investigate the rumours.
Mandalore has rejected violence, and sent all their warriors to their moon Concordia, but some elements want a return to the old days and have formed a movement called The Death Watch.
After a terrorist detonates a bomb as Satine and Obi-Wan are touring the Mandalorian city, they travel to Concordia to speak with it's governor who has been investigating. However, Obi-Wan sneaks off to investigate whether the mines which were used to produce Mandalorian Weapons are as inactive as believed, and he is ambushed by two warriors in Mandalorian armour. He calls Satine who leaves a meeting with Pre Vizsla, the governor, by feigning illness and finds and rescues Obi-Wan from being crushed in some of the mining machines.
Departing from the mine, they are confronted by Mandalorian Death Watch, and discover it's leader is Pre Vizsla, and he challenges Obi-Wan to a fight, using a black lightsaber apparently stolen from the Jedi Temple ages before. Obi-Wan defeats Pre Vizsla, who calls in his troops as they evacuate their base at the mine, and Obi-Wan and Satine escape.
High Points : Mandalorian Architecture is absolutely glorious, although in places their city looks like a collection of shipping containers, on the whole the place is beautiful, from their Minecraft style trees (the leaves and branches either grow or are cut into cubes), to their stained glass floors, it would be an amazing place to live. Everything seems to be about design and style, even the throne that the Duchess uses lights up in a very stylish fashion when in use. This planet absolutely rocks design wise.
Continuing on the love for Mandalorian design, the various Starships the Mandalorians use, from the Fighters to the Transport that Obi-Wan and Satine use, all feature a lovely pivoting wing design where the wings point towards the sky as they come into land, saving space and pointing the engines downwards as they take off and land, turning to a more traditional front facing position as the ship is in flight. It's a really nice looking feature, and the fact it's shared across all Mandalorian designs helps create a clear and easy way of identifying their ships.
This is obviously the first part of a continuing story about the Death Watch and the Mandalorians, but it didn't feel like it was just part of a story, it really felt like a self contained story, something that stands on it's own, very well written.
Low Points : Pre Vizsla, as the villain of the piece, was a little too obvious, he was only a moustache twirl away from being completely stereotypical. I'm aware that the episodes are short, and that the show is written for kids, but when Satine works with and trusts the guy, I don't expect him to be so obviously evil, unless she's completely incompetent.
Now I know that the history of the Mandalorians has only been touched on in comics and video games, which aren't considered canon any more, but I'm sure at the time, everything published by LucasArts was considered canon on some level, but this background they're introducing isn't great even left to it's own devices. Ignoring all the ways it contradicts what went before, if the planet declared peace, how exactly did they force their Warriors to leave the planet? The Mandalorians don't seem to have any rules against committing violence on one another, so I can't really see how the warriors/military were forced onto the moon of Concordia. For decades we'd waited to see the fierce warriors of the Mandalorians, with their high tech armour and weapons, and what we're given is the version of Mandalore where they've all become pacifists, a bit of a let down.
Guess they all became civil designers instead, which is almost worth it.
So what do you really think ? : A good episode, well written, with a decent amount of action in it. And seeing Obi-Wan working by himself was interesting, I think the more they keep him away from Anakin the better, the two are friends, but we've kind of seen that dynamic, and it's good to see something different.
Final Words : Having watched Rebels, especially the late season 3 and early season 4 episodes, it's difficult to match the Mandalore they show with the one seen in this episode, and apart from the gorgeous architecture, I prefer the one in Rebels, but it's difficult seeing how the Clone Wars version becomes the Rebels version, maybe that tale is to be told, but that remains to be seen.
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