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Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 1 Episode 14: Defenders of Peace

What is it ? : Continuing from the last episode, Anakin is still wounded and the Jedi and remaining Clone Troopers are staying with the Lurmen colonists in their village on Maridun. A Separatist ship commanded by a fat Neimoidian (voiced by the always wonderful George Takei) arrives and claims the world under his protection. The droids violently search the village for signs of Republic forces, and Anakin and his team take cover in some long grass.
A probe droid locates the Jedi, but is destroyed, but in the chase they discover the Separatist base where they're testing a new "defoliant" weapon, which basically just burns a large area destroying all plants and animals, but not harming droids.
The Jedi steal a shuttle and some shield generators and defend the village against the Confederation forces including the defoliant weapon. The pacifist Lurmen village leader doesn't want to be involved in the wars at all, and against his wishes the youth of the village including his son, join the battle. Destroying the new weapon, and capturing the leader of the separatist forces.

High Points : The action scenes are well done throughout, and the use of the stolen shield generators is handled skillfully, but the story balances on the idea that the Lurmen colonists don't want to be involved in the war, but are dragged into it. Except, as mentioned in my review of the last episode, they're more than willing to threaten violence, by holding a hostage, and the leader is the only villager who voices their want to avoid violence, even at the cost of all their lives. The other villagers, especially the youth happily join the fight to protect their way of life, making the leader look like a dictator rather than a popular leader.

Low Points : It's all a little bland, the new weapon is just a AAT tank with a bigger gun, George Takei is wasted here, as the Neimoidian he portrays doesn't really do anything much, perhaps he'll return as happily he survives the episode.

The droid raid on the town, which is quite effective in showing how brutal and uncaring the droid occupation force is, is sadly weakened as it shows the Jedi watching, and declaring that they will need to take cover in the long grass over there. The long grass is about 20 feet away, and the simplicity of them hiding robs the scene of any drama.

So what do you really think ? : Another one of those episodes which feels like it's treading on well covered ground, the drama here isn't the invasion, it's the pacifistic Lurmen being drawn into the war, but it's not well handled and the storyline is much weaker for it.
Sadly, almost everything around the storyline is well done, the planet is well realised, the invasion well done, and the tactics and plans all seem well thought out and realistic, but all of that is for naught when the drama of the main storyline is weak and mishandled to this degree.

Final Words : As I've mentioned, most of the story is well done, just not the central theme, and hopefully this is just a blip and they'll realise better stories with the skill they handled this one with.

Score : 6.5/10

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