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Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 2 Episode 14: Duchess of Mandalore

What is it ? : Duchess Satine has arrived at Coruscant, and is begging them not to send help. The arrival of a Clone Army will be seen as an invasion by her people, and send many of them into supporting the Death Watch, and therefore the Separatists. However, her argument is undercut by a recording which is played to the Senate by her deputy which appears to say that her government is weak and that the Mandalorian people need the support of the Republic or will lose control of the planet to the Death Watch. And the Senate decides in the light of this that they will vote to send troops to stop a world falling into the hands of the Separatists.
Satine meets with a contact, who reports that the message was cut to change the meaning of the message, and gives her an uncut version before a member of the Death Watch shoots and kills him, framing Satine with the murder.
Satine goes on the run from the police, tricking them with a remote controlled speeder, and calls on Obi-Wan for help.
Meeting up they are ambushed by the Death Watch assassin, who they deal with between the two of them, and Obi-Wan takes the recording to Amidala to play for the Senate, while Satine hands herself in.
The recording is played, and the Senate votes against sending troops after seeing the true message which says that an apparent Republic invasion would weaken the Mandalorian Government and send the planet into the control of the Death Watch, and Palpatine apologises to Satine for the mix up on behalf of the Republic.

High Points : A really good episode, but in a strange way. Usually the viewer is in support of the Republic, because even though Palpatine is working towards his own plans, he needs those plans to remain hidden and therefore usually appears to be on the side of peace.
However, here is a situation where internal politics of a world not part of the Republic (Mandalore is part of the Council of Neutral Systems) is being used to warrant an invasion of that world. Mandalore's current legitimate government is asking the Republic to not get involved, however the Republic actually votes during this episode to send the Clone Army to occupy the world and support the government whether they like it or not.
The Republic is clearly in the wrong here, but not Obi-Wan, not Amidala, not anyone on the Republic's side sees this as the hostile invasion it clearly is, so the viewer is on Satine's side against the Republic. While Obi-Wan supports his friend, and breaks the rules (and indeed the law) to support her, I'm very surprised in the whiter than white Amidala not having a problem with this.

Low Points : Now, the problem with what I've stated above is undercut by a little confusion!

What is the Council of Neutral Systems?

Obi-Wan states at one point that both he and Satine have sworn oaths to the Republic, and as a diplomat and head of state from either a member world or allied world to the Republic, why is she hunted like a common criminal when framed for murder, shouldn't she have some kind of diplomatic immunity.
What is the Council? It's really not made clear, because when it was introduced two episodes ago, I assumed that it was a third side, sitting out of the war. Kind of like Switzerland or Ireland during World War 2, neutral, as in not part of one side or the other. But this episode makes it appear that they're neutral as in part of the Republic, which doesn't make a whole load of sense. If they're neutral and not part of the Republic, then the sending of Republic forces to their world, is Invasion and Occupation without argument. Even if they're part of the Republic, sending of Military forces to Mandalore without invitation is also Invasion and Occupation, it would be like the United Nations sending a peacekeeping army to Washington DC because of one of the elections where the electoral college didn't match the majority vote.

While the Death Watch are supporting the Separatists, they appear to be a legitimate movement within the Mandalorian people, and therefore an internal matter to Mandalore to decide their Government, and decide whether they want to join the Separatists or not. Again relating it to real world politics, it's like the United Nations sending a force to Northern Ireland during the troubles to eliminate the IRA and support British rule, and doing that without invitation from the British Government. Clearly wrong.

So what do you really think ? : While I've ranted on a little about the problems in this story, and the lack of clarity in exactly what the hell is going on, I really enjoyed this episode. They've done a bit of a reset on the Satine/Obi-Wan relationship, and would very much have enjoyed seeing a bit more of that, with Satine having to rely and lean on Obi-Wan for support a little more while she is in danger and on the run, bringing the two of them closer together again.
But that wasn't to be, but a very good episode anyway.

Final Words : Maybe some clarity on the whole CNS situation will happen in future episodes, as it did with the Mandalorian history, but that remains to be seen.

Score : 8.5/10

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