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Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures: Season 1: Story 36: The Harvest Feast

What is it ? : The Young Jedi are helping harvest gomgourds for the Harvest Feast on Omaka to celebrate Dunkutu Day. They are helping Fiorna and her father Tay, who tell them that tradition dictates that the gomgourds be harvested by hand and droids cannot help.
They load the gomgourds onto a repulsor cart and take them to the village where the celebration is to be held.
While they are told about the celebrations, three loadlifter droids run amok and knock some gourds over and disrupt the preparations. They are told the droids belong to Roog, who is Fiorna's grandfather, but her father and Roog had a falling out last Dunkutu day and won't be attending this year, even though Fiorna misses him.
The Young Jedi suggest they tell him his droids are malfunctioning, and they can try to convince him to attend. When they arrive at his farm, he is initially hostile, but comes around when Fiorna is mentioned as he misses her too. The droids are malfunctioning as he has given them too much to do, as he is trying to have his own festival. He reveals that he isn't capable of helping as much as he used to due to his age, and the droids he build to allow him to take part, but his son wouldn't let them help due to tradition.
One of the droids malfunctions, and falls off a cliff, and the Young Jedi save it, much to Roog's relief, and he thanks them.
Fiorna contacts them over their comlink and tells them the droids are malfunctioning and ruining everything, so the Young Jedi and Roog head to the village to help out. Roog and Tay have to work together to help deactivate the droids, and Roog tells his son the problem with his aging, and Tay suggests they move the festival to Roog's farm. They also suggest repairing the droids and letting them help next year as part of a new tradition.

High Points : This story feels more complex than the usual YJA story, as on first appearance it is Roog who is in the wrong, he's breaking with tradition and his actions are going to ruin it for everyone. But it turns out that instead it is Tay's sticking with his doctrine which is being exclusive to his own father, and rather than adapting to peoples needs, he's just following the old and pointless traditions.
It made me feel for Roog quite a bit, rejected by his own son for just coming up with a way of helping and staying relevant, the story connected with me in away no other YJA story has.

Low Points : The droids malfunctioning and running amok simply due to being given too much work seems like a pretty major fault. It didn't seem as if the work itself was too much for them, just the volume of work which led to them sparking and breaking down. Pretty bad design.
In Star Wars, droids are often treated as people, even within this series, Taborr's sidekick, and Nash's co-pilot are droids, but treated as people and not mere devices. So this episode jarred a bit where the droids were just machines, to be excluded from the preparation of the festival, and switched off when they broke down. Not massively out of character for the treatment of droids in Star Wars, but different enough to warrant mentioning.

So what do you really think ? : This one I thought was pretty special, as it was different enough from the regular episodes, with the antagonist turning out to be in the right after all, and the characters set up to be the Young Jedi's friends, not being all that nice at first, but learning their lesson. A pretty solid episode.

Final Words : The message of this one seems to be that "you must adapt the rules around people", as the traditions of the festival are exclusionary to Roog and his droids, who are all just trying to help and be part of the festivities.

Score : 8.5/10

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