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TCW Episode 100th The Clone Wars Episode! - 5.12 - Missing In Action - discussion thread

Discussion in 'Star Wars TV' started by Seerow, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Deputy Rick Grimes

    Deputy Rick Grimes Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Sep 3, 2012
    So true
  2. Dark Lord Tarkas

    Dark Lord Tarkas Jedi Master star 5

    Apr 29, 2011
    If they try to explain it in the next episode it might not be as bad as it seems now, I'll give you that.

    Which, to me anyway, kind of ruins the whole concept.
  3. Seerow

    Seerow Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 7, 2011
    So DBB and Filoni did not mention it, we don't have word of god confirmation none of the context to explore clone slavery is there. I'm using it for this episode. Its made all the more evident to me because Gregor seems so much like the Kamino sales pitch.

    That was my thinking as well. Its so ingrained. Really even without his memory Gregor's docile nature and programming to follow orders is almost like an instinct. Its how a lion is programmed to kill. He's helpless to do anything else. Total contrast to Cut.

    There much be more to Abafar. Is it called the 'Void' because of some data manipulation in the republics database? It did feel pretty convenient they simply crashed into the planet that may be involved in a major CIS plot. However, that's fiction for ya. I'm sure there is going to be some payoff.
    QuangoFett likes this.
  4. Dark Lord Tarkas

    Dark Lord Tarkas Jedi Master star 5

    Apr 29, 2011
    But, to me anyway, that's exactly the point. Because of how much TCW has explored those themes in the past it seemed like it was begging to be brought up, and they didn't even deign to expend a single perfunctory sentence on the subject. Massive disappointment. Of course we see it and we can discuss it, but it would have made the episode much better if it was actually brought up.
  5. Seerow

    Seerow Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 7, 2011
    it disappointing it wasn't brought up, I agree. DBB's summing up of Gregor didn't give me much confidence as it is. He seems to be siding with exactly what the episode presented on the surface. That Borkas had enslaved Gregor and that he was 'freed' when he became a soldier again. I said that earlier in the thread. Really most of DF's commentary focused way more on why they put a Republic Commando in and talked little about the character himself.

    Still, I want to talk about the episode deeper. I see so much subcontext on the issue and with Gregor's personality it seems implausible to me no one ever through of the clone slavery issue. So, until DF comes out and says, "No, that's not it". I'ma keep speculating and discussing the issue of clone slavery within the episode "Missing in Action". Really, TCW rarely seems to throw the user many bones and seems to want the user to come up with these conclusions on their own. Sam Witwer once said this on ForceCast. We'll get the chance. Somebody has to eventually ask Dave this question in an interview somewhere.
    TreborSabreon and QuangoFett like this.
  6. quigonobi3

    quigonobi3 Jedi Padawan star 1

    Mar 5, 2012
    Sorry to go a bit off topic but i would like to thankyou all for making me the oldest prom queen in town after all the stuff i have been through with my surgery i thank you all for making me feel like a real sping chicken again!!! the award of the Prom Queen Trophy gave me quite a lift!!!:)[:D]
  7. QuangoFett

    QuangoFett Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 11, 2011
    I definitely wouldn't have appreciated this episode as much if Gregor had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, back into the Katarn armour. It would have been grossly inappropriate for a clone of his type and background - a commissioned officer, a special forces operative rather than an infantryman, inhibited from getting back onto the path towards his "genetic destiny" by amnesia rather than crippling guilt over desertion - to have needed anything more than an unearthing of repressed memories to get him back in the fight. TCW has had a very well-balanced portrayal of clones thus far and an amnesiac clone who then spontaneously becomes a conscious deserter like Cut would have gone against that.

    There was something unsettling about the way the term "slave" was thrown about so cavalierly in this episode and the commentary, however. Gregor is not enslaved by Borkus. His labour is not unfree; he gets paid for his work but Borkus simply jacks up his rent to keep him trapped in employment with him. That's not slavery unless the majority of industrial labourers up to the time of Progressivism and Socialism were slaves, which they weren't. How Borkus behaves as employer and landlord is not unheard of on Earth even now. There was a tangible distinction between the situation of labourers in the American Midwest's factories and slaves on Southern U.S. plantations during the 1850s and, in the case of SW, the situation of Gregor on Abafar and that of Shmi Skywalker on Tatooine. Gregor's life is not owned by Borkus in any sense beyond the clone's (natural? certainly exploited) feeling of indebtedness and duty to the Sullustan. Indentured labour is not slavery, though it's still recognised as a severe social problem on its own.

    If the S word is used to describe Gregor working for Borkus, it sure as hell can be used to describe Gregor working for the Republic. That was the moral element which I felt was missing from the episode, to be honest. If the script didn't overplay its hand with the multiple references to Gregor's apparent enslavement by Borkus, it would be possible to not see the unfortunate implication that death in combat in service to a government is the clear moral superior to just eking out an existence as a minimum wage worker (which is "slavery", unlike the former, apparently). That unfortunate implication is militarist at its core. Without it, the implication could just be about the clones: Gregor vs. Cut, the "genetic destiny", et cetera.

    The Deserter is definitely relevant to this episode. That episode was, by contrast, anti-militarist and it featured the only other mysteriously rediscovered AWOL clone in TCW. I think it's fair to treat that as part of the context for Missing In Action. However, the parallels between them are distracted from by the aforementioned implications. They could potentially be put aside if a solid case could be made that this is simply the warped perspective of Gregor and Gascon and not that of the script.

    This isn't the first time TCW has had an apparently confused moral message. In S3, I thought we were really supposed to be rooting for Savage over those degenerate, twisted Nightsisters. Why would anyone root for a society which subjugates half of its people and forces them to fight to the death for the "honour" of mating with one of their superiors? Then in S4, we were suddenly supposed to care about the Nightsisters when Grievous butchers them, the Zabraks being forgotten and never getting their comeuppance over their tyrannical rulers. Savage effectively becomes an all-out bad guy when he goes along with all of Maul's nefarious schemes. Ventress feels the presence of a "Monster", obviously referring to the person she abused, traumatised, terrorised and tortured. Was Katie Lucas rooting for the Nightsisters the whole way through?

    I'll hold off from giving Missing In Action a grade for now. It will be high, particularly because I liked the parallels with The Deserter, but it may be reduced due to the unfortunate implications.
  8. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Backpacking One Pack a Day Mod of New Films star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 16, 2005
    Well said!
    TreborSabreon likes this.
  9. 07jonesj

    07jonesj Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 16, 2010
    QuangoFett I feel that "The Deserter" handled this much better, as you got both sides of the argument. Rex was in support of the military, and Cut was in support of choosing his fate. "Missing in Action" pushed one viewpoint at us, almost as propaganda.

    As to the Nightsisters, I don't think "Massacre" portrayed the Nightsisters as the "good guys" at all. Talzin used what can be described as "dark magic" to resurrect terrifying zombie Nightsisters, and then proceeded to torture Dooku. Ventress was definitely portrayed as a "heroine", but the Nightsister clan seemed pretty evil to me. It was an evil vs. evil battle, just like Dooku vs. Ventress vs. Savage in "Witches of the Mist".
  10. Barriss_Coffee

    Barriss_Coffee Chosen One star 6

    Jun 29, 2003
    QuangoFett: Excellent analysis -- and you'd think Filoni, Katie, etc would notice these dual/conflated messages, especially since they've repeatedly addressed the "slave of the Republic" issue in numerous episodes. I'm sure they must... but in this episode it definitely took a back seat for the sake of the main droid plot.
  11. gizmodeus

    gizmodeus Jedi Padawan

    Sep 5, 2012
    small guy with knife scary
  12. Watto

    Watto Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 13, 1998
    Looks like Cartoon Network had some good ratings for the boys demographics on the Saturday animation block first week of January. This article I saw pointed out TCW (MIA being the episode that aired) as being part of a jump in ratings:
    Across the first week of January 2013, Cartoon Network ranked as television's #1 network for Total Day delivery of boys 6-11, & 9-14, and #1 in Early Prime (7-9 p.m.) delivery of boys 9-14. Scoring double-digit delivery gains compared the same week in 2012, Total Day delivery of kids 2-11 grew by 20%, kids 6-11 by 33% and kids 9-14 by 33%.

    Saturday Morning (7-11 a.m.) animated action-adventure programming was up double digits across all key kids and boys vs. last year, ranging between 12% and 36%. Premiere episodes of original series Ben 10: Omniverse (9 a.m.), Star Wars: The Clone Wars (9:30 a.m.), Green Lantern (10 a.m.) and Young Justice: Invasion (10:30 a.m.) grew by double and triple digits across kids/boys 2-11, 6-11 & 9-14, ranging between 33% and 119%.
  13. QuangoFett

    QuangoFett Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 11, 2011
    Indeed. After both sides were presented, that episode came down firmly on the side of Cut and against Rex's threat to press-gang him back into the GAR. Rex acquiesced at the end, promising the Lawquanes that he wouldn't tell the other clones of Cut's existence. Cut proved to himself that he could handle himself as an independent man and Rex lost his disdain for Cut's apparent cowardice. It was anti-militarist (note: not anti-military or anti-soldier) but it was fair.

    Missing In Action is good for not making a huge deal about Gregor's internal motivation after his repressed memories are unearthed. However, I agree that the portrayal of indentured employment as so horrific [ :rolleyes: ] compared to a violent wartime death was close to propagandistic. That's the effect of labelling the former as "slavery". It could be considered offensive when soldiers' lives are often treated as disposable IRL. I get that Gregor has a "genetic destiny", is not in the same situation as Cut and wants off of Abafar. These facts made the episode very enjoyable, contributing to the balanced portrayal of the clones (between individualism and dogmatism) and it allowed an easy comparison to The Deserter. It was still unfortunate that this moral dichotomy was presented so crudely in the episode, and doubly unfortunate that DBB and Filoni (who are normally sharp with these things) piled it on in the commentary.

    I can understand why Gascon uses the spectre of slavery as a means to drag Gregor out of his new life. He's simply trying to put as much pressure on the clone to fall back in line. However, this did seem like an opportune time for WAC to throw in an awkward interjection:

    "Actually, Colonel, Gregor's situation is technically indentured employment, not slavery."

    Cue few seconds of hijinks as Gascon screams at WAC. However, Gascon's words will have already had some effect and Gregor ultimately chooses to don the RC armour again.

    This would have nipped all talk of "slavery" in the bud, along with the unfortunate implications.

    In spite of that, the Nightsisters' mistreatment of the Zabraks - Ventress' mistreatment of Savage in particular - was largely ignored through the S4 episodes. I had no problem with Ventress being portrayed as an anti-hero or anti-villain protagonist, but I did have a problem with Savage not receiving much more than a temporarily, vaguely sympathetic portrayal in Brothers given how he is shown in S3 to be a victim of everyone he served while Ventress had been a sadistic victimiser up to that point.

    In their portrayals, Savage became less sympathetic while Ventress became more. This could be rectified in the future, though.
    07jonesj likes this.
  14. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Four Realms star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Mar 4, 2011
    As much as I liked the episode, I did have that same thought, that they tossed around the term "slave" far too casually. At best Gregor could be compared to an indentured servant. His being underpaid for dirty work and his boss being an ass is fairly common in our world and hardly the same as literally being someone else's property, even if one does feel trapped in that situation.
  15. 07jonesj

    07jonesj Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 16, 2010
    QuangoFett I agree that the way they didn't make Gregor's choice really melodramatic was a plus point. Honestly, I don't know whether I should be so harsh on how it was handled given that Brent Friedman really only had 10 minutes to get the story across (Gregor really is only in about half the episode!). For only 10 minutes, it did a pretty good job of making us care about Gregor's situation.

    You see, maybe Borkus treat Gregor really badly, the episode was just too short for us to receive this context. More time would have helped all aspects.

    Someone else mentioned that WAC should have been the counterpoint to Gascon, but upon reflection I don't agree. WAC follows orders even more than the clones do! I know this moment was played partially for laughs, but when Gascon tells WAC to leave him, he does. Immediately. So I guess the only person to be the counterpoint was Borkus, and since he was portrayed as an evil villain (complete with fairly amusing evil laugh) we didn't really have the counterpoint conveyed.

    I love the Ventress and Maul episodes, but Savage has been completely forgotten - in terms of character development - to make way for Maul. I'm still hoping for Savage to redeem himself and take down Maul (don't know any spoilers for upcoming episodes so that's speculation, don't panic!).

    My views on Ventress are a bit biased given that I rooted for her as a villain even before she became more sympathetic later on. :p
    QuangoFett likes this.
  16. CT-867-5309

    CT-867-5309 Force Ghost star 6

    Jan 5, 2011
    Good stuff guys, glad to see this thread picked up. Agreed on the indentured servitude, Borkus claiming that Gregor's expenses are slightly more than his wages is a classic method of keeping someone in debt.

    I thought Gascon's "he will be remembered" military hero speech was laying it on a bit thick.

    I'm sure this is my bias speaking, but I think Ventress was supposed to be sympathetic in "Nightsisters" and I'm sure Katie Lucas was rooting for her the whole way. The rest of the Nightsisters aren't really part of that sympathy, their massacre is just more tragedy in Ventress' life. The Nightsisters' culture sure ain't sympathetic, but I just write it off as their culture.

    Yes, Ventress treats Savage (and the rest of his clan) with complete brutality, but that to me came off as a cycle of abuse (and also encouraged by her culture). She's so angry at the entire galaxy and everything in it (this is key, she really was raging against the galaxy) she passes on the abuse and neglect she's been subject to her whole life. Her turn in "Bounty" is a step away from that cycle, as is her desire to clean up her past (Savage) and make amends (Kenobi). With Savage, she knows what's she's done, she knows she's responsible for making a monster and now she has to clean it up. Her good will toward Kenobi is a sign that she is letting go of her anger and learning to forgive the Jedi for abandoning her, with Kenobi basically being a replacement for her master. Kenobi is her second chance, she's hurt (or at least tried) him so many times she feels the need to make up for it, she doesn't want to watch him die like she watched her master die.

    For me this goes way back in the EU and has been building up in my mind for some time, so I might be seeing things that aren't really there.

    But I agree, the total abandonment of the caring Nightbrother Savage we saw is disappointing, hopefully we see that come back somehow. I can't say I've enjoyed Savage as a moronic sidekick to Maul.

    (sorry if this makes no sense, I'm multi-tasking and I know there's discontinuity. Also sorry for going off-topic.)
  17. KED12345

    KED12345 Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 10, 2012
    I always regarded Savage as Frankenstein-type character. Raised an abomination, tortured, abused, then considered a monster. Maul was the only being that accepted him, his brother. That's the point of Savage Opress.
  18. 07jonesj

    07jonesj Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 16, 2010
    I completely agree with the Frankenstein allusion. Maul though... he's brutal to Savage. Savage isn't his brother, he's his apprentice. Savage is a tool for Maul to mold and use against the Jedi.

    Savage wants them to be brothers, to be equals, but Maul certainly does not.
  19. CT-867-5309

    CT-867-5309 Force Ghost star 6

    Jan 5, 2011
    Borkus mentioning washing dishes reminded me of Dragon: A Bruce Lee Story. A young Bruce Lee has just come to America and has a job washing dishes in a Chinese restaurant, he gets into a fight with his fellow employees, and he has the following conversation with his boss.

    BOSS: Sit down. Two weeks pay. (tosses cash on desk) Two weeks severance. (tosses more cash)
    BRUCE: What's this?
    BOSS: All-purpose loan. You got a lot of money, Lee. What you gonna do?
    BRUCE: I guess I'd better-
    BOSS: I tell you what to do. Take April on the town. Buy her nice clothes. Check into big hotel. Have lots of sex. Have food brought up to you in bed. Drink champagne and whiskey. Now money all gone. April be gone, too, like money. You come back to me. I put you in kitchen, wash dishes to pay back loan. By that time you're no longer young, you're no longer handsome. You're nothing but a... dish-wash-ah. That one choice. There are others.
    BRUCE: Like what?
    BOSS: They say education is good. Hmm. I've heard that. Me, personally...I hope you go with April. I can always use a!

    Borkus also reminds me of Lugash from the Simpsons.
  20. Fives_Says_No_To_Sixes

    Fives_Says_No_To_Sixes Jedi Knight star 3

    Jan 6, 2013
    She has big head - like beach ball. Give her perfect balance!
  21. Dark Lord Tarkas

    Dark Lord Tarkas Jedi Master star 5

    Apr 29, 2011
    CT-867-5309 I wasn't familiar with that reference but it seems pretty spot-on to me.
  22. SithStarSlayer

    SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 23, 2003
    Scary like small mind with keyboard.
    Seerow likes this.
  23. JackG

    JackG Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Aug 15, 2011
    No need to ridicule yourself there, SSS. :p
    Coric and SithStarSlayer like this.
  24. Allana_Rey

    Allana_Rey Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 2, 2012
    I actually really enjoyed this episode. The ending was great! One of the Season's best.
  25. TiniTinyTony

    TiniTinyTony Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 9, 2003
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't they already done the "amnesia clone" story before?
    SithStarSlayer likes this.