Star Wars: The Clone Wars Revisited - 3.13 Monster
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Eleven years ago, George Lucas and Dave Filoni introduced the world to Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an animated series that filled in the gap between Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The story takes place during the Clone Wars, with the Jedi-led clone army facing off against the droid armies of the Separatist Alliance. With the announcement of a surprise seventh season by Disney, The Digital Fix will be revisiting the animated series, looking back at the most important episodes and story arcs of the show’s five seasons, highlighting the elements that made this show so beloved by Star Wars fans.
We return with the episode Monster, which originally aired back in 2011...
Monster continues the arc begun in Nightsisters and sees Count Dooku negotiating with Mother Talzin for a Zabrak apprentice (like Darth Maul). What Dooku doesn't know is that this apprentice will be selected by Asajj Ventress and given some... modifications... before being presented to the count. This episode is one of the few times we see how life in the matriarchal society of Dathomir works. When a female Nightsister wishes to select a mate, she travels to the village where the men live and selects candidates to fight one another (the rationale being that the survivor will be the worthy one). It's a little like The Hunger Games actually.
This is where we first meet Savage Opress and his brother Feral. Both are selected by Asajj, mong several others, to compete in a series of trials. It's clear right away that Savage is protective of his brother, who is visibly smaller and that's clearly going to be a problem since this is meant to be a fight to the death with only one survivor (which provides an early hint as to how this story is going to end).
The various trials also provide another opportunity to show off just how powerful Asajj Ventress really is, which makes one wonder how it is she could never beat Anakin or Obi-wan (aside from obvious plot reasons). She decimates the candidates until only Savage and Feral remain. Asajj lets Feral go and Savage is the winner.
The next scene is like something out of Frankenstein and the reason the episode is titled Monster. Savage was already large, but Mother Talzin uses her magic to make him even larger, growing his body and horns with magical green mists until he has become freakishly huge. All of Savage's personality is gone, he only knows what he's been told: that while he will serve Count Dooku, his true allegiance lies with Ventress. It's actually really sad to see how the Nightsisters are using Savage. To them he is nothing more than a tool, his wishes or desires do not matter.
And that really is the fatal flaw in this plan to double cross Count Dooku (which is still doomed to fail because of the reasons discussed in Nightsisters). Talzin and the others are forgetting that deep down, Savage still has a mind of his own and if pushed hard enough he may decide not to follow orders anymore.
The best part of this episode is the trials Asajj puts the candidates through. It's a scene full of tension that leads you wondering how the candidates are going to make it out alive. Other than that and the scene with Mother Talzin using her magic, the episode is not as action-filled as Nightsisters. However, I think that's because the episode is more of a set up for the conclusion of the arc, Witches of the Mist.