Friday, January 28, 2011

TCW Review: Overlords

(deep breath)
Overlords was one of the most bizarre, disconcerting, and mystical Clone Wars episodes I have ever seen. What that means, we'll go into now.
The  bantha in the corner-the show's misguided, emphasized spirituality-will be addressed later.

The plot
Watching TCW:Overlords was like watching a completely different show. The Nightsisters trilogy kicked off a new era of the Clone Wars, one apparently drenched in mysticism and "exploring the force." There could be a couple problems there.

Overlords was also a very different path from the general flow of in-universe Star Wars.. If a raised-on-the-movies adult fan who had never seen TCW before watched this, their expression would be along the lines of What. The. Sith. Is. This.

In other words, swipe in Kyp Durron for Obi Wan, Tahiri Veila for Ahsoka, and Jacen Solo for Anakin and you've got yourself a typical Expanded Universe plot.

Here it is:
So-Obi Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Ahsoka Tano are cruisin along on their space shuttle hoping to meet Rex at a rendezvous point. Well when they get there, Rex is gone and in his place is this...big...thing.... It looks about the scale of the Death Star. It's black and angular-like two pyramids with their bases against each other. A tractor beam sucks the shuttle in, simultaneously knocking everyone out cold....

And that's where normal ends and Mortis begins.
They wake up in a mystical world(Mortis?) where the seasons change with the time of day. They are greeted by a translucent female figure with lettuce for hair. She's apparently been expecting Anakin, who she calls "the chosen one." On the way to meet her father, they are split up by an avalanche(caused by her evil brother) A storm comes, and Obi and Ahsoka seek shelter while Anakin follows Lettuce-Head to the palace.

Obi Wan and Ahsoka make their way back to the landing place, only to find their ship gone. They meet Lettuce-Head's evil brother, who stole the ship. He says something mildly menacing and turns into a bat and flies away(apparently he and his sister change shapes.)

That night, they are all greeted with disturbing visions(these scenes are the most effective part of the show). Obi Wan is greeted by Qui Gon, Ahsoka is met by an older version of herself, Anakin is met by his mother.

The next day, Anakin "clears" some things up with the king(or whatever he is. Lettuce-Head's father.) He is a mystical non-Jedi, non-Sith force user. Apparently, his two children harness the force very strongly. Lettuce-Head is the light side, and her brother is the dark side. Mortis is the force.(I know, weird.)

Their father imprisoned them on Mortis to keep them from destroying the world. That I can understand. He calls Anakin "The Chosen One". Anakin denies it, so he takes a test and ends up taming BOTH Lettuce-Head and her brother. So he's the chosen one. Yay! The king dude is willing to let them leave. BUT-The king dude claims that Anakin is DESTINED to be his successor. So they can leave, or stay.

End credits.

The good
I did not enjoy this episode. There were so many questions, and when TCW tried to answer them, more appeared. There was a lot of talk about destiny and the force and blah blah blah....There are some episodes that were just...ineffective, but "Overlords" comes the closest to being negative. Oh wait, this is the "Good" section.
The vision scenes were very effective. They were meant to be disturbing(especially the Shmi one) and boy, did they disturb me. (Especially since the Shmi scene is supposed to be the "lesson" somehow.)

The bad
Okay, I talked about the mysticism and I'll talk about the spirituality, but just plotwise....I'd expect this from the EU. Not from TCW. The other episode this far fetched was "Brain Invaders" last season. But because the characters were minor characters, it didn't seem that much of a big deal. But with the "Big Three" characters, this episode was...goofy? Wrong? What to think? And because this is top level canon we're talkin about here, this story will last forever...and ever...and ever......

Okay, here's the Christian perspective:
Reviews are supposed to be detached, with no religious or personal bias "ruining" the review. But "Overlords" delves so much into the spiritual that it's impossible not to go into it. So here's the cut:
If I were a Christian parent, I would not be happy with my children watching this. The spirituality in "Overlords" is quite explicit and decidedly un-Christian. The whole episode revolves around the white and black and grey of the Force, and Anakin's role of chosen one.

"Overlords" was created to be deep and spiritual-but it's mostly confusing. The Force has always been portrayed as mysterious-never mind the gaping holes in its theory. Is this bizarre story the best thing Star Wars can offer spiritually? It's extremely out of character, especially for a franchise that up until now has been borderline mystical without being overtly spiritual.

Lucasfilm tried to address this. It was a nice try. One thing that disturbs me is that as wrong as it is-Star Wars is the closest thing some people have as a religion. Is this how their spiritual needs are being met?

One thing's for sure: if there's anything Christians can get out of this episode, it's thanks that our God is NOTHING like the Overlords of Mortis. Instead of this cloudy, undefined, distant "force", we have a personal savior, and a clear path for our lives that can only end in victory. More than anything else, "Overlords" has convinced me of this.



  1. Hey.... thanks for this review. I don't watch TCW regularly, but I keep up with it loosely, and this was a good heads-up. I had seen a video preview of the new season, and it looked like it was getting all mystical and all then too. Meh. So sad....

    I liked the review. Thanks Amaranthine ;)

    And look!! >> You and I have the same number of followers! :P

  2. Actually this episode was AMAZINGLY GREAT! Definatly the best we've seen, in my opinion. Some of the force stuff bugged me, but I personally greatly enjoyed this episode.

    -Leia <3


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