I never expected this show to explore issues of sovereignty and imperialism, but it did. This is probably my favorite episode so far of the show and the Jedi don’t actually do much in it. This episode is far more about the species that are in conflict and ways to deal with conflict than characters themselves, and it does it really well. It’s a perfect episode in my opinion.
“Trespass” was directed by Brian Kalin O’Connell and written by Steven Melching, Henry Gilroy and Scott Murphy.
The story involves Anakin and Obi-Wan exploring a Republic base that has gone silent on a moon that the Pantoran claim sovereignty over. Things soon get complicated as Obi-Wan and Anakin make contact with the native Talz who destroyed both the Separatists and Republic Forces on the planet. They ask the Pantoran to leave but it is soon escalated as Chairman Cho seeks to take the planet for his people, believing it is his and uses Republic Law to justify his actions.
The Pros: The Premise – The premise is great and starts out like a horror film. Clone Trooper helmets are on pikes when our heroes first reach the base and it is the same in the Separatist base where the droid heads are. The premise starts out as a monster of the week type deal but we soon see the Talz are sentient and negotiate with the Jedi and tell them what happened leading into the greater political struggle of the episode.
The Pantoran – The Pantoran are a pretty prideful species but not stupid. Through Senator Riyo we see the need to understand others while Cho is an imperialist who wants to take advantage of the war to establish Pantoran control over it. From here the story unfolds as he is willing to die for his belief in Pantoran superiority and dominance over the planet which he thinks is theirs by right and Riyo who is tired of the war and the fact that they are fighting when there are bigger threats like the Separatists to deal with.
The Talz – The Talz are a tribal people who have three eyes and are great fighters. With spears and mounts they manage to take out every enemy they face on their world but show that they can hold back and negotiate with
Chairman Cho – Chairman Cho is a nationalist and leader of his planet until the Assembly takes away his power after they lose nearly everyone to the Talz. He believes the planet belongs to Pantoran from the beginning of the episode and is willing to die for it. He is racist and an imperialist and an interesting character as we see that he believes these ideals enough to die for hoping to be a martyr for Pantora.
Senator Riyo – Riyo is the diplomat and I wonder if she’ll carry on diplomacy as she recognizes that it is good to fight and good to live. I think she’ll be smart though as she had Obi-Wan and Anakin as mentors who teach her what she needs to do for lasting peace between the Talz and Pantora so war does not return.
Captain Rex – Rex protects Chairman Cho up until the end and is in a difficult position. He never attacks the Talz, only defends as Cho and his men are the ones who are attacking. He is a difficult position this episode and he loses most of his men. I feel bad for him this episode, he is just a pawn of the Jedi and the Pantoran.
Anakin and Obi-Wan – Anakin and Obi-Wan are the first to meet the Talz and negotiated a peace until Cho started the war. They stay out of the way and just seek to protect Cho and Riyu and refuse to negotiate a new peace since it was the Pantoran who started the war with the Talz so they need to negotiate the peace. In this way the episode is far more about Cho, Riyo and the Talz rather than the Jedi.
Imperialism and Sovereignty – Cho represents entitlement through other people’s lands expressed through Imperialism. The Pantoran “discovered” the planet and ignore the native life there up until Cho is killed and Riyo is in charge of negotiating the peace. In the end they respect the Sovereignty of the Talz, which is what the Talz had been defending the entire time.
This is one of my favorite episodes of the series and shows that the show can explore powerful and major things through the eyes of complex characters and events. It didn’t even involve The Clone Wars really, it was an internal conflict between Pantoran Imperialism and Talz sovereignty that was being resolved. This is good television and storytelling at work.
Final Score: 10 / 10