SPOILERS AT YOUR OWN RISK
Before I start here, I have to say that I have always been a fan of Jar Jar. No, he isn't in my top 10 favorite characters, but I always laughed at his slapstick comedy when I was a kid (and still do) and I thought that he was always an essential component of the film series, much like the Ewoks, C-3PO and R2.
So bringing in Jar Jar and Mace Windu together in a short adventure truly harkened back to the early days of the Clone Wars, when our heroes would defeat the bad guys and ride into the sunset. As the show has progressed, the stories have become much more complicated and the tone has gotten increasingly darker, and I have nothing against that. It is obvious that the show has to expose that our heroes are headed for certain doom in Revenge of the Sith, but a change of pace every now and then is always a welcome thing.
|This is gonna be a long mission...|
Part of the reason why Mace and Jar Jar work so well together is because they are polar opposites to each other, and they complement themselves in that comedic chemistry. It's one of the reasons why R2-D2 and C-3PO had such great comedic chemistry in the films, or a comedic trio like The Three Stooges in the short films of the 30's and 40's. In the end Mace learns to respect Jar Jar in a similar fashion as to how Qui-Gon did in Episode I, and we get to see that Jar Jar truly isn't that useless after all.
Another interesting tidbit of this arc was that we learned that Jar Jar has a love interest, none other than Queen Julia of Bardotta. The backstory of how they met is something I would love to see explored at some point in the future, and in particular it would be very interesting to find out more about the Dagoyans and how their powers compare to that of the Nightsisters and such.
One of the great things these episodes did was that we got to explore a more a mysterious side of the Force, in particular the one in which the Dagoyans and Nightsisters interact with. I had always been interested in seeing other Religious Orders that used the Force for good different than the Jedi and I am glad we got to see it. It was also great to see Mother Talzin make an appearance, as she wanted to drain the life force of Queen Julia and become more powerful than the Jedi and the Sith.
These episodes help to clarify Mother Talzin's motives and finally cement her as a villainess, when she had previously been a more morally ambiguous character. I do have to wonder if she wanted to revive Darth Maul in order to gain control of the Dagoyans Life Force, or if her use of Maul was for something different. I guess that the events of this episode will have some influence on the upcoming Dark Horse comic. It also helped to show the extent of Mother Talzin's power, and that she isn't so much of a warrior as much as a mystic.
Last but not least, this arc was a fantastic nod to the Adventure genre, more specifically Indiana Jones. All four Indy films have some reference in this episode, not just the obvious Temple of Doom one. The way the Queen and the mystics were organized was almost identical to how the Aliens in Crystal Skull were organized in their Temple, and the ride into the sunset was an obvious nod to The Last Crusade. Star Wars has always drawn it's influence from various sources and genres in film, but the old fashioned Adventure genre didn't have as much influence, primarily I guess because George's passion for that went to find it's place in Indy. Nevertheless, it feels right at home with Star Wars, bringing in the classic Republic serials that inspired our favorite Adventure hero into play.
With elements of swashbuckling, fantasy, adventure, comedy and the classically optimistic Star Wars feel, This arc was truly one of my favorites of the entire series.