“Heroes on Both Sides” is an episode largely devoted to the politics of ending the war between the Republic and the Separatists. The Trade Federation and the Banking Clan are pushing for further deregulation of the banks in the Senate so that they might profit from more war spending. With the Republic’s credit running dry, Padme sees this as a perfect opportunity to negotiate with the enemy. When no one listens, she and Ahsoka decide to visit one of Padme’s old friends who happens to be a Separatist.
I know a lot of people have had a hard time with the politics heavy episodes, but I thought this was a brilliant critique of representative bodies and war and enemies and those standing in the way of the cessation of conflict because they have some way of profiting off of it.
It’s also a very subtle critique on the legislation we’ll pass to expedite a war, even though it’s not in the best interests of the people.
You can see the will of the real representatives of the people, Padme and her Separatists analog, working for that peace, but Sidious, Dooku, the Banking Clans, the Trade Federation, and others, working to undermine it.
Dooku goes so far to prevent the vote on this opening of negotiation between the Separatists and the Republic that they hatch a terrorist plot to disguise battle-droids that turn into bombs as maintenance droids in order to infiltrate and destroy the power grid on Coruscant.
The entire episode is a very powerful indictment of the difference between governing with the best interests of the people in mind versus the kneejerk reactions that lead to things like the Bush tax cuts that do us more harm in the long run.
This was by far and away the best political episode of the show so far.
Having said that, this was also the debut of the new Anakin and Ahsoka models on the show and I have to say I’m impressed, although they didn’t really get a chance to do anything. Anakin was seen doing nothing but walking down a corridor. Ahsoka had a little more to do, and they showed us that she now has two lightsabers, but she didn’t ignite them once.
The models and animation have taken a quantifiable leap forward, though. Ahsoka wears a cloak with a hood that she actually pulls up over her head. The side characters are more fully designed and believable. The lighting and sets are much more diverse and landscapes breathtaking.
In fact, there is one shot in particular that stood out as a particular work of art. It was the first shot after the first commercial break and it was a ship landing on a platform on Raxus. It was fall and the trees and mountains with the beautifully sculpted building they were landing in front of shining with majesty. It reminded me of a painting I can’t quite put my finger on. Any frame in that sequence could be put on a print and framed.
Overall, I think this was a very solid episode and a shining example of how politics and corruption can be done right. This episode puts Season Three’s Mandalore arc to shame.