Anakin nearly exposes Obi-Wan's undercover mission to Cad Bane on Nal Hutta. 

By Christian Blauvelt
January 28, 2012 at 03:24 AM EST
Lucasfilm

The Clone Wars has been known to reference many films beyond merely the sextet that take place in that Galaxy Far Far Away. George Romero’s Living Dead films, Godzilla, Aliens, Seven Samurai, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and even Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious, are among the titles the series has namechecked. So I suppose the moral that opened “Friends and Enemies” shouldn’t have shocked anyone: “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” Yes, The Godfather loomed large over The Clone Wars last night. (Special thanks to one great friend of EW’s that we definitely intend to keep close, Mr. James Arnold Taylor, a.k.a. Obi-Wan Kenobi, who chatted live with Clone Wars fans on viEWer during the episode.)

And yet if anything, I feel that Don Corleone’s advice did absolutely nothing to help the Jedi during the Clone Wars. After all, their greatest enemy, Darth Sidious, was about as close as he could get, being the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic and the Jedi’s military leader. And Obi-Wan Kenobi’s best friend, Anakin Skywalker, betrays him and exterminates the entire Jedi Order. But in the context of “Friends and Enemies,” the mafia maxim definitely had some validity.

Obi-Wan Kenobi, still undercover with anti-Palpatine conspirators Moralo Eval and Cad Bane as the fearsome bounty-hunter Rako Hardeen, decided to crash their stolen ship on Nal Hutta. Obi-Wan’s idea was pretty much like that of Norman Bates: We’ll sink the ship in a swamp where it will be swallowed by the murk and never found by anyone. The three escaped convicts needed to ditch their prison garb and buy—not steal—a new ship. It’s all about being incognito. Except when one member of your posse insists upon wearing a wide-brimmed hat and delivering lines like “You’re lucky we’re in a hurry, little lady…we’ll have to dance another time” with all the dead-eyed bravado of Lee Van Cleef.

If there’s a rival to Mos Eisley as the Galaxy’s “most wretched hive of scum and villainy,” it surely must be Nal Hutta. Actually, contrary to popular belief, Nal Hutta is not the Hutt homeworld. The sybaritic race of obese space slugs actually evolved on the planet Varl, which they so polluted that they had to flee—kind of like Stephen Hawking’s plan—and colonize another world, a world which would become Nal Hutta. Obviously, they’ve pretty much done to Nal Hutta what they did to Varl, because the planet was all noxious shades of vomit-colored mud and steam. A place where, as Cad Bane put it, everyone’s an outlaw. This is where a monocle-wearing Hutt can place a bid at a slave auction that would make the flesh-peddling of Zygerria seem tame. Where Weequays can kick random beggars in the street, like a “Singin’ in the Rain”-crooning pack of Droogs. Where Sy Snootles decided to hide out after killing Ziro the Hutt—and found company in the arms of two Twi’Lek females. Still, looking at Nal Hutta, I couldn’t help but feel that, like Mos Eisley, this was a place that really could use some more rontos and dewbacks.

NEXT: Bane, Eval, and “Hardeen” go hat shopping.

Bane ordered Hardeen to buy a new ship, while he strolled into Pablo’s Pawn Shop (named after StarWars.com web editor Pablo Hidalgo!) to pick up some supplies. Shame, though. Pablo didn’t have the blasters Bane was looking for. And did have too many questions. So he got the Duros’ trademark toothpick jabbed in his windpipe. During our live chat tonight, James Arnold Taylor told EW that Matt Lanter—90210 star and voice of Anakin Skywalker—also lent his pipes to Pablo. Now we know how apparent-loser Pablo could score a Twi’lek babe voiced by Nika Futterman (Asajj Ventress!), who at first glance seemed completely out of his league.

In Pablo’s Pawn Shop, Hardeen found a helmet that would help conceal his identity. The hearts of diehard Star Wars aficionados skipped a beat, because it was the helmet that legendary concept artist Ralph McQuarrie had originally designed to be the head-protector of none other than Boba Fett! (Yes, I’m a nerd and proud.) He then purchased a new ship for them to use, a Corellian Engineering Corporation YV-666 light freighter. If you checked those registry markings a little more closely, I suspect you’d find that ship was called the Hound’s Tooth, the ship that will one day belong to Bossk when Lord Vader hires him to search the Galaxy for the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back. Amazingly, this wasn’t the only classic ship sighting we got in “Friends and Enemies.”

Now that he was armed, loaded, and had decent transport, Bane wasn’t about to let Hardeen continue to tag along. Why would a gunslinger want to split his bounty? Actually, it was deeper than that. When Eval asked Bane if his animus for Hardeen was “business or personal,” Bane immediately rasped, “Both.” As the Hound’s Tooth took off, Hardeen was immediately picked up by the Hutt authorities and subjected to some, shall we say, aggressive interrogation by a Morgukai torturer. It seemed pretty simple how Obi-Wan could get out of this—just betray Eval and Bane to the Hutts. Let’s face it. They would have no qualms doing the same.

So he did. But the Morgukai announced with Vader-esque glee, “The deal has changed,” and Obi-Wan had to break cover and break some skulls via the Force.

NEXT: Anakin really, really can’t take a hint,  “Hardeen” pilots a pre-Lando Lady Luck, and Bane and Eval suffer their third starship crash in as many hours.

Still, the Hutts shot down Eval and Bane’s ship, and they found themselves right back with the third wheel they had tried to leave behind. Now Hardeen had some leverage. He said he had pull with the Hutts, that the gangsters owed him a favor, and so he had enough credits to buy another ship. This time he purchased a sleek SoroSuub Personal Luxury Yacht 3000. If you scratched off the layer of Nal Hutta grime that had accumulated over its registry, you’d probably see the name Lady Luck, as in the starship that will one day be owned by one Lando Calrissian. I know there’s some obscure bit of backstory already established about how Lando won the Lady from an Orthellin royal, but I say it’s time for a retcon. Have Cad Bane lose the ship in a hand of sabacc to young Lando! Okay, okay, I know Lando needs to own the Falcon somewhere there in his backstory, but no one said he couldn’t own two ships at once, right?

Anyway, Obi-Wan found a brief moment to call in to Mace and Yoda and give them a status update. They foolishly told the Chancellor that the assassins were on Nal Hutta, and the Chancellor immediately told Anakin—knowing fully well that Obi-Wan was among them as Hardeen and that Anakin would kill him if given a chance.

Anakin, his Padawan in tow, immediately schlepped across the Galaxy to Nal Hutta. (Those hyperspace corridors put warp drive to shame.) Where do you look for three murderous interstellar ne’er-do-wells? “Ahsoka, you should know by now if you want to find a lowlife…you start at the saloon,” Anakin said. Here’s one Jedi who has absolutely no interest in keeping a low profile whatsoever. He came strolling in to that cantina, sent tableware flying with a flick of his wrist, and Force Choked the poor Ithorian bartender into giving up the location of the outlaws. Alas, Hardeen & Co. had left Nal Hutta. But fortunately, their shady Bith used-ship salesman gave them only enough gas to fly to Orandia, where his brother had a fuel depot.

At the pit stop, Ahsoka instantly spotted Bane. I mean, she herself said it, “Who else wears a hat like that?” A crazed mid-air pursuit began, with Anakin throwing caution—and the risk of collateral damage—to the wind like Popeye Doyle. He finally jumped onto the Lady Luck, causing both ships to crash. He and Hardeen tangled for just a moment, before Anakin got the upper hand and prepared to deliver the killing stroke. But Bane ensnared the Jedi in fibercords and Obi-Wan was able to mind-trick Anakin into letting him realize he’s still alive. With Ahsoka more concerned about tending to her injured master than pursuing the three ex-cons, the Lady Luck shot off for parts unknown. Or probably Serenno, where Count Dooku is waiting for them.

I don’t know about you, but I think I loved “Friends and Enemies” even more than “Deception.” You just can’t beat all that lived-in detail. The question remains, though, will the Jedi Council EVER get through to Anakin and Ahsoka with the truth behind Obi-Wan’s undercover operation? Or will the fact that he now knows that Obi-Wan is alive make him even more determined to stay on his tail…just to watch his back? And what exactly does Eval have in mind for Palpatine? Join us next week for our live blog on viEWer, when James Arnold Taylor will be joining us once again to take your questions.

Episode Recaps

Before the Dark Times, before the Empire, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker fight to restore peace and justice to a galaxy far, far away…
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