Daily Archives: February 25, 2012

Momma Ain’t Happy, Nobody Happy: Mother Talzin and The Clone Wars

In the past year we have been introduced to a major new player on the Dark Side stage, Nightsister Clan Mother and Shaman Mother Talzin.  First introduced in last season’s three-part The Clone Wars story arc, dubbed “The Nightsisters Trilogy,” Talzin has gone on to appear in some recent Expanded Universe works, most recently in Dan Wallace’s Book of Sith.  As we get ready for Mother Talzin and the Nightsisters of Dathomir to return to The Clone Wars, lets take a look at what we have learned about Mother Talzin, her clan, and how they are connected with the rest of continuity.

In The Clone Wars we are introduced to Mother Talzin in episodes 3.12-3.14: “Nightsisters,” “Monster,” and “Witches of the Mist.”  Along with all the continuity changes that take place with Dathomir and the back story for Asajj Ventress and Darth Maul, we are introduced to a clan of dark Magick using witches referred to as the Nightsisters.  The Nightsisters were first introduced by Dave Wolverton in his Bantam era novel, The Courtship of Princess Leia.  Lucas and his Clone Wars team combined the concept of the Nightsisters and some Sith Witch concept art from the prequel films to create the look of the Nightsisters for the show and their leader Mother Talzin.

The clear attempts by the book licensee Del Rey to weave TCW into the novels has resulted in Mother Talzin has received passing reference in James Luceno’s Darth Plagueis novel, a larger role in Scholastic’s The Wrath of Darth Maul, as well as an entire section in becker&mayer!’s Book of Sith.

While Talzin’s reference in Darth Plagueis is more of the passing variety, her appearance in The Wrath of Darth Maul (Wrath) and her “writing” in the Book of Sith have direct impact on the story that will be featured in the concluding story arc of Season Four.  In Wrath, Talzin went to Orsis where Maul was being trained in combat to claim him as a Nightbrother and return him to Dathomir.  Talzin was prevented in this by the appearance of Sidious and she submitted to Sidious’ superior claim to Maul, but she did take a parting gift home with her.  On her way back to her vessel to leave, Talzin brushed an open wound of Maul’s with a talisman capturing his blood upon the magical object.  This talisman will become very important later on.

Also in Wrath we learn that somehow Maul survived his maiming on Naboo and fall down the reactor shaft only to awaken in a dank hole on Lotho Minor were he spent the next decade.  As of that book it was unrevealed if Maul had some mysterious benefactor that saved his life and got him from Naboo to Lotho Minor.  The Book of Sith may provide some answers in a few abilities of the Nightsisters that it described.

What if Maul actually died briefly on Naboo?  In the Book of Sith it lists the talismans that the Nightsisters possessed, one of these was the “Talisman of Resurrection” that allows them to return a spirit back to it’s body, the sooner this is done though the better shape the physical body will be in.  What if Mother Talzin arrived on Naboo just in time to use this talisman on Maul?  This poses the further question of how would she have known where and when to be to save Maul?  Well we know she already had the talisman with Maul’s blood on it that she could use to track him, but she also had the ability through divination and scrying to “view events occurring anywhere in the galaxy.”  This is the arability that she used when meeting with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker to locate Savage Opress for them in “Witches of the Mist.”

So we now have an explanation of how Maul could have been returned from the dead as well as rescued by Mother Talzin.  But if Mother Talzin saved Maul, why not keep him on Dathomir?  Well the ability of divination allowed her to see multiple possible futures, perhaps she foresaw the return of Ventress and creation of Savage Opress and is playing out events according to her visions.  Leaving Maul in a safe and secluded place was the best option for her.  Leaving his mind broken also kept him from making any trouble.

We also learn that Mother Talzin is a bit of a charismatic leader, not only did she defeat Mother Zalem, but she unified warring Nightsister tribes into one coven and assumed the dual roles of Clan Mother and Shaman.

In Season Three we saw Mother Talzin exhibit a number of abilities, such as the ability to conjure a weapon from thin air for Savage Opress, to use the waters of life to heal Ventress’ body and mind, and to mesmerize Savage Opress.  Based on the waters of life ritual we know Talzin could have healed Maul’s mind and injuries following the events on Naboo, but she did not.

The biggest revelation regarding Mother Talzin and the Nightsisters is that they and she know about Mortis.  The Nightsisters spirituality is centered on two beings, the Winged Goddess and the Fanged God, who are depicted and described just like the Daughter and Son from Season Three’s Mortis Trilogy.  Mother Talzin believes that there is a spiritual realm and a physical realm, this Winged Goddess and Fanged God exist on the spiritual realm, but through their magicks the Nightsisters are able to bridge the gap between the two realms and tap into the power granted by the Goddess and the God. In fact she claims that she experienced a near death experience that brought about her connection to the spirit realm, and it is this through this connection that “the spirits pull upon the folds of my robe as I walk and echo beneath my voice when I speak.” (Book of Sith pg. 100)

The Book of Sith goes into great detail listing other abilities and aspects of the Nightsisters’ culture that will undoubtedly show up in The Clone Wars at a future point, but it is clear from our examination that Mother Talzin has some very strong powers and some very curious connections with the Force wielders of Mortis.  In appearance they are rather similar to the Son in particular.

The question becomes, what is Mother Talzin’s role in the saga and what are her real goals during the Clone Wars?  If I may speculate, I believe she is trying to cultivate a trio of instruments by which she can rule the galaxy.  Perhaps her goal is to position Maul, Opress and Ventress so that all three are under her influence and control.  One of the interesting features of the Book of Sith is that Ventress commented in the margins of Mother Talzin’s writing, the tone of her comments makes me think she at some point grew disillusioned with Talzin and ends up either trying to usurp Talzin’s position or leaving the Nightsisters all together.

The future is always in motion, but one thing is for sure, Mother Talzin and the Nightsisters are playing a much more central role in the Clone Wars era then we ever thought they would be.

~ Peter

The Clone Wars Season 4 Episode 17 and 18 Review

Hello and welcome back to another exciting review of The Clone Wars here on the Star Wars Report! This time, the toughest bounty hunters in the galaxy team up to fight for survival and for the chance to work for the evil Count Dooku in “The Box”!

The box was an interesting episode in that I think we’ve kind of gotten used to the ruthless methods of the bounty hunters by now. In the first few scenes we see Cad Bane shoot an Ithorian for having a cool hat. In “The Box”, we often saw them betray their fellow bounty hunters often, by kicking the other contestants off of ledges and into poison or ray shields. What this episode was about was made clear: these bounty hunters are constantly trying to get the upper hand, and while they might help one another sometimes, it’s mostly their greed in finding some use for them later on. So, when Cad Bane helps Hardeen at the very end of the episode, when he obviously didn’t need to, I think that proves how much Cad Bane, I wouldn’t say trusts, but respects Hardeen. I think this will certainly play into this arc later.

However, speaking of trust, I’d like to briefly touch on the importance of the Jedi keeping Anakin in the dark of the operation. I wasn’t looking out too much for this until a friend of mine pointed it out, but this must create a severe gap between Anakin and the Jedi Order, or at least increase the one that was already there. It ties into Palpatine turning Anakin against the Jedi in Revenge of the Sith. It’s the growing distrust that Anakin has of the Jedi, and I think what Yoda says to Anakin even confirms it in Anakin’s mind. He’s too unpredictable to trust. This could be the point where Anakin realizes that he’s out of the loop, which could start him on that path to betraying the Jedi Order.

I think what makes “The Box” so good is the fact that Obi-Wan is in these very cool action scenes, always under the eye of Eval and Dooku, so there’s no way he can mess up without being discovered, or even killed. Towards the end, where Obi-Wan is forced to take the weapon of choice of the real Rako Hardeen, and has to shoot it with the same accuracy as the actual bounty hunter, that honestly was pretty darn scary, knowing that one missed target would reveal him as a spy. It was a very well done scene to show how much Obi-Wan has blended with this character over the past few episodes, and to show us how much he’s ready for his real job, to kidnap the chancellor.

There were two things that I’m wondering about Dooku right now. Firstly, does he suspect that the Jedi are in some way behind Rako Hardeen’s appearance? His reaction when he found out that Hardeen had killed Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi was a bit mysterious. And secondly, why did he choose Cad Bane to lead the mission when he obviously saw Hardeen doing most of the quick thinking and leading the bounty hunters to the each upcoming challenge, every time? Perhaps it ties into my previous question, does he suspect something of Hardeen? And is putting Cad Bane as the leader part of a plan to uncover the true identity of the sniper of Concord Dawn? So many questions, one episode left!

All in all this was a great episode, but at the same time, didn’t exactly match up with the pace or style of the other episodes in the arc; it almost felt like a one episode arc within an arc, if that makes sense. I also found it a little convenient for basically all the reoccurring characters to be the ones to survive. Other than that though I loved this episode! What did you think of “The Box”? Let us know by leaving a comment below! Thanks for reading and may the Force be with you… always!

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Hello and welcome back to another review of Star Wars: The Clone Wars here on the Star Wars Report! This week all plans are put into play, and the fate of Rako Hardeen is sealed when the Jedi try to stop an attempt to kidnap the Chancellor from the inside in “Crisis on Naboo”! This is the last episode of this arc, which now leaves us looking forward to the last arc of the season, the return of Darth Maul… but first, here are my thoughts on the episode.

This episode revolves entirely around the bounty hunter’s operation. It’s what has been built towards for three episodes. The characters of Cad Bane and Hardeen have built a sense of trust between one another, at least on a professional level, and the rest of the victors from “The Box” have finally been chosen to help complete the task. I liked that we did not even know how the operation was planned, we only knew the responsibilities of Obi-Wan, who was witnessing the plan for the first time as well. It kind of created this hectic feeling as the chaos ensued when Obi-Wan was trying to keep Mace and the other Jedi informed on what was going on. That’s what separated this action scene from others is that we didn’t necessarily feel right in the action with the Jedi, or the bounty hunters, but both of them as Hardeen tries to maintain his cover while also helping the Jedi. What I’ve liked about this arc all along is the new perspectives we’ve gotten to see that rarely get an opportunity to be showcased in the series.

The other large concept of the episode was Dooku’s and Palpatine’s involvement. Probably Obi-Wan’s one mistake out of his entire undercover mission was his excellent performance in “The Box”. Had he not solved all the puzzles on his own, and maybe stuck to the shadows more, he might’ve been able to not bring as much attention to himself. Right from the end of the last episode Dooku saw right through him, or at least suspected that Hardeen isn’t who he says he is. I think this also plays into the theme of the episode of “the whole truth”, and it seems that everyone is deceiving everyone else in some way, including the Jedi. You could argue that the whole plot of the bounty hunters was a ruse to eliminate the republic security force so Dooku could take the Chancellor himself, if the Jedi believed that the true threat was over. I find it intriguing that most of these plots could actually be more attempts to bring Anakin to the dark side, and you can totally tell by how Palpatine reacts during ambush that he is testing Anakin, so that when Anakin finally defeats Dooku, Palpatine knows that he’s finally ready to become his apprentice. I wonder if Dooku knows this, certainly if he has knowledge of Palpatine planning these attacks, he must have some idea that he’s just a training tool for Skywalker. Maybe even the Sith are deceiving each other?

All in all this was a pretty solid episode that successfully wrapped up the plot against the Chancellor. There were things I wished they had spent more time on, like Cad Bane and Rako Hardeen/Obi-Wan, all we really got to tie up their partnership was Cad Bane yelling threats as he was taken away, it’s not a huge deal, but they spent so much time setting up these characters that I would’ve liked something a little longer. I liked this arc a lot, but I’m ready for the final arc of the season now. I need to see Maul! Anyways, what did you think of this episode? Leave a comment below, we always enjoy hearing what you have to say about the episode! Thanks for reading and may the Force be with you… always!

-Ryan