In The Massive Star Wars Marathon we are still firmly in The Clone Wars series. For those who might have missed this we are watching the series in chronological order based on the guidance of a list we found online. This means that we are jumping around in terms of episode order within each season. We recently watched the two episode arc focused on the Zillo Beast in season two. While watching these two episodes Krista was heartbroken by what was happening to the creature in question. We even had to watch a different episode before we went to bed to end of a higher note.
This is not to say these are two bad episodes, the writing is actually very interesting and shows deeper insight into some characters. It primarily showcases how truly evil Senator Palpatine is and how he is able to work within the Republic for his own aims. For those who have not see the series the two episodes that we watched were season two episodes eighteen and nineteen, The Zillo Beast and The Zillo Beast Strikes Back. When we are introduced to the Zillo Beast it is discovered when a bomb, used to stop a Separatist attack on the planet of Malastare. Clones are killed by the beast and the Jedi, Anakin and Mace Windu, who are there learn that this beast is the last that exists and Mace wants to protect it. He believes ensuring the survival of the Zillo Beast fits within the Jedi way, but Anakin insists it is dangerous, though he eventually is convinced to save the beast. Mace wants to release the beast somewhere in the Outer Rim where it can live peacefully. At the end of this first episode this plan changes when Palpatine says that they wish to study the beast’s impenetrable armor and has it brought to Coruscant.
The second episode shows the Zillo Beast being taken to a seemingly secure facility to be examined, but while they wished to keep the beast alive Palpatine says that the life of the beast is not as important as what can be learned from examining it. He directs the doctor studying it to kill it, but the beast appears to understand. This is a time where we see Anakin a bit at odds with the Jedi Council. They wish to stop Palpatine’s decision to kill the beast, but Anakin is arguing he can see how killing it for the advancement of the trooper armor could benefit the war effort. Padme is shocked, but he insists he just sees the two sides and doesn’t know entirely what is best. During this the Zillo Beast escapes. He rages through the city focused on finding Palpatine after an attempt to kill it fails. The beast does ultimately die, killed to save the people of Coruscant and Chancellor Palpatine. While the beast was being studied and during the ultimate fight to kill it Krista was actively saying they should have left it alone and shouldn’t kill it. She even compared the Zillo Beast to a supersized Toothless, the dragon from the How to Train Your Dragon franchise. She actively disliked what was happening throughout the episode and kept hoping they would leave the beast alone and let it go. The end made it even worse because Palpatine requests that the Zillo Beast be cloned. Krista was crestfallen and then angry, saying out loud that they were just going to keep killing the cloned Zillo Beasts to get what they wanted.
We have also been discussing our ability to connect with the clone troopers in the series, which was something Krista mentioned she hadn’t ever really been able to do just watching the movies, so this is not the only character we have felt strongly about dying, it was just unexpected. The Zillo Beast had just been trying to survive and then, solely after being told it was going to die, it broke out and then was killed for trying to save itself. This beast was just trying to live and was forced into a situation where it knew it would be killed solely because only a part of it would benefit others. This arc felt like a solid means of showcasing the Chancellor’s desire to get whatever he wants by any means necessary. It also allowed Anakin’s character to be shown in a level of agreement with a character that we know is actively going to try and pull him to the dark side. This character comparison works to showcase what fans know is coming, the uniting of Anakin and Palpatine on the Dark Side.