'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' recap: The Only Thing We Have to Fear...

"…The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." If I had to choose a single, underlying theme for the Star Wars franchise it would be Franklin Roosevelt’s great mantra. Think of how Yoda wisely warned that "Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." Or how, on the opposite end of the moral spectrum, Grand Moff Tarkin used fear as a governing tool to inspire unwavering obedience from the Empire’s subjects: "Fear will keep the local systems in line."

Last night’s episode, "Heroes on Both Sides," delved deep into the Power of Nightmares-type scenario of the Clone Wars — that, while there are reasonable, fair-minded people on either side of the conflict, both the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems are ruled by leaders who’ve encouraged their respective military-industrial-financial complexes to prolong a destructive but profitable war. No wonder the opening "moral" of the ep was "Fear is a great motivator." Heavy stuff for a Friday night Cartoon Network show, right? Yet "Heroes on Both Sides" managed to be a thought-provoking, dialogue-driven episode that never felt plodding. And, by the Force, its depiction of the Republic’s corporate leaders seizing upon General Grievous’s terrorist attack to increase their own power — and the size of their pocketbooks — felt incredibly relevant.

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